European Practice in Ensuring Sustainable Development: Problems and Contradictions
Purpose: The article aims to study the foreign economic relations of the European Union countries and to identify problems and contradictions arising within the integration process. It also suggests approaches in terms of their further cooperation in the light of the growing geo-economic imbalances. Design/Methodology/Approach. In modern conditions, the problem of inequality between developed and developing countries of the European Union significantly affects the prospects for their medium- and long-term cooperation. In addition, the consequences of the first wave of the global crisis (2008-2011) did not allow the countries of the EU South to enter the growth path. On this basis, authors revealed a negative trend for the growth of public debt in almost all countries of the South within the EU, which could lead to destabilization of the entire integration process. As a theoretical and methodological basis, the article utilizes historical-logical, statistical, and comparative analysis, systemic and situational approaches for the study of foreign economic relations between the EU countries. Findings: Four sectoral clusters in the European Union are identified that can use the ‘consolidation of sectoral clusters’ mechanism in practical terms. As the study shows, these approaches will help smoothing out economic inequality between developed and developing countries of the European Union. Practical implications: Authors are considering the consistent application of horizontal and sectoral (industrial) approaches within the European Union, which will reduce inequality between the partner countries in the integration group. Originality/value. Since economic contradictions lead to the transformation of the integration group in the short and medium term, it is necessary to develop new approaches and mechanisms for foreign economic cooperation between the partner countries.