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Five years since EU expansion a reason to celebrate - despite global crisis

EU and Austrian flags © ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA

© ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA

7. May 2009

1st May 2009 marked the fifth anniversary of the major EU expansion. Austria's companies have benefited dramatically from the accession of the new central and eastern European member states.

It was a truly historic day when the European Union welcomed ten new member states, mostly from the CEE region five years ago, on May 1st 2004. At a single stroke, the Union grew from 15 to 25 states and the population rose from 370 million to 455 million EU Europeans.

The five years which have passed since the EU expansion have been five good years for Europe and for the Austrian economy in particular. Austria and its companies have benefited more strongly than any of the other “old” EU members from the catch-up process of the new members. Austrian exports really “exploded” as Austrian companies understood the importance of further developing and intensifying their excellent, long-standing relationships with partner companies in central and eastern Europe after EU expansion. This is one reason why Austria is among the top investors in every new EU member state. The investment volume of Austrian companies in the new EU countries amounted to EUR 40 billion at the end of 2008.

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