Hannes Hofbauer: Osterweiterung (EU Enlargement)

Vom Drang nach Osten zur peripheren EU-Integration (From the ,,push to the East"to peripheral EU integration) Wien 2003, Promedia Verlag ISBN 3-85371-198-7 17,90 Euro

The ,,productivity of the big Western European companies which are looking for investments"- that is, as the historian Hannes Hofbauer writes in his new book on ,,EU Enlargement", the ,,driving power for the enlargement of the EU towards the East". Big outlet markets loom there, where cheap labour makes huge profits possible. The integration of Eastern Europe into the EU submits the accession states to the calculations of expanding companies - among them a large number of German enterprises.

Large parts of Eastern European industry are already owned by the West, as well three quarters of Eastern European banks. Many farmers in the accession states will have to leave the land after the EU enlargement. Often single companies owned by foreign enterprises are accountable for an important part of foreign trade of Eastern European states: The Skoda factories which were bought by VW provide 10% of total Czech export, the VW-factory in Bratislava provides nearly one quarter of Slovak foreign trade.

The economic sellout of Eastern Europe, secured with EU enlargement, is accompanied by a devastating social development. Only between 1989 and 1993 the death rate rose by 5% in Hungary and by 10% in Romania. During the same period the calorie consumption per capita declined by 5% in Poland and by 18% in Bulgaria. The Czech Republic lost 18% of its hospital beds, Bulgaria lost 37%. There is an average unemployment of 15% in the accession countries.

The book also provides a short description of different attempts to unite Europe - from Napoleon to the EU, including the German attempts to expand since 1871. ,,A break after 1945", Hofbauer says, ,,didn't take place neither as regards the persons nor as regards the content". Since 1989/1991 German-European entrepreneurs are moving forward again towards the East.