Bohatá Evropa, chudá Evropa

Cílem Evropské unie už od jejích raných dní je vyvážený hospodářský rozvoj napříč mnoha regiony. Maastrichtská smlouva obsahuje půvabné vyjádření „celkový harmonický vývoj“. Jakkoliv obdivuhodné však toto smýšlení může být, neexistuje žádná „vědecká pravda“ ohledně „správné“ míry disparit a vhodné rychlosti konvergence.

Je nicméně užitečné srovnávat ekonomické disparity v EU s týmiž rozdíly ve Spojených státech, abychom regionální konvergenci v Evropě posoudili – přičemž samozřejmě nesmíme zapomínat, že USA jsou už déle než dvě století národním státem, zatímco EU se považuje přinejlepším za konfederaci 27 států s nadnárodním rámcem.

Věnujme nejprve historický pohled západní části EU. V roce 1960 byly disparity v oblasti známé později jako evropská patnáctka (EU-15) dvakrát větší než mezi státy USA. Dnes jsou s americkými příjmovými disparitami srovnatelné. Disparity v příjmech se snížily na polovinu jak v nominálních hodnotách, vyjádříme-li je v eurech, tak v hodnotách reálných, vezmeme-li v úvahu rozdíly v kupní síle.

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