Our weekly digest of articles about emerging Europe published elsewhere this week, all of which caught our eye and all of which are well worth your time. Listing them here, however, does not necessarily mean that we agree with every word, nor do they necessarily reflect Emerging Europe’s editorial policy.
Huge hangover as Czech beer sector’s revenues drop amid pandemic
The Czech beer industry weathered communism and Nazi occupation with scarcely a dent during the last century – but it may prove less bulletproof in the wake of Covid-19 impacts, according to brewers. During the lockdown from March to May, the Czech beer sector’s revenues were down 4.7 billion crowns (179 million euros) amid a 55 per cent drop in beer sales.
‘The law is equal for everyone’: Laura Codruța Kövesi, Europe’s first public prosecutor
Laura Codruța Kövesi made her name as the head of Romania’s respected anti-corruption agency, the DNA. She went after government ministers and mayors, fast becoming a favourite of the European parliament and anti-corruption campaigners. Kövesi was popular with many governments – but not her own, who vowed to do everything to block her successful campaign to become Europe’s first public prosecutor. Eighteen months later, that Romanian government has fallen and Kövesi is preparing to launch the European public prosecutor’s office (EPPO), the first EU body to handle criminal investigations.
Ukrainian tycoons lost their expansive US steel business to bankruptcy. What role did Washington play?
Over the course of a decade, Ukrainian tycoon Ihor Kolomoyskiy and a business partner built a US steel business worth about half a billion US dollars. By early 2017, they were trying desperately to save it. They did not succeed – and an investigation by RFE/RL indicates that the US government, intentionally or not, may have played a key role in the loss of assets ranging from hot-rolled steel bar maker KES in Ashland, Kentucky, to cold-finish steel bar producer Corey in Cicero, Illinois, as well as plants in Indiana, Michigan, and Texas.
Inside Srebrenica: old scars, new wounds
The Bosnian town witnessed the worst atrocity of the Balkan conflict. Twenty-five years on, its residents remain divided. But there is evidence of local co-operation and coexistence. The main mosque, destroyed during the war and since rebuilt, is near the Serbian Orthodox church, whose bells peal before the ezan, or call to prayer, emanates from the minaret.
Start-ups in eastern Europe tap public money as private investors bail
Publicly-backed venture firms are stepping up to keep seed money flowing to infant companies in former communist countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary as private investors retreat from the region’s nascent start-up scene.
Blame for Beirut explosion begins with a leaky, troubled ship
The bleak tale of chronic negligence started over six years ago, when an indebted vessel – flagged in Moldova – and its volatile cargo pulled into port. It ended on Tuesday in a giant explosion.
The US is close to killing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline
Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is close to the finish line—but might be closer to finished as a viable project, after one of the companies involved in laying the pipe on the Baltic seafloor said Wednesday that it would withdraw from the project.
TechHub may be down and out in London, but not in Eastern Europe
TechHub, an office space which for a decade was home to hundreds of startups at the heart of London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ tech scene, this week filed for administration, citing the impact of Covid-19. While a sad end to a once-influential organisation, the fact that the remaining TechHub spin-offs in Riga and Bucharest, as well as in Swansea, will not be affected — since they are owned independently — is at least some consolation.
Eastern European NATO allies ramp up drone buys to protect their borders
As Russia’s military activities in the Baltic and Black seas are mounting pressure on NATO’s eastern flank, a number of Eastern European countries are developing programs to acquire unmanned aerial vehicles for their militaries.
What makes a state a state? Why places like Kosovo live in limbo
If we look at a map, the world appears neatly organised into a patchwork of states. They are clearly named and have clear borders. Yet, a closer looks reveals a much more complicated picture. Across the globe, groups are in various stages of claiming and gaining independence and recognition.
A different kind of story: Gender relations in Central and Eastern Europe
This year was meant to be one of success and celebration of how far women’s rights have come, punctuated by the 25th anniversary of the unanimously adopted Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Instead, the global coronavirus pandemic is grinding progress in gender equality to a halt, threatening to erode advances and increasingly intensifying the preexisting gender inequalities that are still so very present.
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