Poland’s government has made no secret over the past 12 months of its plans to change media rules in a such way that could force some foreign owners out of the country. Despite criticism from both the European Union and human rights groups including Amnesty, Poland’s Deputy Culture Minister Pawel Lewandowski said as recently as August 2017 that while the new law (which he is helping to draft) would stop short of ‘re-Polonizing’ the nation’s media, it would nevertheless impose rules limiting ownership on groups whose cross-platform holdings and market share are deemed ‘dominant.’
Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine may soon join the European customs union and Schengen area, gaining increased access to the single market. The European Parliament passed a resolution on November 15 calling for deeper integration with the three emerging Europe states as they implement more reforms, potentially paving the way for them becoming candidate countries.
The Ukrainian economic crisis of 2014-15 was caused by a number of factors, each one coinciding and reinforcing the other. Today, the country’s economy is recovering, but it remains highly dependent on the speed and the ultimate success of several key reforms, of which judiciary reform is the most important.
There is much talk in Europe at the moment about the potential spread of separatist movements, a consequence of Catalonia’s referendum on independence. A number of maps have appeared on the internet pointing to various regions which may be next in line. The spectre of disintegrating states haunts some European Union states and is perceived (or instrumented) as a threat by others. In the eastern part of the EU, there is much talk about the case of the Silesians (some even mention the Kashubians) in Poland, the Hungarians of the Székely Land in Romania and Slovakia, Moravians in the Czech Republic, Russians in Latgale (Latvia), and the historical region of Samogitia in Lithuania.
Prague’s Na Příkopě and Pařížská are the most expensive retail streets in emerging Europe, with monthly rents averaging 220 euros per square metre. Kaunas is Europe’s most affordable retail location, with annual rents standing at just 174 euros per square metre. The figures were published on November 16 in a major new report prepared by real estate agency Cushman and Wakefield.
A new report published by HSBC on November 14 shows growth across emerging Europe exceeding expectations in the third quarter of 2017. Romania (8.8 per cent), Poland (4.7 per cent) and the Czech Republic (5 per cent) all beat previous forecasts, while Hungarian economic growth (3.8 per cent) also picked up pace, but came in a touch below consensus expectations.
Poland’s governing party, Law and Justice (PiS) continues to herald its multiple successes two years after the party won a general election. First, the party’s leader Jarosław Kaczyński gave a special interview to state-owned and government-managed TVP, then he and Prime Minister Beata Szydło threw an unexpected press conference, but didn’t take any questions from media representatives. Continue reading Kaczyński Defends PiS Record
Although many private companies are still reluctant to invest in Belarus, where 80 per cent of all industry remains in state hands, Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov has reiterated that the government wants to continue supporting entrepreneurship.
Continue reading Belarus Steps Up Liberalisation of Business
Since leaving office Toomas Ilves, president of Estonia from 2006-16 and driver of the Baltic state’s world-leading initiatives in e-government and cyber security, has become a roving advocate for digital government. Early in November he told the 2017 edition of the Microsoft Summit that those countries wanting to emulate Estonia need to “mind the gap” between the pace of digitalisation in the private and public sectors.
Confirming China’s increasing interest in emerging Europe, electric car manufacturer Zhi Dou is reportedly looking for a location to build a new plant, with Slovakia one of its preferred options. Zhi Dou, which is part of the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, wants to start building cars by 2020 in a new facility which will reportedly cost around 400 million euros.
In a move designed to cut red-tape and bureaucracy, the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced a number of significant changes to the make-up of his cabinet on November 13. In the biggest move, the Ministry of Energy and the natural resources management component of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource Protection will be incorporated into one ministry: the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. This new mega—ministry will be led by Dimitri Kumsishvili, first deputy prime minister and erstwhile minister of finance.
With 2017 marking 25 years since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Georgia and the United Kingdom, we are happy to celebrate the anniversary as strategic partners, committed to further deepening and widening our cooperation in all fields. Continue reading Georgia in the UK