Central Europe

Emerging European economies – particularly the four core central European states of Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland – must invest more in education and innovation if they are to bring their living standards closer to those of their west European neighbours. 

It’s onwards and upwards for Poland’s finance minister Jacek Rostowski. Prime minister Donald Tusk on Wednesday promoted the London-trained economist to deputy prime minister.

The move came amid a broader government reshuffle which saw Tusk appoint a new chief of staff and a new interior minister. Tusk said the changes reflected his government’s priorities, whatever that may mean. More likely, he wanted to show he was responding to recent signs of decline in his once-high popularity rankings. 

The future of central and eastern Europe (CEE) rests on decisions being made beyond its borders, as a special report in Friday’s FT warns. The region relies on the eurozone for trade and investment.

But investors are recognising the fact that countries in CEE dealt with their fiscal problems especially quickly. Credit default swap spreads in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are converging with those in the core eurozone and deleveraging in CEE is more limited than in some west European markets. 

Central Europe’s economies are slowing, but the region is still doing better than much of the rest of the continent, the reason that regional coal miner New World Resources says it was able to beat expectations for the second quarter of the year.

The company reported sales of €347.5m for the quarter, down 24 per cent over the same period a year earlier and in line with expectations, while net income came to €28.3m, down by 66 per cent but better than the average estimate of €18.3m in a Reuters poll, in large part due to successful cost cutting.