2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain and the 10th anniversary of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltics joining the EU. To illustrate the EBRD’s role in this transition we launched a series of stories about ‘The New Europe’ in words, photos and video.
Among the different sectors we focussed on were: financial institutions, the real economy, agribusiness, cross-border trade, power and energy, telecommunications, municipal infrastructure, transport, and small businesses
We also examined the way the EBRD helped the region weather the storm of the Financial Crisis, one that affected it at least as badly as anywhere else.
In 1989 the Czech and Slovak Republics, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia were all centrally planned economies and several of them no longer existed as independent, sovereign states but were parts of countries that, very soon, would cease to exist.
By 2004 their fates had changed so dramatically that they could all join the European Union as fully fledged members on a par with its founders.
Indeed, so locked into the wider European economy are Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia today that they have all now adopted the euro, with others likely to follow suit in the years ahead. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic is the only country so far to have ‘graduated’ from the EBRD, meaning it no longer receives investments from the Bank.
The history and destiny of the region have been changed, perhaps irreversibly, in less than half a lifetime.