The enlargement of the European Union: Effects on trade and emissions of greenhouse gases

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With the gradual accession of various Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) to the European Union (EU), international trade between the EU and the CEECs will change as a result of trade liberalisation and the mobility of production factors within the EU. The EU and most of the CEECs have already committed themselves to reduce by 2008¿2012 their emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 8% compared to the 1990 level. This paper reports on an investigation of the potential consequences of the enlargement of the EU and of the emission reduction target set by the Kyoto Protocol on the sectoral production patterns and international trade. A comparative-static general equilibrium model was developed to examine the impacts under different scenarios. For illustrative purposes, two regions (the EU and the CEECs) and three categories of goods and services (agricultural goods, industrial goods, and services) were included. The model was calibrated by the 1998 data. The model was subsequently applied to study the effects of free trade, the mobility of factors and the environmental constraints on production and international trade in light of the enlargement of the EU. We show that in this specific context, free trade is beneficial to economic welfare and does not necessarily increase emissions of greenhouse gases. The mobility of factors also increases economic welfare, but in the case of fixed production technology it may harm the environment through more emissions of GHGs
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalEcological Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • international-trade
  • environmental-policy
  • factor rewards
  • pollution
  • competitiveness
  • hypothesis


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