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Economic and Political Conditions in Eu

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11. Discussion of the general political and economic conditions in the region

  1. Estonia
  1. Political Conditions
  1. Estonia is a Parliamentary Republic and they have a three-party system government. Per the web article The Estonian Government, the three parties are the Reform Party, Social Democratic Party, and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Party. The head of the government is the Prime Minister. Along with the Prime Minister, Estonia is governed by fourteen other ministers. Parliament is responsible for creating laws and upholding the constitution of the country. Some examples of what Parliament is responsible for setting the tax rate and creating a budget. The members of the government are elected every four years and the last election was held last year in 2015.

  1. “Flexibility and openness are the characteristics and pervasive principles of Estonia’s economic policy. Estonia is an e-country with a favorable business climate and cost advantages that is also open to growth” (1).
  1. The Estonian government is one of the least corrupt

countries in Central and Eastern Europe. There are laws and regulations that combat bribery, corruption and any illegal actions that elected officials can commit (2).

  1. Economic Conditions
  1. Estonia’s per capita income in 2014 was $20,122 dollars. Estonia’s economy growth took a dip in 2015, even though retail sales were up. The unemployment rate has been decreasing, and the GDP per capita has been increasing since 2009. The public debt went down from 2014, so did the industrial production as well. Wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, real estate activities, and transport and storage are the main sources of revenue for Estonia. Per Estonia.eu, “In 2015 79% of Estonia’s total trade was with EU member countries. Estonia’s main trade partners are Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Germany.” Some of the main exports are machinery and equipment, mineral products, wood, and agricultural products. Per Estonia.eu, “The Bertelsmann Transformation Index in 2014 ranks Estonia among the most successful of 128 transformation countries in the world” (3).
  1. Lithuania
  1. Political Conditions
  1. Lithuania is a semi-presidential republic in which the chief of state is a President who can serve up to two terms, which are five years each. “President directly elected by absolute majority popular in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term)” (4). Lithuania also is led by the Prime Minister who is acting as the head of the government and is assisted with their own Council of Ministers, who must be appointed and approved into office.

  1. The Lithuanian Parliament consists of 141 members, in which “71 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote and 70 directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by proportional representation” (4). More than half of the Parliament are consisted of officials representing single-member districts.
  1. There are current nine different political parties that operate within the government. The three parties that have the most seats within the government are the Labor Party, Lithuanian Social Democratic Party and the Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party (4).
  1. Economic Conditions
  1. Lithuania’s per capita income in 2014 was $16,591 dollars. Lithuania’s economic growth has been on the decline since 2011. Retail sales have dropped off in 2015, even though industrial production has increased. The public debt also increased in 2014. Some of Lithuania’s main sources of revenue are metal-cutting machine tools, electric motors, and television sets. “Russia is the main destination for Lithuanian exports, accounting for 16% – mainly machines, cars, cheese and even some Lithuanian wine” (5, p.1). Some of Lithuania’s other trading partners are Estonia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Petroleum is their leading export, followed by fertilizer, wheat, polyacetals, and chemicals. “According to Eurostat, Lithuanian average hourly wage costs are the third lowest in the EU after Bulgaria and Romania, and about a fifth of those in Belgium, which has among the highest” (5, p.1).
  1. Latvia
  1. Political Conditions
  1. Latvia is a parliamentary republic in which the Chief of State is the President and the head of government is Prime Minister. The President is elected by Parliament into a four-year team and they are eligible for a second term. The Prime minister is elected by the President while the cabinet members are elected by parliament. Elections occur every four years and the next election will occur in 2019.
  1. Latvia’s Parliament consist of 100 members in which they serve elected four year terms. “Members directly elected into multi-seat constituencies by proportional presentation vote” (13). Meaning that districts will send two or more members to parliament. Each Member of Parliament is elected and serves a four-year term.
  1. Latvia is home to a multiparty system; however, the parties have not been able gain most the power. The parties work together to create laws and regulations.
  1. Economic Conditions
  1. Latvia’s per capita income in 2014 was $15,726 dollars. Their economic growth bounced back in 2015, since it’s been on a downward slide for the last couple years. The increased in retail sales and industrial production has been key factors in the growth of the economy. Latvia has four main factors when it comes to the economy. The four are agriculture, chemicals, logistics, and woodworking. Some of their main exports are refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment, wood, metals, and machinery and equipment. Their main trading partners are Lithuania, Russia, Estonia, Germany, Sweden, and Poland. An economic fact for you: “Given Latvia’s population of 2 million people, its total $11.5 billion in 2015 exports translates to roughly $5,700 for every resident in that country” (6, p.7).
  1. Croatia
  1. Political Conditions
  1. Croatia is a parliamentary republic that is governed by the President and Prime Minister. The President is elected by a popular vote and is elected to five year terms and they are eligible for a second term. The Council of Ministers are chosen by the Prime Minister and are approved by the Assembly. Per the Central Intelligence Agency, Croatia recently had their election on January 15, 2015.
  1. Croatia’s legislative branch is consisted of an Assembly in which consists of 151 members. Each member holds their seat for a four-year period. The elections are held every four years and they were held in September of 2015.
  1. Croatia is a multiparty system; some parties include the Social Democratic Party and the Labour Party (7).
  1. Economic Conditions
  1. Croatia’s per capita income in 2014 was $13,425 dollars. Their GDP growth has been slowly increasing since 2013, while the unemployment rate is decreasing. The industrial production has bounced back from the previous down years. One other factors in the increase, is investments in companies making a big splash in 2015. Croatia’s main exports are refined petroleum, packaged medicaments, sawn wood, and electrical transformers. Their key trading partners are Italy, Germany, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Austria. Some of the key sources of revenue for Croatia is chemicals, machine tools, fabricated metals, and tourism. “Tourism constitutes the mainstay of the Croatian economy, as the country’s largely pristine coastline along the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and several historic cities attract about 11m foreign tourists annually” (8, p.1).
  1. Romania
  1. Political Conditions
  1. Romania is a semi-presidential republic that is governed by the President and Prime Minister along with their Council of Ministers. The President is directly elected by the majority popular vote and they are elected into a five-year term. The President is eligible for a second term. The next election will begin in 2019.
  1. Parliament is a bicameral which consists of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The Senate consists of 176 members, “137 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote and 39 directly elected in single-seat constituencies by popular vote” (9). Each member of the Senate or Chamber of Deputies are elected officials that can be elected back into office after a four-year term (9).
  1. Economic Conditions
  1. Romania’s per capita income in 2014 was $10,129 dollars. Their economic growth is on the rise, as retail sales to continue to increase. The GDP per capita continues to get better since 2011. Investments on businesses and retail sales continue to improve, helping the public debt go down. Some of their main sources of revenue are electric machinery and equipment, textiles, and mining. Romania’s main trading partners are Germany, Italy, France, Hungary, and Turkey. Their main exports are vehicle parts, refined petroleum, insulated wire, and wheat. Per the OEC “Romania is the 46th largest export economy in the world and the 38th most complex economy according to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI)” (10).
  1. Bulgaria
  1. Political Conditions
  1. Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic where the President is the chief of state and the head of the government is the Prime Minister. They are supported by the council of ministers who are nominated by the Prime Minister and elected by the National Assembly. The President is eligible for two five year terms.
  1. The legislative branch consists of the National Assembly, in Bulgarian is it known as the Narodno Sabranie. It consists of 240 members. “Members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms” (11). The Assembly is made up of multiple different parties however the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party has the most seats in the Assembly. The next election for the National Assembly will be in 2018.
  1. Economic Conditions
  1. Bulgaria’s per capita income in 2014 was $7,876 dollars. It’s the lowest in the EU-13 Accessions region. The Bulgarian economy has rebounded from the crisis, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. “A deflationary trend has prevailed since the middle of 2013 because of declining international commodity prices, sluggish domestic demand and reductions in administered prices” (12, p.4). Some of Bulgaria’s main exports are refined petroleum, refined copper, and electrical equipment. Their main trading partners are Germany, Turkey, Romania, and Italy. Bulgaria’s main sources of revenue are services, manufacturing and industry, and agriculture.

References

  1. "Estonian Educational Landscape." Estonia.eu. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.
  2. "Estonia." BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/european_languages/countries/estonia.shtml+>. Retrieved 22 October 2016
  3. “Estonia.eu.” (2016) Retrieved from http://estonia.eu/about-estonia/economy-a-it/economy-in-numbers.html
  4. Europe: Lithuania . Central Intelligence Agency , n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.
  5. Hirst, Nicholas (2014) “Seven things to know about Lithuania’s economy”. European Voice. Retrieved from http://www.politico.eu/article/lithuanias-economy-seven-facts-to-introduce-you/
  6. Workman, Daniel (2016, March 16) “Latvia’s Top 10 Exports” WTEx. Retrieved from http://www.worldstopexports.com/latvias-top-10-exports/
  7. "Europe: Croatia", Central Intelligence Agency , Accessed 23 Oct. 2016.
  8. Barendregt, Ester (2016, May 19) “Croatia: successful reforms much needed but unlikely” Rabobank. Retrieved from https://economics.rabobank.com/publications/2016/may/croatia-successful-reforms-much-needed-but-unlikely/
  9. Europe: Romania , Central Intelligence Agency , Accessed 23 Oct. 2016.
  10. "Romania". OEC. MIT Media Lab. Retrieved from http://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/rou
  11. Europe: Bulgaria , Central Intelligence Agency , Accessed 23 Oct. 2016.
  12. Commission staff (2016) “Country Report Bulgaria 2016” European Commission. Brussels, 26.2.2016 SWD(2016) 72 final. pp. 1-73 Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/csr2016/cr2016_bulgaria_en.pdf
  13. Europe: Latvia . Central Intelligence Agency , n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

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