Emerging Europe Has Already ‘Emerged’ for the Most and it’s a Transition to Be Proud Of

Read the latest Life in Transition 2017 special report


Andrew Wrobel

About Andrew Wrobel

Andrew Wrobel is the head of content strategy and publishing at Emerging Europe. Trained as a journalist and a filmmaker, he has worked for press and broadcast media for over 15 years, covering business and economy. He has authored and contributed to a number of international business, investment and trade-related publications and reports. He specialises in nation branding (PhD candidate). He’s a frequent moderator, panellist and commentator. Twitter: @andrew__wrobel

For us, emerging Europe is a region that comprises 23 countries — some of them belonging to the European Union, some believing they will join the Bloc soon and still others having chosen the Eurasian Economic Union. Are they New Europe, New Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe or maybe emerging Europe? Is it something else again?

“Back in the ‘good old’ Cold War days, defining Eastern Europe was easy. It was made up of all those losers who were on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. Eastern Europe had those ‘backward’ communist countries, which were frozen in the Stone Age,” Francis Tapon writes in his book The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us.

“Whether Eastern Europeans like it or not, the communist experience is still in their collective memory. (…) It’s part of who they are. The legacy of slavery can still be felt in the southern regions of the US, even though slavery ended 150 years ago. Communism in contrast, ended [only] 25 years ago,” Tapon continues.

But is this legacy something the emerging Europe countries should be ashamed of? On the contrary, I believe. The economies started their transition at the beginning of the 1990s and most of them can rightly say that they are no longer emerging markets. Slovenia and the Czech Republic, for example, have been referred to as developed economies for some time now and have a GDP per capita that is higher than in some of the older EU member states. What others have been building since WWII these countries have achieved within a quarter of a century.

But it’s not only that — the decades of communism have also helped create a large pool of hard-working talent. Years of hardship have taught them creativity, entrepreneurship and persistence, all of which are highly appreciated, not only in the region but also across the Old Continent and beyond. Aren’t these things the people of emerging Europe should be proud of?

In this Life in Transition special report, which is released during the EBRD 2017 Annual Meeting and Business Forum in Cyprus, we discuss the transition process in emerging Europe as well as in the EBRD region, which covers 36 countries. We look at key elements of a successful transition, the process in various areas, the advantages the region has, as well as the challenges it is facing. We also look at the future of the region, as well as of the European Union and all of Europe.


Harris Georgiades: Cyprus’s Restored Business Environment Offers Investment Opportunities

Emerging Europe EBRD Sea port city of Larnaca, Cyprus. This picture was taken through the window of the plane.

Sir Suma Chakrabarti: The Opportunities of Challenge

suma chakrabarti ebrd

Ukrainian Agribusiness — a Jewel in a Crown

Wheat ukraine agriculture ebrd

Poland Government’s Development Plan and the EBRD’s Role

Warsaw EBRD annual meeting

Kazakhstan is Beginning to Explore Belt and Road Opportunities

Astana Kazakhstan

Greener and More Resilient: Energy Sector Reforms in Serbia for the Benefit of All

Belgrade, Serbia - confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers

Sergei Guriev: Emerging Europe Countries are Happy Alike and Unhappy in Their Own Ways

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - 21 JUNE 2014: People on the streets of Prague, Czech Republic. Prague is one of the most visited city in Europe with over 5 million visitors every year.

Small Businesses – the Backbone of the Egyptian Economy

women egypt emerging europe

Innovation and Consolidation — Key Trends in Polish Banking

Innovation Is the Key Growth Driver

innovation ebrd

Emerging Europe Makes Great Strides in Improving Business Regulation for Entrepreneurs

Skopje Macedonia

The Cyprus Dispute: Recognising the Changing Rules of the Conflict

cyprus emerging europe ebrd

Will we Ever Overcome the Innovation Deficit in CEE?

Europe IT Map

Lower Imbalances Should Support more Inclusive Growth Going Forward

Mixed currency notes

The Bucharest Stock Exchange Has Started the Year on a Promising Note

stock exchange bucharest

EBRD Annual Meeting 2017 — EBRD President’s Press Conference

Albania’s Agribusiness Support Facility – With a Little Help From Your Friends

View of the central square with the monument of Skanderbeg in the Albanian capital Tirana

Divided Economy That May Unite (Or Draw Apart)

Georgia’s Hospitality Sector Is Starting to Develop

georgia hospitality

An Independent Judicial System is Essential to Attract FDI

legal system CEE

Globalisation Needs to Work, Not Only for the Few but for the Most and in Demonstrable Ways

Global Spread

Strengthening the Resilience of the Economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Montenegro EBRD annual meeting

High Dollarisation the Largest Challenge for Georgia’s National Bank

The Fight Against Corruption in Europe’s Emerging Economies


Growth is Greater Across Emerging Europe, Despite Risks and Global Challenges

ebrd gdp

CEE NPL Resolutions – Now and Then

NPL central and eastern europe

Improving the Business Environment Is Vital for Moldova’s Government

ebrd moldova

Leszek Balcerowicz: Ukraine Can Learn from Poland’s Economic History

The Dragon is Knocking at our Doors

china serbia silk road

EBRD Annual Meeting 2017 — EBRD Chief Economist’s Press Briefing

Legal Reforms are Improving the Existing Problematic Situation in the Ukrainian Agro Market

ukraine agriculture

Montenegro: Joining up Agriculture and Tourism

montenegro ebrd emerging europe

The EBRD Helps Jordan’s Infrastructure to Accommodate an Influx of Refugees

ebrd jordan refugees

Lithuania’s Focus on SME Growth and the EBRD’s Role

View on Vilnus

Cyprus: The Green Economy Shows the Way Forward

Cyprus coastline view, turquoise sea, white beaches

EU Membership Offers Real Prospects of Social Progress Gains

Beautiful view on cute backyard in sunny day, fresh green grass

Fear of Hostilities Holds Back Bosnia and Herzegovina’s FDI Performance

ebrd bosnia emerging europe

Belarus is Bringing Opportunities for European Companies

Great Stone

EBRD Annual Meeting 2017 — Board of Directors’ Opening Session

Transition in Government and the Economy Remains Vital in CEE

Cloudy skies above the Hungarian Parliament Building Budapest.

Cautious Upturn in Emerging Europe Haunted by the Spectre of Uncertainty

Donald Trump

Switched on Heads of Expansion Are Developing their Own Business Rankings, Adjusted to Their Companies’ Realities

global expansion

Günter Verheugen: Populist Politics and Euroscepticism Will Have an Impact on CEE

eu guenter verheugen

Ukraine’s Banking Sector Reconstruction Brings Asset Sales and Opportunities in Equal Measure

Gavel and Ukrainian hryvnias on a wooden table

Moldova: a Regional Economic Platform Vision

Aerial Landscape View Of Chisinau, Moldova

Georgia on My Mind – Where Beauty Meets Business

georgia ebrd emerging europe

UniCredit Focusses on Organic Growth in Central and Eastern Europe

unicredit ebrd

Winning the Fight for Female Talent in Central and Eastern Europe

pwc women

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