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The Prospects of Catching up for New EU Members Lessons for the Accession Countries to the European Union from Previous Enlargements

Listed author(s):
  • Jan Delhey


With EU membership, politicians as well as citizens in the accession countries hope to achieve improvements in living conditions and – at least in the long run – to catch up with the West European societies. Catch-up modernization of the less advanced member states is also an ”official” goal of EU policy. Expert opinions about the prospects for success, however, vary widely. In this paper, a general model for how EU policy influences quality of life in less well-off member countries is presented. An analysis of former enlargements – the cohesion countries Ireland, Greece, Portugal, and Spain – reveals that EU integration obviously facilitates processes of catch up but does not guarantee them. This is demonstrated by using indicators covering different aspects of quality of life, per capita income (material living conditions), social protection ratios (general quality of society), and life satisfaction (subjective well-being). Bearing in mind their particular economic and social conditions and their heterogeneity, the prospects of the future member states are discussed.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

Volume (Year): 56 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 205-231

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Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:56:y:2001:i:2:p:205-231
DOI: 10.1023/A:1012407209274
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Ed Diener & Eunkook Suh, 1997. "Measuring Quality Of Life: Economic, Social, And Subjective Indicators," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 189-216, January.
  2. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre. MONEE project, 1997. "Children at Risk in Central and Eastern Europe: Perils and Promises," Papers remore97/4, Regional Monitoring Report.
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