- 13 August 2012
Since 10 Central and Eastern European countries joined to European Union in 2004, the Dutch trade in the agrarian products with these countries has quadrupled. The value of the export to Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus and Malta was still around 1 billion Euro in 2003. This has increased to 4 billion in 2011. At the same time the Dutch import from these new members grew from 500 million to 2 billion Euro.
The Dutch agri- and horticulture has profited greatly from the EU's extension, says Siemen van Berkum of LEI-Wageningen UR. Holland has mainly been able to export extra dairy, cattle fodder and horticulture products and could import beef, grain and tobacco from the new members.
Many of the new EU members are very agrarian, notes Van Berkum. Mainly the livestock farming has been able to profit from this. Dutch cattle fodder companies have been able to import raw materials while there was more space made available to export the final products such as meat, dairy and eggs.
The LEI researcher also signals a number of negative effects of admitting the Central and Eastern European country. Especially the Dutch mushroom cultivation has been bothered by the added competition with Poland. Due to the lower labour costs in Poland, this labour intensive industry has shrunk in Holland and grown in Poland. The development in the mushroom cultivation is remarkable, as many other horticulture sectors profited from the cheap Eastern European workers they could find. If they had not had access the these workers, there would have been problems from many companies.