To mark five years of the European Union’s enlargement from 15 to 25 members, the European Commission has issued a report on what’s been achieved in that time.
The study claims that enlargement has added, on average, 1.75 percent to the annual GDP growth of each newcomer. But the figures are unlikely to provoke a collective sigh of relief. At Sunday’s EU crisis summit, one of the European economies worst hit by the recession, Hungary, saw its plan for a mass bail-out for Eastern Europe shot down in flames. Its other suggestion, to speed up the process of joining the euro, was met with a ‘maybe’ by some leaders. Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said: “During the discussions, there was a statement from big European countries that such a possibility, not mentioning especially Lithuania, that such a possibility should be discussed in a more private way.” Currencies in eastern Europe responded poorly to Sunday’s summit. The Hungarian Forint, Poland’s Zloty and the Czech Crown all lost ground on the euro.