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Where now after ten years of Eastern enlargement?

László Andor

Corvinus Economics Working Papers (CEWP) from Corvinus University of Budapest

Abstract: The aim of this article is to evaluate the situation of the Central and Eastern European countries within the EU on the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Enlargement. Since 2004, the region has shown a trend to catch up with Western Europe in terms of both employment and economic performance. However, the financial and economic crisis which started in 2008 disrupted the previous trends of convergence for some, and greater differences emerged between individual countries' performances. The eastward enlargement has practically doubled labour mobility within the EU, and this phenomenon is likely to be sustained as long as income disparities between Member States persist. The 2004 and 2007 enlargements brought more welfare to the countries receiving mobile workers, whereas countries of origin bear the real risks of labour mobility from east to west. Today, it can be said that most of the newer Member States, irrespective of the varying speeds of convergence have developed within the EU as an 'inner periphery'. In order to make better use of the potential for economic growth in Central-Eastern Europe, investing in human capital should become a priority. The major question for the second decade of our enlarged European Union - aside from the reform of the monetary union - is whether the EU’s eastern region can continue to catch up without the internal socio-economic polarisation observed thus far, and whether the latter process can in fact be reversed.

Keywords: European Union; enlargement; economic integration; labour mobility (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-07-31
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mig, nep-pke and nep-tra
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