2014 marked the tenth anniversary of EU enlargement. In many memorial speeches the narrative of putting an end to the East-West divide was framed as a fairy tale with a happy ending: a stronger, richer, and safer Europe.
The Albanian Prime Minister recently blamed the energy crisis in the country on the Democratic Party, which had been in power until September 2013, and said the current situation resulted from “their ignorance.” However, despite the fact that Mr. Edi Rama’s Cabinet has sufficient evidence to implicate these former officials, no measures have been taken to confirm their criminal activities. Does the Prime Minister follow a path similar to that of his former colleagues in power?
During the civil war that followed Moldova’s independence 22 years ago, the central government in Chișinău launched an offensive to regain the territory held by the pro-Russian separatists. Without formally declaring war, however, Russia came out on top in this small conflict. Suddenly, entire Russian army battalions armed with tanks and heavy artillery stepped out as “volunteers” to fight against Moldova.
The nickname of Poland as a “Green Island” was coined by the government in 2009. The big map behind Prime Minister Tusk showed all Europe in red, with the GDP falling everywhere. With one exception: Poland was marked green, with the GDP growing despite the pan-European recession.
The past 25 years have seen a dramatic transformation in Europe’s former communist countries, resulting in their reintegration into the global economy, and, in most cases, major improvements in living standards. A recent report we produced in the IMF steps back to review the experience.*
All over the world, words such as “innovation” or “startup” are coming to be a large part of almost every globally oriented, business conversation. That shouldn’t be a surprise if we take into account that “innovation,” and all that comes with it, is the exact factor driving the business of tomorrow.
On 3 December 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced officially that South Stream, which aimed to bring some 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year across the Black Sea to Bulgaria, on through South-East Europe to Italy, was dead.
As during its presidency of the Council of the European Union Latvia leads the development and implementation of the EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s Investment Plan in Brussels, the Baltic state continues to show exemplary focus on attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) at home.
For about 20 years, the Swiss franc was the most stable currency and was regarded a “safe haven” by a lot of borrowers but that stability ended along with the financial crisis and that is when the franc started appreciating. Since 2008 or the peak of the crisis, the franc has appreciated against the euro by some 70 per cent.
The economic success Poland has experienced in recent years is not matched with similar achievements in innovation. As further progress is not possible by using only traditional approaches, there is a common understanding among the political and intellectual elite that the country needs to boost the quality of higher education and research.
In the past 25 years Slovakia has undergone a major transformation, leaving behind the inefficiency of a planned economy while still trying to get the most from its post-communist heritage. The combination of a strong industrial background and reforms have facilitated our transition to the market economy and made Slovakia a production, service and commercial hub of Central Europe, and a preferred location for hundreds of major investors from the US, Asia and Europe, mainly in the automotive, electronics and IT/ICT sectors.
With the Latvian economy among the fastest growing in Europe, it is tempting to believe that Latvia not only has recovered from the crisis but also learnt a lesson—there are no shortcuts, fiscal and monetary policy has to be in harmony.