Bumps in the road to EU expansion
Peter Widmer, Eugene F. Megyesy Jr., Gregory J. Fasing
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
Institute for International Business and
Global Executive Forum
Center for International Business Education & Research
In 2004, the European Union will grow from 15 member states to 25 with the addition of ten new
members: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Malta and
"These were all countries behind the Iron Curtain, by and large, when we were growing up," said Don
Stevens in his introductory remarks. "They've all made a choice to go in the direction of Western
institutions. Free trade, open economies and reformed political systems are all part of their future as they
struggle to leave the past behind."
Discussing these issues were panelists Peter Widmer, a financial advisor based in Switzerland; Eugene
Megyesy, Jr., Honorary Consul General, Republic of Hungary; and Gregory Fasing, Honorary Consul of
the Slovak Republic for Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.
Peter Widmer: Potential for growth
Peter Widmer was Chairman of Julius Baer Investment Management Inc. and Member of the Executive
Board of Julius Baer Holding Ltd., the holding company of the Julius Baer Group, a financial services
institution operating worldwide. Based in Zurich, Widmer retired in 1999 and now acts as advisor to a
small number of wealthy European families.
The group of ten new countries slated to become members of the European Union in 2004 is "the only
growth area that Europe has," said Peter Widmer.
At this time, the ten candidates account for less than 10 percent of the GDP of the enlarged European
Union. But this is likely to change. "Some people say Central Europe is going to be a building site for the
next 20-30 years. There are so many projects going on and so many infrastructure needs such as roads,
railways, water and waste management systems."
"Slow" is how Widmer describes Europ