Europa rica, Europa pobre

Desde sus inicios, la Unión Europea ha buscado un desarrollo económico equilibrado en sus múltiples regiones. El Tratado de Maastricht contiene la formidable frase “desarrollo armonioso del conjunto de la Comunidad”. Pero, por admirables que sean estos sentimientos, no hay una “verdad científica” sobre el nivel “adecuado” de disparidad y la velocidad correcta para la convergencia.

Sin embargo, es útil comparar las disparidades económicas de la UE con las de Estados Unidos para evaluar la convergencia regional en Europa –teniendo en cuenta, por supuesto, que los Estados Unidos han sido un Estado nación durante más de dos siglos, mientras que la mejor descripción de la UE es una confederación de 27 Estados bajo una estructura supranacional.

Echemos primero una ojeada histórica a la porción occidental de la UE. En 1960, las disparidades en lo que después se conoció como la UE de los15 eran aproximadamente dos veces mayores que las que había entre los estados de los EU. Hoy en día son comparables con las disparidades en los ingresos estadounidenses. Las disparidades se han reducido a la mitad tanto en términos nominales cuando se expresan en euros, como en términos reales cuando se toman en cuenta las diferencias en el poder adquisitivo.

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