European Eastern Enlargement as Europe's Attempted Economic Suicide?
We argue that the process of European economic integration has made a qualitative shift: from a Listian symmetrical economic integration to an integrative and asymmetrical integration. This shift started in the early 1990s with the integration of the former Soviet economies into the economies of Europe and the world as a whole, reached its climax with the Eastern enlargement of the Union in 2004, and now forms the foundation of the renewed Lisbon Strategy. This change is measurably threatening European welfare: the economic periphery in the first instance, and potentially the core countries as well. Two parallel processes aggravate this development: the timing of the enlargement at this particular phase of the evolving techno-economic paradigm; and the creation of the European Monetary Union along the so-called Maastricht route towards convergence and fiscal stability.
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