Commission forecasts robust growth in the ten Central and Eastern European candidate countries in 2001 and 2002
The average growth in the ten candidates was 4 percent in 2000. The Commission forecast 4 percent growth in 2001, and 4.3 percent in 2002. Growth is expected to remain moderate in Romania (1.8 percent in 2001). The highest growth rates are expected in Estonia (5.9 percent), Latvia (5.5 percent) and Bulgaria (5.2 percent).
Economic developments in almost all candidate countries in 2000 were better than the Commission anticipated in its optimistic Autumn 2000 forecast. Only Poland has experienced a decline in domestic demand growth, and its GDP growth has been revised downwards by almost a full percentage point to 4.2 percent.
High unemployment will remain a major issue in most of the candidate countries. This is one of the reasons why the EU insists on job curbs for Central and Eastern European workers in the first 5-7 years after enlargement. The average unemployment rate for the ten in 2001 is predicted at 12.4 percent, and 12.2 percent in 2002. Unemployment will be worst in Slovakia (18.4 percent), Bulgaria (17.5 percent), Poland (16.5 percent) and Estonia (13.7 percent). Best off will be Hungary (6.2 percent) and Slovenia (7 percent).