(Bloomberg) -- The economies of Romania and Poland grew at a slower pace than expected in the first quarter in the latest sign of a sluggish recovery across the European Union’s east.

Romania’s gross domestic product increased 0.5% from a quarter earlier, when it contracted, missing the average estimate for 0.9% expansion in a Bloomberg survey of economists. In Poland, quarterly growth came in at 0.4% and was lower than the expected 0.6%.

Poor performance from the EU’s two biggest eastern economies brings into sharp relief how industry across the region is struggling to overcome tepid demand from western partners. It also shows how the domestic resilience of consumers can only do so much to make up for the weakness of key trading partners.

Romania’s economy was expected to recover strongly as the government of Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu increases infrastructure spending and boost wages to lure voters ahead of four rounds of elections this year.

Like the rest of the region, Poland and Romania rely heavily on Germany and other large euro-area members as their main trading partners. Growth picked up in Hungary and also remained subdued in the Czech Republic, according to data released earlier. 

The region may now need to contend with a weaker expansion in the coming quarters as manufacturing sectors across the continent remain very fragile, despite some signs of an improvement in investor confidence. 

Some economists had already lowered their expectations for Poland’s first-quarter growth after the country’s industrial output fell the most in almost a year and retail sales missed estimates in March. 

Read more: Poland’s Coal Output Drop Raises Questions Over Economic Revival

“The recovery is weaker than we expected,” Polish central bank policymaker Ludwik Kotecki told Biznes24 television on Tuesday, adding this is partly due to the slowdown in Germany. “Until the situation in Germany stabilizes, the Polish economy cannot be expected to grow at a rate of 4-5%.”

--With assistance from Irina Vilcu and Barbara Sladkowska.

(Updates with Poland in the second paragraph.)

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