Problems and Challenges of the EU Eastern European Enlargement
University of Vienna
The challenges facing the present EU members are enormous. The two parallel processes in the European Union - deepening of the integration and enlargement - and the transition process in the former centrally planned economies, which simultaneously have been preparing for accession in the EU are analyzed from the perspective of the EU and from the perspective of the Eastern countries. Briefly analyzed are also the problems, dilemmas and challenges of transition in post-communist Eastern Europe.
After the Tampere meeting in December 1999 the enlargement process takes a new dimension with the decision to begin negotiation with all of the Eastern European candidates. What next is to be expected? It depends mainly on the speed and efficiency of the needed EU reforms and on the Eastern European side, on the speed and efficiency of their transition process. Failure to deal effectively with the major problems that the EU faces, for example, regarding decision making and institutional efficiency, could very well block accession altogether. Deepening of the EU would facilitate enlargement to the Eastern part of the continent and would solve a variety of strategic issues of economic, environmental, foreign policy, health, security, and other matters, very important for the accession strategy. In other words, any EU enlargement without coming to modus vivendi on its deepening would create problems for the present EU members. This indicates that the negotiations with the Eastern candidates will take time and will not go as smoothly as the political will on both sides suggests. Economic and social issues come first, and not so much political considerations, as for example, in 1993. In an optimistic scenario the first members will be admitted not earlier than the mid of this decade.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15
JEL Classification: E42, E61working papers series
Date posted: April 13, 2000
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