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
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
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
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
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 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
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