The lessons of Poland's accession in 2004 for the Ukrainian case
The current debate gives an impression of déjà vu compared to Cassandra's predictions that accompanied the enlargement of the European Union to Spain in 1986 or to Poland in 2004. In 1986, French agriculture was to be buried under Spanish strawberries and in 2004 the fabric of French SMEs kneeled by the Polish plumber.
However, this invasion of Polish plumbers (unfortunately) did not take place. On the contrary, the accession of Poland and the other Central and Eastern European states resulted, for example, in an increase of 0.5 in annual GDP for the Western states of the European Union, accompanied by an increase in the ratio of Polish GDP per capita to the average GDP per capita in Europe, in purchasing power parity, from 51 % in 2004 to 79 % in 2022. The regional policy funds disbursed to Poland not only made it possible to fill a large European cohesion deficit but also greatly benefited Western European companies with a "just return" for instance for construction or machinery companies estimated to be more than 50 cents per EUR 1 paid out. German companies, for example, have a higher turnover in Central Europe than they have in the United States and Canada.
Referring to the record of the enlargement of the European Union to Poland is also an interesting parameter in that Ukraine is in a similar situation to Poland in 2004, namely that if Ukraine joined the EU today it would increase its GDP by around 1 % and its population by 9 %.
But let's take a closer look at concerns about the risk of social dumping.