Budapest, Hungary – While Western European economies are slowing down, the eastern half of the continent continues to grow at a skyrocketing pace, concentrating most of the fastest-growing economies in the EU this year.
Poland and Hungary among fastest-growing economies in the EU
According to Eurostat, Poland and Hungary report among the EU’s highest GDP growth rates in the first quarter 2019.
The EU’s statistical office recently released its GDP and employment growth figures for the first quarter of the year. It shows that Hungary and Poland (GDP growth rates of +1.5% compared to the previous quarter) were tied at the second place of the fastest-growing economies in the EU, only topped by Croatia (+1.8%), which leads the bloc.
Compared to the same period last year, Hungary and Poland’s GDP grew by 5.3% and 4.7%, respectively, making them the first and fifth fastest-growing economies year-on-year. The other highest annual GDP growth rates were observed in Romania (+5%), Malta (+4.9%) and Bulgaria (+4.8%), according to Eurostat.
But analysts urge caution, warning that Poland and Hungary’s current economic boom is mostly based on temporary factors and that their impressive growth rates may be short-lived.
Central and Eastern Europe boosts EU’s weak growth
Compared to the previous quarter, the other fastest-growing economies were all located in Central and Eastern Europe, most notably Romania, Bulgaria and Lithuania.
Slovakia’s economy grew by 3.7% year-on-year in the first quarter 2019, slightly below the OECD forecasts that positioned the Slovak economy as the fastest-growing in the world this year.
The Eurostat figures also appear to confirm the European Commission Spring Forecasts, which ranked Hungary, Poland and Slovakia among the top 5 fastest-growing economies in the EU this year.
The Czech Republic, meanwhile, saw its GDP grow by only 0.6% compared to the previous quarter, and by 2.6% year-on-year, lagging behind its Visegrad neighbours.
Latvia was the only country where GDP decreased in the first quarter 2019, while the EU grew by 0.5% on average (+0.4% for the Eurozone).