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Whichever country first achieves the status of becoming the first established and recognised country brand in the region will greatly benefit from it in the long run. What should symbolise the country? Most countries have made several efforts to find this unique product that would be unmistakeably Polish or Lithuanian and would characterise the country best. This might rely on stereotypes, as for example, many foreigners may think that vodka is the national drink of Poland, while beer consumption in Poland is three times higher than that of vodka.

This initiative came to a halt with the national elections in although the organisations involved are determined to continue and develop the initiative. Estonia has been the forerunner of strategically developing, launching and coordinating a country brand in — with the cooperation of Interbrand, the international branding agency. The principle position was a clearly defined identity for Estonia as a European country. It is supposed to communicate a message that Estonia is very dynamic and going through big changes in a short period of time.

These two words also encapsulate the deep contrast between the former and contemporary Estonia, a land of contrasts with opposing characteristics. The richness and diversity of the brand is communicated through storytelling; and the stories translate into specific messages tailored for tourists, inward investors and importers. Poland has made several uncoordinated efforts to promote the country abroad between and until British branding expert Wally Olins and his company, Saffron arrived to rescue the initiative and coordinate the branding process in Saffron came up with a similar idea to that of Estonia but labelled it differently.

Change and contrast between past and present, paradox of characteristics are commonly used branding themes for countries in transition. This approach actually reinforces the intellectual invention and framing of Eastern Europe which dates back to the Enlightenment period and it has prevailed since then Wolff, In many cases destination and country branding are clearly distinct, using different logos, visuals, slogans and managed by different organisations.

Country branding, similarly to destination branding, has visual and verbal elements. A flying kite in the Polish national colours, red and white was to symbolise youth, freedom, playfulness and hope, values that the country stands for according to the marketers. The initiative to use it as an overall brand for Poland met some criticism as this brand could be seen as outdated, lacking dynamism and very abstract. Poland's example demonstrates, however, that a country brand can consists of different brands, such as a destination brand, an export brand, an investment brand, a political brand, which can be all different rather than having a central, all-encompassing country brand.

Some of these sub-brands can be stronger and more successful than others. Mega-events are frequently used to kick-off branding campaigns or promote countries. Another event that has been often used for efficient country promotion is the Eurovision song contest where millions across Europe are tuned into the singing contest. In Ukraine hosted the event and seized the opportunity to communicate the values, hopes and visions of the country to a Europe-wide audience. The old member states may attribute little significance to Eurovision but it has meant a great deal for many Central and Eastern European nations to express themselves and boost their confidence.

Attracting investors is common aim of country branding; however, as Papadopoulos : 39 notes research into this area is rather limited. Not only is the number of concrete examples limited but the relationship between branding and attracting foreign investors is not fully established and explored yet. CEE may provide some insight into this area as the region has attracted significant investment during the past 15 years. Some of these investment agencies have been the flagships of developing country brands as well.

Young's study is one of the few ones, which overviews the role and nature of place marketing in attracting foreign direct investment FDI into CEE. He concludes that simple promotional campaigns that aim at raising investor awareness of localities in the region have quite limited impact and in order to be successful place marketing must become a sophisticated and complex set of strategies and address investor specific needs. He provides a case study about Czech Invest, which has been one of the most successful investment promotion organisations in the region.

Having a country brand is necessary to attract investors but not enough; there must be an infrastructure, a skilled workforce, favourable tax policies and returns on investment. In order to increase investment in the country Croatia allocated resources to develop a country brand. Foreign direct investment in the country, however, was hampered by high labour costs compared to other countries, such as Bulgaria or Romania. Wells and Wint published the results of research on investment promotion conducted during the s and provided some insight into when and how to use the different promotion strategies.

Their monograph described three basic promotion techniques that investment promotion agencies can apply: image building, investment generation and investor services. Image building would today be called country branding, although the authors do not use the word branding in their book at all. In a later edition, policy advocacy was also added. PR is very helpful in maintaining long-term relationships with investors, as branding's main competency is attraction in this respect.

Image-building techniques — in the form of country branding — are recent phenomena. Used with permission. As the Survey suggests for countries whose image is better than reality Poland, Czech Republic or Romania , the challenge is to transform their superior image into concrete investment projects while the countries that score higher on reality than image Hungary, for example should improve their perception in the market and level of notoriety.

Similarly to destination branding, countries can group together to increase economic development, including investment attracting and export promotion. One of the latest initiatives is the Baltic Sea Region branding project which involves transitional as well as more developed nations. International media are systematically monitored by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs usually through the embassies on the daily basis.

National tourism organisations through their network also carry out media monitoring and reporting. Systematic media content analyses are carried out less frequently although they can reveal much more about the tone and nature of coverage than a pile of press clippings. Negative coverage about a country, its government, politicians are not rare phenomena although countries react differently depending on the nature and extent of the negatives issues covered. Negative coverage can influence investors as well and even jeopardise any branding initiatives.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International published an open letter as a whole page advertisement in the Financial Times on 21st May, in which they warned the companies that were considering investments in Serbia. The open letter was addressed to the Serbian deputy Prime Minister and warned potential investors about the risk of investing in Serbia, by sharing their negative experiences as investors. The Skype software has also become a calling card for Estonia.

In any form of country communication, the name of the country is of crucial importance. The Czech Republic's name problem is also well known as the country was searching for a simple, one-word solution during the s. Estonia also had a problem with the country name but for a different reason. In September a ferry sank between Estonia and Sweden killing more than Estonian, Swedish and Finnish people aboard.

The catastrophe received extensive international media coverage and for years it was the only thing that people associated with Estonia. The ferry itself was called Estonia and the sinking of Estonia was not a boost to the image of the country. Some years later some people suggested that the country should use the German name, Estland instead of the English Estonia in the international arena. The other reason for this change would have been the positive association with Finland, a Nordic country.

Both events were widely covered by the media and demonstrate that small countries can also achieve serious results.

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In this case images are important as reality may well be different and image management is the core activity. Fortunately, the number of examples in Central Europe is rather limited. Negative campaigns are not rare in Russia as Moscow has attempted several times to discredit the Baltic States and to put them in a bad light about the role they have played in the Russian—EU relationship. Russia also refused to apologise to the Baltic States for annexing them to the Soviet Union and for the communist repressions. It has got very negative in some cases even hostile images in Eastern European countries and has so far failed to address its negative reputation in its former sphere of influence.

The above-mentioned advertisement about Serbia placed in the Financial Times is another example of negative branding. Even if there is, a country can be more successful in one of the above dimensions but rather poor at others. Croatia is a good example: it has been a very popular tourism destination but has been unsuccessful in public diplomacy.

The Hungarian Country Image Centre ceased to exist once the new government was formed in Another issue was that the wife of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs headed the branding project. In many Central European countries the newly elected governments have erased the efforts of the previous government resulting in discontinuity of country promotion. Poland is the very latest example, where a Plenipotentiary for safeguarding and promoting the image of Poland abroad was appointed in August by the government.

It was the former spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign affairs, who took the position. Another barrier to continuity is the high turnover of staff and professionals as many of those who developed or worked on the project at the beginning are long gone. The newly appointed Polish Plenipotentiary was also quick to dismiss any charges of propaganda. His appointment followed a satirical article published by a left-wing German newspaper about Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

Central Europe

In response, the President demanded an apology from Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, which refused to interfere. Western European writers stress the importance of the government's involvement in country promotion; however, this can easily be a minefield, especially in the post-communist countries with the legacy of decades of communist government propaganda. Papadopoulos : 39 goes as far as referring to the need for governments to market themselves sic!

This view is a clear example of government promotion, which should be avoided and clearly distinguished from country promotion or branding. The Eastern European experience demonstrates that politicians should not be involved or have a strategic function in country branding. The core ideas are similar to other country's ideas, leaving little space for a clear distinction. They usually promise similar experiences and it is difficult to identify the distinct features that would make the country unique in the minds of potential tourists, investors or buyers.

The relatively high number of countries in the region with very similar economic and infrastructural indices makes it rather difficult to distinguish among these countries.

Central Europe - Wikipedia

The country must subscribe to its own brand before expecting others to do so. Estonia developed its brand with little initial consultation with the population. The brand was not explained clearly to the domestic audience and as a result the population was not supportive and the branding project came under criticism by the media as well. Getting the internal audience behind the branding project is a very crucial task of public relations.

Estonia's brand was launched in and but since the change of government in nothing has happened to maintain the brand, to keep the promotion alive. The country invested a lot in the launch but since then the whole initiative has been suspended similarly to the Polish brand. Branding is most successful when there is a tangible element in it, such as a product, service or experience. Foreign policy, for example, cannot be the subject of branding and it is doomed to failure, as the USA's attempt has demonstrated.

Advertising is expensive, one-way communication and not credible in the long term.

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More reliance on two-way public relations should be involved in order to build and maintain relationships and dynamism. Albania commissioned a PR agency in to promote a positive image of the country. The term is mostly used to denominate the territory between the Schelde to Vistula and from the Danube to the Moravian Gate. The first follows international borders of current countries. The second subdivides and includes some countries based on cultural criteria.

In comparison to some other definitions, it is broader, including Luxembourg, Croatia, the Baltic states , and in the second sense, parts of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Italy, and France. Central Europe, as defined by E. Schenk [63]. Central Europe, according to Alice F. Mutton in Central Europe. A Regional and Human Geography Depending on context, Central European countries are sometimes grouped as Eastern or Western European countries, collectively or individually [65] [66] [67] [68] but some place them in Eastern Europe instead: [65] [66] [67] for instance Austria can be referred to as Central European, as well as Eastern European [69] or Western European.

The Baltic states , geographically in Northern Europe , have been considered part of Central Europe in the German tradition of the term, Mitteleuropa. Benelux countries are generally considered a part of Western Europe, rather than Central Europe. Nevertheless, they are occasionally mentioned in the Central European context due to cultural, historical and linguistic ties. The borders to Western Europe and Eastern Europe are geographically less defined and for this reason the cultural and historical boundaries migrate more easily West-East than South-North. Southwards, the Pannonian Plain is bounded by the rivers Sava and Danube - and their respective floodplains.

At times, the term "Central Europe" denotes a geographic definition as the Danube region in the heart of the continent, including the language and culture areas which are today included in the states of Croatia , the Czech Republic , Hungary , Poland , Serbia , Slovakia , Slovenia and usually also Austria and Germany , but never Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union towards the Ural mountains.

Central Europe is one of the continent's most populous regions. It includes countries of varied sizes, ranging from tiny Liechtenstein to Germany, the largest European country by population that is entirely placed in Europe. Demographic figures for countries entirely located within notion of Central Europe "the core countries" number around million people, out of which around 82 million are residents of Germany. If the countries which are occasionally included in Central Europe were counted in, partially or in whole — Romania 20 million , Lithuania 2.

Switzerland uses its own currency — Swiss franc , Serbia too Serbian dinar. Countries in descending order of Human Development Index data :. The index of globalization in Central European countries data : []. Legatum Prosperity Index demonstrates an average and high level of prosperity in Central Europe data : []. Most countries in Central Europe tend to score above the average in the Corruption Perceptions Index data : []. According to the Bribe Payers Index , released yearly since by the Berlin -based NGO Transparency International , Germany and Switzerland, the only two Central European countries examined in the study, were respectively ranked 2nd and 4th in Industrialisation occurred early in Central Europe.

That caused construction of rail and other types of infrastructure. Central Europe contains the continent's earliest railway systems, whose greatest expansion was recorded in Austro-Hungarian and German territories between s. Railway density, with total length of lines operated km per 1, km2, is the highest in the Czech Republic Before the first railroads appeared in the s, river transport constituted the main means of communication and trade.

Central European countries are some of the most significant food producers in the world. Germany is the world's largest hops producer with Poland is the world's largest triticale producer, second largest producer of raspberry, currant, third largest of rye, the fifth apple and buckwheat producer, and seventh largest producer of potatoes. The Czech Republic is world's fourth largest hops producer and 8th producer of triticale. Hungary is world's fifth hops and seventh largest triticale producer.

Serbia is world's second largest producer of plums and second largest of raspberries. Central European business has a regional organisation, Central European Business Association CEBA , founded in in New York as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting business opportunities within Central Europe and supporting the advancement of professionals in America with a Central European background.

Central European countries, especially Austria, Croatia, Germany and Switzerland are some of the most competitive tourism destinations. Central European countries are very literate. The most popular language taught at schools in Central Europe as foreign languages are: English , French and German. Student performance has varied across Central Europe, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment.

In the last study, countries scored medium, below or over the average scores in three fields studied. The first university east of France and north of the Alps was the Charles University in Prague established in or by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and modeled on the University of Paris, with the full number of faculties law, medicine, philosophy and theology. Its current members include year it joined for the first time in brackets : []. Central European architecture has been shaped by major European styles including but not limited to: Brick Gothic , Rococo , Secession art and Modern architecture.

Six Central European countries are amongst those countries with higher numbers of World Heritage Sites :. Large Protestant groups include Lutheran and Calvinist. Central Europe has been a centre of Protestantism in the past; however, it has been mostly eradicated by the Counterreformation. Before the Holocaust —45 , there was also a sizeable Ashkenazi Jewish community in the region, numbering approximately In some of these countries, there is a number of atheists , undeclared and non-religious people: the Czech Republic non-religious Zagreb Cathedral , Zagreb Catholic , Croatia.

Stephen's Basilica in Budapest Catholic , Hungary. Jesuit Church, Lucerne Catholic , Switzerland. Abbey of Saint Gall Catholic , Switzerland. Cologne Cathedral Catholic , Germany. Matthias Church is a Catholic church in Budapest, Hungary. Cathedral of St. Vaduz Cathedral Catholic , Liechtenstein. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna Catholic , Austria. Esztergom Basilica Catholic , is an ecclesiastic basilica in Esztergom, Hungary.

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Central European cuisine has evolved through centuries due to social and political change. Most countries share many dishes. The most popular dishes typical to Central Europe are sausages and cheeses, where the earliest evidence of cheesemaking in the archaeological record dates back to 5, BCE Kujawy , Poland. List of countries by beer consumption per capita is led by the Czech Republic , followed by Germany and Austria. Poland comes 5th, Croatia 7th and Slovenia 13th. Human rights have a long tradition in Central Europe.

In Hungary defined for the first time the rights of the nobility in its "Golden Bull". In the Statute of Kalisz and the General Charter of Jewish Liberties introduced numerous rights for the Jews in Poland, granting them de facto autonomy. In for the first time, Poland forbid corporal punishment of children in schools. In the same year, a German state of Baden banned slavery. On the other hand, there were also major regressions, such as "Nihil novi" in Poland in which forbade peasants from leaving their land without permission from their feudal lord. Generally, the countries in the region are progressive on the issue of human rights: death penalty is illegal in all of them, corporal punishment is outlawed in most of them and people of both genders can vote in elections.

Nevertheless, Central European countries struggle to adopt new generations of human rights, such as same-sex marriage. Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Poland also have a history of participation in the CIA's extraordinary rendition and detention program, according to the Open Society Foundation.

Regional writing tradition revolves around the turbulent history of the region, as well as its cultural diversity. There is a whole spectrum of media active in the region: newspapers, television and internet channels, radio channels, internet websites etc. Central European media are regarded as free, according to the Press Freedom Index, although the situation in Poland, Hungary and Croatia is described as "problematic". Football is one of the most popular sports. Countries of Central Europe had many great national teams throughout history and hosted several major competitions.

Central European Defence Cooperation. Central Europe is a home to some of world's oldest democracies. However, most of them have been impacted by totalitarian rule, particularly Nazism Germany, Austria, Croatia, other occupied countries and Communism. Most of Central Europe have been occupied and later allied with the USSR, often against their will through forged referendum e. Nevertheless, these experiences have been dealt in most of them.

Most of Central European countries score very highly in the Democracy Index : []. In spite of its turbulent history, Central Europe is currently one of world's safest regions. The time zone used in most parts of the European Union is a standard time which is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time. It is commonly called Central European Time because it has been first adopted in central Europe by year :.

While walking over the famous Charles Bridge , the main character, Lovejoy says: " I've never been to Prague before. Well, it is one of the great unspoiled cities in Central Europe. Notice: I said: "Central", not "Eastern"! The Czechs are a bit funny about that, they think of Eastern Europeans as turnip heads. Wes Anderson 's Oscar-winning film The Grand Budapest Hotel is regarded as a fictionalised celebration of the s in Central Europe [] and region's musical tastes []. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Region of Europe. Different views of Central Europe.

There are numerous other definitions and viewpoints. Bohemia in Kingdom of Hungary in Interwar Central Europe according to Emmanuel de Martonne County Museum of Art [32]. Central Europe according to Peter J. Map of Central Europe, according to Lonnie R. Countries considered to be Central European only in the broader sense of the term. Slovenia in "south central Europe". Central European countries in the broader sense of the term.

Countries occasionally considered to be Central European. Central Europe according to Meyers Enzyklopaedisches Lexikon Very High. Data unavailable. See also: Magdeburg rights. This section possibly contains unsourced predictions , speculative material, or accounts of events that might not occur.

Information must be verifiable and based on reliable published sources. Please help improve it by removing unsourced speculative content. Learn how and when to remove this template message. Geography portal Europe portal. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on 24 May Retrieved 3 May Europa Regional.

Retrieved 31 January Retrieved on 29 October The Economist. Retrieved 7 March Purdue University Press.

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East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, — University of Washington Press. The spirit of unity through culture in the eve of Modern Europe] in Czech. Retrieved 15 January European values at the turn of the millennium. Brill Publishers. Archived from the original PDF on 17 December Archived from the original on 22 September The English Historical Review.

CXXI : Transactions and Papers Institute of British Geographers 20 : 15— Foreign Affairs. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 20 May Indiana University. Retrieved 23 December Columbia Encyclopedia. Columbia University Press. Archived from the original on 31 October Retrieved 1 May Retrieved 16 October The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 24 June