It’s hard to believe two and a half years after a global financial crisis that economies around the world can recover to pre-crisis levels. However, that is exactly where the economies of Central European countries find themselves. Countries in Central Europe have shown remarkable resilience to recover at a rather quick pace. Estonia and Slovakia are swiftly moving ahead with estimated growth rates of nearly 4 percent this year. But perhaps the most important piece in Central Europe’s recovery lies in the country of Poland.
The World Bank titled Poland as one of the best performers in Central Europe over the past years. The main reasons for Poland’s success are solid consumption, deep integration with European Union markets, and the efficient use of European Union funds. Like Estonia and Slovakia, Poland also has an estimated economic growth rate of 4 percent this year. The Polish economy has been sustained by a large domestic demand and healthy credit markets. Additionally, the private sector of Poland also played a crucial role in the successful recovery process. The Center for Social and Economic Research in Warsaw estimated that the private sector contributes to 76 percent of gross domestic product and employs 74 percent of the labor force in Poland. There are now 3.7 million registered private companies in Poland providing jobs for a recovering economy.
Poland is not the only reason for Central Europe’s success in economic recovery. As a region Central Europe is forecasted to achieve average growth of 3 percent this year. Imports and exports of Central European countries returning to pre-crisis levels have accounted for some of this estimated growth. Imports to Central Europe rose 22.7 percent last year while exports rose by 23.1 percent. Developing links with Western European countries and the United States has been key for recovery. These relationships give west European companies access to a pool of relatively cheap and educated labor, while granting Central European companies access to new technology, expertise, and markets.
Despite much success in economic recovery, Central Europe has many problems yet to solve including high unemployment and downturns of housing markets. However, if Central European countries continue to recover at a steady pace, there is no doubt these problems can be solved.