Where are we?
The region is characterized by a high level of human development and, as a whole, has made impressive progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular in reducing extreme poverty (MDG 1).
However, this performance has been highly uneven. The new European Union Member States from Central Europe and candidate countries in South East Europe (countries that have been relatively successful in the transition to a society characterized by competitive markets and free elections), have eliminated extreme poverty to a large extent and are likely to achieve most MDG objectives. The middle- and low-income countries and the relatively less advanced transition economies in South East Europe, characterized by a more or less delayed economic and political transition, have been less successful in the pursuit of the MDGs and in reducing extreme poverty.
The global financial and economic crisis in the late 2000s hit Europe and Central Asia harder than any other region and resulted in setbacks in progress towards the MDGs in many countries, mainly through higher unemployment, lower incomes and cuts in government spending. MDG data show that marginalized groups, including ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, indigenous people and migrants, continue to face particular economic and social disadvantages throughout the region. During the crisis and its aftermath, they have been hit harder by unemployment, income losses and reduced accessibility of health services than the majority population.
(See statistics on poverty in the region)
Source: Building more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous societies in Europe and Central Asia (2013)