Soviet satellites now starring in economic growth

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Krakow, Poland - If you think that China and India are the rising stars of the developing world, you may be missing a big part of the story. Increasingly, it's the countries of the former Eastern Europe.

The 10 former Soviet-bloc nations of Eastern Europe that joined the 25-member European Union (EU) on May 1 are not only the fastest growing economies of Europe, but are also displacing Mexico and Brazil as among the developing world's biggest magnets for foreign investments.

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During my visit to Krakow , once a Polish capital that has become a tourism and industrial center, I saw signs of progress nearly everywhere, and a general mood of optimism about the future. Two luxury hotels - a Sheraton and a Radisson - have just opened near the Central Square, where the 13th Century St. Mary's Basilica coexists with new cafes and fashion stores. The former Jewish ghetto of Kazimierz - the setting of Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List - has been turned into a tourism mecca.
 
 
New foreign investments have sprung up near Krakow , and unemployment - still high at about 19 percent - is beginning to drop. Multinationals such as Philip Morris, Motorola and the French car part manufacturer Valeo have set up plants in this area over the past few months.
 
 
 
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Source: The Miami Herald
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