In May 2004, the European Union (EU) experienced the largest expansion in its history when it accepted ten new member states, among them eight Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Two other CEE countries, Bulgaria and Romania, joined the enlarged EU in January 2007. In modern societies, education systems, labour markets, and the welfare state constitute core factors of the international competitive position of a society and of the living conditions of the population. These institutions also constitute the backbone of social stratification within a society. Accession to the EU thus raises a question about the implications of the new social order. This chapter briefly describes education, labour markets, and the welfare states in CEE countries and selected countries' institutional structures.
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