Ten years of transition: remarkable achievements in Central and Eastern Europe

STRASBOURG, 20.01.00 - In their ten years of transition, the countries of central and eastern Europe have achieved remarkable overall progress - at the price of major sacrifices and of facing daunting obstacles. Such was the conclusion of the Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Economic Affairs and Development as it held its yearly meeting in London today with Mr. Horst Köhler, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The EBRD estimates that overall growth in its 26 countries of operations reached all of 3% in 1999, with even higher figures possible for 2000.

Further development in transition countries depends vitally on continued economic dynamism in western Europe, especially the European Union, and on speedy progress on EU enlargement. Equally important are transition countries' efforts further to strengthen democratic institutions, 'the rule of law and to fight corruption and economic crime.

The Economic Committee's Chairperson Mrs. Helle Degn welcomed the EBRD's strong involvement in South-Eastern Europe following the Kosovo conflict and its new more upbeat estimate for the region's growth potential. It also welcomed the EBRD's increased loan commitments, amounting to around € 2 billion in 1999 and expected increase to over € 2.5 billion in the years to come.

The Economic Committee serves as the EBRD's parliamentary forum. The results of the London meeting will be fed into the Economic Committee's forthcoming report on "The EBRD and the State of Transition in Central and Eastern Europe", to be debated by the Parliamentary Assembly in June (Rapporteurs: Mr. Kacin of Slovenia and Mr. Kittis of Cyprus).