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El Big Bang de Europa diez años después

BRUSELAS – Hace diez años, se unieron a la Unión Europea ocho países del antiguo bloque soviético, junto con los Estados insulares de Malta y Chipre; con ellos, la membresía de la UE se incrementó de 15 a 25 Estados. En ese momento, se temía que esta ampliación hacia el oriente fuese a crear tensiones dentro de la UE, ya que los nuevos miembros de Europa central y oriental eran pobres y algunos tenían grandes sectores agrícolas. Debido a que la UE realiza gastos principalmente en regiones pobres y en agricultores, muchos se preocupaban acerca de la posibilidad de que la ampliación fuese a sobrecargar el presupuesto de la UE.

Al final, este problema se resolvió a través de un compromiso europeo típico que permitió que se lleve a cabo la ampliación en el número de miembros, a pesar de que el presupuesto, como proporción del PIB de Europa, se redujo. En gran medida, la agricultura ha desaparecido como un elemento importante en la agenda de la UE. Por otra parte, el horizonte de planificación bajo el Marco Financiero Plurianual de la UE implica que el asunto de quién paga por quiénes tiene que ser abordado solamente una vez cada siete años.

El propósito de la integración económica es, en última instancia, impulsar el crecimiento del PIB y mejorar los niveles de vida. Juzgada desde esta perspectiva, la ampliación del número de miembros ha funcionado bien. Durante la pasada década, los países en transición, han alcanzado en gran manera los niveles de los otros.

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