Winning the Fight for Female Talent in Central and Eastern Europe

pwc women
Olga Grygier-Siddons

Olga Grygier-Siddons

Chair of PwC in CEE

A unique confluence of demographic, historical and cultural factors is changing the balance of power between Central and Eastern European companies and the women who work for them. As increasing automation drives up the relative demand for skills that have traditionally been seen as female, employers are moving from just paying lip service to inclusion, to actively competing to attract and retain talented women. Continue reading Winning the Fight for Female Talent in Central and Eastern Europe

Globalisation Needs to Work, Not Only for the Few but for the Most and in Demonstrable Ways

Global Spread

Building a green economy is a new trend, now, for every country. But still, many countries are concerned about environmental limitations that can slow down the economic growth.

The emerging Europe countries are now entering a period of slower growth. Despite the fact that the income gap with Western Europe countries has become narrower, not everyone seems to have shared this prosperity. Enhanced policy structures and supportive reforms have helped these countries in the last decades, but nowadays the financial crisis is affecting these markets badly.

Continue reading Globalisation Needs to Work, Not Only for the Few but for the Most and in Demonstrable Ways

Emerging Europe Makes Great Strides in Improving Business Regulation for Entrepreneurs

Skopje Macedonia
Santiago Croci Downes

Santiago Croci Downes

Acting Manager, Doing Business Unit, World Bank

Emerging European economies offer a sound business regulatory framework. According to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business report, four economies in emerging Europe are in the global top 20 for the ease of doing business rankings. They are the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (ranked tenth out of 190 economies), Estonia (12), Latvia (14) and Georgia (16).
Continue reading Emerging Europe Makes Great Strides in Improving Business Regulation for Entrepreneurs

The Bucharest Stock Exchange Has Started the Year on a Promising Note

stock exchange bucharest

In the first quarter of 2017, the value of transactions on the regulated market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) climbed to a six-year high and reached €530 million while the number of transactions and traded volumes climbed to a seven-year high. Ludwik Sobolewski, CEO of the BVB, spoke to Andrew Wrobel, about the effects that could positively influence the country once it gains emerging market status, and the increased interest shown by private companies to be listed on the stock exchange.

Continue reading The Bucharest Stock Exchange Has Started the Year on a Promising Note

An Independent Judicial System is Essential to Attract FDI

legal system CEE

The judicial system in many emerging European countries is not a focus for the authorities and yet, it is vital for attracting foreign investors, says Panos Katsambas, Partner at Reed Smith, a law firm that counsels the world’s largest financial institutions and other financial investors. He spoke to Andrew Wrobel about the development of emerging Europe and the perception of the region amongst international investors.

Continue reading An Independent Judicial System is Essential to Attract FDI

EU Membership Offers Real Prospects of Social Progress Gains

Beautiful view on cute backyard in sunny day, fresh green grass
Michael Green

Michael Green

CEO, Social Progress Imperative

In recent years, the narrative around the EU has all too often been one of divergence: from the economic shockwaves that led to ongoing speculation about Greece’s future in the Eurozone, to the UK’s decision to leave the bloc. However, when it comes to measures of social progress, far from divergence, we are seeing a very different story — one of convergence between nations. Analysis by the Social Progress Index offers hope to nation states, of a promising future for the 500 million people living within the EU. Just as importantly, to candidate nations, the prize of EU membership offers the potential for improvements in the social conditions of their citizens.

Continue reading EU Membership Offers Real Prospects of Social Progress Gains

Belarus is Bringing Opportunities for European Companies

Great Stone

According to the EU statistics, China and Europe now trade well over €1 billion a day. The Asian giant is the EU’s second trading partner behind the United States and the EU is China’s biggest trading partner. At the same time the country accounts for a mere two or three per cent of overall European investments abroad. Why? Perhaps because some European investors are concerned about starting their own operations in China.

Continue reading Belarus is Bringing Opportunities for European Companies

Sergei Guriev: Emerging Europe Countries are Happy Alike and Unhappy in Their Own Ways

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - 21 JUNE 2014: People on the streets of Prague, Czech Republic. Prague is one of the most visited city in Europe with over 5 million visitors every year.

Inclusion and green growth are aspects that some emerging Europe countries have not really started taking seriously enough, so institutions like ours need to further increase support and to invest more in both aspects, says Sergei Guriev, chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). He spoke to Andrew Wrobel about global trends that might have an impact on emerging Europe, the region’s prospects for growth and the challenges it is facing. Continue reading Sergei Guriev: Emerging Europe Countries are Happy Alike and Unhappy in Their Own Ways

Cautious Upturn in Emerging Europe Haunted by the Spectre of Uncertainty

Donald Trump
Mario Holzner

Mario Holzner

Deputy Director of wiiw

For the economies of emerging Europe, the international economic environment appears generally positive. In 2017-2018, GDP growth in the Euro area is expected to hover at around 1.7 per cent. The international financial markets have stabilised and the current economic mood is improving. Because of the global recovery, the US Fed is expected to increase interest rates further in 2017, while oil prices are likely to rise. In the EU, disbursements from the payments’ cycle of the European Structural and Investment Funds are only just beginning, indicating higher co-financed investments in the Central and Eastern European EU member states (EU-CEE) from this year onwards.

Continue reading Cautious Upturn in Emerging Europe Haunted by the Spectre of Uncertainty

Harris Georgiades: Cyprus’s Restored Business Environment Offers Investment Opportunities

Emerging Europe EBRD Sea port city of Larnaca, Cyprus. This picture was taken through the window of the plane.

Unlocking Cyprus’ investment potential and improving the business environment are among the main priorities of the Government, says Harris Georgiades, Minister of Finance for Cyprus. He spoke to Jerry Cameron about the country’s economic performance, prospects for future growth and the sectors Cyprus plans on developing. Continue reading Harris Georgiades: Cyprus’s Restored Business Environment Offers Investment Opportunities

Kazakhstan is Beginning to Explore Belt and Road Opportunities

Astana Kazakhstan
Agris Preimanis

Agris Preimanis

EBRD Head of Kazakhstan

It was in Kazakhstan that the world first heard about a new initiative from China to recreate the ancient Silk Road trading routes. During his visit, in 2013, the President of China, Xi Jinping, announced what has become known as the Belt and Road Initiative, for the first time. It is a giant project to build both a land and a maritime route to connect China with Europe and other trading partners.

Continue reading Kazakhstan is Beginning to Explore Belt and Road Opportunities

Günter Verheugen: Populist Politics and Euroscepticism Will Have an Impact on CEE

eu guenter verheugen

With the European Union going through the most turbulent time in its history, new questions are coming up about its future, which, in fact, might be even more challenging. What impact will Brexit have on the EU, what changes will take place in Europe after this year’s elections in France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic; these are only a few of them.

Günter Verheugen, former European Commissioner for Enlargement and later Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, who played an important role in the EU enlargement process in 2004, spoke to Nikodem Chinowski about the future of the European Union.  Continue reading Günter Verheugen: Populist Politics and Euroscepticism Will Have an Impact on CEE

The Cyprus Dispute: Recognising the Changing Rules of the Conflict

cyprus emerging europe ebrd
Iakov Frizis

Iakov Frizis

an economist at CASE

Despite high hopes, negotiations between Cypriots of Greek and Turkish ethnicity came to an abrupt halt, earlier this year, when the Parliament in Cyprus passed a law to commemorate the 1950 Enosis referendum on political integration with Greece. This represents only the most recent occurrence of an issue which, while not sufficient to wreck the talks, still drives delegates away from the negotiating table. Continue reading The Cyprus Dispute: Recognising the Changing Rules of the Conflict

Transition in Government and the Economy Remains Vital in CEE

Cloudy skies above the Hungarian Parliament Building Budapest.
Christopher A. Hartwell

Christopher A. Hartwell

President of CASE

As the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) holds its annual meeting in Cyprus, the political and economic landscape across transition economies is perhaps one of the most difficult that the EBRD has faced since the early 1990s. The rise of authoritarian populism, the acceleration of centrifugal forces in Europe, and the emergence of Russia as a source of regional instability have all threatened to unravel some of the hard fought gains seen in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the former Soviet Union (FSU). Continue reading Transition in Government and the Economy Remains Vital in CEE

CEE NPL Resolutions – Now and Then

NPL central and eastern europe
Agnes Molnar

Agnes Molnar

Senior Associate, Reed Smith

When the global financial crisis reached Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), in the fall of 2008, the era of easy, foreign-financed credit came to an abrupt end and export markets collapsed. The region’s economy was plunged into a deep recession. Problems with the quality of banks’ assets emerged soon thereafter and non-performing loans (NPLs) rose sharply. Additionally, the high level of local debt denominated (predominantly) in Swiss francs made local borrowers extremely vulnerable and led to them sub-performing. The first wave of NPL resolutions was borne within the Vienna Initiative 1, which aimed to keep western European banks committed to the CEE market. Continue reading CEE NPL Resolutions – Now and Then

Switched on Heads of Expansion Are Developing their Own Business Rankings, Adjusted to Their Companies’ Realities

global expansion
Fernando Faria

Fernando Faria

Founder and CEO of Global Expansion Summit

The way companies approach expansion strategy is changing. I recently met with the head of Expansion, of a fast growth technology company, and learnt more about his thought process when deciding which country to go next. Continue reading Switched on Heads of Expansion Are Developing their Own Business Rankings, Adjusted to Their Companies’ Realities

Albania’s Agribusiness Support Facility – With a Little Help From Your Friends

View of the central square with the monument of Skanderbeg in the Albanian capital Tirana
Matteo Colangeli

Matteo Colangeli

EBRD Head of Albania

Albania boasts rich soil and favourable climatic conditions in the middle of both the Mediterranean and continental zones of Central Europe. This puts Albania in a unique position to grow and harvest a diverse amount of agricultural produce, ranging from fruits and vegetables to and dairy products, to medical and aromatic plants, as well as wheat. Continue reading Albania’s Agribusiness Support Facility – With a Little Help From Your Friends

The EBRD Helps Jordan’s Infrastructure to Accommodate an Influx of Refugees

ebrd jordan refugees
Heike Harmgart

Heike Harmgart

EBRD Head of Jordan

The conflict in Syria is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. To date, almost five million people have been forced to flee the country in six years of war. They are seeking a safe haven in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and beyond, while some 13.5 million people are displaced internally. Continue reading The EBRD Helps Jordan’s Infrastructure to Accommodate an Influx of Refugees

Emerging Europe Has Already ‘Emerged’ for the Most and it’s a Transition to Be Proud Of

Andrew Wrobel

Andrew Wrobel

Editor-in-Chief, Emerging Europe

For us, emerging Europe is a region that comprises 23 countries — some of them belonging to the European Union, some believing they will join the Bloc soon and still others having chosen the Eurasian Economic Union. Are they New Europe, New Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe or maybe emerging Europe? Is it something else again? Continue reading Emerging Europe Has Already ‘Emerged’ for the Most and it’s a Transition to Be Proud Of

The Dragon is Knocking at our Doors

china serbia silk road
Bogdan Góralczyk

Bogdan Góralczyk

Director, Centre for Europe, Warsaw University

The assertive and ambitious leader of the ‘People’s Republic’s fifth generation of leadership’ and charismatic president, Xi Jinping (in power since the end of 2012) is attracting worldwide attention. However, because we are quite a distance from China, mixed unfortunately with a lack of strategic thinking and a certain neglect of the ‘emerging markets’ phenomenon on the European side, our understanding of the strategic impact of a China’s new role remains below expectations and needs.

Continue reading The Dragon is Knocking at our Doors

Greener and More Resilient: Energy Sector Reforms in Serbia for the Benefit of All

Belgrade, Serbia - confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers
Daniel Berg

Daniel Berg

EBRD Head of Serbia

When Serbia started excavating the first lignite mine in the Kolubara coal basin, and constructed the first lignite fired power plants, built with Soviet technology, in the 1950s, electrification was at the cutting edge of industrialisation and the development of the Yugoslav economy. The lignite mines in Kolubara were among the largest in Europe, producing 30 million tonnes of coal. Together with a second mining basin in Kostolac, these two lignite fields supplied the fuel for 55 per cent of Serbia’s power generation capacity. In the 1970s and 1980s coal-fired power plants were built in Obrenovac, including the two huge units of the Nikola Tesla B power plant; built to supply the whole of Yugoslavia. Continue reading Greener and More Resilient: Energy Sector Reforms in Serbia for the Benefit of All

Leszek Balcerowicz: 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 Leszek Balcerowicz: Ukraine Can Learn from Poland’s Economic History

Poland Government’s Development Plan and the EBRD’s Role

Warsaw EBRD annual meeting
Grzegorz Zieliński

Grzegorz Zieliński

EBRD Regional Director, Poland and the Baltics

Although Poland has been one of the best performing European economies for many years, the government wants the country to do even better. The sustainable development plan that was launched last year by Deputy Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, aims to make the economy “more dynamic”. It is based on five pillars: reindustrialisation, development of innovative companies, capital for development, foreign expansion and sustainable social and regional development. Continue reading Poland Government’s Development Plan and the EBRD’s Role

Strengthening the Resilience of the Economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Montenegro EBRD annual meeting
Ian Brown

Ian Brown

EBRD Head of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country with great potential, but it also faces many challenges. With a population of 3.8 million it is a comparatively small country with a limited market capacity. This means that in order to prosper, the economy must succeed on external markets. Competitiveness and support for regional integration are therefore crucial for strengthening the resilience of the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Continue reading Strengthening the Resilience of the Economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Lithuania’s Focus on SME Growth and the EBRD’s Role

View on Vilnus
Matti Hyyrynen

Matti Hyyrynen

EBRD Head of the Baltics

Lithuania’s economy has been both consistent and resilient in recent years, effectively recovering from the 2008 financial crisis that affected many EU member states so heavily. Since 2011, the country has achieved an impressive growth rate of four per cent per year and it joined the Eurozone in 2015. In order to ensure further progress, the government plans to encourage increased public and private funding in business projects over the next three years. The goal is to make Lithuania a hub for innovative technology and finance in order to help new businesses and talented entrepreneurs grow.

Continue reading Lithuania’s Focus on SME Growth and the EBRD’s Role

Lower Imbalances Should Support more Inclusive Growth Going Forward

Mixed currency notes
Johann Strobl

Johann Strobl

CEO, Raiffeisen Bank International AG

Currently, we see a solid economic momentum in the CEE region. This assessment is backed up by key sentiment indicators, as well as hard data. Therefore, we expect seven to nine economies in Central and South-eastern Europe (CE/SEE) to post GDP growth rates at or above three per cent in 2017.
Continue reading Lower Imbalances Should Support more Inclusive Growth Going Forward

Ukrainian Agribusiness — a Jewel in a Crown

Wheat ukraine agriculture ebrd
Sevki Acuner

Sevki Acuner

EBRD Head of Ukraine

Ukraine’s favourable geographical location; it’s extremely fertile black soil; decent infrastructure and relatively cheap labour force make the country’s agribusiness sector highly competitive. A lot has been achieved in the country over the past 25 years to enable Ukraine to live up to its status as the “breadbasket of Europe” and to help, at least partly, address the global challenge of sustainable food supply and food security. Continue reading Ukrainian Agribusiness — a Jewel in a Crown

Georgia on My Mind – Where Beauty Meets Business

georgia ebrd emerging europe
Bruno Balvanera

Bruno Balvanera

EBRD Head for the Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus

Georgia is a beautiful country, blessed with a favourable location at the crossroads between Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Bordering Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Turkey and with access to the sea, Georgia has good transportation links with the entire region and beyond, and it enjoys a free trade agreement with Turkey and the CIS countries as well as an Association Agreement with the EU. Continue reading Georgia on My Mind – Where Beauty Meets Business

Cyprus: The Green Economy Shows the Way Forward

Cyprus coastline view, turquoise sea, white beaches
Libor Krkoška

Libor Krkoška

EBRD Head of Cyprus

The green economy in Cyprus has great potential. The level of solar irradiance in Cyrus is one of the highest in Europe. At the same time, the island is highly dependent on imported sources of energy, principally highly polluting oil and oil products: The energy system is isolated with no interconnections with neighbouring countries and renewables still account for just above five per cent of energy supply. Continue reading Cyprus: The Green Economy Shows the Way Forward

Moldova: a Regional Economic Platform Vision

Aerial Landscape View Of Chisinau, Moldova
Dimitri Gvindadze

Dimitri Gvindadze

EBRD Head of Moldova

Moldova has been working recently to foster investments and to address the accumulated challenges in the banking and the real sectors. The programme with the IMF is on track and it has been serving as an important anchor point for structural reforms, including the comprehensive transformation of Moldova’s banking sector which is showing itself through improved regulations and front-loaded efforts to foster good governance and transparency.

Continue reading Moldova: a Regional Economic Platform Vision