Summary: The paper looks at the EUu0092s infrastructure after the latest enlargement round. It states that the new EU members have to narrow the distance to the u0091oldu0092 members in order to improve the competitiveness of their companies and the living conditions of the populace. At the same time, the persistent weakness of economic growth in the large, established countries of Western Europe has substantially increased the need for the old EU members to act u0096 and not only because the traffic between East and West is expanding. Without the creation of good basic infrastructure in the new member countries in sectors such as electricity, gas, water, telecommunications, postal service, local public transport and waste disposal, the vision of a modern Europe with favourable living conditions in all regions will remain a pipe dream. The transition indicator system of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development shows that among the Central and Eastern European countries u0096 ranked by their average rating for all the infrastructure sectors covered u0096 only Hungary has already attained the Western European level. Slovakia brings up the rear. Since the end of the 1990s, not only Hungary but also the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia have narrowed the gap to the old EU. By contrast, Estonia, Poland and Slovakia have lost ground. Noticeable differences are visible in the five sectors of infrastructure analysed. For instance, in telecommunications, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Poland have already nearly reached the EU level. By contrast, none of the new member states has a road network to match those in Western Europe. If the Central European countries are to attain the same standard of infrastructure as the old EU they will have to invest a total of about 500 billion euro. The sectors requiring the most investment are water/waste water management and electric power. The Central European countries could upgrade their road and railway networks to match the old EU average with relatively little in
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