Estonia is in the last month of its EU presidency. Having called itself the ‘digital presidency’ it is not surprising that many of the themes of this past month are digital: progression on the taxation of the digital economy and the free movement of data, approval of an ecommerce VAT package, and an agreement on further steps to develop 5G networks across Europe.
Member states of the European Union spent over 300 billion euros on Research and Development (R&D) in 2016, although Central and Eastern European members spent below the EU average. The figures were published on December 4 by Eurostat.
With the first snows of the winter having already fallen across Emerging Europe, many people’s thoughts would have already turned to winter holidays, and to skiing. While for many the countries of the region are not the first to spring to mind when planning a ski trip, there are in fact a number of very good ski resorts in this part of the world. From Jasna in Slovakia to Tsakhkadzor in Armenia, many offer some superb, rugged skiing amidst fantastic scenery, usually at prices well below those in Western Europe. Not that the low cost is the only attraction. For a new breed of adventurous skier, jaded perhaps by the increasingly busy motorway pistes of France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy, the search for fresh powder, for empty slopes and for new experiences is the real draw. That’s where Emerging Europe comes in, and that’s why our editor-in-chief Craig Turp, who has skied in more countries than most people have visited, decided to put together this short guide to skiing in some of the region’s top – and in some cases surprising – locations. Continue reading Skiing in Emerging Europe
World prosperity increased in 2017 and now sits at its highest level in the last decade, being 2.6 per cent higher than in 2007, according to the 11th edition of the Legatum Prosperity Index. However, the gap between the highest and lowest scores has increased and the spread between nations is growing.
The world economy has strengthened, with monetary and fiscal stimulus underpinning a broad-based and synchronised improvement in growth rates across most countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) latest Economic Outlook, published on November 28. For those emerging European countries which are members of the OECD (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) a common theme of the report is an increase in growth driven by consumption, itself powered by tightening labour markets.
Government investigations and regulatory compliance are increasingly concerning issues for businesses operating in the CEE market. This is according to the latest Central and Eastern Europe: Risk & Resilience report, published on November 23 by international law firm CMS and Legal Week, which canvassed the views of more than 40 in-house counsel on the region’s business potential and how to mitigate risks.
Industrial production prices rose by 2.9 per cent year-on-year in the euro area compared with 2016, and by 3.3 per cent in the EU28. The figures are Eurostat estimates, for the year to September 30. The latest monthly figures also show impressive growth, with both the EU19 and EU28 growing by 0.6 per cent in September.
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.
All 23 economies of emerging Europe are set to record positive growth in 2018, led by Georgia, whose GDP is seen as growing by more than 4.2 per cent. Even Azerbaijan, whose economy has contracted for the past two years, is seen as returning to modest positive growth in 2018. The regional outlook is stable, but a couple of places, notably Romania, are giving cause for concern.
The finance ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania announced on November 6 that they had agreed to create a pan-Baltic capital market to strengthen their economies and stimulate investment. Toomas Tõniste (Estonia), Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Latvia) and Vilius Šapoka (Lithuania) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Brussels in which the three countries agreed to harmonise capital market regulations and dismantle investment barriers. All three Baltic States suffer from a number of constraints caused by the relatively small size of their markets: the agreement should help them overcome such limitations.
Eastern Europe and Central Asia has closed on average 71 per cent of its gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. Overall, 68 per cent of the global gender gap has been closed, a slight deterioration on 2016 and 2015, when the gap was 68.3 per cent and 68.1 per cent respectively.
The otherwise monotonous Baltic banking sector has recently seen some tremors with two Nordic banks Nordea and DNB merging into one business, Luminor, a new bank. There are also strong rumours regarding the possible arrival of a Polish bank, PKO, in Lithuania, the largest Baltic state.