VIENNA - Europe needs more structural economic reform if EU enlargement is to succeed, Horst Koehler, the head of the IMF said Nov. 3 at the opening of an annual East-West conference on economic transition within Central European countries.
"Benefits systems in Europe are too generous and taxes too high to expect vibrant, employment-rich growth over the medium term," he said. Europe should not be complacent about its future despite encouraging signs, Koehler added.
However, Koehler said he thought that EU enlargement would also bring "significant benefits" to everyone. "I am confident that enlargement will bring significant benefits for old and new members alike, not least through the expansion of the internal market," he said.
"Moreover, for the accession countries closer political and economic integration within Europe offers new sources of capital and technology," he added. "And for the existing EU, the new members will bring fresh perspectives and provide welcome impetus to competition," he added.