No. 5




The economic dimension of EU – future perspectives in the context of eastward EU enlargement

14 June 2002


RiTo No. 5, 2002

  • Janno Reiljan

    Professor of Economics, University of Tartu

  • Liina Kulu

    University of Tartu macroeconomic studies chair doctoral program, University of Tartu European College scholar

The objective of the present article is to evaluate the economic aspects of the European Union future prospects in the context of eastward EU enlargement, based on the theoretical concept of integration.

By means of analysis it is possible to predict what potential position the Central and Eastern European Countries would have after EU accession. In outline, the present article will discuss the theoretical aspects of the integration, evaluate the earlier integration in Europe, assess the factors determining the preconditions for European Union’s eastward enlargement and analyse different future prospects of European integration.

The discussion about the future prospects of Europe should consider political and financial issues, questions concerning institutional changes as well as socio-economic topics. Since the Central and Eastern European Candidate Countries differ remarkably from the present EU member states considering their level of economic as well as social development, the economic dimension of the EU future prospects should be particularly emphasised. Its central question is: how the Union will function in the context of greater economic heterogeneity? The agenda set at the Laeken summit has pointed out four very broad areas to consider (a better definition of competence in the EU, simplification of the Union’s instruments, more democracy, efficiency and transparency in the EU and the formulation of a constitution for Europe). But generally this is not enough and it is necessary for the European Union to analyse problems in its current system, and assess the impact of political changes from the present member states’ as well as candidate countries’ point of view.

Considering the economic aspects of the European Union future perspectives, the impact of the so-called triumphant markets approach would be the best solution for the CEEC-s. According to the strategy, Europe adjusts to globalisation at the cost of reducing social and environmental standards, and the economic growth soars. Nevertheless there is only a very small probability that the public would accept this strategy. The most undesirable future prospect would be a superstate Europe, where integration in Europe proceeds according to a United States of Europe model. According to this strategy, Central and Eastern European countries do not belong in the EU.

Full article in Estonian