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
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
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
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.
In some countries, when their leaders have egregiously over-stepped their authority to shield themselves from accountability, citizens have taken to the streets with some success.
The statement “if California were a country, by GDP it would be the sixth largest economy of the world ahead of France” has really proved my long-held belief that reading WEF reports is certainly not an ideal leisure activity.
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.
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
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
The talent of software developers is the linchpin of creation and development for the IT industry in any country. That is especially true in Ukraine, as Ukrainians are very talented as a nation. In the Human Capital Index, Ukraine ranks 26th out of 130 countries in the world. Continue reading Ukraine’s Talented Students Are Well Served by Its Diversified Business Relevant Education
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