The region has been growing very rapidly during the past decade. Despite the current slow-down on the back of the global financial crisis, Eastern Europe continues to grow faster than Western Europe, and the catch-up process is still in place. Steadily increasing political stability through the European Union and institutional reforms are paving the way for sustainable economic growth. Company-friendly reforms and advantageous taxation systems benefit investors and consumption.
The global financial crisis in 2008 itself has also been a driver for faster reforms, consolidation and necessary investments.
There are many Eastern European nations that are already EU members. But there is still a long way to go before GDP levels and standards of living in these countries reach those of the rest of Europe. EU membership has nonetheless set in motion an important process of change, where the next stage is adoption of the euro. More countries are also nearing EU accession and their convergence is driving their economies and financial markets forward.
As with any market, it is impossible to know for sure what the future holds. There are no guarantees. But the Eastern European markets are, in our view, far too exciting to ignore.