19 Mar 14

Don’t underestimate the former Soviet bloc

The tensions in Ukraine tell us that the disintegration of the former Soviet Union is an uncompleted process. It’s not the first time the members of the countries which once were located behind the iron curtain disagree about their border lines. But not everything in Eastern Europe works in the wrong way. Don’t underestimate the former Soviet bloc: for example the Baltic countries and Poland have found a strong growth path.

Historically the three Baltic countries Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have close ties with the rest of Europe. In the past those were even closer to countries like Germany and Poland, compared with those with Russia. Economically the big neighbor is of course an import trade partner, but even without Russia the economies of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have the potential to grow strongly.

Estonia counts on a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 2.40 percent in 2014, compared with only 1 percent in 2013. In Lithuania the GDP can increase this year by 3.50 percent, compared to 2.80 percent last year. Finally the economy in Latvia can pick up with 4.30 percent this year, which means a flat growth compared with 2013.

The economic story of Poland is very similar to those of the three Baltic countries despite the fact that Russia and Ukraine are two of neighbouring countries. The growth of the Polish economy is one of the strongest in Europe, of course because of another neighbouring country: Germany is a really important trade partner for Poland. Together, they can even form a strong economical centre at the heart of Europe.

Last year Fleet Europe published a Special Fleet Europe issue on Fleet Management in Central & Eastern Europe, with insight in the car fleet market of 12 countries, fleet management best practices and a view on taxation and fleet trends. You can order it here.

Authored by: Jos Sterk