Four Years Afterwhat Has Eastern Enlargement Brought To The European Union
As for long-standing members of the EU, the report shows that their share of trade with the EU10 increased from 56 percent in 1993 to 63 percent in 2005 (Bureau of European Policy Advisors, 2006,60).
As for human migration, available data shows that the flow of labor from the EU10 to the EU15 has been relatively modest.
This last issue is particularly sensitive, as fears about a flood of workers moving west from the new central and eastern European Member States to take jobs from west Europeans was a matter of considerable concern before the May 2004 enlargement. The concern was so great that only three of the older EU members the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden lifted labor restrictions on incoming workers form the new EU states. Yet much of the evidence to date suggests that the number of labor migrants has been modest, and that their economic impact on the receiving countries has been positive.
The most comprehensive assessment of this matters comes from Herbert Bruchers report to the German Marshall Fund of the united States released in February 2007 (German Marshall Fund of the United States,2007). The objective of Herbert Brucher was to analyze the economic consequences of east-west migration in the context of the EUs Eastern Enlargement. Brucher developed an simulation model that compared the short term versus the long-term impacts of migration on GDP, earning of both blue and white collar workers in receiving countries, unemployment, and migrant income. Brucher came to the following results:
In the short-run labor migration will contribute to :
Substantial gains in GDP (by 0.2 percent);
Ambiguous effects on native wages;
Substantial gains for migrants
In the long-run, assuming capital adjustment, migration will lead to:
Positive consequences for natives: natives in receiving countries tend to win in the long-run assuming that the migrant population is sufficiently educated;
Even higher GDP gains: GDP gains of up to 0.4 percent of the enlarged EUs GDP (Brucher, 2007,3-7).
Brucher concluded that migration does not necessarily have a negative impact on wages in receiving countries. On the contrary, there are substantial economic gains from migration within the enlarged EU which havent been exploited yet due to uncoordinated policies between sending and receiving countries and labor market institutions that are equipped to handle the new migration flows( Brucher, 2007,14).
In addition, here are some recent statistics which confirms that the EU economy got benefits after its Eastern Enlargement :
Unemployment 8.3 percent in May 2005 and 7.0 percent in May 2008;
Inflation 3.7 percent(2005) and 2.2 percent(2008) correspondently;
GDP per capita 27.800 U.S. dollars(2004) and 29.900 U.S. dollars(2008) correspondently;
Imports 1.200 trillion U.S. dollars(2005) and 1.466 trillion U.S. dollars(2008) correspondently;
Exports 1.12 trillion U.S. dollars(2005) and 1.33 trillion U.S. dollars(2008) correspondently. (Wikipedia,2008)
As we can see above, the EUs Eastern Enlargement brought many benefits to economy of whole Europe. Now, it is important to estimate the political consequences of the 2004 enlargement.
As shows recent Eurobarometer surveys , a significant majority of Europeans see the EU as an engine of peace and stability and feel that west European countries have some obligation to help their counterparts to the east (European Commission, 2008, 20-25).
The closer contact between Europes East and West in political area has inspired reforms and has consolidated common principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. Such institutions like European Union Parliament work in this area very successfully and to help to overcome the division of Europe. The smallest and weakenest Europe countries got possibility to influent continents policy.
Nonetheless, there are many problems yet in Europe Union politics. The defeat of the proposed EU Constitution in 2005 arguably confirms it. The struggle against the bureaucratization and rigid centralization ideas are most important issues for the EU now.
Besides economy and politics, culture is the third significant area there the EU eastern enlargement brought positive changes.
In a recent Eurobarometer survey, 83 percent of respondents in the EU member states said that they value the benefits of intercultural contacts which brought the EU enlargement, and 65 percent reported interacting with at least one person of a different religion, ethnicity or nationality than their own in the week prior to being questioned (European Commission,2008,1-3).
A key vehicle for intercultural dialogue in the EU are different culture programs which allows EU citizens to contact more closer.
For example, the Erasmus program allows EU people to study abroad in a Member State other than their own. Together with an enriched study experience, Erasmus provided exposure to different cultures (European Commission,2008,1-3).
Such culture programs like the Citizens for Europe (2007-2013) and the European Capital of Culture (2007-2019) became possible after the EU Eastern Enlargement .
The European Capital of Culture event gives European cities the opportunity to present a cultural programme lasting around a year, highlighting the richness, diversity and share characteristics of Europes cultures ( the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, 2006).
This and many others examples shows that the EU enlargement in 2004 has brought and will bring in future only significant benefits in culture sphere.
Eventually, after making the economic, politic and culture assessments of the EUs enlargement consequences, we must to emphasize that European Unions role in the international arena changed since 2005.
With the GDP over 13 trillion U.S. dollars , population 497 million and the territory over 4.3 mln. square km. (Wikipedia, 2008) European Union became one of the most influential player in global geopolitics. Its leadership in the human rights sphere to allow the EU to put pressure on other countries.
Table1. EU and U.S. in Comparison(after EU eastern enlargement in 2004)
Population (mln.)Land area (sq. mil.)GDP
EU4901.613.5 trillion dollars
U.S.3908.712.4 trillion dollars
Source: CIA World Factbook 2006, IMF WEO Database.Wikipedia,2008.
The EU is fairly influential in the WTO; it is actively using its procedures to resolve trade disagreement within this organization. As the worlds largest trade bloc, the EU controls 27 votes within the WTO, which gives it huge advantages.
These and other facts let as to argue that there is impossible any world decision without the EU acting.
The structure and purpose of European integration was fundamentally altered by the collapse of the Socialistic bloc in 1990. For moral and practical reasons the core countries of the EU saw no choice as to bring their central and eastern European neighbors into the framework of European integration. In the process, the very nature of EU had to change. From the perspective of over four years out, we can ascertain that the Eastern Enlargement has brought a number of significant benefits to the European Union.
2004 enlargement extended Europes political and economical area. Today, new Member states economies have made substantial progress on the pathway to integration and have become more dynamic and competetive. The old Member States, in turn, have benefited from the new opportunities which have opened up in the new Member states without expressing significant repercussions.
The important culture programmes brought more closer intercultural contacts between people of a different religion, ethnicity and nationality of the EU. The European Union became an area of the intercultural dialogue.
Positive economic and integration results since 2004 allow EU to became one of the powerful organization in the world . Its role as global player is very significant now.
Nonetheless, there are many problems in the EU internal political system such as boycott of the European Constitution. But, it is clearly that common the EU Member States interests will allow to find the sensible decision for this and others main problems .