Following the launch of the euro as EU's common currency, the EU found it necessary to shift its attention to the East. The decision to enlarge EU membership to Eastern European countries was finalized in 2002 and its first phase would have been carried out between 2004 and 2006. Here, EU negotiates what analysts perceive as a bumpy road.
belonged to the former communist bloc which just emerged from half a century of Soviet domination. Throughout this long period, they operated on a planned economy and it is only now that they are moving in unison towards a market economy. As a lingering effect of a less efficient economic system, their incomes are much lower than those of existing EU members. This poses a problem to the process of harmonizing the entry of these countries into EU.
EU enlargement to Eastern Europe will boost the European common market from 320 million people to about 470 million. Unlike Switzerland, Norway and Iceland which joined only EU's free trade area, the Eastern European countries need to be full EU members or they will not enjoy the promised benefits. This entails huge costs on the part of the new members.
Eastern Europe is a low-income region of about 100 million people whose combined income will raise the GDP of EU by a mere 5 per cent. ...