Eastern Europeans dissatisfied with their economy

The majority of Bulgarians, Poles and Lithuanians consider their country’s economy to be in bad shape, according to an opinion poll conducted by the Central European Opinion Research Group (CEORG).

According to the poll, conducted by CEORG in July 2002, 76.6 per cent of Bulgarians, 76.1 per cent of Poles and 61.7 per cent of Lithuanians stated their belief that their country’s economy is in bad shape. 56.2 per cent of Hungarians and a relative majority of Russians (44.1 per cent) think that the current economic situation in their country is neither good nor bad.

Of the surveyed countries, only in Russia at least 10 per cent of respondents think the economic situation in their country is very good or good.

37.3 per cent of Hungarians believe that the situation will get better or will stagnate. 54.9 per cent of Lithuanians, 47.8 per cent of Russians and 47.4 per cent of Poles believe that the situation will stay the same in the coming year, while only in Bulgaria a relative majority (43.9 per cent) thinks the situation will get even worse.

The CEORG poll also evaluated the work of the governments of the five Central and Eastern European countries. In Bulgaria, nearly 80 per cent of the respondents think that the effects of Government’s activities are rather or very poor. “When the current Prime Minister came to power, Bulgarians cheered his promises that in the very near future people would witness a notable improvement in their material well-being. The realisation of these promises, however, has not yet come true. Instead, what people see is laying off of teachers and military staff, and rising electricity prices”, explains Petar Jivkov, Research Director of Bulgarian institute MBMD.

Negative evaluation also prevails in Poland and Russia, while in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Lithuania relative majorities of respondents evaluate the work of their governments positively.

Since CEORG’s poll in January, Hungary has registered a significant drop of some 18 per cent of those who are not satisfied with the work of their Government. “These changes could be attributed to the results of the parliamentary elections that were held in May, when the former opposition came to the power,” says Andras Gabos of the Hungarian institute TARKI.

In Poland, the dissatisfaction with the work of Government has dramatically grown over the last six months (by more than 24 per cent). Dr Kryzstof Zagorski, Director of the Polish institutes CBOS, has an explanation: “The current Polish Government, formed by a left-farmer coalition in November 2001, has by now exhausted the credit usually given to newly formed governments. Since the economic situation of the country did not improve as quickly as expected by the public, the Government’s evaluation dropped to the level the previous Government had just before its electoral defeat.”

 

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