Macedonia has a new coalition government comprised of SDSM (the former communist party) and two ethnic Albanian junior coalition partners: DUI (a party founded by the members of the local KLA) and DR-DPA (a coalition itself of smaller parties, led by the mayor of Struga). Continue reading Macedonia’s Controversial Coalition Government
Bulgaria is still the poorest EU member state, although its GDP is now around 50 per cent of the Bloc’s average, while it was only 25 per cent back in 2000. The country has a rather dynamic and often turbulent political life, but its democracy is more pluralistic and less polarised than Hungary and Poland. In a rather competitive environment, one party – the centre-right GERB — and its leader Boyko Borissov have dominated the political scene over the last ten years. They emerged as the biggest party faction in the National Assembly after the latest parliamentary elections in March. On May 4, the third Borissov government was sworn in. Continue reading Bulgaria Needs a Reform-Oriented Government to Take Full Advantage of its EU Membership
Universities are among the oldest organisations in the Western world. The University of Bologna was founded in 1088, Oxford and Cambridge not long thereafter. Some forty European universities that continue to operate today were founded before 1500. Dozens of American universities have been in existence longer than the United States. Continue reading Hungary’s Nationalist Assault on Free Enquiry
Joining the EU has unlocked robust GDP growth and continues to aggregate positive energy in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Adhering to the common market has brought a surge in trade, positive institutional changes and improvements in the business environment. However for many countries, it has also led to a migration of the labour force, which could affect long-term economic growth prospects. Continue reading The Competitive Edge in Central and Eastern Europe
The future of Europe is at stake, and the reasons extend far beyond such obvious challenges as the migration crisis and the political turbulence that led to Brexit. Continue reading Poland’s Unicorn, Slovakia’s Flying Car and the Future of Europe
Recently, there has been increased interest amongst businesses and technology companies in the concept of a “sharing economy”. However, there has been a lack of proper debate on this concept and the impact it could have in a wide range of industries and sectors, particularly in the CEE countries. Although it’s quite a recent trend in the CEE region, there are new start-ups emerging there, despite there being some barriers to entry. For a sharing economy to become mainstream in CEE Europe, all those involved need to change their mind-sets, from the idea of ownership towards more of an access approach. Continue reading The Sharing Economy Could Bring New Business Models to CEE
While Belarus will not have its Euromaidan any time soon, recent developments at home and abroad suggest that the country’s political course is not set in stone. Continue reading Not All Quiet on the Eastern Front
We are now potentially only weeks away from the triggering of Article 50. This all-important section of the Lisbon Treaty sets out the process by which a member country can leave the EU. No country has ever left the EU before and some experts are predicting a ten-year timeframe to negotiate a new trade deal: In this case, the UK Government has its work cut out for it if it is to complete Brexit negotiations within the two years stipulated by Article 50. Continue reading The Voice of European Business Must Be Heard Loud and Clear by Brexit Negotiators
Brexit means that Poland’s right-wing government is losing its most important EU ally and the opposition warns that the country could end up marginalised on the European periphery. However, the ruling party argues that Warsaw is a leader in debates on the EU’s future and is calling for a re-think of the trajectory of the European project. However, the future status of Poles, living in the UK, could complicate its plans to ensure an amicable Brexit settlement. Continue reading How Will Poland Approach the Brexit Negotiations?
The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) negotiations between the European Union and Ukraine began in 2018, after the country joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Despite having started on the wave of the Orange Revolution of 2003-2004, they were continued, or even accelerated, by President Viktor Yanukovych, who was elected in 2010 and is known for his pro-Russian. Continue reading Finalising the DCFTA is Expected to Bring Multiple Benefits to Ukraine
Since gaining its dependence Ukraine’s economic and political priorities have been to attract foreign investors. Ukraine is a country with a population of 45 million. The country’s leadership’s main arguments to attract foreign investors have been its abundant and cheap labour force as well as a large market and fast growth of consumption. But is that supply of labour sustainable? Continue reading Ukraine’s Reputation for Cheap Labour May Not Ring True in the Long-term
At the start of 2015, Switzerland ended a cap on the value of the Franc relative to the Euro. Before this, it had been pegged at 1.20 Swiss Francs for one Euro. After the cap was removed, the Swiss Franc increased in value against the Euro by 30 per cent. The currency increased by 25 per cent in value against the United States dollar, also. However, this change in valuation has the greatest impact on nations with weaker economies, whose citizens borrowed heavily in Swiss Francs at the old exchange rates. Continue reading Examining How a Strong Swiss Franc Could Single-Handedly Topple Poland’s Economy
When I first came to Romania in 1990, the revolution had just finished. Ceausescu was dead and the political classes were forming into parties. That was 27 years ago. Even in 1990, people were on the streets, elated by what had been achieved. The then Government party was the party which eventually morphed into the Social Democratic Party (PSD).
Despite its natural beauty spots and historical sites, Belarus isn’t a top tourist destination. As a matter of fact, it has been one of the least visited countries in Europe. Unfortunately, Belarus remains unknown to both foreign tourists and large-scale international business, primarily because of its visa regime. However, this is expected to change now, as Belarus is striving to overcome this stereotype and 12 February 2017 marks the important day when the visa regime changed. Continue reading Will the New Five-day Visa-free Regime Encourage More Visitors to Belarus?
In the current geostrategic environment, it is impossible to divorce political development from economic development. The prospects for the global economy and, by implication, for individual economies are intricately driven by significantly changing and unpredictable geopolitical trends. Continue reading European Volatility Makes Economic Development Slower for Ukraine
“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidise it.” The words of US President Ronald Reagan are still a useful shorthand to understanding government’s approach to the economy, even after the economic changes of the last thirty years. Continue reading The Morawiecki Plan Promises a Brighter Future for Poland
Across 62 economies around the world, more than two-thirds of the adult population believe that entrepreneurs are well-regarded and enjoy high status within their societies. At the same time, Europe has the lowest belief in entrepreneurship as a good career choice — 58 per cent. Positive perceptions about entrepreneurship as a career choice range from 40 percent among the Finns and Swiss, to 78 per cent for the Netherlands. Continue reading A Positive and Modern View of Entrepreneurship
In his autobiographical and excellent overview of culture and society in Europe at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, ‘The World of Yesterday’, the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig showed how quickly the categories and concepts that describe the world around us can become obsolete. The lead up to World War I and the 1920s were separated by a mere decade, but when viewed in retrospect, these two decades seem to have little in common. For Zweig, writing in 1940, that entire bygone world was nothing more than an implausible legend. Continue reading Prepare for a New Europe
Despite the uneasy relations between Europe and Moscow, Gazprom’s gas supplies to European consumers set a new record in 2016. Still, Russian gas imports to the EU is a heavily politicised issue that is often attacked from the viewpoint of the security of supply or the environment. While the Nord Stream 1 project was completed with EU backing, and mainly because of the gas crisis which left several EU countries in the cold during 2009, the pipeline’s expansion has left European powers divided. Continue reading Europe at Odds over OPAL and Nord Stream 2
The Statistics Office of Poland has just announced that GDP growth in 2016 was 2.8 per cent, which is quite a decent result, by European standards, as the EU Commission estimates only eight (out of 28) EU countries are expected to grow faster, with the Block’s forecasted average being below two per cent. Continue reading Poland’s Confusing GDP Growth
During the summit marking the 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, in December 2016, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, called for a move forward with a two-speed Europe and also for the creation of a different orbit for those EU Member States who do not wish to take part in all facets of EU integration. If implemented, this approach will have far-reaching consequences for the CEE region, especially for the countries of the Visegrad group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia), which could effectively be side-lined in a two-speed Europe. Continue reading Will a Two-speed European Union Side-line the Visegrad Four?
When it joined the European Union in 2004, Poland was obliged to adopt the Euro (providing the country meets the Maastricht criteria) in the same manner as the other nine new member states and the three which entered the Block in 2007 and 2013 — at some undefined point in the future. Since then, the Baltic countries, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta have all changed their national currencies, but Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia have not yet done so. Continue reading Poland: Is it Ready, and is it Time to Adopt the Euro?
The new year has just begun and already it has brought a few events that will have a massive impact on what emerging Europe will face in 2017: on 17 January, the British Prime Minister laid out the foundations and the 12 objectives for untangling Britain from the European Union; three days later, the inauguration of Donald Trump, as the 45th president of the United States, marked the commencement of his four-year term. Less than a week later, the two politicians met to discuss the “special relationship” between the US and the UK. Continue reading January Kicks Off an Exciting Year for Emerging Europe
The European Commission has been preparing a technical communication that focusses on waste-to-energy (WtE). It aims to explore the opportunities this offers, particularly with regard to the synergies between resource and energy efficiency. The communication was scheduled to be published at the end of 2016 together with the reviewed Renewable Energy Directive. Continue reading The CEE Region Is Making Advances in Prioritising Waste-to-Energy Projects
In November 2016, the Romanian Ministry of Economy posted a preliminary draft of the energy sector 2016-2030 for public consultation, with a year 2050 perspective. It tackles all energy resources such as crude oil, natural gas, coal, biomass and energetic waste, and includes special sections for electricity. This is, therefore, the occasion for a review of the Romanian power sector and its evolution over the past 25 years. Continue reading After 25 Years of Restructuring, the Romanian Power Sector Is at a Crossroad
Nowadays, consumers are more demanding than ever before, when it comes to products, services and brands and they are using digital tools to articulate and fulfil their needs. The 2017 consumer is harder to characterise, not least because their identity is multidimensional and in flux, with shoppers more likely to have a hand in defining themselves and their needs. Continue reading Central and Eastern European Consumers Are Joining the Global Trends for Change
Investors’ feelings concerning the outlook for Ukraine’s economy improved slightly in late 2016, although the economy remains fragile as the pace of reforms is still too slow. Continue reading Business Moving Forward with Cautious Optimism — Can Investors Win the Confidence Game?
The turning of the calendar to a new year is a natural point to reappraise the legacy of the year just passed; searching for clues as to what will come and what must be avoided in the future. Such an exercise is particularly useful in the case of Ukraine, which has a large milestone coming up. February 2017 marks three years since (now) former President Yanukovych fled to Russia with large quantities of Ukraine’s treasury, a signature event which also sparked three years of tangible economic reform and political change. Continue reading Falling into Old Ways in 2017? Ukraine’s Struggle for Functioning Economic Institutions
As I look forward into 2017, I see great developmental opportunities for Poland. There is an opportunity for an investment boom whose range and significance will propel the Polish economy into the future, breaking with imitations of the past. We have laid a solid groundwork for fostering sovereign savings and encouraging solidarity in the consumption of growth fruits, whilst improving public finances at the same time. But looking at foreign circumstances, we must remember one thing: today, in the globalisation era, the only certainty is uncertainty. Continue reading Breaking With Imitations of the Past
Ongoing research, conducted by our team with industry players in the US and Europe, reveals there is an average of 30-40 per cent of small-cap & mid-cap companies or VC-backed start-ups at any given time that are planning to expand their operations abroad in the near future. Continue reading The Long Tail of Global Expansion
In November 2016, Slovenia amended its constitution to make access to drinkable water a fundamental right for all citizens and to stop it being commercialised, thus becoming the first European Union country to include the right to water in its principal document. Only 15 other countries across the world have done this, before Slovenia, according to Rampedre (the online Permanent World Report on the Right to Water). Continue reading The Right to Water: Who Can Change Today’s Situation?
Moldova’s recent presidential elections which took place in mid-November, and which resulted in Igor Dodon’s victory, have shown that there is more than just a political divide between Moldovans. Continue reading Old Fashioned Skulduggery Overshadows the Elections in Moldova
The global economic environment continues to be challenging. The ‘wounds’ inflicted by the global financial crisis of 2008 have not yet healed completely and world economic growth remains rather subdued. This particularly applies to the advanced countries and especially to the Euro Zone, which is the most important trading partner for the Eastern European countries. Continue reading Are Labour Shortages Driving Economic Growth?
Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, recently announced that his country is unlikely to give the green light to the EU Association’s agreement with Ukraine, following an improvised civic campaign against the deal. The Dutch government is faced with a difficult choice between sacrificing a treaty with immense geopolitical significance and defending it to its own political detriment, thus adding more fuel to the Euro-sceptic fire in the country. Continue reading The Netherlands’ Objection to the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement could be Costly to Europe
When I meet a foreigner for the first time, the moment I start a conversation about Romania, it seems as if we are discussing a topic where each of us has a completely different view. This proves that there is a significant gap between how people see Romania and what the actual reality is. That makes me determined to show people that Romania means culture, talent and technology. Continue reading Changing Perspectives and Showing That True Romania is a Vibrant Innovative Country
This has been a rough year for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in terms of governance, with neighbours Poland and Ukraine seeing the biggest challenges. Continue reading History as Destiny? Institutional Erosion in Ukraine and Poland
“Republika Srpska (RS) is a state and Russia is its ally”. Milorad Dodik, the president of the predominantly Serb entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina, is not someone known for mincing his words. Continue reading A Bosnian Referendum Shows Russia’s Influence in the Balkans—As Well As Its Limits
Since the current Polish government came into power, last year, they have advocated the need to tighten up the existing tax system. They maintain that the current situation calls for a system that is more efficient and effective and they are looking to find ways to increase the budget’s income without hiking up the tax rates. They have inherited a tax system from the liberal government, which was in power for eight years (between 2007 and 2015), which is in deep crisis — the tax share of the GDP has fallen from 17 per cent to 14 per cent. Continue reading Polish Tax Laws — Fighting a Winning Battle Against Tax Evaders
With an average growth rate of 10 per cent over the last decade and an increasingly affluent population of 1.3 billion people, China is a dream market for many companies, including those based in Central and Eastern Europe. Small and medium firms are excited by the prospects of the Chinese domestic consumption because Chinese consumers are literally hungry for goods from the EU. In the past five years, exports from the EU to China have grown by 9.8 per cent, to €160 billion, while exports from China to the EU have only increased by 1.6 per cent. Continue reading China: A Giant That Is Hard to Crack
It is common knowledge that the German market for IT services is suffering from a severe shortage of IT skills. While the economy is thriving and order books are full across the production and service sectors, there’s a cap on growth in the IT industry – there are simply not enough people to fulfil all the orders. Since the IT industry is characterised by a high intensity of labour, the lack of developers, project managers, quality assurance professionals and consultants is having a severe impact. Continue reading Outsourcing in Germany: Stop Talking at and Start Talking to
The financial crisis has led to plenty of conclusions in Europe. One among the many is that capital markets and their use for the real economy have been far from optimal. If real improvements could be achieved in this this area in the next few years, then growth could be promoted, alternative financing could be offered, the cost of financing could be lowered and access to funding might be improved. In 2015, the European Commission announced the inception of the Capital Markets Union (CMU) which will be a flagship project from the EU. Continue reading The Capital Markets Union: a New Beginning in the European Financial Sector?
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Apparently these words, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, cannot be applied to all tax systems. Continue reading Fiscal Policy Predictability in CEE — It’s Time for Change
Outsourcing is being transformed; digitalisation, automation, the Internet of Things, these are only a few of the elements that are shaping it now. All of these factors, as well as the outcome of the recent EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the subsequent Brexit are all coming together to reduce the existing out sourcing landscape to ashes, not only on the domestic market here in the British Isles but also further afield. Continue reading The Global Outsourcing Industry — the Rise of the Phoenix
Want to drive a BMW? Easy, just make your contribution to the creation of a Central European (V4+) Innovation Hub! Continue reading CEE — Do We Need a Launch Pad For Our On-Site Tech Intelligence in the Silicon Valley
While the legal situation for gays and lesbians in post-communist Europe has witnessed some marked improvements over the past 25 years, social attitudes towards homosexuality in the Eastern half of the continent remains less positive. Continue reading LGBT in CEE — A New Acceptance Is Being Born From Migration
Romania has come a long way in the last twelve months. The technocrat government that was imposed on the country, following the resignation of the former Social Democratic Party (PSD) prime minister, has seen the country enter a period of quiet expansionism. Continue reading Romania Surviving the Waves of Recent Political Tsunamis in Europe
These days, there isn’t a company that would not acquire intangible assets. Tax regulations in Poland, just as in other European countries, define intangible and legal assets in a different way to accounting regulations. In addition to this, balance sheet amortisation can also be done in a different manner: independent of tax depreciation. So, in these cases, companies use depreciation rates as they are stipulated in tax regulations if this is possible, and legal. However, they do need to calculate a deferred tax, using the temporary differences between the accounting and tax depreciation and intangible assets value. Continue reading Are There Differences Between How Tax Regulations in Poland and IAS Treat Intangible Assets?
2016 has been a year of great challenges for Europe: the migration crisis which has brought up a discussion on how to tackle the immigration issue and the migrant quotas within the European Union; the terrorist attacks, the latest in Nice, France, where over 80 innocent people celebrating France’s National Day were killed; the last few weeks’ notable intensification of ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine; the NATO Summit in Warsaw which has resulted in four multinational battalions being deployed to the bloc’s eastern flank and finally, the results of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom. Continue reading United or Divided? Europe in the Face of the Challenges of Tomorrow
Reality, as we Europeans knew it, is gone now. It’s been replaced by worry, concern, uncertainty and insecurity. Within the first 24 hours since the official result of the EU referendum was announced we have seen global stock markets lose about $2 trillion in value; Sterling suffered a record one-day plunge to an over 30-year low, which resulted in France overtaking the UK as the world’s fifth largest economy.
Recent statistics, for example, those from the Brookings Institution, prove there have been impressive reductions in the percentage of people living in poverty. Is the problem solved and should we all applaud? Well, no, as progress in improving people’s lives has been uneven at best. Often, economic growth has depended on industrial, agricultural, and economic processes that are not environmentally sustainable and which, in many cases, produce social inequity. While it was once assumed that economic growth would solve most problems, it is now clear that social and environmental improvements do not necessarily accompany sustainable economic growth. Continue reading Measuring Growth of Societies with GDP Alone Shows an Incomplete Picture
Silicon Valley is an almost mythical synonym for the home, in the minds of virtually everyone, to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations and thousands of start-up companies. It has grown into an unprecedented economic powerhouse the size of which is well worth investigating. Continue reading Big Fish, Small Fish, Where to Fish? On the Eve of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
This week’s Emerging Europe Diplomats’ Meeting was the first in a series of events addressed at diplomats residing in London. It re-raised the dilemma of how to refer to that region, which comprises 23 countries, with some of them belonging to the European Union, some believing membership will come 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 Let’s Stop Wasting Time Redefining our Place in Europe
Historically, decisions related to corporate international expansion have been about investment in physical assets such as office buildings, roads, airports, factories, dams, labs and science parks. Continue reading Global Expansion in the Digital Age
The Czech government has decided to change the country’s name to Czechia, in an effort to better promote the national brand. While the official name of the country remains the Czech Republic, the country will adopt the shorter moniker (akin to France instead of the French Republic) and register the new name with the UN. Continue reading Czech Republic Renaming Has Real Economic Costs
In Ukrainian politics, a week is an age.
The last one began with President Petro Poroshenko being roiled by accusations in the Panama Papers that he set up a secret offshore company when his troops were being decimated by pro-Russian rebels. By Sunday, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk had resigned, upending the ruling coalition. Continue reading Resignation in Ukraine: War, Revolution, Crisis — Some Things Never Change
The European Union is commonly described as an economic giant, but a political dwarf. Recent phenomena, such as the mass immigration into Europe, its anaemic economic growth and terrorist attacks – alongside the resulting radicalisation of the European political scene – may bring about the disintegration of the EU, making it a dwarf in the economic dimension as well as political. Continue reading The EU’s Choice: Fundamental Reform Or Disintegration
Until about a quarter of a century ago, in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), which is my part of the world, every year on 8 March, female employees received flowers from the state-run trade unions. Sometimes they got a single carnation, sometimes a potted flowering plant — perhaps it was dependent on the country— but on that exact early March morning the flower was a wonderful promise of the coming spring, as well as the only token of our then-celebration of femininity. Apart from that single gesture, gender equal opportunities were never a topic of debate, although women were a huge part of the workforce behind the Iron Curtain. Continue reading International Women’s Day — Let’s Take Action And Then Celebrate
The latest presidential elections were held on 11 October 2015, when the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko registered a first-round landslide victory with 83.5 per cent of the vote. His fifth term will end in the autumn of 2020. Continue reading Belarus 2020: Turning the Vicious Circle Into an Upward Spiral
The EU has been consistently very weak in dealing with post-Soviet countries (except the Baltic states) compared with the former Communist countries of Central Europe and Southeastern Europe. The latter knew exactly where they wanted to be after 1989: part of the Euro-Atlantic constellation. Joining the EU and NATO was their goal. It was about coming home to a reunited Europe. Continue reading The EU’s Benign Neglect Of Eastern Europe
Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, political elites in Central and Eastern Europe believed that their countries could be successful if they became more like Western Europe. This is no longer the case. The victory of Law and Justice (PiS) in Poland means that now three prime ministers in the Visegrad countries believe these differences between the East and the West are not there to overcome – but to build upon. The Visegrad countries now represent an alternative approach to democracy: more majoritarian, nationalistic and conservative, less European. Continue reading A New Division Between Eastern And Western Europe?
Armenia, located at the crossroads between Asia and Europe, has often been a victim of centrifugal forces from the centres of gravity it is surrounded by. Roman and Persian armies frequently met on Armenian highlands in fierce battles already in the first centuries of the new era. Having had one of the most tragic pages in the nation’s history in 1915 when almost 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Ottomans, Armenia was left with no choice but to join the emerging new Russian-led empire of the 20th century — the Soviet Union. Continue reading Europe Needs To Be More Proactive In Embracing Armenia
The West cannot protect Ukraine militarily, but it could partially compensate Russia’s targeted subversion of the Ukrainian business and investment climate through a well-publicised and liberally operating guarantee fund aimed at insuring FDI against political risks. This would concern mainly Ukrainian regions threatened by military destruction (as has occurred in the combat zones), arbitrary expropriation (as has occurred in Crimea) and coercive measures enforced by the threat of force (as has occurred in the separatist-controlled Donbas areas). The local impact, model function and signal effect of increasing foreign investment in Ukraine’s hinterlands would accelerate the country’s modernisation and integration into the global economy. Continue reading Could the West At Least Help Ukraine To Insure FDI Against Political Risks?
Somewhere in Romania, a few days before the Christmas of 1989, there was a 10 year old girl whose mother came home from work early one day, told her and her sister to pack a few things, and as soon as their father had come home, they all left to stay with some friends for a little while.
What you need to know about the GREAT London Food Scene in 5 minutes……
We met up with Adrian and his friends and we went on tour round Clerkenwell, Smithfield and a whole area inspired by the arts and media scene. Before we do that we took stock of what is now arguably the GREATEST food cities in the world – London! I want to share what we discussed so here we go…. Continue reading The GREAT London Food Scene
I’d just like to make it quite clear this post is not about cheese! I am simply using the absence of GREAT British cheese in Poland as a synonym for a total lack of fine, specialty foods in this ravenous market. I am in the midst of a pasta, camembert and tapas revolution. Fast food is asserting its pole position and I have decided to take some action. Continue reading Where’s My Cheese? – The GREAT British Food Tour 2014