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.
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.
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.
At the end of October the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) organised its international business-to-business event called the Slovak Matchmaking Fair (Slovenská kooperačná burza). The event, attended by around 300 companies, was held for the first time in Košice, the largest city in eastern Slovakia.
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.
Mixed messages in the world of Slovakian business. While according to the latest figures published by the Business Alliance of Slovakia (PAS) the country’s business environment rating has fallen to 49.6 points (less than half its original starting value), in better news the World Economic Forum’s 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) ranks Slovakia 59th, up six places on last year. Slovakia has alas dropped six places, from 33rd to 39th, in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report.
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.
Central European Media (CME), which owns and operates a number of television stations across emerging Europe, including TV Nova in the Czech Republic, bTV in Bulgaria and Pro TV in Romania, has announced a big increase in revenue for the third quarter of 2017.
Economic strategies are being questioned in several countries, both in Emerging Europe and elsewhere. Politicians have proposed more nationalist economic approaches, and in some cases are acting on them, in both Hungary and Poland as well as the US and the UK. In the former two emerging Europe countries, governments have consciously adopted policies of promoting nationally owned businesses, ostensibly out of concern that excessive foreign ownership hurts the country’s welfare. Continue reading Is the Level of Foreign Ownership a Problem in Emerging Europe?