Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Close the door behind you

So, Romania is in. After much umming and ahhing, the EU has finally given the green light for us and Bulgaria to join. I'd write a long post about what this means for the country, but I don't have the time. Basically short term pain for long term gain will be my conclusion, you can fill in the tedious actual analysis yourself.

I presume tomorrow's right wing tabloid press in the UK will be full of stories about how 719 million gypsies are now poised to descend on London, or how already the first purse snatching of the new EU has been attributed to a Romanian.

Interestingly, I have a Ukrainian colleague/friend/guest visiting at the moment, who is gobsmacked that Romania should be on the verge of joining while Ukraine looks unlikely to have the chance for the next 20 years (hence the title of the post), given the respective wealth, state of development, etc etc of the two nations. Politics, innit?


Romerican said...

I hadn't realized that Ukraine was so much more developed and wealthy than Romania...

Andy H said...

Not sure if it's more particularly, but his contention is that it is as developed as Romania. Having been to both Kiev and Bucharest in the last year, I can confirm that Kiev seems the wealthier and more booming of those two cities (and as we all know Bucharest is not in any way representative of the wider Romanian economy).

Some stats courtesy of the CIA world fact book, which imply that Ukraine is slightly behind Romania in most areas:
GDP per capita 2005
Ukraine $7200
Romania $8200

Populatn below poverty line
Ukraine 29%
Romania 25%

Ukraine 99.7%
Romania 98.4%

Life Expectancy
Ukraine 69.98
Romanian 71.63

MS said...

What about the political and judicial (rule of low) standards? How close to meet them is Ukraine? Romania is not exactly Western Europe but still is a lot better than what you can find going East. While I would like to see Ukraine in EU too, it has a lot of internal and external problems to sort out mostly coming form the glorious legacy of USSR.

romesperi said...

In terms of GDP per capita, Ukraine is somewhat poorer than Romania, particularly in terms of nominal GDP. And the Romanian economy is growing faster than the Ukrainian one. In particular, the median wage in Ukraine is significantly lower. In terms of political and judicial standards, Ukraine is also significantly behind, if only due to Romania's EU accession process.

I think the reason why Kiev seems more developed than Bucharest is because of aesthetics, in many ways. In comparison to Kiev, Belgrade, probably even Cluj-Napoca and Timişoara, Bucharest seems less developed due to its chaotic nature and erratic urban planning. This in itself does not make it poor, and I would argue that Bucharesters' breadth of access to goods and services is somewhat greater than that of people from Kiev.

Also, Bucharest's GDP per capita is actually approaching EU standards, at about 65% of the EU average, or $20,000 PPP (more than double Romania's average). For this reason, I find it very hard to believe that Kiev's GDP per capita is higher, since it would have to be about three times higher than the Ukrainian average. From what I have seen, however, Kiev does appear to be neater and better organised. It is also significantly larger in terms of population, which may explain why it may have apparently greater levels of growth.

Andy H said...

No the stats definitely seem to support you romesperi. However, my colleague's comments were not only his own, but also those of a professor from Constanta with whom he'd shared a train compartment on the long journey from Kiev to Bacau.

I think Ukraine has significantly more potential wealth than Romania - what with its large coal and steel industries etc. The east of Ukraine, I'm told, is actually pretty wealthy because of all this.

Having been only to Kiev last year and Lviv about 4 years ago, I'm not really in a position to comment on the wealth of the country as compared with Romania.

(By the way, the flipside of your comment regarding Bucharest's wealth/GDP is of course that it skews the figure upwards for the rest of the country. I wonder what GDP is for Wallachia minus Bucharest, or for Moldavia, for example?)