The impact of EU enlargement on current and new member states. An assessment from the economic and political point of view
The fifth enlargement of the European Union, apart from the most demanding in terms of preparation for the candidates and EU institutions has been the most ambiguous in terms of potential impacts both on economic and political spheres. In this paper we try to identify the directions of potential consequences based on the performance of the new countries during the pre-accession period and the degree of preparation by the time of the first part of accession. The preliminary assessments show that EU and newcomers economies shall face a series of positive impacts in terms of growth, productivity, employment and competitiveness, though to different degrees, while political and social conditions will continue to improve. The greatest challenge for EU policy makers, will continue being the assurance of socio-economic stability during the biggest enlargement ever in EU, yet, with less intervention through an adjusted to the new needs decision making process.