All posts by Andrew Wrobel

Andrew Wrobel

About Andrew Wrobel

Andrew Wrobel is head of editorial of Emerging Europe. Trained as a journalist and a film maker, he has worked for broadcast media for almost 15 years, covering business and economy and, occasionally, culture and tourism. He has authored and contributed to a number of international business, investment and trade-related publications and reports. In 2014, Andrew was awarded, by London-based EVCOM, for his coverage of an awareness campaign UKTI ran about CEE. He's a moderator, panelist and a media commentator. Twitter: @andrew__wrobel

The Eurovision Song Contest Is a Perfect Showcase for Ukraine’s Talent and Warmth

O.Torvald is the fourteenth Ukrainian act to appear in the Eurovision song contest. The country joined the family in 2003 and won the competition a year later with Ruslana’s Wild Dances. In 2007, Verka Serduchka came second with Dancing Lasha Tumbai. In 2008, the performer’s success was repeated by Ani Lorak, who sang Shady lady. In 2013, Zlata Ognevich took third place. Finally, in 2016, Jamala’s 1944 brought the Eurovision song contest to Kyiv again. Continue reading The Eurovision Song Contest Is a Perfect Showcase for Ukraine’s Talent and Warmth

Naftogaz: A Good Start Has Slowed But Optimism Remains High

Closeup of pressure meter on natural gas pipeline with people on the background

Ukraine hasn’t bought Russian gas since November 2015. In January 2017, Gazprom charged Naftogaz $5.3 billion for gas it had not purchased, under a take-or-pay clause covering the second through to the fourth quarter of 2016. The applicability of the take-or-pay principle is currently being reviewed by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce within the context of the arbitration proceedings between Naftogaz and Gazprom that were initiated in 2014. Naftogaz doesn’t intend to pay the invoice until the final decision has been reached in the arbitration.

Yuriy Vitrenko, Group Chief Commercial Officer at Naftogaz, spoke to Andrew Wrobel, about the reforms of the Ukrainian gas market that have already been introduced and the challenges that the sector is facing now as a result of a slowdown in further reforms. Continue reading Naftogaz: A Good Start Has Slowed But Optimism Remains High

Ukraine Can Learn from Poland’s Economic History

In 1990, GDP per capita in Poland and Ukraine was roughly the same and amounted to some $1,600. By the end of 2016, Polish GDP grew to $12,700. In 2013, GDP per capita in Ukraine equalled $4,200 but the recent recession has caused it to fall again, to some $2,000.

Leszek Balcerowicz is a former Polish deputy prime minister, and he is known for implementing the Polish economic transformation programme in the 1990s: this was a shock therapy that is commonly referred to as the Balcerowicz Plan. He is a former governor of the National Bank of Poland, and currently, he is Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko’s, representative in the cabinet of ministers. He spoke to Andrew Wrobel about Poland’s transformation in the 1990s and the current government’s economic growth plans, as well as his ideas for the economic development of Ukraine. Continue reading Ukraine Can Learn from Poland’s Economic History

Ukraine Is Energy Independent in Some Sectors and Awaiting Change in Others

Ukraine, similar to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, and Serbia, is a contracting party of the Energy Community, whose goal is to extend the EU internal energy market beyond the European Union, by attracting investment, creating an integrated energy market, securing supply and enhancing competition.

Janez Kopač, director at the Energy Community Secretariat, and Karolina Cegir, a gas expert in the organisation, spoke to Andrew Wrobel, about how Ukraine’s energy sector is integrating with the EU’s. Continue reading Ukraine Is Energy Independent in Some Sectors and Awaiting Change in Others

The Ukrainian Banking Sector Looks Set to Regenerate New Growth

The Ukrainian banking sector is going through tremendous changes. The National Bank’s efforts to clean up the industry, the recent nationalisation of PrivatBank and the merger of Ukrsotsbank and Alfa-Bank are only a few examples.

Tamara Savoshchenko, Chairwoman of the Management Board at Ukrsotsbank, and Roman Shpek, an advisor to the President of Alfa-Bank Ukraine and Head of the Independent Association of Ukrainian Banks, spoke to Andrew Wrobel about the bank’s merger and its impact on the market as well as the prospects for the banking sector in Ukraine. Continue reading The Ukrainian Banking Sector Looks Set to Regenerate New Growth

Europe’s Breadbasket Offers Opportunities for Investment and Diversification

Ukraine is known as Europe’s breadbasket and has close to a third of all the arable land area in the whole EU: some 34 million hectares. 70 per cent of that land is highly fertile black soil with a depth of up to six metres deep.

Elena Voloshina, country representative of the International Finance Corporation in Ukraine, spoke to Andrew Wrobel about the challenges and opportunities in the agricultural and energy sectors, where the IFC is strongly engaged in in Ukraine. Continue reading Europe’s Breadbasket Offers Opportunities for Investment and Diversification

January Kicks Off an Exciting Year for Emerging Europe

The new year has just begun and already it has brought a few events that will have a massive impact on what emerging Europe will face in 2017: on 17 January, the British Prime Minister laid out the foundations and the 12 objectives for untangling Britain from the European Union; three days later, the inauguration of Donald Trump, as the 45th president of the United States, marked the commencement of his four-year term. Less than a week later, the two politicians met to discuss the “special relationship” between the US and the UK. Continue reading January Kicks Off an Exciting Year for Emerging Europe

Changes Are Needed in Ukraine’s Economy and Business to Catch up with CEE Growth

Until now, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has invested over € 21 billion in more than 1,000 projects across six countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus (EEC), contributing to the countries’ economic growth as well as policy dialogue. 

Francis Malige, Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), spoke to Andrew Wrobel about the prospects for growth in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which make up the Bank’s EEC region, as well as the business climate and investment opportunities in its largest economy — Ukraine. Continue reading Changes Are Needed in Ukraine’s Economy and Business to Catch up with CEE Growth

Changes Are Making Ukrainian Banking More Aligned with International Standards

In January 2014, €1 cost about 11 Hryvnias (UAH) and $1, almost eight. At the end of December 2016, these foreign currencies were bought at close to 28 and 27 Hryvnias, respectively. However, depreciation is not the only challenge the National Bank of Ukraine has had to face.

Dmytro Sologub, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), spoke to Andrew Wrobel about the recent nationalisation of PrivatBank, the country’s largest bank, about the reforms of the banking system and development prospects for the financial sector, as well as the future of FDI in Ukraine. Continue reading Changes Are Making Ukrainian Banking More Aligned with International Standards

Where is Bulgaria After Ten Years in the EU?

In November 2016, Bulgarian opposition Socialist, Rumen Radev, won the presidential election, defeating the centre-right speaker of parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva, an ally of Prime Minister, Boyko Borissov. The PM had pledged to step down if his candidate lost, and he did thus triggering an early election.

Larisa Manastirli, Director for Bulgaria at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is a leading investor in the Bulgarian economy, spoke to Andrew Wrobel, about the reforms the country has introduced and the improvements that are still required, ten years after Bulgaria joined the European Union. Continue reading Where is Bulgaria After Ten Years in the EU?