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2004’s Growth Set to Outstrip Older EU Nations

Only this country and the Baltic Republics have retained the resolution of the Lisbon treaty to keep apace with U.S. growth.

In 2004, according to the European Commission, the country's economy will grow by 4.2%, whereas 'the old fifteen' states can expect at most growth of 1.7%. Since 1992, this country has been developing at a rate between two to three times faster than those countries of the present EU, apart from a short period between 2001 and 2002 when growth levels were equal.

Furthermore, exports from this country are expected to increase by 11.2-12.2% this year, greatly surpassing anything likely to be achieved by the other 24 countries of the enlarged union.

This will all happen as a result of this country's cheaper work force and increasing levels of productivity.

Voices claiming that the newly accessing countries will prove to be the main engines of growth in the new EU are becoming more widespread, with Jorge Sampaio, the president of Portugal, stating, "We can only become free from economic torpor by using the potential that the united Europe gives us."

(WBJ 30.iv.04)

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