Lean years are in the offing for Central and Eastern Europe, warns the World Bank in its latest report, cited by today’s Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. According to the organisation’s experts, the number of households in the region unable to service their debt may rise by up to 20 percentage points next year. Among those most heavily affected may be the inhabitants of the Baltic states, as well as Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. The report explains that 2010 will see the second phase of recession with the first signs of economic recovery visible, but also with the shock waves of last year’s breakdown striking back with renewed force. “This will be most strongly felt in Central and Eastern Europe, where people prospered in recent years thanks to the benevolent economic climate and cheap credit. For the inhabitants of post-communist Europe, loans were the stepping stones to improving the standard of living,” the World Bank’s report observes. The dreams of a better life were shattered a few months after the eruption of the global crisis when exports – the driving force behind East European economies – collapsed and unemployment started to rise steeply again.