Los Estados Unidos afrontan la vieja Europa y la nueva

La airada observaciónformulada el año pasado por el Secretario de Defensa de los EE.UU., Donald Rumsfeld, sobre la "vieja Europa y la nueva" era correcta por razones incorrectas. Quería referirse a las divisiones de Europa, pero en este mes de mayo otros diez Estados han ingresado en la Unión Europea. La Europa ampliada constituye en verdad una nueva Europa. ¿Deben ponerse nerviosos los Estados Unidos?

Cincuenta y cuatro años después del anuncio del Plan Schuman para comenzar a unir las economías de Francia y Alemania, la UE tiene ahora 25 países y una población mayor que la de los Estados Unidos. Ocho de los nuevos miembros son antiguos países comunistas que estuvieron encerrados tras el telón de acero durante casi medio siglo. Su atracción hacia la Unión es una señal del atractivo -el "poder blando"- de la idea de unificación europea.

Naturalmente, esa nueva Europa afronta muchos problemas. La renta por habitante de los nuevos países es menos de la mitad de la de los quince miembros a los que se van a unir. Se ha manifestado preocupación por la afluencia de mano de obra barata, pero las tasas medias de crecimiento del PIB en los nuevos miembros son el doble de las de los miembros originales, lo que puede brindar un estímulo satisfactorio para unos mercados laborales estancados y unas economías deprimidas.

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