We haven't had official figures for Turkish GDP growth for all of last year yet, but this hasn't dettered the European Commission from predicting that Turkey will be the strongest country in its economic paddock this year. In its winter forecast 2013 released today the body predicted that Turkey will grow by 3% in 2013 and 3,8% in 2014, making it the “candidate with the best perspective of economic development”.
The Commission predicts a gradual acceleration in Turkish GDP growth, which according to the report went from 8.9% in 2011 to 2.5% last year. At 3% Turkey will be well above the EU this year according to the Commission, for which the report forecasts a 0.3% contraction this year. Next year won't be much better for the EU either, with GDP growing just 1.4% to Turkey's 3.9% according to the report.
The EC also forecasts the continued decline in Turkish unemployment. The report forecasts that unemployment in the country will fall from the 10.2% in 2011 to 8.2% in 2012 to 7.6% in 2013 and 7% in 2014.
According to the report Montenegro comes closest to matching the economic prowess of emerging Turkey, with predictions of 2.2% this year and 3% next and unemployment to fall from 19.7% this year to 19.4% next year. Montenegro unlike Turkey is likely to come close to EU accession during this time.
Speaking of EU members, Croatia is still on for full membership this year in July. But this won't help the EU bottom line as Croatian GDP is expected to fall 0.4% this year before growing by 1% next year. Croatian unemployment is also bleak with predictions to grow from 15.8% last year, to 16,9% this year before falling to 14.9% in 2014.