In France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus, GDP per inhabitant was within 10% of the EU27 average. Austria, Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Finland, Germany and Belgium were between 10% and 30% above the average, while the highest levels of GDP per inhabitant in the EU27 were recorded in Luxembourg, Ireland and the Netherlands.
Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Malta, Portugal and Slovakia were between 10% and 30% lower than the EU27 average. Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Latvia were between 30% and 50% lower, while Romania and Bulgaria were between 50% and 60% below the EU27 average.
These figures for GDP per inhabitant, expressed in PPS, are published by Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Communities (pdf here).The new Eastern members, Central and Eastern Europe has been steadily catching up with the Western part of the Union, although at a rather slowish pace. The current depression has seroiusly hit some old and new member states, and less severely other ones, so the picture will be more varied at the end of this year.
The figuers hardly show the impact of the current economic crisis, which showed that countries that have recently changed the structure or their economies, such as Ireland, Spain, or Central Europe are rather volatile.
With respect to enlargement, I think the next possible candidates, Iceland and Croatia are fitting well into the club. After the crisis, Iceland will not be so rich to afford the luxury of an opt-out, unlike Norway and Switzerland. In the Western Balkans, Croatia would enter at the level of Hungary, and higher than current members Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, Romania. I think that both econonimcally and politically they fit into the Union, and the two accession would help to keep the East-West and North-South balance within the Union.Author : Dániel Antal