REAL CONVERGENCE - A PRESUMPTION FOR A FLUENT INTEGRATION INTO THE EUROPEAN UNION
The economies of Central and Eastern Europe are acceding to the EU with economic levels well behind those of current Member States. Combining countries with different economic standards does give rise to certain risks. Where the convergence of the price level is too fast and is not underpinned by labour productivity growth above the level of growth in EU and by the related balancing of wage income, it could pose a threat to the standard of living due to the decline in real wages. If wage pressures are too strong, and force a rise in wages that is incommensurate to labour productivity, the competitiveness of the business sphere would decline, economic growth would slow down, and unemployment would ultimately rise. A key requirement for the smooth progression of integration is a robust economic growth on the basis of labour productivity and its harmonization with wage level and price level developments.
unit labour costs, real convergence, EU enlargement, economic level of candidate countries, catching-up effect
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