EU Enlargement Pays Off

Yesterday, a high-level conference on “EU Enlargement - Five Years After“ organised in Prague by the Czech Presidency in cooperation with the European Commission, began to discuss the benefits of the enlargement to financial stability, the internal market and the mobility of labour within the EU.

The latest data from Eurostat show, for example, that after the enlargement exports from the EU-15 to the new Member States rose by EUR 121.17 billion to EUR 268.93 billion in 2008.

“The overwhelmingly positive impact on the European internal market has proved to be the principal argument in favour of enlargement,” said Alexandr Vondra, Czech Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs. At the request of the Czech EU Presidency, the Commission has published a study of economic achievements and challenges resulting from the enlargements in 2004 and 2007. According to the report, the enlargement added 0.5 percentage points of GDP growth annually in each old Member State, on average. In the twelve new Member States, the GDP grew on average by 1.75 percentage points every year.

“The figures clearly show that in the functioning internal market, the enlargement has contributed in a major way to the prosperity of the entire EU in the last five years. ‘Entire’ here means countries large and small, the North as well as the East, the South and the West - to put it simply, all the Member States of the EU”, said Alexandr Vondra. “Only a fully functioning internal market where rules are respected will help Europe overcome the current economic downturn and restart the motor of prosperity we have got used to,” added Vondra. In line with the motto of its Presidency, a “Europe without barriers”, the Czech Republic is pursuing full freedom of the movement of goods, persons, services and capital across borders.

Labour mobility data suggest that in almost all Member States the number of recent arrivals from non-EU countries exceeds the number of newcomers from other EU Member States. The only exceptions are Ireland and Luxembourg. Moreover, in most Member States the inflow of other EU-15 nationals has been larger then the number of recent arrivals from the Member States that joined the EU in the last five years.

Today’s conference is organised by the Czech Presidency in co-operation with the European Commission on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the EU enlargement. The results of the conference should be presented and discussed in several EU Council configurations. The European Commission’s analysis is available from its press office.

For more information see the Calendar.


  • Michaela Jelínková, Spokeswoman of the Deputy Prime Minister for European
  • tel.: +420 224 002 796, GSM: +420 724 258 939; e-mail:

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Last update: 16.8.2011 15:43

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