For Subscribers

New World Order

The European Union will soon be a bigger cash cow.

By Joshua Kurlantzick

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In recent months, most American companies have focused on China,now the world's biggest recipient of foreign investment. Thoselooking elsewhere have considered Southeast Asia and Iraq, whereU.S. firms will be rebuilding the country. But these entrepreneursare overlooking a potentially better market: the 10 nations ofcentral and eastern Europe that will join the European Union (EU)in May.

The new EU 10-Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia,Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia andSlovenia-doesn't provide manual labor as cheaply asChina, but they do have more educated work forces that are lessexpensive than in western Europe or the United States; wages inmost industries are more than 25 percent less than they would be ina western European country. "There is an extremely high [levelof skilled] labor," says Lindsay Lloyd, regional programdirector for Europe at the International Republican Institute, athink tank in Washington, DC. Joel Ranck, a PR entrepreneur who hasworked extensively in eastern Europe, says the Czech Republic'slabor force has become so skilled in English that it now competeswith Ireland for call-center jobs. What's more, once the EU 10officially become member states, companies will be able to movegoods across their borders and into older EU member states withessentially no customs controls or charges. (The countries will notstart using the euro common currency in 2004, however.) Most of the10 EU nations have also posted strong economic growth ratesrecently, signs they are solid long-term bets.

Continue reading this article — and all of our other premium content with Entrepreneur+

For just $5, you can get unlimited access to all Entrepreneur’s premium content. You’ll find:

  • Digestible insight on how to be a better entrepreneur and leader
  • Lessons for starting and growing a business from our expert network of CEOs and founders
  • Meaningful content to help you make sharper decisions
  • Business and life hacks to help you stay ahead of the curve

Related Topics

Business News

Police: 82-Year-Old Woman Found Alive at New York Funeral Home After Being Pronounced Dead

The woman was found breathing almost three hours after she was pronounced dead.

Business News

Disney Will Layoff 7,000 Employees to Save $5 Billion in Costs. "I Do Not Make This Decision Lightly," CEO Bob Iger Says.

The announcement, part of a massive corporate restructuring effort at the company, caused shares to surge.

Business News

An NFL Rookie Scores a $514,000 Jackpot in Las Vegas

Los Angeles Rams running back Ronnie Rivers sat down to play 3-card poker and left a half million dollars richer.

Innovation

The Greasy, Glamorous Rise of Mascara

You won't believe the grimy gunk people used to smear on their eyelashes -- and still do.

Business Ideas

How to Make Thousands of Dollars on the Side As a Virtual Assistant

Apply your skills and experience to create a lucrative virtual assistant side hustle or full-time business.

Living

Invest in Yourself: 10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

When striving for success, it is easy to forget about your mental and physical health. But without health, you cannot fully succeed. Follow these ten lifestyle strategies for success in your personal and professional life.