10 Years of EU Expansion – Despite Disillusion and Nationalism, a Strong Conviction for Europe, Particularly among Young People, Prevails

May 1st, 2004 was a great joyful date in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the three Baltic countries. The acceptance of the young democracies into the European Union initially evidenced in those eight countries a strong economic growth that had positive repercussions on politics and society. The global crisis and the subsequent Euro crisis were factors that came mostly to ruin it all. The resulting reductions of social benefits, joined by a severe austerity policy implemented by the governments led broad population groups not only to impoverishment, but also disillusion regarding the personal and economic freedom achieved by the adherence to the EU.

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