ajvar are two examples of Balkan specialties that more or less have become part
of the global cuisine, but the Balkans has so much more to offer.
In this book the food, culture and people of the Balkans are presented by an
author who has both his heart and his roots in an exciting part of Europe. Jovan Radomir was born in
the Balkans, grew up in the Swedish city of Katrineholm and spent his summer
vacations in the countryside of his birthplace Srbac in former Yugoslavia.
book Jovan will
teach you his secret family recipes for ajvar and stuffed peppers and show you
classical recipes for grilled meat, pasteries, bread and top it all off with
the fancy gourmet dinner that Jovan made for a gala banquet at the venerable
Grand Hôtel in Stockholm.
You will also discover Belgrade, the beauty of the majestic river Danube, the
long tradition of winemaking, the widespread Kafana culture, the mentality of
the Balkan people – all the things that make the Balkans such an enticing mix
of food, culture and people. Prijatno! Bon appétit!
Jovan Radomir is a Swedish TV personality working for SVT, the Swedish
Broadcasting Company My Balkan Food & people is his first
cookbook and a bestseller in Scandinavia. The book is also published in
You will find more information about Jovan and his book and can order it here.
One of the main services of the Chamber of Commerce is to provide its
members with fast and updated news of what´s happening in Southeast Europe
in general and particularly such information that is important for companies
and organisations with business relations between Sweden and the SEE region.
Over the years we have used several news channels for these purposes, ie
google, local media, global news agencies and others, some free and some coming
at a price. After careful evaluation of the services available, we have come to
the conclusion that the service best meeting our needs at a competitive price
is the one that bne IntelliNews is providing.
bne IntelliNews publishes actionable emerging markets business intelligence and economic analysis for
companies and investors based on a network of over 60 analysts and
journalists who are experts on the regions they cover, including Central,
Eastern, and Southeast Europe, plus Russia and the CIS, in addition to
Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
bne — the
only English language publication covering more than 30 countries of CEE/CIS,
focusing on business, economics, finance and politics with monthly
magazine bne, weekly digital newspaper and daily news website www.bne.eu, which
includes news and analysis on Southeast Europe.
— premium service aimed at professional investors, publishing daily emails
carrying news, commentary and analysis on business, finance and economics
covering CEE/CIS/MEA and South Asia on intellinews.com. Includes timely updates and in-depth coverage
of all Southeast European countries.
trade, production and market demand time-series database covering over 400
commodities and products in over 70 countries and regions at www.queridata.com. Includes data on all Southeast European
Markets Direct — industry reports and analyses
published annually/semi-annually on over 90 topical emerging market
industry segments on store.emergingmarketsdirect.com. Includes reports from all Southeast European
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Wed, May 20, 2015 20:13:45 Svenska företag som vill ut på export uppfattar dagens stöd som en djungel av myndigheter, bolag och verk. Däför lanseras Team Sweden – ett paraply för Sveriges alla myndigheter, verk och bolag som i dag arbetar med exportfrämjande insatser för svenska företag. Syftet med Team Sweden är att göra det enkelt och tydligt för företag som vill ut på exportmarknaden. Läs mer om Sveriges nya satsning på exportföretagen här.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sat, May 02, 2015 09:10:18 Did you know that the Chamber of Commerce publishes four Daily Newspapers? Every morning you´ll find new issues with the latest and hottest news in areas like politics, business, sports, leisure and many others. Here are the daily magazines, just click on the name of the paper you want to read.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Tue, February 17, 2015 20:12:57 Devastating flooding in some countries brought the economy of South East Europe (SEE6) to a standstill in 2014, with growth of only 0.2 percent, according to the World Bank’s latest South East Europe Regular Economic Report (SEE RER) launched recently.
According to the report, in 2015, the SEE6 region is expected to recover modestly, with aggregate growth projected to average 1.3 percent.
Growth is likely to be held back in 2015 by a weak recovery in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The rest of the region is expected to grow by over 3 percent in 2015, with economic growth reaching 3.8 percent in FYR Macedonia.
Growth prospects are dependent on external factors, including a sustained recovery of external demand, especially in Europe, and stabilization of international energy prices at around current levels.
Economic activity in SEE6 is dampened by weak domestic demand as consumer and business confidence remain weak over lingering political uncertainty, chronically high unemployment, and banking systems saddled with high nonperforming loans. Therefore, the report emphasizes that economic growth in the near- and the medium-term in SEE6 can be supported through sound and well-prioritized economic policies. Read more in the new World Bank report here.
 SEE6 are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia), Montenegro, and Serbia.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Fri, January 02, 2015 10:02:27 Probably this question is more difficult to answer than for a long time. But Business New Europe is giving it a try in their outlook for Southeast Europe, titled Political uncertainty rises in Southeast Europe. They continue: "Forecasts for 2015 GDP growth vary widely across the region. Serbia, hit by flooding in May and now embarking on an austerity programme, expects zero or negative growth in 2015. Croatia, in its first return to positive growth after years of recession, is expected to grow by just 0.2%, according to the European Commission’s 2014 Autumn Forecast. At the other end of the scale, some of Southeast Europe’s smaller economies have the best prospects for 2015, with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro all expected to expand by at least 3%." See their full report here. Whatever lies before us, we hope for the best and wish all our members a happy and prosperous 2015.
The Ukraine crisis is stoking fears in western capitals that Moscow is now seeking to impose its will in other countries in eastern Europe, including the Balkans, wrote Financial Times in an article recently and continues to say that this is particularly clear about Serbia. Read the full FT article here.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Thu, June 05, 2014 11:42:32 Sweden will give four Western Balkan countries 400 million euros in aid to carry out reforms needed to qualify to join the European Union, the Swedish ambassador in Bosnia said on Monday. EU entry requirements and membership rules are meant to ensure new entrants have strengthened their economies and institutions enough to thrive within the trading union.
Ambassador Fredrik Schiller said the funds will help Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia to overhaul public administration and the judiciary and to protect human rights. Read more in the Reuters news here.
We are all devastated by the disaster that the floodings have caused in a
large part of the Balkans. For us not living in the area it is hard to
comprehence the suffering people have to go through, not only these days but
for a long time to come. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
estimates the damage caused by the floods in Serbia at up to 2 billion euros, or 7 percent of national output. In Bosnia,
the bank estimated the damage at 1.3 billion euros or 10 percent of output.
It took some time before Sweden and other countries reacted and started to
send aid and money, as there was an obvious focus on another catastrophy
more east of Balkan. But now the aid has become organized, funds have been
raised and organizations like the Red Cross have open accounts aimed
particularly towards helping the flooded parts of the Balkans. And of course we
in the Chamber of Commerce for Sweden and Southeast Europe are giving our
contributions as well. Last week the Board of Directors decided to begin our
support by sending SEK 5000 to the Red Cross fund for the victims of the
floodings and we also took the following decision for the continuation of our
All membership fees paid during June and July this year will be forwarded
directly and in total to the Red Cross, earmarked for the Balkans.
So please do not wait. Pay your membership now and make a contribution to
the victims of the flooding at the same time.
And of course all of you who already paid your annual fee are also most
welcome to make a contribution of any kind. All contributors will be listed in
our website during the autumn.
Here is what you need to know to pay the membership fee and to make the
Company membership fee: 900 SEK or 105 EUR Personal membership fee: 300 SEK or 35 EUR
Swedish companies or individuals pay to Bankgiro number 884-4599
Non Swedish companies or individuals pay to SVENSKA HANDELSBANKEN, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN IBAN Nr: SE 27 6000 0000 0006 6719 8938. SWIFT-CODE / BIC : HANDSESS Beneficiary:The Chambers of Commerce for Sweden - Southeast Europe Note ”Balkan aid” on the payment and also send an email with your
membership details to email@example.com
Welcome as a member who cares! The Board of Directors Chamber of Commerce Sweden – Southeast Europe
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Wed, March 19, 2014 15:44:57 The Government of Sweden has announced that the country has adopted a new results strategy for Swedish development assistance to the countries of Eastern Europe (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine), the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and to Turkey. The strategy will apply during 2014-2020 and Swedish support is estimated to total approximately SEK 8 billion (approx EUR 700 million). "It is important that Sweden continues to assume long-term responsibility to support those countries that want to develop into free and democratic market economies; this is particularly important in the present situation in Ukraine. Supporting democratic agents of change and institution-building is key," says Minister for International Development Cooperation Hillevi Engström. The Swedish support focuses on enabling sustainable democratic development and is directed at administrative and legal reforms, democracy, human rights, civil society, economic integration and development, as well as the environment and energy. Gender equality remains a priority. Within the framework of the strategy, particular focus will be given to the situation in Ukraine and countries with a democratic deficit.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Mon, March 10, 2014 10:50:24 The Austrian bank UniCredit has recently released a new report looking at the development of banking in Eastern Europe and the possibility of a credit revival. The 35 page report, which covers key findings of several countries in SEE, can be downloaded here by members of the Chamber of Commerce. (It was written just before the crisis in Ukraine).
Economic growth in most countries in the Balkans will accelerate this year, according to the World Bank's latest Global Economic Prospects report. Albania's GDP will increase by 2 percent compared to 1.3 percent in 2013. Expected growth in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 2 percent vs 1.5 percent; in Bulgaria it will be 1.7 percent vs 0.6 percent; in Macedonia, 3 percent vs 2.5 percent; and in Montenegro 2.5 percent compared to 1.8 percent last year. Economic growth in Romania will remain unchanged at 2.5 percent, while in Serbia it will slow to 1 percent from 2 percent in 2013. Turkey is also expected to register a lower GDP growth of 3.5 percent compared to 4.3 percent last year. (SETimes.com)
Are you a Swede interested in doing business with Southeast Europe? Or someone in that region having business relations with Sweden? Then you are very welcome to join our web forum here.
The Words are those of Carl Bildt, Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed in an exclusive interview in the February issue of the Serbian Magazine CorD, which starts to say that "few politicians in the EU understand Serbia and the Balkans like Carl Bildt. He was co-chairman during the Dayton Peace Conference in 1995 and spent many of the following years working in the region. So it’s no surprise that the current Swedish Foreign Minister retains an interest in the EU ambitions and future of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina". Read the whole interview here.
Are you a Swede interested in doing business with Southeast Europe? Or someone in that region having business relations with Sweden? Then you are very welcome to join our web forum here.
Lately the free movement of eastern European workers within the EU has been questioned. Fearing excessive use of their own welfare systems, governments have argued for continued access restrictions. This report presents research showing that eastern European migrants have been net contributors to public finances of the richer EU15 nations that received them. In 2004 when the EU expanded from 15 to 25 member countries, all EU15 countries except Sweden made use of the possibility to temporarily restrict the new EU citizens’ access to their labour markets and welfare systems for up to seven years. Several governments have recently called on the European Commission to strengthen rules to protect the welfare states against being abused by migrants. However the Commission has answered that no evidence has been presented that indicates that widespread abuse is indeed happening. In fact, existing research tells an even more positive story. Not only is there no evidence of widespread abuse of welfare systems by eastern European migrants – if anything, public finances in the richer EU15 countries appear to have gained from their eastern European post-enlargement immigration, also when no access restrictions have been in place. Read more here about the research result published by Joakim Ruist of the University of Gothenburg.
The Software company
Dassault Systèmes Nordic CEO, Mrs Ylva Berg, takes over as CEO for Business
Sweden, the joint organization for Swedish Trade and Invest (FD) organization.
It was just over two years ago as Ylva Berg took over the Nordic CEO for
Dassault Systèmes, she was previously also CEO of Technia in Sweden. Ylva Berg replaces Ulf
Berg. Hopefully she can turn
the heavy organisation around reducing the cost and/or increaseing the revenue in
this partly governmental Swedish organisation.
Regional info/economyPosted by Uvner Business Consulting Sat, November 16, 2013 22:23:38 "The Balkans as a crossroads of the world has huge opportunity. The tourism business opportunity of the region is considerable - and we're going to be very well positioned to take advantage of that," was the comment by James Hogan, chief executive of Abu Dahbi-based Etihad Airlines, after the take over of 49 % and the managing responsibility of JAT, later renamed Air Serbia. The Gulf Airline investment came as a surprise to many and asked about how the airline became involved, First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic´ only comment was "Sheikh Mohammed is my friend and I asked him to help". Read more in this BBC report.
EU har utvecklat en politik som innebär att länderna på
västra Balkan gradvis ska integreras med unionen. Den 1 juli 2013 blev Kroatien
det första av de sju länderna att ansluta sig, och Montenegro, Serbien och före
detta jugoslaviska republiken Makedonien är officiella kandidatländer.
Anslutningsförhandlingar pågår med Montenegro, och Europeiska rådet beslutade i
juni 2013 att inleda förhandlingar med Serbien. Albanien, Bosnien och
Hercegovina samt Kosovo är också potentiella kandidatländer. Stabiliserings- och associeringsprocessen, lanserad 1999, är det strategiska ramverk som används för att länderna på västra Balkan gradvis ska närma sig Europeiska unionen. Denna policy baseras på bilaterala avtalsförbindelser, ekonomiskt stöd, politisk dialog, handelsförbindelser och regionalt samarbete. I detta faktablad informerar Europeiska Unionen om stabiliserings- och associeringsprocessen samt om läget för respektive land i regionen.
Countries in Eastern Europe are increasingly taking over from India as the main target for Swedish IT companie´s offshore activities, reports Computer Sweden in a large double spread article. The CEO of Softronic AB, Anders Eriksson, even stretches as far as saying "I would never dare to start a Company in India". One country that is particularly mentioned in the article is Serbia, where both Microsoft and Intel have started software development centers. Read more (in Swedish) in the Computer Sweden article here.
Are you a Swede interested in doing business with Southeast Europe? Or someone in that region having business relations with Sweden? Then you are very welcome to join our forum at Linkedin here.
Regional info/economyPosted by Uvner Business Consulting Thu, May 16, 2013 20:35:07 Gothenburg City Airport is about to start direct flights to Balkan. From end of May Wizz Air will fly you to Skopje, Macedonia, and from mid June to Tuzla in Bosnia. Since April there has been a connection with Zadar in Croatia. Annika Nyberg, the airport´s CEO says that the reasons for opening up these connections are all the requests they have received from people from ex-Yugoslavia who want to be able to fly down to their friends and relatives without having to first go to Stockholm or Malmö (source: Gothenburg local radio station).
"In terms of growth and profit, the banking sector in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) continues to outperform its Western European counterpart, as growth opportunities and margins in CEE remain significantly higher. New banking regulations in Europe and CEE will bring new challenges for the region," stated the analysts of Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) and Raiffeisen Centrobank AG (RCB) in their latest edition of Raiffeisen Research's annual CEE Banking Sector Report titled "Commitment will be rewarded". The report was presented on the occasion of the annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Istanbul. Read more in the RBI report here. Raiffeisen International was again Austria's most profitable bank this year and reported a consolidated profit of € 725 million for the financial year 2012.
Are you a Swede doing business with the Balkans area or somebody in that area doing business with Sweden, then you shouldn´t miss to join our business group at Linkedin here.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Fri, May 10, 2013 22:14:31 The European Cultural Foundation (ECF) is announcing a new partnership with ArtAngle – Balkans | Culture | Development, an organisation based in the Balkan region that will take over the management of the Balkan Incentive Fund for Culture (BIFC) from July 2013. The fund works to strengthen relations across the Western Balkans and the region’s relations with Europe. The fund prefers projects with lead applicants from the Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia (FYROM), Montenegro or Serbia. If the lead applicant is based outside of the Western Balkans, eg Sweden, then the lead applicant must collaborate with partners from the Western Balkans. The average award given is €15,000 with a maximum of €30,000. Read more here.
Regional info/economyPosted by Uvner Business Consulting Mon, April 22, 2013 09:29:44 Kanske var det på en trottoarservering i Belgrad. Kanske på
en krog i Stockholm, ägd av en gammal Jugoslav med generationer av
mattraditioner med sig i bagaget till Sverige. Men nu kan du laga till en genuint äkta Ćevapčići själv. Och
många andra traditionella rätter från Balkan också för den delen. Recepten
hittar du i Jovan Radomirs härliga bok ”Mitt Balkan – Mat och Människor”, som är en
odyssé genom Balkansk matkultur. Jovan själv verkar ha gjort en intressant odyssé. Född i f d
Jugoslavien, uppvuxen i Katrineholm och
nu anställd som journalist på Sveriges Television. Mer om Jovan och boken hittar du här. PS. Rakijan skall du nog inte försöka dig på att bränna
själv. Då har du också ytterligare en anledning till ett besök på Balkan.
The Swedish Government has announced changes in three new Embassies in Southeast Europe.
Lars Schmidt new Ambassador to Croatia Mr Schmidt is currently posted in Dublin to assist the Stockholm-based Ambassador for Ireland during the Irish EU Presidency. He has previously served at the Embassy in Belgrade and at the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU in Brussels.
Mats Staffansson new Ambassador to Macedonia Mr Staffansson is currently Ambassador in Riga. He has previously served at the embassies in Moscow, London, Kiev and Warsaw. He subsequently served as Ambassador in Belgrade and Warsaw. Mr Staffansson speaks Serbo-Croatian fluently.
Bosse Hedberg will leave Bosnia Mr Hedberg, currently Ambassador to Bosnia, has been appointed Ambassador to Iceland. He has previously served at the Embassy in Tunis, the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and in the MFAs Department for International Law, Human Rights and
Treaty Law. There has been no announcement who will be appointed Ambassador to
Bosnia after Mr Hedberg. The Chamber of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe wants to thank Ambassador Hedberg for an excellent cooperation and all assistant he and his Embassy have given to members of our Chamber.
All three changes will take place in the autumn this
The European Union has finalised a series of measures to promote regional cooperation between Western Balkan countries totalling 272.8 million euro for the period 2012-2013, the bloc's executive said on Wednesday. The funds will support cooperation with international financial institutions to mobilise funding, help develop civil society, support education schemes such as student mobility programmes, and help beneficiaries meet the requirements for EU membership and align their standards with the EU, the European Commission said in a statement. The funding earmarked comes under the 2012-2013 Multi-beneficiary and Cross-Border programmes of the EU's Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). The total pre-accession funding for the period 2007-2013 stands at 11.5 billion euro. Source: Seenews.com.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Thu, April 04, 2013 22:50:20 CEE has had to work through an external demand and credit shock but industry is showng signs of bottoming. The region has also adjusted to funding new credit extension with deposits, albeit with some important exceptions. Full year growth numbers this year will be unimpressive in many cases but Q4 last year should have marked the bottom in the cycle. Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary continue to lag on growth. Read all about it in the 80 page report covering 17 countries, which you can download in our Business Forum here.
FrånSwedfund har vi precis fått veta att man avsevärt höjt maxbeloppet för stöd till små och medelstora svenska företag som vill etablera sig eller starta nya samarbeten i utvecklingsländer i Afrika, Asien, Latinamerika och Östeuropa. Det maximala beloppet för stödbeloppet, som går under betckningen Swedpartnership, har höjts från 750 000 till 1,7 miljoner kronor. Samtidigt har värdet av förberedelsetid höjts från 400 kr/tim till 475 kr/tim och instruktörstid från 800 kr/tim till 950 kr/tim. Fortfarande gäller att stödet högst kan uppgå till 40% av de totala beräknade kostnaderna för projektet. Stödet ges i form av ett lån som skrivs av efter ett genomfört och godkänt projekt. Klicka här för att läsa mer om Swedpartnership samt instruktioner om hur man ansöker. OBS att beloppen ännu i skrivande stund ej har ändrats på Swedfunds hemsida.
2013 har börjatbra för East Capital och de flesta marknader inom den region investmentbolaget East Capital Explorer investerar i hade en positiv utveckling i januari med Balkan i främsta ledet. Den bedömningen görEast Capital Explorers vd Mia Jurke i företagets bokslutskommuniké, rapporterar Dagens Industri.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Wed, February 13, 2013 18:51:32 A folder entitled CEE Economic Data — 2011-2014, Issue 1/2013 provides an overview of important economic information for seventeen countries of Central and Eastern Europe as well as for Austria, Germany, Italy and Eurozone. In addition to structural data, e.g., the surface area, per capita GDP and export share of a country, this easy to read folder, which presents each respective country on a two-page spread, also contains important economic indicators and forecasts which extend to 2014. Information is provided in tabular form, making it quick and easy to find the desired data. The folder, which has been published by one of the major banks in the region, can be downloaded by our members here.
Enligt ett pressmeddelande från regeringskansliet har regeringen beslutat om ett uppdrag till Sida att ta fram underlag till nya strategier för Sveriges reformsamarbete med länderna i Östeuropa och Västra Balkan. Beslutet är ett led i regeringens förnyelsearbete för att bland annat stärka den resultatbaserade styrningen av biståndet. Genom de nya regionstrategierna gör den svenska regeringen ett långsiktigt åtagande till stöd för ländernas EU-närmande. De nya strategierna kommer att gälla 2014-2020 vilket sammanfaller med perioden för EU:s nya utvecklingsinstrument för länderna. Avsikten med detta är att fördjupa samarbetet och koordinationen med EU:s stöd. Det svenska stödet beräknas för perioden att uppgå till ca 8 miljarder kronor.
Last year the Swedish government closed down Invest Sweden. Last week a new organisation was presented:Business Sweden. It's a merger between the Swedish Trade Council (Exportrådet) and Invest Sweden with the aim to "take on any assignment related to exports and investment". “The aim is to make us an even more attractive, innovative and competitive partner to do business with, both at home and abroad. We can in principle take on any assignment related to exports and investment in Sweden", says Ulf Berg, the new organisation's chief executive officer. Business Sweden -- jointly owned by the state and the business sector -- essentially provides services required to establish a company and its products, services or ideas in new markets. It has offices in 60 countries and work closely with trade associations, embassies, consulates and chambers of commerce. This is the new website address to the joint organisation.
The Banker, the renowned special interest magazine of the Financial Times, awarded the Austrian bank Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) as "Bank of the Year” in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and in five individual countries (Austria, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Romania). The awards were presented at a ceremony in London at the end of November. According to the Banker´s statement, Raiffeisen notched up a great performance in this year’s awards, scooping prizes in Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania as well as its home market of Austria. Raiffeisen Bank International posted the highest profit before tax of any Austrian bank and is naturally proud of its record of being in profit every quarter since its initial public offering back in 2005.
EUROWEB is a scholarship programme for students on undergraduate, master, doctoral and post-doctoral level as well as for university staff in academic or administrative positions, financed by the European Commission.
The EUROWEB Scholarship Programme is open to selected nationals in EU countries and Western Balkans who want to study or work at one of the partner institutions, see Applicant information.The overall objective of EUROWEB project is to create a partnership in research and education that will strengthen the ties between EU and Western Balkans.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Fri, December 07, 2012 15:12:23 Balkan markets have performed poorly over the last five years and, despite an enormous ‘catch-up’ potential, growth continues to disappoint. During an investor trip to Moscow, East Capital’s senior advisor Tim Umberger identified potential triggers for a revaluation of the markets. Read more
European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group), the World Bank Group and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) - have agreed on a new Joint Action Plan, aimed at supporting economic recovery and growth in Central and South Eastern Europe. The Action Plan, a direct response to the continuing impact of Eurozone problems on the economies of emerging Europe, includes more than €30 billion of joint commitments for the period 2013-2014. The new Joint International Financial Institution (IFI) Action Plan aims to rekindle growth in the region by supporting private and public sector initiatives, including infrastructure, corporate investment and the financial sector. Read more here.
According to a new Report of EPIA, Photovoltaic (PV) technology has shown an impressive resilience to harsh market conditions during 2011 and 2012, outperforming all growth forecasts. Moreover experts are identifying Southeast Europe as ‘remarkable new markets’ leading to a green building boom in the Region.
A country in the region that has one of the highest Photovoltaic growth potential in all of Europe, Romania, has been named one of the next target countries for the PV energy sectors. PV plants that will be connected to the national power system are estimated to produce as much power as the two reactors from the Cernavoda nuclear plant.
According to the statistics published by Transelectrica in Romania there are 51 companies that initiate projects for solar panels installation. The investment in these projects rises up to 500 million euro and the total installed capacity will be of 210,3 MW. In 2012 there will be in fully functional stage 14 such photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight into electricity: 4 in Prahova, 2 in Dolj, Olt and Timis, one in Braila, Botosani, Gorj and Dambovita. These installed solar panels will produce together 61 MW.
To support the development of the renewable energy market in Romania, the biggest energy trade fair of Romania, RENEXPO® SOUTH-EAST EUROPE, is organized this week in Bucharest.
US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, arrived in Sarajevo on Monday at the start of a visit to Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia and Albania. In Bosnia Mrs Clinton, and the EU's Foreign Affairs High Representative, Catherine Ashton, urged Bosnia to move faster on reforms that will enable the country to join NATO and the EU. According to a report in Balkan Insights Hillary Clinton said that Bosnian leaders should overcome their differences and resolve problems in order for the country to join the NATO and the European Union, warning that Bosnia risks lagging behind the region. “We are here to tell your politicians to put differences aside,” Clinton said, “Our goals are the same... we want to see Bosnia moving forward,” she added. After Bosnia, Clinton and Ashton fly to Serbia and later that day to Kosovo, where they will stress support for the EU-led dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. Read the whole report from Balkan Insight here.
Regional info/economyPosted by Uvner Business Consulting Fri, October 12, 2012 11:18:30 As in 2011, the British financial magazine Euromoney awarded the coveted title "Best Bank in Central and Eastern Europe" (CEE) to Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI). The Euromoney-award is already the third decoration RBI received for its excellent service for private and corporate customers in CEE so far this year. In April, Global Finance magazine awarded the title "Best Bank in Central and Eastern Europe" to RBI for the eighth time. And in May, RBI received the prestigious title "Best Bank in CEE & CIS" from EMEA Finance for the third time. Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) posted a consolidated profit (after tax and non-controlling interests) of € 701 million for the first six months of 2012, which represents an increase of 13.9 per cent compared to the first half of the preceding year (H1 2011: € 615 million). "Considering the difficult economic environment in the Eurozone and the huge efforts we undertook to strengthen our capital ratio, we are pleased with our results. The fact that Central and Eastern Europe developed significantly better than the Eurozone makes me confident for the second half of 2012", said CEO Herbert Stepic.
The attraction of the Balkan
telecommunications market is hidden by the fact that it is geographically near the
main European markets. At the same time, because of a combination of relatively
low penetration and still not high prices, it offers potential for growth.
These facts and many more insights into the regions Telecom market can be found
in a recently published PMR report titled Telecommunications market in
Balkan states 2012. Development forecast for 2012-2016.
The report states that a particular
potential lies within the internet segment since the penetration of the service
in the region remains at a low level. Within that segment an influx of new
users on the market in upcoming years will be a primary driver of growth. In
effect, the ISP will be the segment of the telecommunications market which will
be noting the most dynamic growth in the 2012-2016 time period.
Even with considerable regulatory,
legal and macroeconomic problems, the telecommunications market in the Balkan
states remain of interest for foreign investors.The process of the
privatisation of incumbent operators in the Balkan region is far from finished.
Members can download a brief version
of the report here.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sun, June 17, 2012 13:45:16 Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), a distingushed member of our Chamber of Commerce, has reported double profit for Q1 2012. The result is a seamless extension of 2011, when RBI stood out positively from the Austrian competition thereby proving that it is possible to be sustainably profitable in what remain difficult times. RBI posted a consolidated profit of EUR541 million in this year´s first Quarter, which represents an increase of 100.4 % compared to the first quarter of the preceding year.
Exportrådet har låtit meddela att man upphör med tjänsten Upphandlingsnytt från den 1 april i år. Ruth Hefner, som hittills skött tjänsten hos Exportrådet, säger att organisationens erbjudande inom internationellt upphandlade affärer behöver en bättre kundanpassning och att man kommer att söka en ökad integration mot affärsområdena.
Företag som vill fortsätta att följa upphandlingsnyheter från FN, Världsbanken och utvecklingsbankerna hänvisas till www.devbusiness.com eller www.licitio.com. Det betyder att företagen nu får betala dyrt för denna tjänst, som tidigare varit kostnadsfri från Exportrådet. Dessvärre är detta inget aprilskämt utan får nog ses som ett led i den besparingskampanj som länge pågått inom Exportrådet.
“The demands on banks for larger capitalization together with the Eurocrisis can start a mass exodus of European banks from Eastern Europe”, says Mr Erik Berglöf, Chief Economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri recently. One example is the German Commerzbank who now choses to focus on Poland and Germany, whilst leaving Ukraine and cancelling its plans for an establishment in Belarus. Also the Italian bank Unicredit, who is under hard pressure these days, is expected to decrease its expansion plans according to Berglöf.. Another threat to the banking system is the crisis in Southern Europe. If Greece is falling the consequenses for particularly Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia and Albania, where Greek banks have a large market share, will be devastating. “A deepend Euro crisis would directly hit the bank system and further worsen the situation in Eastern Europe”, says Berglöf”. “The banks have played a central role in Eastern Europe. If the banks are pulling out from the East, Central Europe will have to pay with lower growth. In the end that will hit also Western Europe. Eastern Europe is today the most important export market of the Eurozoon”, he says. Read the full DI-article (in Swedish) here.
…but Raiffeisen stays Raiffeisen Bank international (RBI) regards Central and Eastern Europe as its home market and has no plans to leave the region. This was the firm answer we received from the Austrian bank´s representative office in Stockholm as a comment to the article above, continuing: "Raiffeisen Bank International has never, in any quarter or year, posted a loss on the group-level, pre-crises, in the crises or now. Profit before tax for the first three quarters of 2011 was in excess of EUR 1 bln. Even in the difficult year 2009, RBI (at that time Raiffeisen International) posted a profit before tax of nearly EUR 370 million. This is above all due to the bank´s diversified business model: diversification by markets, customer groups and products. Karl Sevelda, RBI's Deputy CEO responsible for the corporate business, also underlined this stance in a 30 December 2011 interview with the Viennese daily Die Presse: "Let me be very clear: we will not exit from any market in Central and Eastern Europe. But we will, of course, take into consideration the diverging risk developments [within the region] when making future investments. And naturally, it may well be that we reduce our assets here or there. But a market withdrawal? – No!."
Our members can download two very interesting and comprehensive reports made by Raiffeisen Research here:
Although Sweden is the largest bilateral donor to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Swedish suppliers are not in the top league (rather in the bottom league) of utilizing the Bank´s loans and services. In November the Swedish Foreign Ministry and EBRD therefore invited Swedish companies and consultants to a seminar where the participants were given advice about the Bank´s programme and how to get more successful in financing Swedish projects. A number of presentations were given during the seminar by representatives from EBRD, and these are all made available here thanks to our collaboration partner in the Swedish Trade Council. Just click on any title below to download a document. Please note that this information is only available here for members in the Chamber of commerce and you will therefore be asked for username and password.
2. Business opportunities for Swedish companies Ex. of content: Contracts statistics Swedish success (or rather failure) rate EBRD public procurement principles Where to find the opportunities Strategy for winning contracts Business opportunities
This is the worrying title of an outlook document for 2012 that we have received from Business New Europe recently. It begins with: "The big question for investors in Southeast Europe in 2012 is the same as that for anyone invested in the wider region: what will be the fallout from the mess in the Eurozone? There is only one country in Southeast Europe that is actually a member of the Eurozone – Slovenia. But with strong trade, funding, investment and banking ties, every in the country in the region will feel the pinch as Western Europe's economies, particularly those of Greece, Germany and Italy, continue to struggle."
"There is a high but uneven degree of economic dependency between [Emerging] Europe and the Eurozone in general and Germany in particular. There are four main transmission mechanisms between East and West: (i) trade, (ii) investments, (iii) credits, and (iv) sentiment," says Marcus Svedberg, economist for the CEE-focused fund manager East Capital. This comprehensive document, that forecasts the development in each country in SEE, can be accessed here by our members.
As an extra bonus our members can access a bne-forecast for Central Europe titled "Blissful living in Central Europe". It starts: "Ignorance is bliss, so they say. That should make Central Europe the happiest place on the planet in 2012, because as governments, analysts and the wider population try to gauge the depth and impact of the building crisis in the Eurozone, it's clear that no-one knows anything. Apart from the Hungarians of course, who know that everyone's out to get them". Members can access it here.
...and UniCredit Bank sees first half of 2012 as a testing period for whole CEE.
In this 62 page forecast from UniCredit Bank covering 17 countries, which can be downloaded freely here, the Bank begins with saying that the start of 2012 will be a particularly testing period for the CEE region. The primary uncertainty at this stage stems from EMU via a number of channels. Weaker growth in EMU translates into weaker external demand for CEE exports. CEE economies on the whole, however, are in a more comfortable fiscal position than EMU economies. An increase in sovereign funding costs has more limited implications than in EMU. We see Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia as the weak links, with forced fiscal consolidation to contribution to a contraction in economic activity next year.
The positive news for CEE is that compared with 2008, CEE is not in the eye of the storm. That said, macro trends in CEE remain heavily correlated with those in the developed world,in particular EMU, and some pass-through is inevitable. As a result UniCredit have marked down their forecasts for growth in the region for both this year and next by 0.4pp and 0.6pp to 4.1% and 3.3% respectively. For 2013 they forecast GDP at 4.2%, 1.7pp belows its pre-crisis long term average. Members of the Chamber of Commerce can download the 66 page forecast report covering 17 countries by clicking on the picture.
With just over two hours flight from Sweden, countries in the Balkans offer low
production costs, skilled and cheap labor (the cheapest in Europe), making them
an attractive sourcing and outsourcing destination (within the ICT, automotive, textile and wood industry). On 25 October the Swedish Trade Council invites you to an inspiring seminar in Stockholm on how small businesses can develop their business in this region.The seminar will introduce industries that are engines of growth in different countries in the
Balkans, companies that have succeeded and "do and donts" for those who
want to expand their business in the Balkans region.
place: October 25, at 09:00 to 11:00 a.m. World Trade Center, Klarabergsviadukten 70, Stockholm Click here to register for this free seminar.
The telecommunications market in the CEE has become more mature. Telecoms are facing problems typical of saturated markets, which are lowering ARPU and higher expectations of consumers. Convergence and growing significance of data transmission services in mobile networks will continue to shape the market. The total value of the telecommunications services market in the CEE region amounted to approx. €28.3bn in 2010, which represented an increase of 0.9% year on year. In 2004-2008, the telecommunications services market in the CEE witnessed a compound annual growth rate of 7.5%. The market grew relatively quickly, fuelled chiefly by the dynamic development of the Ukrainian and Romanian market. The worldwide economic crisis, together with the regulatory policy aimed at cutting mobile termination rates, negatively influenced the market value in 2009-2010. To receive a free version of this article from PMR Publications, please follow the link below: http://www.pmrpublications.com/free_articles/New-challenges-for-telecoms-market-in-Central-and-Eastern-Europe-_-September-2011.shtml
The report analyses the situation on the seven telecommunications markets in Central and Eastern Europe: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. The study is divided into eight parts plus an executive summary. The objective of the report is mostly to provide the reader with all the important current statistics, but also with an analysis of differences and similarities between the countries under study. The study also contains a resume of the most important events that have influenced the situation in the telecommunications market in the particular countries in recent two years. -The CEE region still represents much higher potential in terms of further growth in comparison with Western European market, both in terms of number of overall telecoms services subscribers and the market value. -The level of telecoms per capita spending is relatively low. -The infrastructure is still strongly underinvested and has significant prospects in this field. -The market presents considerable potential in terms of broadband infrastructure development and modernisation, including xDSL, LANs on housing estates, FTTH and CaTV networks. -Mobile operators will keep on investing in 3G/HSDPA/LTE deployment. -There is a constant interest on the part of foreign companies and investors, both operators and providers of telecoms devices and equipment. -There is significant potential to sell own products and services, and growing interest on the part of IT vendors, specialising in software solutions for the telecom branch (e.g. ComArch). -The CEE telecoms sector is very defensive and the most resistant to the financial crisis’ negative effects, thus safe for long-term investment. Request for more information and sample pages here:
The Austrian bank Raiffeisen has today published its 2011 H1 result, showing a significant result improvement. While several other large international banks, e.g. the two Swedish banks Swedbank and Handelsbanken, are reducing their activities in Russia considerably, Raiffeisen instead is expanding its footprint by taking over some of their customers.
In their outlook for the next few years, RBI sees a solid growth in CE, SEE as well as CIS markets. The region has a strong convergence potential due to low levels of banking intermediation compared to the Eurozone. The public debt levels of most CEE economies are well below EU levels. More of the bank´s forecast as well as a full presentation of its result can be downloaded here and here.
Around 6 million m2 of new GLA (Gross Leasable Area) is planned to be completed in Central European countries through to 2013. Most of the shopping centres openings are to occur from 2012, assuming that all projects are finalised on time. The existing investment plan could absorb over €11bn, according to PMR estimates. Bulgaria and Romania increased most dynamically in terms of GLA over the last three years and are expected to continue to develop considerably. Download this free PMR report here.
Wolf Theiss has just published it´s second edition of their Guide To Generating Electricity from Renewable Sources in Central, Eastern & Southeastern Europe. The first part of the Guide presents an executive summary outlining the current regulatory framework applicable in each of the 14 jurisdictions. The second chapter of the Guide contains an outline of the main forces driving the development of RES-Electricity in our region. The regulatory framework applicable in each jurisdiction is described in more detail in the country chapters. To facilitate cross-referencing, all country chapters follow a uniform structure. The comprehensive guide covers 14 countries on 269 pages. Members can download it here.
As we enter 3Q, the global economy faces more uncertainty than it has for a number of quarters. Most recent high frequency indicators have shifted downwards, though from a high level. The EMU crisis has seen a further escalation as Greece continues to disappoint in terms of reform implementation. At the time of writing discussion was underway on the potential for EMU member states to put considerably more funding on the table, prompting a re-consideration of EMU's approach to private sector 'burden sharing', with yet another EU weekend summit approaching. The most pressing issue is the ability of CEE to withstand this global slowdown, even if only temporary in nature. That CEE is synchronized with global developments is not in doubt. To date the most obvious sign of a slowdown in economic activity in the region is seen in the manufacturing PMI data. Over the three months to May,the manufacturing PMI indices have fallen between a cumulative 1.2 points in Poland to a much larger 7.9 points in Turkey. There are also some signs of a disimprovement in consumer confidence in some of the new EU countries, as well as in Russia. The above is a summary quote of the introduction to the 70 pages UniCredit Q3/11 forecast covering 17 Central and Easter Europe countries. Members can download it here.
The CEE economies showed convincing signs of recovery in 2010 and the more
supportive macroeconomic environment translated into some improvement in
household financial conditions, even if the propensity to save continued to
prevail over that to consume.
The development in household financial conditions in early 2011 looks also
promising but is confronted with a growing number of challenges. The recent
increase in food and energy prices is an issue to monitor as are the related
downside risks on economic activity. Austerity programmes and policy initiatives
concerning pension systems also deserve careful monitoring in some
With economic recovery gaining momentum, further normalisation in
labour market conditions and consolidation is expected in the growth of household disposable
income to remain the key drivers for the accumulation of net financial assets
over the next couple of years. At the same time, the gradual improvement in job
market conditions and more solid income growth should also support some
resumption of household debt appetite. This summary of the 2011 forecast is extracted from a 52 page report from one of the big European banks with special insight in the Central and Eastern European markets. Bulgaria, Croatia and eight other countries in the region are thoroughly analyzed from a household and consumer perspective. Two areas are particularly addressed: House price developments and the CEE labour market. Members can download the full report here.
learned that sometimes during this spring the mobile telephony has passed the
fixed line network both in number of minutes and in revenue. It is only 30
years ago, 1981, the first analogue mobile nework (NMT called) was opened in
Sweden. And not long before that there were serious
estimations made in the Swedish PTT
about how many people really would need a mobile phone. 75 persons I
think the estimations was. “Who would like to carry a big box around” as one
director said. Ericsson,
now the biggest company in mobile phone networks in the world, can thank a few “stubborn”
guys that they managed to convince the management to spend a few bucks on
cellular development. And it took some time before the switching department in
Ericsson had been convinced that there was any business in adapting the AXE
switches for the mobile systems. Going back
to my favorite region, Southeast Europe, I remember vividly how I was trying to
get through to Ericsson HQ in Stockholm from hotel Kempinski in Sofia when I was
selling the first Bulgarian NMT system to Mobitel. It could take half a day of dialing
before I got through. And this was as late as 1993. Not even 20 years ago.
A big thanks to the visionaries in Ericsson and Televerket.
The crisis did not change CEE’s long-term potential but some rebalancing of the macroeconomic model is needed, emphasizing a better diversification of the economy and further modernization, writes Uni Credit Research in their Sectoral Analysis of CEE 2011. Overall, long-term potential growth will be slower than before the downturn, as all the convergence drivers are intact but are less strong than in the past in the context of global environment characterized by higher cost of international liquidity and risk. The uncertain global outlook, growing competition from Asia and some rebalancing from non-tradable toward tradable sectors (particularly in SEE and the Balticeconomies). The Austrian bank analyzes and forecasts a number of industrial sectors in sveral of the countries in Central and Southeast Europe. Members can download this very comprehensive 68 page report here.
As privatisation has taken off again in the Balkans there are a few interesting assets to lay their hands on for those interested. Balkans.com has published an article outlining, on a country-by-country basis, some of the major assets that still remain to be sold, and the current plans (if any) for their sale. Click here for the full article.
Serbian, Montenegrin, Slovenian and Bosnian tax authorities have signed a regional cooperation deal to clamp down on the grey economy, reports Bloomberg. During the 1990s the grey economy flourished in the Balkan countries amid wars. Slovenia is the only country from the former Yugoslavian federation to join the European Union. Serbia and Montenegro are aiming to join the EU. In Serbia alone the government lost at least $217.42 million in 2010 because of tax-evasion, Serbian Tax Administration spokesman Zoran Jovanovic to Bloomberg. (BNE 21 March)
The Microfinance Center (MFC) for Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States, an international network of approximately 110 microfinance institutions (MFIs), recently announced the launch of its Social Performance Start-up Fund, a facility that aims to provide technical and financial assistance to regional- and country- level microfinance networks that are looking to address social performance. The fund, which is expected to launch in May 2011, is sponsored by the Ford Foundation, a private grant-making organization based in the US. The size of the fund has not been released. Read more about the fund here.
The ZEW-Erste Group Bank CEE Economic Indicator for Central and Eastern Europe including Turkey (CEE region) has increased by 8.3 points to 24.5 points in February. The improvement of the economic expectations for the CEE region on a six month time horizon can be mainly ascribed to the positive outlook for the economies in Hungary and Poland. The economic sentiment indicator for the CEE region and further financial market data have been surveyed monthly since 2007 by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, with the support of Erste Group Bank, Vienna. Read mor on the bank´s website here.
Several countries rank high on the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom, as reforms begin to bite, while others lag as result of age-old problems, especially corruption. The Index, published by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, evaluates 183 countries based on ten indicators that evaluate openness, the rule of law, and competitiveness. The Index ranks economies according to their economic freedom, which include individual empowerment, non-discrimination, and the promotion of competition, evaluating economic policy developments since the second half of 2009. All Balkan countries ranked slightly below the regional European average, but only Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina received scores below the world average. Macedonia was the highest ranking economy in the Balkans, coming in 55th place out of the 183 countries in the Index. Read the ratings about all Balkan countries here.
The Austrian bank´s baseline macro outlook for this year is positive, characterized by a continued recovery in economic activity, a moderate increase in inflation pressures, narrowing budget deficits and manageable external financing requirements. From 3.6% 2010, we should see growth of 3.8% in 2011 and for the first time in 4 years, all countries in their sample should enjoy gains in economic activity. While EMU peripheral woes rumble on, only in the case of a very severe deterioration from here would we turn concerned about their impact on CEE economic activity. In some of the stronger economies output gaps will close over the course of 2011. CEE economies continue to consolidate fiscal policy. From a regional average of 5.3% of GDP 2010, the bank expects an average budget deficit of 4.7% of GDP 2011. Members can download the full report covering all CEE countries here.
Bank Austria´s baseline macro outlook for next year is positive, characterized by a continued recovery in economic activity, a moderate increase in inflation pressures, narrowing budget deficits and manageable external financing requirements. From 3.6% 2010, the bank sees growth of 3.8% in 2011 and for the first time in 4 years, all countries in their sample should enjoy gains in economic activity. While EMU peripheral woes rumble on, only in the case of a very severe deterioration from here would the bank turn concerned about their impact on CEE economic activity. In some of the stronger economies output gaps will close over the course of 2011. CEE economies continue to consolidate fiscal policy. From a regional average of 5.3% of GDP 2010, Bank Austria expect an average budget deficit of 4.7% of GDP 2011.
Members can download the full 68 page report covering 17 countries here.
Since the bank´s previous quarterly publication, the region has continued to show recovery, supported by strong external demand and an improving domestic demand environment. In the 11 countries where UniCredit has access to seasonally adjusted GDP data, 10 showed qoq gains in 2Q10. Poland and Turkey are the only two countries in the region where GDP has recovered to in excess of its pre-crisis levels. In contrast, in Hungary and Romania, GDP remains 7-10pp below its pre-crisis levels. The forecast covers 17 CEE countries in detail on 60 pages and can be downloaded by our members by clicking in the report below.
On September 28th a large number of representatives from Swedish companies could listen to presentations by analysts from Austrian Raiffeisen bank at Operakällaren in Stockholm.
After a welcome introduction of Mr Lars Bergström, Head of RZB Nordic Countries, Mr Peter Bazil, head of Div Multinational Corporate Customers, informed the audience how RZB supports Nordic large Corporates in Eastern Europe and Russia.
Then the Chief Analyst Mr Valentin Hofstätter talked about the outlook for Eastern Europe under the title "Eastern Europe and Russia - outperforming again?".
Thereafter Mr Richard Golden, Director Industrials, discussed Investment Opportunities in CEE and the CIS from an M&A Perspective, outlining some interesting M&A trends.
The seminar was rounded up by Oriflame, one of the most successful Swedish companies in Russia and CEE, who gave an interesting insight in their keys to success.
Here are a few insights from Mr Hofstätters presentation:
- SEE is lagging behind and remains in recession in 2010 - Exports first growth engine - Budget deficit and public debt more favourable than Eurozone - Dropping wages improve competitiveness - still outperforming “old” Europe - Exchange rates stabilizing
All presentations are available for downloading by our members here:
Eight countries are waiting in the wings to join the European Union. Croatia and Turkey started accession talks on 3 October 2005. Turkey could complete them in 15 years, Croatia by 2011. The other Balkan countries have been told they can join the EU one day, if they meet the criteria. These include democracy, the rule of law, a market economy and adherence to the EU's goals of political and economic union. Iceland is the latest country to seek EU membership. Read about the status of all the eight EU applicants in this BBC article.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sat, September 04, 2010 21:16:14 Efter att Schweiz skjutit upp sina planer på att köpa nya stridsplan så gör Saab allt för att sälja Gripen i Asien och Östeuropa. Saab hoppas nupå order från Bulgarien, Rumänien och Slovakien. Även följdorder från Thailand, som köpte sex Gripenplan 2007, kan bli aktuellt. (DI 4 sept)
Under ledarrubriken "Det dystra Balkan" skriver Richard Swartz i dagens DN en pessimistisk artikel om utvecklingen på Balkan sedan Daytonavtalet för femton år sedan. Bl a skriver han: "Bosniens enda grundval kan sägas bestå í att den inte fungerar. Politikerna har nämligen insett att internationell hjälp liksom deras egen makt garanteras just av att landet är ett problem. Följaktligen förblir Bosnien ett sådant". Rätt eller fel? Läs hela ledaren här och lämna gärna dina egna synpunkter och kommentarer nedan.
Hur påverkar den aktuella situationen i Grekland och Balkan dina möjligheter att göra affärer där? Svar på denna och andra närliggande frågor gavs nyligen vid ett välbesökt frukostseminarium på Exportrådet. Huvudtalare var Exportrådets chefsjurist, Mauro Gozzo, som inledde med att redogöra för bakgrunden till Greklandskrisen och förutsättningarna för att de stora insatser, som nu görs att få skutan på rätt köl, skall lyckas. Vad gäller förutsättningarna för en Grekisk återhämtning så menar Mauro Gozzo att det långtgående sparprogrammet lägger basen för en återhämtning som bör kunna inledas redan 2012. Han tillade dock att det största hotet mot återhämtningen kommer inifrån om grekerna själva inte accepterar stålbadet. Mauro Gozzo belyste också situationen i de två näst största balkanekonomierna, Bulgarien och Serbien, där framför allt det senare spås en ljusnande framtid med bl a ökande utländska investeringar. Handelskamrarnas medlemmar kan ladda ner Mauro Gozzos presentation här.
Efter Gozzos anförande gick Exportrådets chef på Balkan, Elza Kazemi, igenom förutsättningarna för svensk export till några av balkanländerna samt presenterade vilka industrisektorer som erbjuder störst potential. Denna presentation finns tillgänglig för våra medlemmar här. På bilden de två talarna Mauro Gozzo och Elza Kazemi.
For those Europeans concerned with China’s growing prowess, here is another reason to be alert. The Chinese are about to cross the Danube. Not with tanks or communist propaganda, but with cash and a charm offensive. The advance is mainly commercially motivated, but its economic support could be a blessing for weakened economies in the region. But if the European Union does not get its house in order, it risks losing political clout on its own doorstep. Financial crisis has shifted China's economic diplomacy into a higher gear, and Beijing has used Expo 2010 in Shanghai to showcase its expanding relations with new European partners. This month the Greek government announced a multibillion-dollar investment agreement through which the Chinese will construct new container terminals and airports and participate in shipbuilding. Several Chinese companies have signed up to a special economic zone in Sofia, while Bulgaria's new centre-right government hopes to draw in more Chinese capital to compensate for dwindling western investments. Dozens of Chinese companies also attended a round-table with the Romanian government at the Expo this month to attract fresh investments - and not without result. The China Development Bank pledged generous support for developing Romania's wind power. A leading contractor promised to build a new thermoelectric power plant, a project that might cost as much as EUR 1bln. Other companies are exploring investment in the country's agricultural and mining sector. China considers Eastern Europe an important economic bridgehead. Its ministry of commerce has established guidelines for new processing hubs to penetrate local markets, and thus circumvent possible EU trade restrictions. Read more in the FT-article here.
I ett email från UD aviserar man förändringar i sin egen och Exportrådets östeuropaenheter till hösten. Närmare information kommer att lämnas i samband med möte med UD/EC:s Samverkansgrupp på UD den 14 september 2010 kl. 14.30.
Det statliga riskkapitalbolaget Swedfund International AB kan erbjuda svenska små och medelstora företag etableringsstöd vid start av dotterbolag eller samarbete med lokala bolag i Albanien, Bosnien Herzegovina, Makedonien, Kosovo, Montenegro och Serbien. Stödet kan täcka upp till 40 % av kostnaderna som det svenska bolaget har för att överföra kompetens och utrustning till dotterbolaget/samarbetsbolaget, dock max 750 000 kr. Det svenska företaget bör ha minst 5 anställda men högst 249, en årlig omsättning på högst 50 miljoner Euro och/eller en balansomslutning på högst 43 miljoner Euro. Kompetensöverföringen måste utgöra minst 1/3 av den totala kostnaden det svenska bolaget söker stöd för. Utöver etableringsstödet har Swedfund ett generöst lån på upp till 5 Mkr till svenska små och medelstora bolag som startar verksamhet i Kosovo, pga att Kosovo är ett så kallat post conflict-land. Det svenska bolaget måste ställa upp med lika mycket kapital som Swedfund erbjuder i lån. Det tredje erbjudandet är riskkapital. Detta är Swedfunds kärnverksamhet sedan drygt 30 år och för närvarande har Swedfund en portfölj av över 70 investeringar i bolag i över 30 länder. Swedfunds investeringar görs tillsammans med en industriell partner i ett nystartat bolag eller som en expansion av en existerande verksamhet. Swedfund kan investera med riskkapital i Östeuropa utanför EU och i u-länder. Se mer på www.swedfund.se och www.swedpartnership.se
Organized crime in southeastern Europe often operates under cover of private security companies. Private security firms played a pivotal role in the spread of organized crime in the region, said The Sarajevo-based Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which recently concluded a three-month investigation into Southeast Europe's private security sector. Security companies maintained ties with organized crime, corrupt politicians and law enforcement elements throughout southeastern Europe. The region's weak legal infrastructure, lack of enforcement and widespread corruption had facilitated this development. In Bulgaria, for example, security agencies constitute the country's largest private employer with 130,000 employees or one in 11 adult males, according to OCCRP estimates. The sector employs three times as many people as the Bulgarian military and five times that of the police. In the countries of the former Yugoslavia, the security sector began growing following the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s and the subsequent collapse of existing political systems. Follow the work of OCCRP and read their reports on their web page here.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sun, May 23, 2010 21:26:30 Hur påverkar den aktuella situationen i Grekland och Balkan dina möjligheter att göra affärer där? Exportrådets chefsekonom Mauro Gozzo och Handelssekreterare Elza Kazemi, med ansvar för Grekland och Balkan, berättar om affärsmöjligheter i de olika länderna utifrån den aktuella situationen i regionen. Swedpartnership berättar om deras verksamhet och erbjudande i form av riskkapital och etableringsstöd för små och medelstora företag i regionen. Följande punkter kommer att tas upp under frukostmötet: * Allmänt om Balkan, ekonomiska läget, investeringar, utländskt ägande, affärsmöjligheter i samband med balkanländernas inträde i EU. * Intressanta branscher * Att göra affärer i Balkan, samlade erfarenheter, råd och tips * Exempel på svenska etableringar i respektive land * Exportrådets tjänster Seminariet äger rum den 17 juni kl 08.00 - 10.00. Plats: World Tade Centers Resturang, Kungsbron 1, Stockholm. Seminariet är kosntadsfritt. Du anmäler din närvaro här.
Efter ett välkomsttal av Serbiens ambassadör H.E. Dr Stojadinovic presenterade Jovan Miljkovic, investeringsrådgivare, den ekonomiska situationen i Serbien i dag. Miljkovic diskuterade investeringsmöjligheter, incitament och attraktiva sektorer.
Jan-Olof Nyström, särskild rådgivare från Projektexportsekretariet vid UD, berättade att Serbien och Sverige undertecknade ett samarbetsavtal rörande järnvägstransporter den 22 mars 2010. Lars Schmidt från avdelningen för EU-frågor på Utrikesdepartementet informerade om EU:s utvidgning rörande Albanien, Kroatien, Makedonien och Montenegro. Serbien lämnade formellt in sin ansökan om medlemskap i EU den 22 december 2009.
Representanter från banken Raiffeisens nordenkontor, nybliven medlem i kamrarna, var inbjudna för att ge en överblick över sydöstra Europas ekonomier inklusive Ungern och Kroatien. Mer information om hur banken ser på utvecklingen i regionen återfinns på kontorets hemsida som kan nås här. Där kan också hela Raiffeisens presentation nedladdas. På bilden ses Anders Samuelsson, kundansvarig på Raiffeisens nordenkontor.
During our annual meeting April 12, Mr Lars Bergström and Mr Anders Samuelsson from the Austrian Bank Raiffeisen International presented an interesting analysis how the financial crisis has influenced the situation in our region and what the outlook into the future is. Although 2009, like for most other countries, was a very painful year in Southeast Europe, there are now many positive signs of recovery. Download the full presentation here.
South East Europe (SEE) needs to attract more and better inward investment to pull out of the economic downturn and build the basis for long-term sustainable growth. Achieving this will require further major policy reforms, according to a new OECD analysis.The OECD’s report Investment Reform Index 2010 (Monitoring policies and institutions for direct investment in Southeast Europe) provides a quantitative and qualitative assesment of policies and institutions that critically affect the environment for direct investment in 10 economies: Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia. "Particularly in the Western Balkans, the technological content of this region's exports is extremely low, well below the average, for instance, of recent EU member countries. Among other benefits, new direct investment can help to change this and to build more resilient economies," commented OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. Since the first IRI, in 2006, countries have made important progress, for example in further integrating into the multilateral trading system and improving legal frameworks affecting access to finance and the protection of physical property. But continued reforms are essential. The recommendations in the IRI 2010 draw on the combined experience of OECD countries and should support efforts in the SEE economies to increase investment. The findings show that, for the region as a whole, governments need to: - address skills deficits by improving education and training systems in order to match the needs of employers, for instance by ensuring appropriate curricula and intensifying consultations with the private sector. - speed the adoption of EU technical regulations and standards as well as sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and increase related commitments of human and financial resources. - help companies obtain access to finance by improving the operation of collateral registries, the functioning of credit guarantee arrangements and the regulation of micro-finance. Governments could also explore measures to help develop a market for informal equity finance. - work with their neighbours to develop infrastructure, particularly in such areas as highway and rail networks, in order to make individual economies and the entire region more attractive to international investors. - do more to better assess the value and impacts of government regulations that affect business. - do more to protect intellectual property rights, combat counterfeiting and improve the transparency of business-related regulations and procedures at the sub-national level. Following publication of the investment Reform Index 2010, the OECD Investment Compact will be consulting with all governments in the region on how the insights from the study can best be used to assist the policy reform process. Download a brief summary with key findings here.
Bank Austria has published the Q2 report for Central and Eastern Europe. The comprehensive 52 page report covers the region in general as well as all countries individually. In the introduction Bank Austria writes: The Central Eastern European economies are facing a two speed recovery, with firmer exports and soft domestic demand. 4Q GDP headline data, for instance, improved across the board in the region, but domestic demand remained at depressed levels and actually slowed and surprised on the downside in many countries. And we do not believe that domestic demand (particularly household demand) will rebound quickly in the coming quarters, due to rising unemployment and further downside surprises in recent retail sales data. Looking at individual countries and various fiscal sustainability measures we find that CEE countries in many cases not only perform better than the Eurozone periphery countries but also better than the EU average.
Raiffeisenbank has published a fresh CEE outlook that summarizes the fiscal situation in the whole of Central and Eastern Europe and forecasts the effects the crisis in general and the particular Greek problems will incur in the region. Comparisons between the problems in the Greek economy and those in some of the CEE countries are given.
A lead economist at the EBRD has published a report on how the crisis evolved and how it has affected this region. It also points out the vital role played by international actors. Not only has there been strong financial support from publicly owned international organisations, but also privately owned foreign companies and banks have refused to rush for the exit, reflecting a major and, so far, largely successful coordination initiative. The paper concludes that the region is well-placed to take advantage of a future global upturn – whenever that might take place – but at growth rates that are likely to be subdued compared with those seen in the few years before the crisis.
The next section describes in some detail the evolution of the main macroeconomic indicators, highlighting the relative resilience of the region and the absence of the kind of output collapses seen elsewhere in the transition region, such as in the Baltic states and Ukraine. It also explains the importance of three contributing factors: the sharp drop in exports; the choking-off of credit; and the effect on remittances. Section 3 shows how the region has responded to the crisis. Most people were totally unprepared for what happened, but despite this, the reaction both of governments and of businesses and workers has been generally mature and appropriate to the circumstances. Section 4 highlights the international dimension – both the direct support from abroad and the spillover effects from the fiscal stimulus and liquidity expansion programmes in advanced countries. Section 5 offers some concluding thoughts and lessons for the future.
Members can download the full 20 page report here and a brief one page summary here.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Tue, February 09, 2010 00:36:33 Since Greece announced that its budget deficit for 2009 was close to 13%, concerns on the sustainability of Greek debt have mounted. A default may be unlikely, but the saga could continue to create turbulence and directly impact Greek economic growth, and thus the strategy of Greek companies abroad. Greek banks also provide a key transmission channel for SEE, where Greek banks have a significant role: there are 4 Greek-controlled banks among the top-10 in Bulgaria, 3 in Serbia, 2 in Romania and one in Turkey. A slowdown of the Greek economy could therefore have an real impact on the open and small South Eastern European economies. A brand new 11 page analysis on this hot and critical topic can be downloaded by our members here.
Regional info/economyPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Mon, February 01, 2010 11:29:22 According to an article in Financial Times Central and eastern European markets have been the strongest performers in the world in the past six months, in a sharp turnround of fortunes as the concerns of investors have switched to the mounting debts in the developed world. In contrast to eurozone members, such as Greece, which saw a collapse in its bond markets last week, investors have been impressed by the performance of the region’s stronger economies, such as Poland, as well as those that have been assisted by the IMF, such as Hungary and Latvia. Shahin Vallee, emerging market strategist at BNP Paribas, said: “This is a story of public finances. If you compare Hungary and Greece, then Hungary, the emerging market country, is a safer bet.” Marcus Svedberg, chief economist at investment company East Capital, said: “Eastern Europe does not have a structural debt problem. The average amount of government debt in the region is around 40 per cent of GDP [gross domestic product] compared with the eurozone’s 80 per cent of GDP.” However, analysts warn that eastern Europe could be derailed by the debt problems in the industrialised world and the stalling of the global recovery. Read more in the FT-article here.
Today the Swedish government announced big changes in their diplomatic representations. Six embassies will be closed this year while 10 new are going to be opened. The embassies that will be closed are in Bratislava, Dakar, Dublin, Ljubljana, Luxembourg and Sofia and those that are going to be upgraded to embassies from section offices are located in Pristina (Kosovo), Tbilisi (Georgia), Chisinau (Moldova) and Tirana (Albania) plus a number of other countries most of them in Africa.
From our Chambers of Commerce´ point of view it is of course interesting and positive that Embassies finally are opened in countries like Moldova, Kosovo and Albania. But how the Foreign office can talk about "strengthening the presence in the Balkans" when closing embassies in places like Sofia and Ljubljana is a bit difficult to understand. No information has been given yet as which Embassies will be responsible for the Swedish representation in those countries. All comments that have been given so far by the Foreign office can be found here in Swedish and English. Surely we will be back with more information and comments regarding these major changes.
Uni Credit Research, Part of Bank Austria, has just published three new outlook reports for Central and Eastern Europe. Members can download the reports by clicking on their titles below.
CEE Economic Data The current folder entitled "CEE Economic Data" (2010, Issue 1) provides an overview of important economic information for seventeen countries of Central and Eastern Europe as well as for Austria, Germany, Italy and Eurozone. In addition to structural data, the folder also contains important economic indicators and forecasts which extend to 2011. Information is provided in tabular form, making it quick and easy to find the desired data.
CEE Quarterly Q1/2010 A 52 page forecast looking into and beyond 2011 for the whole CEE region, country by country.
Sverige satsar en miljard kronor i bistånd på att ge företag i Östeuropa möjlighet till krediter. Pengarna ska rädda företag och därmed jobb i länder där företagen har svårt att få lån i finanskrisens spår. Biståndet ska gå genom IFC, Världsbankens gren för stöd till den privata sektorn, där Lars Thunell är chef. Fram till år 2013 ska företag i länder som Albanien, Moldavien, Ukraina och Georgien kunna få handelsgarantier via IFC, för att kunna fortsätta både att importera och exportera trots det sämre läget i världsekonomin, och trots att bankerna håller hårt i sina pengar. Läs mer i Sveriges radios reportage här.
Sweden is one of the most progressive donors to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with several hundred million sek, visitors were told at a joint presentation of the two financial authorities in Stockholm end of last year. At the venue, the already comprehensive programme was extended with a new Environment and Climate Programme focused on Swedish priority countries in Eastern Europe. In spite of this large Swedish contribution, EBRD representatives could show that the participation of Swedish companies and consultants in the financed projects are very meagre compared to those from other countries. And consequently so are the number of won contracts. Statistics of Swedish participation as well as the Bank´s advise to companies and consultants in order to become more successful were given in a number of presentations, which all can be downloaded by clicking on a title below (only for our members).
6. Procurement in EBRD financed projects - Business opportunities for Swedish companies - Statistic over won Swedish contracts - no contracts awarded to Swedish companies since 2005 - only five tenders submitted since the start of 2006 - Who are the most successful countries? - Russia and Romania among the most successful countries in terms of won contracts! - EBRDs procurement policies and rules - Where to find opportunities - Strategy for winning contracts
7. Opportunities for Consultants at EBRD - How EBRD Selects Consultants - Strategy for Winning Contracts - Value and Number of Contracts Awarded by EBRD and its Clients to Swedish Consultants - eSelections for Consultants
According to news in Radio Sweden today, Austria will nationalize Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank and inject as much as 450 million euros into the company. BayernLB, Germany’s second-biggest state-owned lender, agreed to sell its 67 percent stake for 1 euro and to inject 825 million euros into the business, following negotiations that lasted the whole night. Hypo Alpe-Adria has been doing a lot of business in the Balkans. According to the report in Radio Sweden investigations about alleged fraud have started. A Bloomberg report can be found here.
Not long ago we could inform our members about changes within Swedish Trade Council (Exportrådet) regarding the responsibility for the Balkan countries.
This was obviously a temporary solution following Jan Kettnaker´s move from Romania to South Africa, as we now learn that most of these countries will be managed from the Athens´ office under Elza Kazemi from January 1st.
Apart from obvious Greece and Cyprus, the countries within Elza´s responsibility will be the following:
Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Romania and Moldova will remain with Helen Gusafsson in Kiev, Slovenia and Croatia with Carsten Grönblad in Vienna and Hungary with Peter Svensson in Budapest.
Elza Kazemi and her Athens team will kickstart their new task with a breakfast seminar in Stockholm on November 25. More about that event in another entry on this page.
The Chambers of Commerce for Sweden - Southeast Europe are wishing Elza and her staff lots of success on their new markets.
A few pages in the CEE Banking outlook report mentioned below talked particularly about the outlook in our region. Here follows the SEE part of the report.
The economic outlook deteriorated in the SEE region at the beginning of this year as the feared transmission channel passing through lower capital inflows and the internationally induced credit squeeze took effect. Particularly in Romania, the economic adjustment is proceeding faster than previously expected with recession deepening in Q2 to 8.7 %. A sharp contraction in domestic demand – with consumption hampered by accelerating unemployment and investment by higher interest rates – and no visible improvement in exports are a common denominator in SEE in the current phase of adjustment. The anti-crisis measures implemented by local governments and IMF aid packages to Romania, Serbia and Bosnia are providing some relief in the context of a high external financing requirement, but cannot be considered a panacea. Although there are signs that SEE economies are bottoming out, the economic outlook remains quite uncertain with regional GDP growth not expected to return to positive territory before the second half of next year. The outlook for the SEE banking system remains challenging as well, with ongoing deterioration in credit quality and slackening volumes growth expected to put further pressures on banks’ profitability.
A clear credit crunch has materialised in the first months of 2009 in Romania, Bulgaria and Bosnia, while some lending activity has been recorded in both Croatia and Serbia, mostly thanks to governmentguaranteed schemes or infrastructural projects. Some very moderate growth is expected for the next year in Croatia, Bulgaria and Bosnia, as retail lending will continue to be hampered by low consumption demand and corporate lending by weak investment spending. In Serbia and Romania some more dynamic acceleration is possible. On the deposit side, the liquidity crunch felt by the corporate sector at the global level is also confirmed in the region. In 2009 all countries (except for Serbia) will record negative growth in corporate deposits, which will also be reconfirmed in 2010 in Croatia and Bulgaria. Retail deposit growth is subdued in Croatia. In the other countries, while the saving capacity of the households sector will remain limited, we expect some emergence of hidden funds as competition for deposits in the banking sector is high. All countries indeed feature a loans-to-deposits ratio well above 100 %, which indicates dependency on external funding.
Deleveraging in 2009 will be recorded only in Romania and Bosnia, though, while the loans-to-deposits ratio will continue to increase in the other countries. Looking ahead we expect some further deleveraging, mostly due to low demand and to strong pressure for expanding the deposit base, despite increasing competition from alternative products in some countries, as capital markets rebound. It is important to note that deleveraging is not coming from lack of external funding to local institutions. With parent banks of the top local institutions having signed commitments with the local central banks (as part of the IMF support packages) to maintain on their cross-border exposure to Serbia, Romania and Bosnia, liquidity should not be an issue for the banks in those countries. Funding also does not seem to be a concern for banks in Bulgaria and Croatia.
Banks’ profitability is being hit by economic recession throughout the region. Reduced banking activities and accelerated non-performing loans constrain banks’ profitability.We forecast the peak in terms of non performing loans in the region between the end of 2010 and the first half of 2011, with the peak in cost of risk in 2010.We forecast a strong drop in profits in Romania to a still positive EUR 135 mn (compared to EUR 1.5 bn last year), despite strict cost control and in Bulgaria, where profits are forecasted to halve both in 2009 and 2010. In Serbia as well, profits will be halved in 2009 with respect to 2008, with some recovery, albeit slow, expected for 2010–1. The Croatian banking sector should be slightly more resilient, with profits declining by 15 % in 2009 and 5 % in 2010. In Bosnia we see the currency board remaining stable given an IMF agreement is in place, implying minimal risk to EUR-linked loans (CHF-linked loans are less than 5 % of all outstanding loans). The banking sector is well capitalised and the support of parent banks will ensure this remains the case in spite of the expected increase in non-performing loans.
Bank Austria today published a 36 page report about CEE Banking Outlook, concluding that now is the time to take risk to win the potential upside. Read the brief summary below or download the full report here.
The ongoing economic, financial and banking crises are clearly modifying the shape, structure and functioning of the global banking sector – higher capital ratios, deleveraging, de-risking, efficiency and cost cutting, together with a return to traditional commercial banking operations are the new mantra. The crisis had its centre in the core markets, but rapidly spread to the entire financial industry, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) banks included. CEE banks had virtually no direct exposure to the sub-prime crisis, but the crisis has revealed imbalances, related to high dependency on foreign funding and the effects of a widespread credit boom of the past years. As a new global banking order is being rebuilt, CEE today is also changing as a result.
Full recovery from the crisis needs time. Economic growth is expected in most of the countries for 2010, with SEE and the Baltics turning to positive figures in 2011 and economic activities remaining below the long-term potential overall. A full rebound of banking business is most likely starting from 2011. Banking penetration continues but will be more balanced. Product offering has to cope with low consumption and a weak investment environment. More diversification, away from retail lending only strategies, toward a more balanced mix is needed. Profitability will have to account for a structurally higher cost of risk, but will benefit from a leaner cost structure. In such a framework, 2009 and 2010 are likely to be the key years for reshaping positioning and strategies for the CEE banks.
Despite the crisis, the region's long term potential is confirmed – both in terms of economic and banking growth. This means the game is worth it, for both market players and potential new entrants. With new strategies currently being designed and new windows of opportunities gradually opening, those players who can afford enough risk appetite for the region now are those likely to enjoy the upside and confirm as tomorrow's leaders.
EU citizens from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Poland and Romania must apply for a visa in order to travel to the United States, whereas all other EU citizens are entitled to visa-free travel for up to 90 days.
Furthermore, Brussels has complained over what it sees as a US refusal to deal with Brussels over the matter. The US has addressed the issue bilaterally with the five EU states rather than treating the EU as a unified bloc.
"After the Treaty of Lisbon comes into force, it makes even more sense to talk about questions like visa waiver requirements to the European Union itself, not to the different independent member countries," said Elmar Brok, a German member of the European Parliament and chairman of the EU's parliamentary delegation for US relations.
US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told EU lawmakers in Brussels on Friday that “it is very difficult right now to predict which, if any, of those countries will be meeting (US) statutory requirements in the near future."
"Each of the remaining countries is in a somewhat different situation, but the issue is whether the criteria … are being satisfied," she said.
Citizens of Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden were among the first to enjoy visa-free travel after the system started in 1986.
The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Slovakia were last year added to the list. (Deutsche Welle, Nov 8)
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD, is the most important international financing institution supporting municipal environment investment projects in Central and Eastern Europe.
Sweden has substantial cooperation with EBRD in this field which now is extended with a new Environment and Climate Programme focussed on Swedish priority countries in Eastern Europe (i.a Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Bosnia, Serbia). It will cover investments of 700–800 MSEK during 2009-2011.
Swedish companies engaged in water and wastewater, district heating and solid waste are invited to a seminar on the joint operations.
The seminar will be held Friday 27 November, 2009, at 9.00–12.00 at Sida, Valhallavägen 199, Stockholm.
Representatives from EBRD, Sida and the Project Export Secretariat of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will inform about EBRD and the EBRD-Sida/PES joint programmes in Eastern Europe.
A detailed programme and registration information will be available shortly.