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
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.
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
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
The fight against corruption is one of the key reforms in Ukraine during the past three years since the Revolution of Dignity. However, despite all the steps that have been taken, the results are still far from what citizens, business and the international community would expect. Continue reading Anti-corruption Efforts Are the Starting Point for Further Reforms
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
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
“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
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
Those who follow the ups and downs of Ukraine’s economy cannot help but ask one obvious question — what is the “cause” behind all this “effect”? While the obvious disconnect between the economic data and market performance is sometimes baffling, we need to listen closely to the sources that matter more, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US Department of State, etc. and less to those that matter less — the Ukrainian Ministries of Economy, Finance, and the Central Bank, etc.). Continue reading Ukraine’s Economy in 2017 — When Dreams of Growth Meet Geopolitical Reality
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?