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On the path of recovery

The economies of Southeast Europe set out on a hard and long road to recovery last year, trying to beat the challenge of sluggish demand for their exports in the eurozone, their main trading partner.
Unsurprisingly, the EU member states in the region fared worse than their non-EU neighbours due to their stronger integration with the western European markets. In contrast, non-EU member states capitalised on their looser links with the EU to post bigger growth in their gross domestic product (GDP).

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Moldova gives boost to microlending

Microfinancing, an increasingly popular lending venue in mainly rural Moldova, recently got a boost when the country’s financial regulator CNPF unveiled plans for the expansion of the combined credit portfolio of the microfinance organisations to 2.0 billion lei (131.2 million euro) by 2014 from 1.4 billion lei in 2009.
The plans are part of a broader strategy for the development of the financial market of the ex-Soviet country considered one of the poorest in Europe with GDP-per-capita of 23,083 lei in 2011, according to data from Moldova’s national statistics board.

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In tough times generic drugs come to the rescue

The global financial downturn and the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis have afflicted almost all industries and the pharmaceuticals sector is no exception. Pharmaceutical companies manufacturing brand drugs face a tough market while companies making generic medicines, or cheaper copies of branded drugs with their patent expired or under an agreement with the branded drug maker, may benefit from the situation.
The coupling of the crisis with the boom in patent expirations continues to give a strong boost to generic drug makers.

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Albania sets eyes on mountain tourism to boost growth

Albania will aim to develop its mountain tourism in an effort to generate more revenue from its tourist sector and to increase the share of tourism in its gross domestic product, a new strategy blueprint indicates.
Tourism is among the most important sectors in the economy of Albania. According to official statistics it generates 10% of the country’s gross domestic product which is estimated to have reached some 13 billion U.S. dollars (10.5 billion euro) in 2011.

Image by Alex Proimos

Faring in a smoke-free environment

It’s 2004 and Ireland has swung a legislative wrecking ball, initiating a demolition process that would leave smokers in many European countries out in the cold (literally as well). The Irish government has enforced the first-ever law that prohibits smokers from lighting up in all enclosed public and work places, bars and restaurants included. Partial bans and assorted restrictions had been around before that in many countries but none had until then brought watering holes and eateries within the scope of anti-smoking legislation.