CroatiaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Tue, March 12, 2013 09:15:14 According to a newsflach from the EU Neighbourhood Centre Croatia's Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and his Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa on Monday signed a memorandum of agreement ending a 20-year-long financial dispute between the two former Yugoslav republics and eliminating the last obstacle for Slovenia to ratify Croatia's adhesion treaty to the European Union. The agreement provides for a solution to the issue concerning the remittances of Croatians with savings deposits at the Ljubljanska banka which were frozen in 1991 after the proclamation of independence of Zagreb and Ljubljana. Croatia should become a full EU member in July.
KosovoPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sat, March 09, 2013 17:40:08 The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) invites participants from Kosovo to apply for International Training Programmes for Private Sector Development: "Strategic Business Management" (SBM) and " Private Sector Growth" (PSG). The closing date for applications is April 19, 2013. The programme for Strategic Business Management (SBM) is designed for business leaders from small and medium-sized businesses whereas the programme for Private Sector Growth (PSG) is intended for high-level professionals from national institutions and organisations promoting private sector development in the country. More information and application forms can be downloaded here.
SerbiaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sat, March 09, 2013 09:48:17 The Olof Palme International Center is a Swedish non-profit organization that supports partner organizations in many parts of the world, including Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The partner organizations are working for human rights and peace. The Olof Palme International Center is part of the Swedish labour movement with headquarters in Stockholm. The Olof Palme International Center is recruiting a Programme Coordinator that will monitor projects and support organizations in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and be based in Belgrade. The Programme Coordinator will facilitate the cooperation between the member organizations of the Olof Palme International Center and their partner organizations in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Programme Coordinator will be based in the Belgrade office of the Palme Center and travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina at least 5 to 10 days a month. He/she will be part of a team working with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina together with a Programme Manager based in Stockholm, Sweden. For job description, requirements and submission of applications, click here.
Five companies have said they will no longer place advertising in a Hungarian newspaper that published extreme anti-Roma statements. The withdrawal follows a campaign by 24 NGOs, who contacted 15 companies that advertise with Magyar Hírlap, a right-wing Hungarian daily newspaper. The NGOs asked the companies to consider suspending their advertising activities in the newspaper until it distances itself from the racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views expressed by Zsolt Bayer, who compared Roma to ‘animals’ and called for a solution, saying “This must be dealt with – immediately, and by any means necessary”. Read more here.
Sweden, through its Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, recently reacted strongly in a letter to the Bosnian government regarding a sudden and un-advertised change of Telecom policy, resulting in severe negative effects for a Swedish telecom company (and most possibly others) about to invest and start operation as a Virtual Mobile Network Operator (MVNO) in BiH.
An MVNO is a mobile operator that builds his own switching and customer care system, but hires air time in one or more of the incumbent operator´s radio network. Obvious benefits are better utilization of the incumbent´s network and more competition, resulting in lower prices and better services for the end users. A real win-win situation. In BiH there is another interesting advantage with a ”neutral” operator as an umbrella over the three other ethnically influenced incumbents, which would most likely diversify the use of the networks among the ethnical groups.
So when the Telecom law of 2010 invited operators to apply for a licence to run an MVNO in BiH, a highly competent and experienced Swedish telecom company set out for starting up as an MVNO operator. They sent in an application fully compliable to the specifications made up by CRA, the state´s regulatory body, they registered a company in BiH and started a search for local technical and marketing expertise . A number of people worked hard to start to transfer telecom and marketing know how from Sweden to Bosnia.
Then the Bosnian government suddenly changed the rules of the game, stating that the three existing operators will remain alone on the mobile market until further notice. How come?
Such an act is definitely not what you expect from the government in a country aspiring for EU membership and in dire need of foreign investments. In such a situation you are instead expected to open the market and welcome competition. And most important of all – stick to the rules! Who would otherwise dare to invest in a market?
The Swedish government, who is in support of the EU enlargement in the Balkans, is carefully monitoring Bosnia´s progress in the process of fullfilling the EU requirements. The Swedish Ambassador consequently reacted very strongly upon the Bosnian government´s change of rules mid game and sent a letter to the Minister of Communications and Transport. In the letter the Ambassador writes ”At the end of the day, of course, it is the end-users in BiH – i.e. its citizens and businesses – that suffer the most. Consumers should be able to pick the most cost-effective and affordable product. A range of EU laws and regulations underscore this fact.”
The main objective of the Chamber of Commerce Sweden – SEE is to promote trade between Sweden and countries in the Balkan region. We have an obligation to report to our members about business opportunities as well as obstacles and risks and therefore choose to publish the letter with permission of the Swedish Ambassador to BiH, H.E. Mr Bosse Hedberg.
Let´s hope that the government of BiH will understand the message, so that future foreign investors from Sweden and elsewhere can feel confident that laws and regulations will be honoured also in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A country that probably needs its investors more than most others.
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.
SloveniaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Wed, February 13, 2013 18:16:35 The Slovenian government 6 February adopted a classification of investments that will be put up for privatisation, IHS Global Insight reported. Among the state-owned companies up for grabs will be telecom provider Telekom Slovenije, banks Abanka and Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), and energy company Petrol. The plan still needs to obtain parliament's approval before it can be implemented. Slovenia is currently in the midst of a political crisis, with two coalition partners already leaving the government, depriving it of its majority. Balkans.com has more 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.
Energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart buildings are the hot topics of the annual Eco Forum and Exhibition for South-East Europe. The event is organized by Via Expo in the period 29-31 May 2013 in IEC, Sofia, Bulgaria. South-East Europe is a part of the green energy global transformation. Environmental issues are of high priority in these countries and the market in the relevant sectors is in need of experience, modern technology products and equipment. The event will present the current trends and the opportunities for win-win partnerships in Southeast Europe. More info about the event can be found here.
SerbiaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sat, January 19, 2013 15:47:40 Swedish fashion store H&M is about to open it´s first store in Serbia, in the capital Belgrade. The store is planned to open during
autumn 2013 according to the Nasdaq OMX newswire. Other new markets for H&M during 2013 are Chile, Estonia, Lithuania
and via franchise in Indonesia.
– "We look very much forward to opening the first H&M store in Belgrade. We are
excited to be able to offer fashion and quality at the best price to our
customers in Serbia from autumn 2013", says Karl-Johan Persson, CEO at H&M.
Telephone: +46 8 796 39 95
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.
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.
Bosnia and HerzegovinaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sat, December 08, 2012 12:21:23 Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle told the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo at the 27th of November that they have not been able to honour their main commitments for the country’s progress towards EU integration. “There is still no political agreement on the implementation of the Sejdić/Finci ruling. A model for a coordination mechanism of all levels of government in EU matters has not been submitted. It is clear that this will delay the EU integration of your country,” Füle said in a Commission communiqué. Read more in the Linked2Balkan news here.
CULINARIA EXPO SERBIA is the specialised food & drink regional show
focusing, for the third time, primarily on trade buyers. The Expo will be held
from March 4th to March 6th, 2013 in Serbia, at the Belgrade Fair venue. FOODREX
CULINARIA EXPO is an outlet to present premium food lines for Serbian food and
drink producers, from small family manufacturers to large corporations. This
will be a great opportunity for professional buyers from Europe and the rest of
the World to meet Serbian food and drink producers, and to establish a
potential cooperation. Serbian
food and drink products are widely known, mostly, for their organic origin and
good quality. All companies that are interested in participating in "Hosted
Buyers Programme" should fill out the form on the website:
www.foodrexculinaria.rs. More information about the fair can be downloaded here.
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
Compare what is happening in Bulgaria with the state of affairs in countries around it – economic crisis in Greece, surging unemployment in parts of former Yugoslavia, political troubles in Romania – and one phrase recurs: “We are”, says the country’s president, Rosen Plevneliev, “an absolute island of stability”.
The claim, repeated by many senior Bulgarians, has substance. Though the economy shrank by 5.5 per cent in the 2009 global recession, unlike neighbouring Serbia, Romania and Greece, Bulgaria required no international bailout. It has since had 13 consecutive quarters of growth, even if this has been anaemic. With among the lowest budget deficit and government debt figures in the European Union, Bulgaria isone of only three countries, alongside Finland and Denmark, that fully meet the Maastricht criteria for euro membership. Read more here.
Bosnia and HerzegovinaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Tue, November 27, 2012 21:37:33 Wizz Air will launch flights from Malmo to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second largest city, Banja Luka, next summer season, according to news from Linked2Balkan. The two sides are finalising an agreement which will see the low cost airline enter the Bosnian market for the first time. “If they are willing to launch year long flights we will put tickets on sale in January while the flights will launch in April”, the acting CEO of the Airports of Republika Srpska company, Davorin Mihić, says. Wizz offered Banja Luka flights from Luton, Malmo, Eindhoven and Dortmund to choose from, with the airport selecting the service from Sweden as it considers it to be the most viable out of the offered destinations.
Vill du minska dina kostnader för tillverkning och inköp
Funderar du på hur andra företag resonerar kring sourcing i Central- och Östeuropa
Behöver du ett beslutsunderlag?
Svenska företag har visat ett ökat intresse för att finna inköpsalternativ till Asien. Närhet till Sverige, god kvalité och en likartad kultur är några faktorer som brukar lyftas fram. Exportrådet har gjort en studie om sourcing från nio länder i Central- och Östeuropa, i vilken de undersökt de mest intressanta branscherna för företag i Sverige, och man bjuder nu in till en presentation av intressanta sourcing-möjligheter i länder som många svenska företag hittills inte funderat över. På seminariet berättar man om möjligheter i Bulgarien, Litauen, Makedonien, Moldavien, Rumänien, Serbien, Tjeckien, Ukraina och Ungern. Fokus kommer att ligga på sektorerna ICT, metall, livsmedel, trä, möbler, textil, Life Science och Shared Services. Detta kostnadsfria seminarium äger rum i Stockholm den 5 och i Göteborg den 6 december. Närmare information hittar man här och man anmäler sig här.
SerbiaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Tue, November 27, 2012 20:31:58 The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed two loans totalling EUR 100 million in Serbia with two local financial institutions in support of the projects of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as well as infrastructure schemes promoted by local authorities. The loans are designed to assist Serbia in its efforts to integrate into the European Union. "The loans will improve the access of Serbian SMEs and mid-cap companies to long-term financing provided on favourable terms” said Dario Scannapieco, the EIB Vice-President responsible for the Western Balkans, “and I am really pleased with our cooperation with the Serbian authorities and Serbian financial institutions." More details here.
November 29 – December 1, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation hosts a Round Table Conference on “the EU Crisis and its Impact on South East Europe” in Nynäshamn, south of Stockholm. During the conference, topics such as the Euro Crisis, the EU’s Enlargement Fatigue and the Importance of Solving Border Conflicts will be discussed. More information on this link or from this email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The second Orban government brings serious hardship and disappointment to the Hungarian economy and society. There were hopes in 2010 concerning growing welfare, massive creation of new jobs, boosting economy, the reduction of the tax burden, the creation of a more liveable and more business-friendly country, and modernizing public services. None of these hopes have been fulfilled, writes the Hungarian GKI Economic Research Institute in a revealing report about the state of the Hungarian economy, subtitled "A blueprint of the government´s actions for the 2014-2018 period". This comprehensive report, containing suggestions how the government could get the country on track again in critical areas, can be downloaded here by our members.
SerbiaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Tue, November 20, 2012 20:59:44 Members of a Swedish parliamentary delegation told their counterparts from the Serbian Parliament’s Committee for Judiciary and State Administration that the Swedish government and parliament would like to see Serbia in the EU as soon as possible as Serbia is a major country in the region. At a meeting in Belgrade, the Swedish MPs, led by Swedish Deputy Parliament Speaker Jan Ertsborn (FP), said they were ready to help Serbia strengthen its judiciary and human rights, adding that the Swedish government and parliament support EU enlargement. They assessed Serbia and Sweden are connected by good and friendly mutual relations and that today’s visit would promote interparliamentary cooperation. The delegation visits Serbia and Croatia between 18-23 November. (Balkans.com)
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.
Croatia has recieved an official offer to buy 8 Jas 39 Gripen fighter jets from Sweden, reports Radio Sweden. Croatia has been offered C/D models of the Gripen jets, which are older than the new E/F models that Switzerland is set to buy from Sweden. Croatia needs to replace the MiG-21 jets it has now, and according to Jerry Lindberg, project manager for Croatia at the Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency, the Jas Gripen jets are expected to be in operation in Croatia within a year.Jas Gripen planes are used in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Thailand, and South Africa. The Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List quoted a spokesman at the Defence Ministry saying "We want the Swedish Gripen for our airforce to survive"
Macedonia has implemented a number of efforts to improve the business climate and stimulate foreign investments. As a result, a number of successful companies from the USA, Germany, UK, Russia, Turkey ond India have alreedy chosen Macedonia as their most preferred investment destination. Macedonia 2025 contributes to the efforts aimed at positioning Macedonia as an attractive destination for foreign investors, and promoting Macedonian industries in the markets. This year, for the first time the Macedonia Global Investment Summit will be organized, which strives to make a major step forward towards integrating the Diaspora in the Macedonian economy, by promoting trade, investments and economic growth. The summit will consist of working panels ond networking opportunities to discuss and explore information which will stimulote joint cooperation among Macedonian and foreign companies in various sectors. The summit will be a great location, to explore new investment projects, meet Mocedonian export oriented businesses, promote business opportunities ond share experiences and knowledge. Click on this link for more information and join our Chairman at this important event in Ohrid.
Företrädare för den rumänska organisationen The National Union of Handicraft and Production Co-operatives (UCECOM) kommer att besöka Sverige och Norge på en "trade mission" mellan den 18 och 25 augusti i avsikt att träffa potentiella affärspartners här. Organisationen har i hemlandet över 500 medlemmar inom tillverknings- och tjänstesektorn och täcker branscher som möbler, kläder, livsmedel m fl. Den rumänska delegationen kommer att bestå av såväl representanter från ministerier som från privata företag. I samband med besöket i Stockholm anordnar rumänska ambassaden ett business forum och matchmaking event den 20 augusti dit intresserade svenska företagsrepresentanter är välkomna. Inbjudan från ambassaden samt kontaktuppgifter kan hämtas här.
Romania is a more and more attractive emerging market for software developers, especially applications for mobile platforms, according to an Ernst & Young survey called “Opportunities and optimism: how CEOs are embracing digital growth.” In Appstore there are over 400 Romanian applications and a similar number is found on the Android market, according to Syscom Digital. “The number of applications developed in Romania is continually growing and it is estimated it will grow five times by the end of the year,” says the Ernst& Young survey. Read more here.
SloveniaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Fri, August 03, 2012 11:05:47 Aug 2 (Reuters) - Moody's Investors Service on Thursday cut Slovenia's
government bond rating to Baa2 from A2, just two notches above junk, on worries
about the country's banking system and rising vulnerability to
"The negative outlook reflects Moody's view that the sovereign's funding
challenges and risks from the financial system remain substantial," the rating
agency said in a statement.
"The deteriorating macroeconomic environment amplifies this risk and opens
the possibility that external assistance may be required," the statement
Den 4 september inbjuder UD till samverkansmöte med anledning av de planerade delegationsresorna med svenska näringslivsrepresentanter till Georgien och Moldavien den 25-27 september resp 22-24 oktober. Delegationsresan till Moldavien leds av handelsminister Ewa Björling.
Inbjudan samt program till samverkansmötet på UD kan hämtas här.
"If eurozone countries were a class of schoolchildren, Slovenia would probably sit in a middle row: quiet and generally agreeable. But even well-behaved students can run riot", writes Financial Times in this critical report of the small population country that just may be the next recipient for a bailout aid. Read the full FT article here.
Romania is ranked 6th in The Times outsourcing supplement which points out that although it may not seem an obvious choice, Romania has an ever increasing reputation as an attractive outsourcing destination and a leader in IT outsourcing. With more than 100 universities, Romania is renowned for its high quality labour pool with language and mathematics skills in abundance. It was ranked 25 in the 2011 Global Services Location Index produced by management consultancy A.T. Kearney. John Cotterell, Endava’s Chief Executive added further comment on the region: "Romania is seen as a unique location. It is easy to reach with a 2-3 hour flight from major European capitals and the IT centres in Romania are all university cities where we can also find available office space and excellent communications infrastructure." Read more in the article in Outsourcing News.
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.
One third of the country´s population emigrated after the fall of communism 20 years ago. But the last decade Albania has had a steady economic development while the crisis in the rest of Europe only got worse. So now a large number of Albanians return home to find new business opportunities and a growing prosperity.Watch this video clip from Radio Sweden reporting (in mixed languages) from "Europe´s China".
The economic team of the
Government of the Republic of Macedonia, headed by the Prime Minister Nikola
Gruevski last week attended a Business Forum in Stockholm at which the economic
and investment potentials of the Republic of Macedonia were presented before
representatives of around 60 Swedish companies.
The Business Forum was opened by the Minister of
Trade of Sweden, Ewa Bjorling, who highlighted that the continuous improvement
of the business climate in Macedonia had stimulated an enhancement of the
economic cooperation between the two countries and underscored the clear
Swedish support for the integration of the Republic of Macedonia into the
PM Gruevski stressed that for
the achieved results, the Republic of Macedonia had been ranked among the top
three reformers, according to the World
Bank´s Doing Business Report for 2012, and that Macedonia had been at the 22nd
position and had had the highest ranking compared to any other transitional
economy in Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe.
He noted that the Macedonian economy, for several
years in continuity had been characterized by a pronounced macroeconomic
stability and average inflation rate of 2.5%, while regarding public finance, a policy of low budget
deficit and careful indebting had been pursued, thus the government debt had
been 26%, low and flat tax of 10% had been introduced, retained earnings had
been completely tax exempt and social contributions had been gradually reduced
by a third.
Click here for a comprehensive presentation of the
Busieness Climate and Investment Opportunities in Macedonia
Photo: Prime Minister Gruevski addresses the audience
at the Macedonian Business Forum in Stockholm.
On June 4th a Business Forum is organized on the occasion of the visit to the Kingdom of Sweden of H.E. Mr. Nikola Gruevski, President of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. Members of our Chamber of Commerce can download the invitation and programme here.
Albania is trying to attract private investors to its power market as it diversifies energy sources and privatizes some of its infrastructure. The government, which awarded 5.2 billion euros ($6.6 billion) in wind power and hydroelectric contracts in the past four years, will support natural gas pipeline projects and processing plants, according to Enno Bozdo, deputy minister for economy, trade and energy.The Adriatic nation of about 3 million people wants to curb reliance on hydropower, which accounts for 98 percent of its domestic electricity production. Albania offers incentives including tax exemptions for clean-energy activities and a faster permitting process to attract investors, he said. Ten licences for 1,700 megawatts of wind power have been awarded, and 125 hydropower agreements worth 1,500 megawatts since 2008. Read more here in this article from Bloomberg Newsweek.
It’s finally happening! One of the oldest wine regions in the world, the Balkans needed two decades modern winemaking to gather enough economic and entrepreneurial energy to unite in a regional festival. The long awaited event will take place from 14th to 17th June 2012 in Sofia. Its founder and organizer, wine expert Galina Niforou of Oniorama, listed 10 reasons to participate in the Balkans International Wine Competition, BIWC, 2012. (Balkantravellers.com)
MacedoniaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sun, May 13, 2012 21:36:09 Macedonia's central business register has taken the top spot in Europe for a second year in a row and is ranked sixth in the world according to the World Bank. Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, claimed the country has “managed to prove that a firm doesn't have to be registered in 48 days, it can be registered in 4 hours... We've proved that Macedonia can be one of the best in the world according to the conditions for starting a business.” (bne May 2012)
SerbiaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sun, May 13, 2012 21:26:57 Serbia is to host the world's largest individual solar park. Luxembourgbased Securum Equity Partners Europe will invest EUR2bn in the project. Serbia has no financial commitment, but expects to collect EUR 750m in taxes over the next 20 years. (bne May 2012)
According to many oppinions the Hungarian government is on collision course with the rest of the world. EU has demanded prime minister Viktor Orbán to withdraw a number of laws which are threatening to give Orban´s own Fidesz party too big power over the Hungarian society. The European council has stated even sharper criticism against new laws for media and justice. The IMF has opposed the proposal for control of the national bank and USA´s secretary of foreign affairs, Hillary Clinton, has written an open letter to PM Orbán and expressed her worries over what´s happening in Hungary. Is Hungary on it´s way towards an authoritarian government? Listen
to what the Minister of media communication, Zoltan Kovács, has to say about these accusations in an interview (in English) with Tomas Ramberg in the swedish Radio today.
In the picture: Zoltán Kovác, Hungarian Minister of Media Communication
Bosnia and Herzegovina is becoming a more interesting touristic destination every year which is shown in the fact that the most famous tourism website “Lonely Planet” has recommended BH as a destination that tourists definitely have to visit. One of the segments highlighted is adventure tourism with possibilities of a beautiful rafting experience in the rivers Una and Neretva. A small number of countries can say that they have such huge potentials for the advancement of adventurous tourism like BH. More on BH-news.com.
RomaniaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sun, April 22, 2012 14:34:48 Romania is a less risky debtor compared to older EU members such as Spain, Italy or Hungary, but the country is still paying higher interest rates on its sovereign debt compared to the first half of 2011. This stems from a global ranking from British market researcher CMA, Mediafax reported April 19. In its latest quarterly global sovereign credit risk report, CMA said Romania slid five notches to 21st in the top of the riskiest economies that could default on their debt in the next five years. Romania's cumulative default probability index decreased to 20% at the end of March, from 27% in December 2011, the report noted. Cyprus leads the top ten most risky sovereign credit chart. The country replaced Greece as the world's economy most probable to enter default in the medium term, after the latter finally initiated a debt-restructuring program (which is perceived as a default). Portugal is the second most risky debtor worldwide, followed by Pakistan and Argentina, the report stated. (Source: bne/Balkans.com)
Managing in Turbulent Times This is the theme of thought-provoking discussions and networking events with a focus on the economic, political and social issues affecting central and eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia – the EBRD’s region of operations – on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May. The event will be held at EBRD Headquarters in London during the bank´s 2012 annual meeting and it will give you an opportunity to interact with senior government officials, policy-makers, investors, business executives and other Annual Meeting participants.
Some of the prominent speakers include: HE Nikoloz Gilauri, Prime Minister, Georgia; HE Simeon Djankov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Bulgaria; Marek Belka, President, National Bank of Poland; former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Poland; Olga Dergunova, Member of the Management Board VTB Bank; former Chair of Microsoft in Russia and the CIS
Click here to come to the invitation web page and here to receive the invitation brochure. Below is EBRD´s own promotional video for the 2012 event.
RomaniaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Wed, April 18, 2012 11:14:16 Romania received almost EUR 100 million through EEA and Norway Grants over 2007-2009, and the same entities will make available a further EUR 306 million in the next five years. The EEA and Norway Grants will contribute to co-financing of projects in key areas of support such as environmental protection and climate change, research and scholarships, civil society, green industry innovation, justice, cultural heritage and similar. (Balkans.com 18/4)
Today, the 5th of April 2012, it is 20 years since the breakout of the war in Bosnia. Was that also the death sentence of Yugoslavia or did it come hundreds of years before Yugoslavia even was born? If you are interested in this part of the history we recommend you to view the BBC documentary "The Death of Yugoslavia". It was first shown already 1995 and is rated as one of the best and most spectacular TV documentaries ever made.The documentary consists of six parts and covers amazing interviews with most of the main players in the conflict.
You can access all the documentary parts here or start the first video immediately by clicking on the picture below.
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.
Sarajevo Business Forum 2012, the 3rd International Investment Conference will take place on 16 - 18 May. The forum will be held under the patronage of Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This year´s Forum will particularly feature projects in infrastructure, energy, tourism, agriculture, finance, construction and education. Companies and organisations from not only Bosnia and Herzegovina but from the whole region will be present at the forum, so anyone with the interest in doing business in the region should take the opportunity to participate. Click on the picture to read more about the forum, sponsorship packages and how to participate.
EU finance ministers on Tuesday approved a controversial funding freeze on Hungary under the bloc's new deficit rules, but some countries, led by Austria, say it was a bit harsh after Spain obtained concessions. Austria, backed by Britain, Poland and the Czech Republic said the decision to freeze €495 million of EU aid for Hungary's infrastructure projects should be delayed from 1 Januay 2013 until June to give it more time to fix its deficit. Hungary also over the past year has caused a stink in Brussels over laws back home that curb free press and the independence of the central bank and judiciary. Read more of this article by EUobserver.com here.
...while bankruptcy among businesses are increasing.
The number of bankrupt businesses will slightly rise this year as well, following an all-time high of last year, as reported by Hangary´s GKI Economic Research Co. A particularly strong wave of bankruptcies in trade and in vehicle trade is expected, as well as in agriculture and in collective services. Read more in the report here.
“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:
After three years of tough talks and painful concessions from Belgrade, Brussels has finally granted Serbia formal EU candidate status. While the first major step towards full membership has been taken, years of negotiations still lie ahead.
The decision to clear the way for Serbia’s accession to the EU came as a surprise on the first day of the Brussels summit, which has the top priority issue of saving the EU from the financial crisis that is wracking the eurozone. Under current conditions, a large part of the Serbian population has understandable concerns about the wisdom of joining the Union at a time of unprecedented economic disaster. Serbia has already made major concessions to smooth its path to the EU but further negotiations with the bloc will inevitably bring more economic and political demands from Brussels. The last and most important concession Belgrade was forced to make was to improve ties with its breakaway region of Kosovo, whose independence has now been recognized by almost all EU states.
Nebojsa Malic, an expert on Serbian history, told that EU will be the sole beneficiary of the accession process.“The EU will not lead to gains for Serbia, but it will demand that Serbia give up everything,” he argues. He said Belgrade has basically subordinated its foreign policy to Brussels and in a sense to Washington and as a result has been forced to surrender its position on Kosovo.Now Brussels appears to be pushing Belgrade to revoke Russia’s most-favored nation status in trade agreements. “I don’t think anybody in Serbia honestly expects the country’s problems to be resolved by joining the EU, especially after seeing the riots in Spain and Greece,” Malic claims. (RT March 2)
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.
Detta är ett av förslagen i en debattartikel, som behandlar
det statligt finansierade Exportrådets konkurrensfördelar gentemot oberoende
konsultföretag. Artikeln i torsdagens Dagens Industri är författad av Ulf
Lindberg, näringspolitisk chef Almega och Krister Widström, ordförande Exporttjänsteföretagen,
som bl a skriver:
”Marknaden för exporttjänster är i stort behov av mångfald
för att underlätta för svenska företag att växa internationellt. I dag har
befintliga exportfrämjande företag svårt att konkurrera med Exportrådets
subventionerade verksamhet…… Verkligheten är att rådgivarna har blivit en
skattefinansierad försäljningsorganisation åt Exportrådet, och inga andra
alternativ än Exportrådets konsulttjänster marknadsförs.”
Artikeln, som kan
läsas i sin helhet här, avslutar debattörerna med att föreslå ”en
sammanslagning av Exportrådet och Invest in Sweden samt, ännu viktigare, att
införa ett valfrihetssystem för köp
av exporttjänster med offentlig finansiering. Gärna ett vouchersystem, på samma
sätt som det finns en skolpeng och ett fritt skolval eller Rutavdrag där man själv får välja leverantör. Mångfalden skulle
öka svensk export, skapa nya och växande företag och motsvara behoven hos de
Flera oberoende exportkonsulter, med lång erfarenhet av att
arbeta i olika Östeuropeiska länder, är medlemmar i vår Handelskammare. En del
av oss påverkas direkt eller indirekt av den snedvridna konkurrensen från
Exportrådet. Tyck gärna till. Dagens Industri har stängt sin avd för
kommentarer till artikeln, men det gör inte vi. Så välkomna med kommentarer nedan.
Och vad tycker man på Exportrådet. Vi
väntar med spänning på en kommentar därifrån
också. Den som tiger samtycker heter det ju...
Energy & EnvironmentPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sun, November 27, 2011 18:24:51 An Update on New Renewable Energy Plants and Projects in Southeast Europe (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey) has been issued by Western Balkans Energy & Construction Projects. Click here for the report.
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.
Nokia said yesterday it would close the Cluj factory in Romania, which opened just
four years ago and manufactured more simple cellphone models, leading to 2,200
job losses. The plant turnover was comparable to 1.3 percent of Romania's GDP last year according to Reuters. Nokia said it was also evaluating the future of its plants in Hungary and this
would result in job cuts next year. (Reuters, 29 Oct)
SloveniaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Wed, September 07, 2011 16:50:05 According to bne-news recently, Sweden´s Bonnier group is bidding for Slovenia´s daily newspaper Delo, part of the fast falling Srot empire. According to the news Bonnier may team up with the former competitor Axel Springer to see the deal through.
KosovoPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Tue, September 06, 2011 21:23:54 Belgrade and Pristina have agreed to a wording for Kosovo customs stamp which will allow the former province to export to Serbia for the first time since it declared independence in February 2008. (Balkaninsight.com)
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:
Moldova´s Prime Minister Vlad Filat will be visiting Stockholm shortly together with a business delegation. The Swedish Foreign Office, the Swedish Trade Council and the Embassy of Moldova are inviting members of the Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe to a round table with matchmaking between Swedish and Moldovan businessmen. The Moldovan Foreign Minister, Iurie Leanca, dep Foreign Minister, Natalia Gherman, The Minister of Agriculture, Vasile Bumacov and the dep Minister of Trade, Octavian Calmac also will take part in the delegation. Members of the Chambers of Commerce can download the invitation with information about date and venue 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.
Webit Congress 2011 - one of Europe's premier digital marketing and IT industry events with special focus on Central and Eastern Europe, will take place in Sofia on October 26-27 this year. More than 5000 visitors from 21 countries are expected to attend the exhibition and the 7 parallel conference tracks. The participants will be able to meet and listen to a number of prominent people from within the e-business and internet marketing area, among them specialists from Google, Facebook, eBay and Microsoft. Click here for more information.
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.
The Swedish Trade Council, the Embassy of Sweden in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Chamber of Commerce of Sweden and Norway will on 24-25 October, 2011, organize a seminar in Sarajevo with focus on matchmaking opportunities for Swedish companies active in the manufacturing industry and the environmental sector, which are interested in exploring the market of BiH.
The seminar will allow participating Swedish companies an insight in the economic situation in BiH, the needs and long-term investment plans within the sectors of environment as well as potentials within the manufacturing industry. The Swedish company representatives will be given the possibility to network with officials, key persons and decision makers from the industry in BiH and present their companies, products and/or solutions to important decision makers and potential business partners in BiH. The overall purpose of the event is to create a platform for dialogue and exchange of knowledge between Swedish companies interested in opportunities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, local stakeholders and potential partners, as well as funding agencies and organizations of relevance. The event aims at raising the image of Sweden and to highlight Swedish companies’ intentions to intensify their trade relations with BiH.
More information about this interesting event and how to participate can be found here.
Electronics, IT, and services outsourcing are the sectors of the Bulgarian economy that harbor the greatest growth potential, states the major conclusion of a fresh study by Bulgaria's Finance Ministry. The report of the Economic Analysis and Forecasts Directorate of the Finance Ministry in Sofia released Monday studies the performance of the real economy sector in Bulgaria in 2008-2010. In addition to stressing the importance of improving production efficiency in Bulgaria, the paper also emphasizes that during the economic boom of the pre-crisis years both investments and labor had not focused on the most productive sectors of the real economy in the country. According to the Bulgarian Finance Ministry, the services are the sector of the Bulgarian economy that has suffered the least from the global economic and financial crisis reports Sofia news Agency. (Balkans.com August 8)
EventsPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Tue, August 09, 2011 10:55:57 Environmental issues are highly prioritized in the worldwide agenda and are also a priority theme for South-East Europe. The countries from the Region are in need of expertise, technology products and equipment. 'Save the Planet' will present the latest solutions in waste management, recycling and environment and will encourage the foreign investments and creation of public-private partnerships. The exhibition and the parallel conference will gather representatives of business, public authorities and institutions involved in these sectors. Venue: Sofia Exhibiton Center, Bulgaria. Date: 28 - 30 March 2012. For more information and registration click here.
Bulgaria can count on a 10-15% increase in the monies from EU funds after 2014, it emerged after the European Commission approved late on Wednesday a proposal for the EU budget 2014-2020. "Bulgaria is expected to receive a 10-15% increase compared to what we have today," Bulgarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva told the Bulgarian National Radio. "It will be extremely important in the next 18 months, when the negotiations over the budget are running, that we prove our preparedness to absorb funds so that these preliminary figures become a reality," she added. (Balkcan.com)
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.
The International Conference on the European Energy Market is a premier forum for the exchange of ideas, open and direct discussion on the development of the energy markets in Europe. It has achieved a considerable success during the past seven editions covering the electricity and gas markets policies and experiences, climate change impacts on the sector and developments at the European level. The EEM 11 will be held in Zagreb, Croatia 25-27 May 2011. The conference will host several sessions with keynote speakers from the European institutions, industries, market agents and prominent academicians. Read more about the conference here.
SerbiaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Thu, May 26, 2011 14:00:29 B92.net, Belgrade: Serbian President Boris Tadić confirmed during a news conference in
Belgrade today that a man suspected to be Hague fugitive Ratko Mladić has been
arrested. Tadić said the arrest operation was carried out by Serbia's intelligence
agency BIA and the Service for Discovering War Crimes. According to reports earlier in the day, the Serbian police arrested on
Thursday a man going by the name of Milorad Komadić, who was suspected to be
former VRS General Ratko Mladić. B92 previously received confirmation
that a man suspected to be Mladić was in custody. The secret operation
came after a tip-off that Komadić "possessed some identification documents of
Ratko Mladić and was physically very similar to him", the Zagreb-based Jutarnji
List reported earlier today. The report did not mention the location
where the arrest took place. B92 has unofficially learned that the operation
took place in the village of Lazarevo, near the town of Zrenjanin in northern
Serbia. The former military leader of Serbs in
Bosnia is wanted by the Hague Tribunal on genocide and war crimes charges.
BulgariaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Tue, May 24, 2011 21:32:03 Bulgaria's newly adopted Renewable Energy Act contradicts the Constitution and EU law, and will shatter the country's energy future, according to the BulgarianWind Energy Association. "Instead of encouraging the development of renewable energy in Bulgaria the new law is practically creating conditions for the complete freeze of the industry, and will have very severe consequences in the near future," the statement says.
The wind energy investors argue the law violates the Constitution and EU regulations by introducing post-dated measures regarding investment projects under development, which "undermines the trust in Bulgaria as an investment destination." "What is more, while EU directives stipulate that RE projects must get a priority access to the power grid, the law places RE behind all other kinds of energy. For example, it places limits on renewable energy sources that do not exist for any other conventional energy source," the investors complain. Read the full Novinite article here.
Sweden will phase out their support to Macedonia and end it by December 2012 according to a report published by the Swedish Government Office. The report covers the phase out strategy. More information and copies of the report can be obtained from the Foreign Ministry of Sweden.
Romania and Bulgaria's economies turn back very hard on growing, so that recovery from the crisis lasts longer in comparison with other countries in the region said Thursday, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Thomas Mirow. The bank forecasts a 1.1% growth in Romania's GDP for 2011. The Balkans region remains vulnerable to risks generated by the sovereign debt crisis in Greece, as these states' economic recovery is slower than that of other Eastern European states, he added. Read more in hardviews.eu.
On May 4 Businessmen from Croatia and Sweden will meet to discuss business opportunities between the two countries. Representatives from companies interested to participate should contact Marianne.Dott@chamber.se. Venue: Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, Västra Trädgårdsgatan 9, Stockholm.
Programme: 9.00 Welcome Presentation of participants Croatia – economic overview, trends and opportunities - H.E Vlademir Matek, Croatian Ambassador, - Croatian Chamber of Commerce
Sweden – economic overview, trends and opportunities - (Stockholm Chamber of Commerce/Svensk Handel/Agenturföretagen) Choice depending on sectors.
10.45 Round table discussion 3 - 4 different groups 1. Cooperation opportunities with Croatian Industry – Moderator: Mr Ulf Rudeback, Industrial Cooperation Saab AB
2. Tourism – Croatia as a tourist destination Moderator: 3, 4 Sector specific
12.30 Lunch and networking opportunities
Programme 13.30 – 15.30
Parallel sessions 1. Match-making session for companies – individual business discussions Format: Sector-specific tables, open space format Participants: Croatian companies and Swedish companies
2. Exchange of experience – private sector organisations (member services, advocacy and other private sector focused activities) Format: Round-table discussion Moderator: Charlotte Kalin, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce Participants: Croatian actors and Swedish actors
3. Exchange of experience - Business and Networking Opportunities within A National Agent’s Association Format: Round-table discussion Moderator: Mr Jan Björnum, President the Swedish Association of Agents, Vice President IUCAB
The Serbian government has given the sole bidder in its Telekom Srbjia sell-off 15 days to improve its offer. A fortnight ago, it emerged that Telekom Austria’s offer of €800-950m for the mostly-state-owned telco was the only bid received. The Serbian government, which owns 80 per cent of the telco, was hoping to attract offers in excess of €1.4bn for a 51 per cent stake in the company. Read more in the article by Telecoms.com here.
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.
Hungarian vehicle and part maker Raba has made announcements which have raised company share prices significantly. First, the company has signed a new contract with Scania. Raba has been a supplier to the Swedish truck maker of running gears since 2007 and the partnership will now be expanded. Raba has also invested HUF 96 million into the development of new defense applications for armored troop transporter vehicles - the company is a major supplier to the Hungarian army. The new H14 army truck will be bullet- shell- and mine-proof, and will surpass NATO standards. (ITD Hungary).
SerbiaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Sun, March 27, 2011 22:12:38 It is possible that Serbia will get the EU candidate status by the end of the year, EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said ahead of his visit to Serbia. He added that in Serbia’s case the EU “will not see a need to make a difference between the candidate status and the beginning of the accession negotiations”. “The ball is in Serbia’s court,” he told new portal EurActiv Srbija and Beta news agency. The EU enlargement commissioner will arrive in Belgrade on Tuesday and have meetings with high Serbian officials. Read the full story from B92 news agency here.
That the Serbian public has high expectations from Moscow was demonstrated this week by the lavish welcome given Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He arrived in Belgrade on Wednesday (March 23rd) to meet with President Boris Tadic and other top officials. He confirmed that Russian companies will help Serbia build railroads. Serbian construction workers, meanwhile, will take part in preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. "We would like to utilise the great experience of our Serbian partners in the construction of tourist facilities," Putin said. Tadic said he received assurances that the South Stream project would be implemented in the coming years. The pipeline, he said, is of great importance for the entire European continent. Read more in the SETimes.com article here.
Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha declared Monday during a conference on renewable energy held in Tirana that Albania has the potential of becoming a mini-super power in the region regarding the energy sector while pointing out that investing in renewable energy remains a priority for the Albanian government, Top Channel reports. According to the Premier, Albania has a huge potential on wind as well as solar energy, being one of Europe’s sunniest countries. Berisha added that his government is committed to adopt one of the best legal frameworks for this purpose, while he invited banks to consider the financing of projects in the field. (Balkans.com) The countryn certainly seems to have got a good start as statistics from the institute INSTAT shows that in 2010 Albania's energy output went up by 47.5% year on year to 7,714GWh, according to BNE.
Join leading companies involved in the development and implementation of renewable energy projects and debate major issues in the sector in a high profile interactive event. The event gathers key decision makers and major players involved in the development of local renewable energy projects, from leading companies of the sector to authorities and financing institutions. Government officials and company representatives will discuss key topics such as: Incentive schemes for green energy production - Green certificates, EU structural funds or the Environment Fund Selling green energy in Romania: opportunities of fixed contracts, day ahead and the intra-day market Challenges in integrating renewable energy in the national power grid system Romania’s potential in wind, solar, biomass and small hydro Private financing of renewable power generation projects Read more about the forum here. The findings at the Green Energy Forum 2011 will be published in a worldwide special report in The Diplomat Bucharest and on thediplomat.ro
Get news fast and easy on your mobile phone from all our region. Just follow southeasteurope on Twitter and get a short version with links to more information. Except our own news we will also retweet interesting information and gossip from others sources about what´s happening in the region. You can also get our tweets by clicking here.
Members of the Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe are very welcome to the annual meeting on April 7th in Stockholm. The meeting will start with a presentation by the new Ambassador to Sweden H.E. Mr Kire Ilioski on the present economy, trade and investment climate in Macedonia, which will be followed by a Q&A session. Details of the programme and registration form can be downloaded by our members here. If you are not yet a member of the Chambers but would like to become one and attend the meeting, you are welcome to send an email to email@example.com.
The Albanian Electronic and Postal Communications Authority is considering awarding a second 3G license soon according to Balkans.com. The move is seen as a step toward market liberalization since 3G technology in the Albanian market is currently being offered only by Vodafone Albania, thus creating a monopoly situation. Vodafone Albania CEO Haris Broumidis quickly reacted on the announcement saying that Vodafone Albania continues the rapid expansion of 3G network covering with 3G signal the major cities with plans to cover the densest population areas within summer 2011. More info here.
According to news from Business News Europe, the Serbian government has only received one bid for the 51 % of Telekom Serbia. Telekom Austria offered €1.4bn. That is €950m for shares and €450m in investments. In a report from Balkan.com the PM said that the Serbian government will likely decide against the sale of a 51 percent stake in state run Telekom Srbija to Telekom Austria. More info here.
CroatiaPosted by Chambers of Commerce Sweden - Southeast Europe Wed, March 09, 2011 00:47:31 Croatians' skepticism towards the European Union has been growing from month to month, peaking at 41 per cent in March. Compared to March of last year, 1.1 per cent more Croatians are against European Union membership, the latest CRO Demoscop survey shows. Some 48.9 per cent still support Croatia's entry or 0.5 per cent fewer than a month ago. (Balkans.com 8 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.