CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE REGIONAL OVERVIEW



Why CEE? Read about key CEE markets in brief! Download our PDF leaflet on Central & Eastern Europe


A total of 10 countries joined the EU as of May 1, 2004, including 8 Central/Eastern European countries, Malta and Cyprus. Another two CEE countries - Bulgaria and Romania - joined the EU on January 1, 2007. Finally, Croatia joined as of 1 July, 2013

The table below provides a comparative overview of all 21 countries of the CEE region, of which 11 are EU members and 10 are not.

  COUNTRY
CAPITAL   AREA
POPUL.
UNEMPLOY.
GDP/CAPITA
GDP real growth rate
      (sq. km) (mil.) (%, 2015) (PPP, USD 2015) (%, 2015) (%, est. 2016) (%, est. 2017)
AL Albania Tirana 28,748 2.9 17.1 11,301 2.6 3.4 3.8
BY Belarus Minsk 207,600 9.5 *1.0 17,654 -3.9 -2.7 0.4
BA Bosnia & Herzegovina Sarajevo 51,197 3.9 27.7 10,492 2.8 3.0 3.3
BG Bulgaria Sofia 110,910 7.2 9.2 19,097 3.0 2.0 2.4
HR Croatia Zagreb 56,542 4.2 16.3 21,581 1.6 1.8 2.1
CZ Czech Republic Prague 78,866 10.6 5.1 31,549 4.2 2.1 2.6
EE Estonia Tallinn 45,226 1.3 6.2 28,592 1.1 1.9 2.4
HU Hungary Budapest 93,030 9.9 6.8 26,222 2.9 2.5 2.8
  Kosovo Pristina 10,887 1.7 35.1 9,712 3.3 3.4 4.2
LV Latvia Riga 64,589 2.0 9.9 24,712 2.7 2.8 3.1
LT Lithuania Vilnius 65,300 2.9 9.1 28,359 1.6 2.8 3.1
MK Macedonia Skopje 25,333 2.1 27.3 14,009 3.7 3.6 3.6
MD Moldova Kishinev 33,851 3.6 4.9 5,082 -1.1 0.5 2.5
ME Montenegro Podgorica 14,026 0.6 18.5 16,123 4.1 4.7 2.5
PL Poland Warsaw 312,679 38.0 7.5 26,455 3.6 3.7 3.6
RO Romania Bucharest 237,500 19.9 6.8 20,787 3.8 4.2 3.7
RU Russia Moscow 17,075,200 143.7 5.6 25,411 -3.7 -1.8 0.8
YU Serbia Belgrade 77,474 7.2 18.5 13,671 0.7 1.8 2.3
SK Slovakia Bratislava 48,845 5.4 11.5 29,720 3.6 3.2 3.3
SI Slovenia Ljubljana 20,273 2.1 9.0 31,007 2.9 1.7 2.3
UA Ukraine Kiev 603,700 42.8 *9.5 7,971 -9.9 1.5 2.5

Highlighted countries are covered by EasyLink’s market research and international trade consultancy services.
*officially registered; not reflecting a large number of unregistered or underemployed workers;
Source: CIA - The World Factbook; European Commission Forecasts, International Monetary Fund – World Economy Outlook Spring 2016;


GDP real growth rate

The year 2013 and 2014 are the turning points for many Central & Eastern European countries as their economies returned on GDP growth path – 18 CEE economies grew in 2013 and 2014. The 2015 best performing economies were the Czech Republic (4.2%), Poland (3.6%) and Romania (3.8%). For 2016, The European Commission forecasts growth for all of the CEE EU members, with Romania and Poland heading the group at 4.2% and 3.7%, respectively.

GDP per capita (purchasing power parity)

In terms of GDP per capita, the Czech Republic (population 10 mil.) has recently overtaken Slovenia (population 2 million) as the region’s leader. The following graph shows GDP per capita in the 14 CEE countries covered by EasyLink’s market research and international trade consultancy services.



CEE GDP PPP comparison



Quality and cost of living: Prague – best place to live in Central & Eastern Europe

According to the 2015 Mercer Consulting survey, Prague ranked 1st among all cities in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of “quality of life” (and 68th worldwide). The ranking is based on a point-scoring index evaluating 39 criteria, and puts Vienna as the no. 1 worldwide, scoring above 108, while Baghdad is placed last with below 20 points.

CCities are compared to New York as the base city (with an index score of 100). The survey covers 221 cities and is conducted by Mercer Consulting to help governments and multinational companies place employees on international assignments.

Prague is followed by Budapest and Ljubljana (both ranked 75th) and Warsaw and Vilnius (both ranked 79th). Emerging city Wroclaw (100), Poland, has a thriving cultural and social environment and good availability of consumer goods. The region’s lower-ranking cities are Kiev (176), Tirana (180), and Minsk (189), with Kiev experiencing a considerable drop in the rankings following political instability and violence in Ukraine overall.

According to Mercer’s Cost of Living survey for 2016, Moscow is CEE’s most expensive city to live in for expatriates and 67th in the world. Moscow used to head this ranking in the past years and ranked second in 2013.

The survey covers 360 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. Its aim is to assist multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for expatriates.


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