Magazine article Europe-East

Economic Outlook : Report: Ten New Member States Catching Up Fast with Eu-15

Magazine article Europe-East

Economic Outlook : Report: Ten New Member States Catching Up Fast with Eu-15

Article excerpt

The accession of the ten new members to the European Union in May 2004 was perceived as a great challenge for the EU, especially in economic terms. Analyses on the results of enlargement have focused mainly on the enormous needs of these countries in all sectors of the economy and society. There were doubts that real convergence of the new EU members would be achieved quickly.

But the pace of the catching-up process in the new member states (NMS) has been quite astounding, says the latest report by Bank Austria Creditanstalt (BA-CA). "The reality of the situation has refuted all those who, during the accession negotiations, maintained that that real convergence would be insufficient", BA-CA said.

The report presents an in-depth analysis of the economic developments which have taken place over last two years in the NMS.

Over the last two years the level of prosperity in the NMS has risen twice as fast as in the EU-15. This was possible mainly due to a high level of GDP growth, reaching 4% per annum. The highest rate was achieved by Latvia (8.3% in 2004 and 10% in 2005). By contrast, the lowest GDP increase p.a. was registered in Slovenia in 2004 (4.2 % of GDP) and in Poland in 2005 (3.2% of GDP). The report predicts that the GDP growth p.a. in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia will account for 4.4% whereas in the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) it will amount to 7.1%.

The new member states succeeded also in boosting their market share of EU imports by three percentage points from 6. …

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