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Abstract

Competitiveness is a crucial issue in the EU agri-food market. In the last fifteen years, two significant events have affected the competitive performance of agriculture and the food industry in different EU countries, namely the EU accession of Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) and the global economic crisis of 2008. This paper evaluates the EU countries’ competitive performance at a sector level in the intra-EU market from 1995 to 2011 by comparing the food industry and agriculture; and assessing the effects of the EU expansion and economic crisis on country competitiveness. EMS and RCA indices were used to measure the competitive performance over time. Results showed that although agriculture and the food industry in the EU are interconnected, they often reveal divergent trends in competitive performance. Germany and the Netherlands have profited the most from the opportunities resulting from the enlargement. On the contrary, France has lost competitiveness. A similar trend was found in Belgium. Italy shows a substantial competitive stasis, similar to Spain.

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