Transition Countries on the Eve of EU Enlargement
wiiw Research Report No. 303, February 2004
92 pages including 30 Tables and 6 Figures
|Download||€||65||add to cart|
|Hardcopy||€||70||add to cart|
|1||Bulgaria: accelerated restructuring is revitalizing the economy||Anton Mihailov||details and buy|
|2||Croatia: sky-rocketing foreign debt||Hermine Vidovic||details and buy|
|3||Czech Republic: international competitiveness strengthening||Josef Pöschl||details and buy|
|4||Hungary: in need of credibility||Sandor Richter||details and buy|
|5||Macedonia: EU perspective sought||Vladimir Gligorov||details and buy|
|6||Poland: the power of a weak currency||Leon Podkaminer||details and buy|
|7||Romania: growth and disinflation continue||Gabor Hunya||details and buy|
|8||Russian Federation: high GDP growth and rising investment||Peter Havlik||details and buy|
|9||Serbia and Montenegro: new year, new crisis||Vladimir Gligorov||details and buy|
|10||Slovakia: comprehensive reforms and export-led growth||Zdenek Lukas||details and buy|
|11||Slovenia: net FDI exporter||Hermine Vidovic||details and buy|
|12||Ukraine: parliamentary crisis against the background of strong economic performance||Vasily Astrov||details and buy|
The transition countries approach EU enlargement with GDP growth outperforming the 'old' EU. In 2003, Poland's economy resumed quite strong growth after two years of stagnation. Growth accelerated also in the Czech Republic, while it experienced some moderate slowdown in Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia. A definite growth slowdown was only recorded in Serbia and Montenegro. Russia and Ukraine performed very well, registering significant and balanced growth.
The prolonged near-stagnation in the EU has had limited impacts on GDP growth in the transition (and even the accession) countries. The levels of synchronization of their business cycles with that of the EU are not yet very high. Continuing structural and institutional adaptations, as well as ongoing gains in labour productivity remain important for maintaining export competitiveness. In 2003 the task of enhancing competitiveness benefited from the strengthening of the euro vs. the US dollar, which happened to coincide with the real depreciation of some accession countries' currencies vs. the euro. Apart from the beneficial cost developments, which are vital for the competitiveness of price-elastic (and essentially low value-added) products, the much more essential structural changes in the composition of exports have certainly continued. For Russia, external conditions were favourable in 2003: steep rises in the world-market commodity prices translated into a substantial growth acceleration, which spilled over into Ukraine.
Growth in the five CEE acceding countries will speed up in 2004, but this is not related to accession itself. The impacts of the latter, both positive and negative, are likely to surface only in 2005. The combined effects of those impacts cannot yet be reliably quantified. Russia's and Ukraine's GDP growth is likely to slow down, though remaining quite high. Moderate and fairly stable growth is also expected in other transition countries not yet acceding to the EU. However, those countries will also be running very high current account deficits. This is rather unlikely to have significantly negative effects on growth in 2004. Such effects may appear later on (possibly already in 2005).
Keywords: Central and East European transition countries, EU enlargement, industry, productivity, foreign trade, exchange rates, inflation, fiscal deficits, trade, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro, Ukraine
JEL classification: O52, O57, P24, P27, P33, P52
Research Areas: Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy