Although Poland and the other CEE countries have coped well with the current crisis, the pace of convergence is gradually slowing. The remedy can be found in “The Warsaw Consensus”- a complex growth model for the region, which can lead to a steady development.
Last summer, having pondered his professional opportunities for some months, Istvan Kozari upped sticks, leaving his native Budapest for a new life in London. Mr Kozari, then just 35, had worked as a sales and marketing manager with a leading digital publisher in Hungary, and tried his hand working with Hungarian start-ups. But to further his career, the move was essential.
After a quarter century of effective economic change, the Czech Republic finds itself searching for a new growth model. Relative success, with per capita GDP nearly double compared to 1993 and households having 600% more in the bank than they did two decades, was built by a skilled workforce manufacturing at lower costs than western European competitors. “That model is exhausted,” says David Marek, chief economist with Deloitte in Prague.
The unexpected decision by the Swiss National Bank Thursday to stop defending the longtime benchmark of 1.20 francs to the euro has set off panic across central Europe, with Poland the most exposed of all the region’s countries to the subsequent steep rise of the Swiss currency.
Central Europe in general and Poland in particular have had an astonishing quarter century as their economies have dramatically closed the gap with the wealthier western half of the continent – but the catch-up risks stalling unless a further round of reforms is undertaken, warned the IMF’s deputy head during a Warsaw conference.
Slovak prime minister Robert Fico emerged from last month's presidential elections a bruised and battered political figure – but his loss at the hands of novice politician Andrej Kiska is unlikely to have much of an impact on one of the EU's fastest growing economies.