The weight of the V4 countries in the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the European Union (EU) in 1990 was less than 2 percent. By 2019, the same indicator had climbed above 7 percent.
In fact, some countries in the Central and Eastern European region have risen to the high-income category, according to the latest report “The Growth of the V4 Countries’ Economic Weight in the EU” by the Oeconomus Economic Research Foundation.
According to the analyst, Szabolcs Pásztor, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia should be highlighted, since they’ve already reached about half of the level of Western development during their years of EU membership. Moreover, in recent years, Visegrad countries have been seen as the engine of Europe’s economic growth.
Since the great enlargement of the EU in 2004, the V4 region has accounted for more than 10 percent of the EU’s territory and total population, usually contributing approximately 6 percent to the EU’s GDP-based economic performance; roughly 8 percent is attributed to the automotive industry and about 20 percent to the cultivation of major crops. Overall, since2000, the growth performance of the Central European and Baltic region has exceeded that of the EU.
The V4 countries are gaining more and more economic weight within Europe. The development of the latter is also important because it can have a significant effect on trade relations within the EU, the expert points out.
The V4 region is today one of Europe’s manufacturing industrial bases, and the countries in the region regularly engage in active foreign trade. Typically, however, they still do not trade with each other but with Germany separately. The intensity of trade and the economic performance of the V4s thus still strongly depend on the performance of Western Europe’s economy, including the German economy.
Previously, average earnings in the region also lagged far behind EU average earnings, but since 2010, the growth rate of gross average earnings in the V4 has been almost double that of the euro area. In addition, reductions in taxes on labor and expansion in employment have also led to significant wage increases in the countries of the region.