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Elsewhere in emerging Europe

A selection of articles about emerging Europe published elsewhere this week, all of which are well worth your time.

Vlad Luca Filat, the son of a former prime minister of Moldova, has been ordered to hand over nearly 500,000 UK pounds following a corruption investigation by the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency. His father, Vladimir Filat, is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for his role in the “theft of the century”, whereby one billion US dollars was stolen from three Moldovan banks and laundered through Latvia’s financial system.

Full story here.

This week, the Washington-based think tank Freedom House published its annual Freedom in the World report assessing the state of democracy and freedom in countries around the world. The report found a “consistent and ominous” pattern of democracy in retreat across the globe, but its judgment on Hungary was especially notable, writes the Washington Post.

Full story here.

Some Central and Eastern European countries have taken major steps to rid their health care systems of corruption. The same can’t be said of Lithuania, which still struggles with bribery and a serious lack of transparency in health care.

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In order for the European Union to become climate neutral by 2050, it will need a joint effort to decarbonise its power sector. Yet, a “coal curtain” still seems to divide West and East, roughly along the lines of the old Iron Curtain, as most eastern countries show hesitation or opposition when it comes to phasing out coal.

Full story here.

The bold Huawei-related steps of Poland and the Czech Republic have attracted international attention. Yet these are only the most recent indications of the two countries’ growing frustration with China.

Full story here.

Once named Stalin, the decaying former industrial town of Kucova in central Albania hopes a 51-million-euro NATO investment in its disused military airfield will revive its fortunes.

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NATO says it is now ready for North Macedonia. But is North Macedonia ready for the Western security alliance? At the center of a tug-of-war for influence between Russia and the West, Skopje signed a protocol on February 6 that could see another successor state of Yugoslavia become the military alliance’s 30th member if the move is ratified by all current NATO members – foremost among them Greece.

Full story here.

Poland’s new incentives for film producers are expected to draw more foreign productions, writes Variety.

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Bloomberg looks at how Polish supermodel Anja Rubik (pictured above) is challenging conservative norms on sex, gender and sexuality in her homeland with an education campaign aimed at young people.

Full story here.

Photo: Anja Rubik official Facebook page.