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A 'Coming Home' or Poisoned Chalice? A 'Coming Home' or Poisoned Chalice?
by Helen Szamuely & Bill Jamieson. £8.50
Paperback, 100pp
A scathing analysis that debunks many of the myths of enlargement and urges the case for a radical re-casting of the EU.
Reviewer Ian Milne

[eurofacts (Vol 3 No 15) – 22nd May 1998]

Enlargement of the EU to the east may or may not have begun. To be sure, an "enlargement process" has started, but, like all the interminable "peace processes" going on round the world, its destiny may be to just go on, and on, and on...

Having worked in Eastern Europe following the alleged collapse of Communism for two of the West's mega-bureaucracies, the EU (on its PHARE programme) and the World Bank, I saw at first hand the ham-fisted and counter-productive attempts to impose Western models on highly-complex, highly-educated societies which, economically and morally, had been ruined by Communism. This excellent short book is a timely and well-argued warning that the EU's enlargement process is playing with fire. Helen Szamuely and Bill Jamieson get straight to the point. The EU, they say - and prove - is not the model to be copied by the eastern European states, (nor Britain, come to that). The authors demonstrate that the attempt to incorporate those countries will damage them, and at the same time precipitate the slow-burning EU crisis which is sapping the energies of the existing member states.

This is a short book packed full of tables, quotations and maps, as well as succinct, up-to-date profiles of the candidate countries. One quote crystallizes the impossibility of CAP reform, without which talk of enlargement is more or less fantasy:-

"...the German representative...will make a very very strong pitch, saying 'yes, we are for enlargement, but no Polish potatoes, not one'." The author of those words is the State Secretary of the German Foreign Office, giving evidence to a House of Lords Select Committee last Autumn.

No better combination could have been found than Helen Szamuely and Bill Jamieson, she with her intimate knowledge of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, he with his long experience of economic analysis. The Centre for Research into Post-Communist Economies deserves thanks for bringing them together.

the june press