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.
According to estimates made by the National Bank of Hungary (MNB), house prices in Budapest have increased by 15 per cent since 2015. The figures appear in the latest MNB Housing Market Report, which states that prices are expected to rise further, albeit at a slightly slower rate. However, the report also notes that property prices remain below the level justified by macroeconomic fundamentals. What’s more, 41 per cent of new development projects are currently delayed, with a large number of completions of new dwellings now expected to appear on the market at the end of 2018.
Twice a year, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) publishes its macroeconomic forecasts for 22 countries of Central, East and Southeast Europe (CESEE).
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 Czech EU Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová said in Helsinki in early November that the EU Structural and Cohesion Funds, which aim to reduce regional disparities in income, wealth and opportunities, should comply with the rule of law. Her speech appeared to be directed at Poland and Hungary.
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.
Kraków, Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Sofia and Tallinn are amongst the world’s most elegant cities in a new survey released by Zalando, a German cross-platform online store that sells fashion items. Kraków and Warsaw ranked 27th and 58th, Prague 39th, Budapest 60th, Sofia 73rd and Tallinn in Estonia 79th in the survey which included 80 cities. Paris, London and Vienna are the survey’s runaway leaders.
Georgia is the easiest place in emerging Europe to do business, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Doing Business report, which compares conditions for doing business in 190 countries across the world. Among the top 20, Georgia, with a ranking of 9th, has implemented the highest number of business regulation reforms since the launch of Doing Business in 2003—a total of 47.
The Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia; V4) is looking forward to improving cooperation with the countries of Central Asia. Sharing a similar historical background and strategic position, torn between the East and the West, Central Asia has much to learn from CEE.
The Czech passport is the most powerful of those issued by the 23 countries of emerging Europe. According to the most recent Passport Index, it is ranked eighth globally and allows its holders to travel visa-free to 152 countries around the world. The Hungarian passport is the second most powerful in the region, the only difference to the Czech equivalent being its failure to offer visa-free travel to Lesotho.