Timeline: The Eastern European Domino Effect

The credit crisis has had a near-catastrophic effect on many of the emerging economies in Eastern Europe. The International Monetary Fund shelled out tens of billions in emergency loans for the region, while governments have collapsed and angry protesters took to the streets in some countries.

The following timeline charts some of the key events since the onset of the credit crisis for the new European Union economies of: Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.


Slovakia and Slovenia, already members of the euro zone, have been spared the worst of the crisis.

March 2009

  • The Czech Government collapses, throwing the future of the EU constitution into doubt.
  • Romania agrees terms for its 20 billion euro ($26.6 billion) IMF-led aid package.
  • European leaders double the emergency funding pool for fragile European economies.
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany tenders his resignation.
  • Hungary draws the second tranche of its IMF/EU 2.5 billion euro credit line.
  • Latvia’s new Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis takes office.
  • Poland’s Deputy Finance Minister Dominik Radziwill says the country does not need an IMF loan.

February 2009

  • Latvia's prime minister and cabinet resign.
  • Romania approves its 2009 budget with more than 10 billion euros to tackle the slowdown.
  • Moody’s releases a research note warning of Eastern Europe contagion.
  • Latvia receives the first wave of funds from EC, worth almost 1 billion euros.

January 2009

  • Police fire teargas in Lithuania to disperse demonstrators against cuts in social spending.
  • Latvia unveils a government sector budget deficit of 2.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2008.

December 2008

  • Latvia receives 589.57 million euros as its first batch of a 7.5 billion euro IMF funding pool.
  • Fitch cuts Lithuania's debt rating to BBB+, one notch above junk.
  • Moody's revises down its outlook for the Czech Republic to "stable" from "positive."
  • Fitch says Latvia will need a 5 billion euro financing package led by the IMF.

November 2008

  • Hungary draws the first 5 billion euros from its bailout fund.
  • Standard & Poor's cuts its ratings on Latvia to BBB-.
  • Fitch cuts Bulgaria's foreign currency rating to BBB-.
  • Moody's cuts its outlook on Estonia's ratings to "negative" from "stable".
  • Hungary becomes the first EU country to secure an IMF-led bailout when it lines up 20 billion euros ($27.2 billion) to avert a default.

October 2008

  • Standard & Poor's cuts its outlook on Poland to stable from positive.
  • Fitch and S&P cut Romania's credit rating to "junk".
  • The IMF offers “technical and financial” support to Hungary.