Europe’s poorest nations and the least developed in terms of economy are those regions which were affected by the falling of the Soviet Union. Although these nations are poor, they still live above the standards experienced by poor African and Asian nations. The poorest nations in Europe in terms of their economy are listed below.
Moldova is the poorest European nation. It located in Eastern Europe bordering Ukraine and Romania. It was adversely affected when the USSR dissolved and suffered the after effects of political instability and weak administration. The economy also suffered due to energy shortages and difficulties in trading. The new Moldovan government formed with the intention of helping the economy and living standards of its people recover. The government introduced new policies, such as convertible currency, which has helped the economy grow.
A territorial dispute with Russia affected Ukraine negatively. Ukraine also suffered after the dissolution of the USSR. The country replaced its planned economic policy with a market economy which resulted in more than half the country living in poverty. Ukrainians tried to make ends meet by growing their own food and working multiple jobs. In 1993, Ukraine experienced one of the worst Inflations in history which lasted twelve months. The 2008 Recession added to Ukraine’s financial woes. Howeverdespite facing government corruption Ukraine is slowly recovering and has managed to reduce its poverty levels.
The third poorest nation in Europe is landlocked in the central Balkans. It is still a partially recognized state mainly because it is disputed territory. It was one of the poorest provinces in the former Yugoslavian republic. Despite various policies to strengthen the economy in the 1990s, Kosovo remained financially weak. However the economy has recently experienced positive growth due to a strong banking system, low economic debt and liabilities. However the territorial dispute issues has slowed down Kosovo’s economic growth.
Also located in southeastern Europe, Albania is located next to Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Greece. In the early 1990s Albania changed its economic policy from communist to an open-market economy. Although Albania is ranked fourth on the list of poorest European nations, it is currently undergoing a stable economic growth due to its rich natural resources.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia is still picking up the pieces after a bloody war and trying to grow its economy. It was once one of the most prosperous nations in Europe. Located near Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia it also shares the Adriatic coastline. The high unemployment rate and large trade deficit have slowed down the country’s economic growth.
This poor nation shares its borders with Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, and, Serbia and located to the west of the Black Sea. Bulgaria’s economy deteriorated in the 1990’s after the Soviet and Comecon markets collapsed. Failed attempts to establish a democratic governance and free market system resulted in political instability which crushed the fragile economy. Living standards dropped by 40% and only began to pick up after 1998. However the economy plunged again when the Great Recession of 2008 struck. Although it has experienced steady growth since 2010, the Bulgarian economy remains weak.
Situated in southeastern Europe, Montenegro’s GDP per capita was less than half of the European Union average in 2010 (Eurostat). Montenegro suffered from the political instability and wars in Yugoslavia, the loss of the United Nations financial sanctions, and the 2008 global recession. However the country is now slowly recovering.