April 2016

The economies of Europe and Central Asia (ECA) continue to face difficult headwinds in an increasingly complex and uncertain global economic environment, with short-term prospects differing substantially across countries.

Following a contraction of 1.1 percent in 2015, GDP in Eastern Europe and Central Asia is expected to show practically no growth in 2016, implying a downward adjustment of more than one percentage point since late last year. Especially large are the downward adjustments for the South Caucasus (3.3 percentage points), Central Asia (1.6 percentage points) and Russia (1.3 percentage points).

On the other hand, GDP growth in the European Union and the Western Balkans is expected to average 1.8 percent this year, unchanged from expectations six months ago. In Southern Europe, a recovery is finally taking hold, although growth is still not strong enough to undo damage caused by the Great Recession. In Central Europe, growth is forecast to remain robust.

On the eastern side of the region, oil-exporting countries and countries that depend on remittances from those oil-exporting countries are in recession, or close to recession. A historically slow pace of growth in global trade, low and volatile oil prices, and ongoing geopolitical tensions continue to adversely impact these economies.

While economic growth in the western part of ECA is recovering slowly overall, countries in the European Union face multiple risks. The refugee crisis is severely testing Europe’s ability to effectively coordinate policies, while the possibility of the United Kingdom exiting the European Union (BREXIT) exemplifies political complications in the European integration process.

Europe and Central Asia Economic Update Spring 2016


We work with client countries to fight poverty and boost shared prosperity by helping them build more responsible institutions, increase private investment, improve service delivery, upgrade infrastructure, protect the environment, support human development, and empower marginalized groups.

In order to deliver integrated solutions that help countries address their development challenges, we regularly look at where we are achieving results and making an impact. By measuring and monitoring those results, we can then improve the way we support our clients and achieve better development outcomes.

Find out more about our results in Europe and Central Asia.

Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS)

Middle-income countries interested in highly specific knowledge services that exceed what the Bank can finance from its own resources are increasingly accessing Bank technical expertise using Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS).

Find out more about Reimbursable Advisory Services.

Analytical Work Highlights

In addition to its financial products and RASs, the Bank produces important research about critical issues in the region. Through its analytical work, the World Bank aims to bring global knowledge and adapt it to the needs of ECA countries.

Find out more about our publications and research on Europe and Central Asia.

European Union, European Commission, and other institutions

The World Bank’s ECA region has a strategic partnership with the European Union (EU), and is working with the European Commission (EC) and European international financial institutions (IFIs) to improve the capacity of ECA’s EU-member clients to absorb EU funds.

The Bank works closely together with EU institutions, European IFIs (European Investment Bank [EIB] and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development [EBRD]), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as part of the second Vienna Initiative, which aims to improve banking systems and coordination among banking regulators in EU and non-EU countries.

The World Bank Group, the EBRD, and the EIB Group came together in November 2012 for a new Joint International Financial Institution (IFI) Action Plan. One of the most important priorities under the Action Plan was to ensure continued financing for SMEs that are key drivers of innovation and job creation in the region.

ECA works on Roma inclusion across the region in collaboration with various partners, including the European Commission, the Roma Education Fund, and a variety of national Roma agencies.

The Bank is also working with the EurAsian Economic Community’s (EURASEC) Anti-Crisis Fund and with the Eurasian Development Bank to provide parallel financing for low-income ECA countries.


Contact: Elena Karaban, Phone: +1-202-473-9277, Email: ekaraban@worldbank.org

Last updated: April 2016



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