Le défi de l'élargissement de l'UE

Depuis plus de 50 ans, les Européens aspirent ŕ une coopération économique et ŕ des liens politiques plus étroits entre eux. Il y a quelques mois, l'arrivée de dix nouveaux pays au sein de l'Union européenne a ouvert le dernier et sans doute le plus spectaculaire chapitre de ce processus. L'élargissement du second plus grand marché mondial est l'occasion historique d'un renouveau économique.

L'élargissement est porteur de défis. Dans une période de faible croissance, de chômage apparemment incompressible et d'une situation budgétaire difficile dans plusieurs pays, il est compréhensible que les membres les plus anciens de l'UE voient davantage les problčmes potentiels liés ŕ l'élargissement que les opportunités qu'il offre. Ces problčmes sont bien réels, mais leur solution réside dans les perspectives ouvertes par l'élargissement de l'UE : le développement du commerce et des services, l'intégration des marchés, une meilleure répartition du capital et probablement plus de discipline dans les politiques économiques.

Les avantages en ce qui concerne le commerce et les investissements - plus de 450 millions de personnes réparties dans 225 pays différents - sont évidents. L'intégration des économies ŕ croissance rapide mais ŕ rendement modéré des pays d'Europe centrale et d'Europe de l'Est va permettre d'avoir un marché unique plus étendu et plus diversifié, une force de travail qualifiée et d'accroître le pouvoir d'achat.

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