By Jamie Scudder of Maplecroft
The European Parliament’s decision on April 18 to extend its monitoring mission to Ukraine is a crucial step for the country in the context of its European aspirations. The mission, which has acted as an informal platform to promote dialogue between the European Union and Ukraine, was one factor behind the government’s decision a week earlier to pardon a number of former opposition politicians. They include former ministers for the interior and the environment, Yuri Lutsenko and HeorhyFilichuk, and four others convicted of corruption. The pardons create renewed hope for stronger trade relations between Ukraine and the EU and have already defused tensions between Kiev and the 27-member bloc. Continue reading »
Serbia was regarded as an international pariah as recently as the last decade but it moved a step closer to joining the European Union on Monday, an acknowledgement of the Balkan country’s return to the continent’s mainstream. But the road to the EU is a long one and will be fraught with difficulty. Continue reading »
By Timothy Ash of Standard Bank
Greek Cypriots must be thinking that with friends like these (the EU and Russia, both seeking to extract their pound of flesh for any bail-out), who needs enemies?
Well, what if Cyprus begins to think outside the box, and what if it goes to its erstwhile enemy, Turkey, for assistance? Continue reading »
A vote of confidence in the euro: Latvia on Monday formally decided to join the troubled common currency, with the prime minister, finance minister and central bank governor jointly signing the application.
It might not make headlines in the ECB’s headquarters in Frankfurt. But for Riga this is big news – its most important economic decision since it joined the European Union in 2004. Continue reading »
This might have been a triumphant year for Croatia. Less than a decade and half after its war of independence, the country will join the EU in July, symbolically returning to the mainstream European fold after decades of authoritarianism and conflict.
But 2013 could well be yet another year in recession for the troubled Croatian economy. A flash estimate published on Thursday suggested that GDP had shrunk 2.0 per cent in the full year 2012 – and prompting forecasts of a grim 2013. Continue reading »
A grim reminder on Friday of the economic havoc that the eurozone crisis is wreaking in the Balkans.
Croatia’s GDP shrank 1.9 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, according to to the state statistics bureau, putting the country well on the way to a 2 per cent contraction for 2012, the fourth year of recession in a row. Hardly the best preparation for joining the EU next July. Continue reading »
Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister Radimir Cacic was sentenced in Hungary on Wednesday to 22 months in prison for causing a fatal crash in 2010.
Cacic, who is Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic’s closest ally, later called a press conference and announced his resignation from the government, saying he was ready to accept his responsibilities [updated]. Croatians who hope to join the European next summer, will be hoping that the case doesn’t turn into a diplomatic issue between Zagreb and Budapest. Continue reading »
Croatia’s expected entry to the European Union in July 2013 will be a big step for the country, which emerged from a bloody war of independence two decades ago. But membership of the EU comes at a cost – including, it seems, rising energy prices. Continue reading »
“Croatia is clearly not yet ready for membership.” Not the message that Zagreb wanted to hear as it prepares for EU accession, particularly from a figure as senior as the speaker of the German parliament.
The statement by Bundestag speaker Norbert Lammert (pictured) , made in an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, comes at an unfortunate time, as Croatia faces growing scepticism over its EU membership bid and a Slovenian threat to block the process altogether. But despite the flak, Croatia still looks set to join the EU on July 1 2013 as planned. Continue reading »
Investors appear to have shrugged off news that the European Commission has opened a formal investigation of the Russia’s natural gas monopoly for suspected anti-competitive practices in European gas markets. But that does not mean that the problem will go away.
Gazprom’s share price has hardly changed since Brussels announced yesterday that it would investigate whether Gazprom was abusing its monopoly position in the EU where Russia accounts for around 26 per cent of gas supplies. Continue reading »
By Tim Gosling of business new europe
ČEZ, the Czech power utility, has put five of its coal-fired power plants on the block and hired the local unit of Deloitte as its financial adviser on the sale.
But analysts say there may not be many suitors for plants that should be in a museum. And the sales are unlikely to do much to placate the European Union, currently investigating ČEZ for allegedly abusing its dominant market position. Continue reading »
It seems unlikely that Butlins, ClubMed or Westin will branch into the hydrocarbons sector any time soon. But the State Oil and Company of Azerbaijan Republic (Socar) is planning to invest €258m to turn a plot of military land in Montenegro into a tourist resort.
Even competitors say such a chunky investment in Montenegro’s tourism would be a boon for the tiny Balkan country, which is busily establishing itself as a holiday destination.
But it remains to be seen whether Socar will complete the deal – which has run into a legal challenge – let alone make it pay, given its lack of experience in international tourism. Continue reading »
Footage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) celebrating Germany’s 4-2 quarter final victory over Greece in the Polish port city of Gdansk may have a wider political symbolism.
But the actions of Europe’s leading politicians, who have so far boycotted Euro 2012 matches across the border in Ukraine, in protest at the jailing and alleged physical mistreatment of Yulia Tymoshenko, may be starting to bear fruit. Continue reading »
The shock victory of former ultranationalist Tomislav Nikolic in Serbia’s presidential election makes the country’s immediate future more uncertain but radical changes to economic policy are unlikely.
Obligations to the International Monetary Fund and European Union and the strength of Serbia’s own institutions will give the new government limited scope for changing course. Continue reading »
A cry of pain from the Balkans. Serbia’s pro-EU president Boris Tadic suffered a shock defeat in Sunday’s election at the hands of his nationalist challenger Tomislav Nikolic.
The result won’t necessarily throw Serbia off the course to EU membership. But it could complicate the process, not least because Nikolic, a former ally of the late strongman Slobodan Milosevic, has been more forthright than Tadic in asserting Serbia’s claim to the lost territory of Kosovo. Continue reading »