The EU has not been a blessing for the Balkan and Southeastern European countries. From Frank Lee at off-guardian.org:
We’ll start with the 10 per capita poorest countries in the whole of Europe. In rank order:
- Moldova – GDP US$2560
- Ukraine – GDP US$3560
- Kosovo – GDP US$3990
- Albania – US$4450
- Bosnia and Herzegovina – GDP US$4769
- Republic of Macedonia – GDP US$5150
- Serbia – GDP US$5820
- Montenegro – GDP US$7320
- Bulgaria – GDP US$7620
- Romania – GDP US$9420
Average per capita income in Europe as a whole is US$37,317 (2018 figures).
What is noticeable is that most of these states are situated in either the Balkans or South-Eastern Europe. But that is not the end of the story.
Portugal, the poorest country in western Europe with GDP standing at US$238billion, is just pipped by the Czech Republic (now Czechia which is actually in the centre of Europe) as the star performer of the East whose national income stands at US$ 240,105.million.
Thus, in terms of per capita income the Czech Republic is the sole representative of the ex-Soviet states in Europe. This geopolitical and economic cleavage could hardly be starker. These two Euro-zones replicate the division of North and South between the US/Canada and central and Latin America.
Much of the attention to European development – or the lack of it – has been preoccupied with the gap between the West and South of Europe. This present schism is attributable to tried, tested, and failed economic strategies promulgated by the various institutions of globalization: the IMF, WB, WTO and so forth.
The single currency, the euro, became legal tender on 1 January 1999 and was adopted by most of the countries in the Euro area. But this proved to be the undoing of the political economy of the South.