The European Union is faced with the most extensive enlargement in its history. Economic integration has made rapid progress over the past decade. After establishing its single market in 1993, the EU achieved the highest feasible level of economic integration by introducing its single currency (the euro) within the scope of economic and monetary union (EMU) in 1999. Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the EU in 1995. Whereas both Finland and Austria are members of the single market and EMU, Sweden has so far held back in introducing the euro. Generally seen, the three countries have experienced different courses in their economic development. Since 1995, real GDP has grown faster in Finland and Sweden than in Austria. Finland and Sweden profited from a strong catching-up process following a major recession in the early 1990s. On the other hand, Austria could boost its per capita GDP at a greater rate than the two other countries. Measured as per capita GDP at purchasing power parities, Austria is the fourth-richest country among the EU-15, following Luxembourg, Denmark and Ireland, with Finland ranking seventh and Sweden twelfth. At over 9 percent, unemployment in Finland is still double that of Austria and Sweden, in spite of its high growth rate in recent years. In all the three countries, inflation has approached the EU average of about 2 percent. Economic structures differ greatly between the three countries: whereas Austria is still dominated by medium- and small-scale enterprises, both Sweden and Finland can boast of multinationals of global standing. Interestingly enough, neither of the three countries has experienced the trade-generating effects expected from EU membership. Both exports into and imports from the EU have actually declined when measured against figures previous to 1995. What did rise was trade with Central and Eastern European countries.
Integrationseffekte; Modellsimulation; 10 Jahre Binnenmarkt; EU-Integration; Österreich; Finnland; Schweden
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