One year after its most ambitious enlargement ever, the predicted catastrophes in an EU of twenty-five member states have not materialised.

Decision-making has not ground to a halt, as proved by important agreements on the Constitution, or on the accession terms for Romania and Bulgaria. The EU has financed with ease the new members' participation in EU agriculture and regional development policies. The economies of the new member states have been boosted by EU financial transfers, rising agricultural prices, surging exports, and continued direct foreign investment based on confidence about future growth. Meanwhile, the EU25's average growth rate has risen as the new members' performance has compensated for some disappointing results and a lack of dynamism, particularly in the larger states.

There have been some problems in adaptation - notably the software patents debacle. Some new member states, led by Poland, wanted to go back on the deal they reached in May, only weeks after they joined the Union, because they clearly had not understood what they were signing up to. Trying to unravel a done deal put at risk the credibility of the EU decision-making process.

And there has been some political cost. The reforms in the new member states were not painless - major industrial restructuring has led to unemployment rates of around 18% in Poland, for instance. There have been shifts in the...

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