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EU-LDC Themes - EU Enlargement 


In the coming years countries from Central and Eastern Europe will join the European Union. This enlargement of the EU will affect developing countries in a number of ways.

On the one hand, developing countries can benefit from EU enlargement. A larger internal market for the EU will increase efficiency and living standards. This positive income effect will increase the demand for goods and services, both within and outside the EU. In addition, transaction costs for exports from developing countries will be reduced because the EU has harmonised rules and regulations that now cover a larger area, which raises efficiency.

On the other hand, EU enlargement can affect developing countries negatively in five areas:

  1. Attention: the EU may divert attention from non-EU members (attention diversion);

  2. Trade: imports from LDCs may be replaced with more expensive imports from the new member states (trade diversion);

  3. Investment: Investment flows may now go to low labour cost areas within the EU instead of to LDCs (investment diversion);

  4. Aid: the costs of integrating new member states may decrease aid flows to LDCs (aid diversion);

  5. Migration: migration opportunities for people from LDCs to the EU may decrease.

While the effects of EU enlargement can be identified, their relative importance is not known. This section will provide more information on the effects described above.

In addition, EU structures will have to change to facilitate enlargement. This section provides information on how these changes could affect market access for developing countries. Special attention is given to the effects of reforming the EUís Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on developing countries.


This section is organised as follows:

  • Research: academic papers, research literature, analysis and comment on EU enlargement, the consequences for CAP and the effects on developing countries.

  • Policy: position papers, analysis and comment on EU enlargement, reform plans for CAP and the impact on developing countries.

  • News: recent developments in research, policy and projects relating to EU enlargement, CAP and developing countries.

  • Regions: recent regional developments in research, policy and projects relating to EU enlargement, CAP and developing countries.


As a recently launched site, we still have some way to go towards providing a comprehensive information resource. You can help by submitting your own contributions (academic papers, position papers, analysis or comments etc.). To do this, go to Contact us.



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