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
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
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
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
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).
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