Robust growth forecast for candidate countries

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).

 

The European Commission predicted robust growth in the ten Central and Eastern European candidate countries in its Spring Economic forecasts for the Candidate Countries for 2001-2002, published on 25 April 2001. All ten candidates recorded positive growth in 2000 for the first time since the start of transition in 1989. The outlook is uncertain for Turkey due to the recent financial crises in November 2000 and February 2001.

 

This is the second time the Commission has published economic forecasts for the candidate countries. The objective of this process is to fully integrate the candidates in the forecasting exercise for the Member States by the time of accession and in the run-up to their participation in the euro area.

 

The next economic forecast are due in the autumn of 2001.

 

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