Update: Coronavirus response measures in Eastern Europe

09 April 2020

Those that can are ramping up fiscal responses, while some are even starting to loosen restrictions on economic life.

By wiiw Economists

Following on from our weekly update (see here), today we release an updated overview of the main fiscal, monetary and public order measures in Central, East and Southeast Europe (CESEE) to deal with the spread of the Coronavirus. The main table including measures for 23 CESEE countries can be downloaded here. Our first overview of key measures was released on March 27th (see main article here and table of measures here).

Since our initial update several key developments have occurred:

  • Some countries (notably including Russia) have introduced more stringent social distancing measures.
  • By contrast, the Czech Republic (like Austria and Denmark) has started to move in the other direction, announcing some relaxation of its (until now fairly stringent) social distancing rules.
  • Quite a few countries in the region have announced or started to implement more sizeable fiscal responses. The biggest planned response is in Hungary (18-20% of GDP) although our country expert is dubious about whether this is achievable (see separate article here. Serbia and Slovakia are among other countries that have announced more significant fiscal measures as a share of GDP since our last update.
  • Apart from Hungary, the biggest fiscal plans as a share of GDP are now in Croatia, Serbia, the Baltic states and Kazakhstan.

Based on this, we have updated the broad groups of responses that we published on March 27th:

  • Big fiscal measures, big social distancing: Croatia, Serbia, Hungary (albeit the latter with a great deal of uncertainty).
  • Big fiscal measures, more limited social distancing: the Baltic states and Kazakhstan.
  • Medium fiscal measures, big social distancing: Czech Republic (although will soon start to relax gradually), Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia.
  • Small fiscal measures, big social distancing: most of the Western Balkans, but also (to varying degrees) Turkey, Russia and Ukraine.
  • Mostly business as usual: Belarus.