East and Central Europe

East and Central Europe

10 former communist countries from East and Central Europe joined the EU in 2004 and Romania and Bulgaria joined in 2007. In the following ten years a country Latvia, for example, lost around 200,000 persons or 10% of its population to other EU countries because of emigration.

In many old member states the new workers from East and Central Europe were seen as cheap labour taking jobs from local citizens.

Slovenia joined the Euro in 2004, Slovakia in 2009, Estonia in 2011 and Latvia in 2014. Lithuania is to join it in 2015.

The big economic winner is Germany with an increase of  €35,000 in GNP per citizen over the following ten first years. 

Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia gained relatively most amongst the newcomers, with between €10,350 and €13,750 per citizen, an increase of over 40%.  Hungary and Slovenia gained less than 9% in average GNP in their first ten years  Some of this is due to EU membership, some to other changes that these countries made.