The Contribution of EU Funds to Wellbeing and Sustainable Development in Central European Countries
The European strategic goals are good standard of living, social and economic wellbeing and sustainability of the Planet Earth. Some of these requirements are contradictory. Often times, a successful economy exhausts nature well beyond its limits. Europe is achieving its goals by giving funds to many programs, thus enabling the elaboration of projects. The programs' and projects' goals and results must justify the global vision of European Union (EU) future, precisely defined in the document Europa 2020: to achieve a sustainable future. This paper is dealing with effects of the use of EU funds in Central European (CEE) countries. The authors are analyzing correlation between Happy planet index (HPI) and wellbeing indicator with absorption of EU funds. HPI shows the efficiency of residents of different countries in using environmental resources to lead long, happy lives. It reflects how satisfied are residents and what is the level of ecological constrain to reach this satisfaction. Happy planet index measures if it is possible to have good lives without depletion the Earth too much. It is combination of four factors: life expectancy, experienced wellbeing, inequality of outcomes and ecological footprint. The results of authors' research prove the hypothesis that funds are bringing wellbeing in terms of satisfaction of CEE citizen, but by rejecting the hypothesis that funds are leading to the sustainable development they come to the conclusion that this satisfaction is consequence of the use of natural resources over the limit needed for the sustainable future of the coming generations.
Key Words: sustainable development, foreign aid, economic integration, environment
JEL Classification: F35, F36, F64, C46.