Eastward EU enlargement: effects, expectations and dangers

The eastward EU enlargement: effects, expectations and dangers
Since May 1, 2004, ten countries in the Central and Eastern European region join the EU as new member states. Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia comprise these ten countries. Obviously, a structural and organizational change of such an extent must have considerable effects on the EU institution, the old member countries and the new member countries. But why do not all inhabitants of the old and new member countries feel like having hit the jackpot?
To start with the maybe most discussed topic, let's examine the effects on the EU Equalization Fund, a mechanism through which resources are systematically redistributed from the wealthy countries to the less developed countries in the EU.
Since the newly acceded countries are for the most part considered to belong to the less developed countries, the burden for those countries already contributing the majority to the Equalization Fund will even increase while the new member countries will experience an agreeable support for their inefficient economies. On the other hand, traditional main beneficiaries of the disputed fund fear to loose a considerable part of their annual incomes. By now, it becomes evident that every country in the EU, be it main contributor, main beneficiary or future beneficiary will find an argument either to back eastward enlargement or to emphasize its inconveniences.
Another potential danger is to be seen in the need of an alignment of policies within the EU member countries. An increased assimilation is undoubtedly necessary to guarantee politic and economic coherence within the European Union. Nonetheless, local conditions in the member countries might have to be neglected more and more. Apparently another reason for politicians, residents and other stakeholders to complain. In view of the fact that this problem already ha…

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