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EU accession 2004: the economic lowdown for CEECs

An in-depth economic look at central and eastern European countries which joined the EU in 2004 is revealing the impact on their economies.

Climate Change and Environment

The European Union has been growing into a formidable region economically, socially, politically and culturally. Each new Member State brings with it a wealth of knowledge, competitive advantages and a specific culture that enrich the whole. Yet it is important to examine the economic consequences of EU accession on new Member States. One way of doing this has been through the project entitled 'Impact of international trade on labour market performance in selected counties of Central Europe: does EU accession matter?' (Trade-labour-cecs). This EU-funded initiative has examined EU accession of central and eastern European countries (CEECs) joining in 2004, particularly the impact of international trade on employment within these countries. The project embarked on a thorough analysis of foreign trade developments, consultations with experts, and a detailed review of the latest literature concerning impact of trade on wages and employment. It also served as an important workshop for PhD students at the project's host institution, the University of Nottingham in the UK. The project was overseen by the university's Globalisation and Economic Policy Centre. The project team participated in key seminars, workshops and conferences that would yield a better understanding of the project's mandate. They prepared a working paper on the impact of international trade on labour market performance in selected countries of central Europe, and gathered the latest information on trade and labour market performance in Poland and other countries in the region. Cutting-edge developments and literature in international trade, as well as theoretical and empirical literature were studied, involving research in fields such as econometrics, microeconometrics and forecasting. The team delivered two working papers on the transition from education to labour market, and have an upcoming book on the subject as well. The research results will add to the knowledge of the processes related to the economic integration into the EU by shedding more light on the employment consequences of 2004 EU enlargement. This is relevant for academics and policymakers at national and European level, as well as social partners' organisations. The results are particularly interesting in the context of further EU enlargements and concerns as they will reveal the benefits of EU accession more accurately.

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