The macroeconomic forecasts by the WIIW for the next two years assume that the CEE region will continue to grow based on the global recovery. In the majority of countries, real GDP will even grow considerably faster than in the recent past. The large economic engines, such as Poland (2017: +3.5%) and the Czech Republic (2017: +2.4%), show rising rates of growth. Although recently limited by stagnation of the large Western European economies, their growth is now picking up and having a positive effect on the entire region of Central and Eastern Europe.
The only three countries where economic growth will be slower in 2017 than the previous year are Romania (2017: +3.5%), Turkey (2017: +3.0%) and Slovakia (2017: +3.1%), where gross domestic product was already at a high level in 2016, namely +4.7%, +3.3% and +3.2%, respectively.
In the smaller countries, there is a tendency for countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina (2017: +3.3%), Bulgaria (+3.0%), Croatia (+2.7%) and the Baltic states (average around +2.5%) to grow at a slower, but constant rate. After two somewhat challenging years, Hungary’s economy (2017: +2.6%) is also likely to see a turnaround, with growth 0.6 percentage points higher than in the recent past. This is partly due to the fact that the start-up phase for the new structural and regional fund development programmes is over, and Hungary traditionally receives more benefit from these programmes than the European average.
A number of potential trans-regional influencing factors are predicted for 2017 that could permanently affect the CEE region. This includes the ongoing wave of migration, which could continue to have a negative effect on the labour market over the medium term, in spite of economic stimulation from government investments.