There is no doubt that the prospect of Nato (and European Union) membership has served as a driving force for democratisation and liberalisation in the ex-communist countries
of Central and Eastern Europe.
Poorer ex-communist countries
, including Bulgaria, are net beneficiaries of the budget and fear they will lose out if the EU fails to plug an expected annual revenue gap of nearly 10 percent caused by Brexit.
Whilst the rest of Europe maintained immigration controls when the ex-Communist countries
joined the European Union Mr Blair's government threw open our borders.
in the east, with little recent history of immigration, especially from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, have resisted attempts by the EU executive to force them to take quotas, leading to stalemate and division that, at the height of the crisis, threatened the Union's cohesion.
This changed when the EU began incorporating the low-wage ex-communist countries
. The ensuing migration eased labor shortages in host countries like the U.K.
In 2004, when the EU added ten new members (including eight ex-communist countries
), I half-jokingly suggested that the Union move its headquarters from "old-EU" Brussels to a more geographically central, "new-EU" location, such as Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.
While in the past, ex-communist countries
focused on savings, recently, the cost-reduction policy has been detrimental to them, according to the surveyIn the first quarter of the year, Poland has displayed minimum economic growth while the situation in the Czech Republic deteriorated visibly.Hungary managed to get out of recession.In Bulgaria, the poorest country on the EU, the austerity measures were successful.
The ex-communist countries
have hardly coped with the changes, the whole burden being felt by the disoriented population who accustomed with the party's doctrine had to adapt to the requirements of a society with democratic values.
The figures, released Friday by the state Central Statistical Office, underline how strongly the economy has continued to grow in Poland, the largest of the ex-communist countries
now in the European Union.
Many are also rejecting the idea that their ex-communist countries
are indeed democratic.
Not included in Table 2 are the correlations for the 25 communist and ex-communist countries
, which are -.638 for intelligence (p = .001), -.433 for freedom from corruption (p = .032), and less than [+ or -].225 for education, lgGDP, and freedom/democracy.
Created after the Cold War to help ex-Communist countries
' transition to market economies, the EBRD lends about E9 billion a year to projects stretching from Croatia in central Europe to Kazakhstan's frontier with China in the East.