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The Enlargement of the European Union and the Spatial Distribution of Economic Activity

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One of the challenges facing regional policy in the European Union is the accession of new countries to the Single Market and to Economic and Monetary Union. Conditions in many of these East European regions are worse than in the least developed regions of the fifteen existing member states. Moreover, the accession of these countries is likely to have a marked effect on the geographical distribution of economic activity in the rest of the European Union (EU). Taking this into account, this article discusses the lessons that we have learned from the latest adhesions to the EU, in order to be able to predict what will arise from the enlargement scheduled for mid-2004. In this sense, we compute specialization and concentration indexes in order to highlight the effects of enlargement on the spatial distribution of activity in the EU. Additionally, inequality measures are calculated to describe the evolution of regional disparities before and after enlargement. A regional and national database for EU15 and for candidate countries with a high degree of sectoral detail from 1985 to 2001 is compiled. Analysis and some recommendations for regional policy are provided.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Eastern European Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (2004)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 6-35

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Handle: RePEc:mes:eaeuec:v:42:y:2004:i:5:p:6-35
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