A Europe of 25: successful integration lies in the hands of the existing 15

June 2004
Management Services;Jun2004, Vol. 48 Issue 6, p4
Academic Journal
This article reports that on May 1, 2004, the European Union welcomed 10 new countries, increasing the number of member states to 25. The new states will bring 20% more consumers to the union. But such a sharp increase comes at the price of a very high public deficit estimated at 6% of the ten countries' gross domestic product in 2004, and wage levels that are five to six times lower. International economic forecasts prepared by Euler Hermes, the world's leading credit insurer, suggest a contrasting European economy among the 25 states between old Europe where growth is sluggish, and the new arrivals where growth is far stronger. Most of the new arrivals coming from the former Soviet Union pursued an active policy of privatization during the 1990s. While trade and capital flows with such countries are already very open, the increase to 25 European states will allegedly boost trade with a region representing both new customers and competitors. On Euler Hermes' scale of country risk, the majority have a rating of BB, reflecting a healthy business environment, but one which could be improved. The Czech Republic, Slovenia and Malta offer a better economic environment and are rated A.


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