Since the accession of the new member countries to the EU, the issues of regional growth and competitiveness have received wide attention by academics, governments and practitioners, and the benefits and drawbacks of EU membership are more and more the topics of public debate in the CEE region. It is not surprising that these questions sparked lively discussion at the conference a??Catalysts and Impediments of Economic Development in Central and Eastern Europe,a?? hosted by Vilnius University in October, 2004. This introductory note to the special issue overviews a selection of papers presented at the conference. The papers fall under any of six main themes: fiscal and monetary policy, competitiveness of the CEE region, social policy and public sector economics, economic theory, prospects for business and marketing.