Notat

Eastern European expansion has earned Denmark billions in exports

Danmark eksporterer for milliarder til østlandene

Summary It has been 10 years since the European Union expanded into Eastern Europe and there is now a great deal of focus on what Eastern Europeans are getting out of being part of the EU. But while the debate on how much EU citizens from Eastern Europe receive from the Danish welfare system can be measured in the millions, the value of Danish exports to these countries can be counted in the billions. Over the last 10 years, Denmark has in fact exported goods to the value of 222 billion DKK to 10 Eastern European countries which are now celebrating their 10th anniversary in the EU.
 
It is worth noting that Danish exports to Eastern European countries have increased markedly since these countries’ accession to the EU. An analysis conducted by Think Tank EUROPA based on figures from Statistics Denmark shows that annual exports have increased by 8.8 billion DKK over the last 10 years, if inflation is taken into account. This equates to an increase of almost 60 percent of the total exports to the 10 Eastern European countries.
 
And this is presumably only the beginning. Denmark exports a large proportion of advanced products, and it is these type of products that have the potential to increase Danish exports overall as living standards in the countries importing the goods improve.
 
There is therefore no doubt that the Eastern European expansion has led to many more Danish jobs and will continue to do so in the future. Think Tank EUROPA estimates that it has created up to 20,000 new jobs so far. In this light, Denmark is making a very small investment when it allocates social services to EU citizens from Eastern Europe who are connected to the Danish labour market. As living standards in these citizens’ countries improve, exports to these countries will increase and at the same time the demand for social services will decline.

Main conclusion
  • Over the last 10 years Denmark has collected 222 billion DKK in exports to countries that have joined the EU as part of the Eastern European expansion. This expansion has therefore benefited the Danish economy.
  • Measured in fixed prices, Denmark’s annual export of goods to these countries has increased by 8.8 billion DKK. This equates to a 60 percent rise.
  • The winners, to a great extent, are Danish companies operating within the fields of industrial equipment, the pharmaceutical industry and, in particular, the food industry. The Danish consumer has also won with goods such as new cars falling in price.
  • The Eastern European expansion has therefore been a success for Danish companies and workers. Think Tank EUROPA projects that if the developments we have seen over the last 10 years continue until 2020, the value of Denmark’s exports will grow by at least 11.6 billion DKK more per year.
  • Danes also love to buy cheaper products in Eastern European countries and imports from Eastern European countries have increased by 16.6 billion DKK – a rise of 90 percent. 
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