Croatia celebrated its accession to the EU on July 1, 2013, to the sounds of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and fireworks in the presence of the country’s leaders and EU officials. The latest EU enlargement, however, raises a number of questions not only about the future of Croatia but also about the EU in general.
The performance of SEE’s TOP 100 insurers in 2012 is something of a feat. Judging by the overall figures, insurance companies may have finally glimpsed the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel given expectations for a return to GDP growth (albeit very modest) in the region.
The economic recession determined an eventful political year in the SEE region in 2012 and the first half of 2013. Parliamentary, presidential and local elections, impeachment process, no-confidence votes and a new EU member in the face of Croatia were the features of the political picture in the region.
The fifth edition of the SeeNews TOP 100 SEE was released on October 11, 2012. The annual ranking (www.top100.seenews.com) includes the best performing companies registered in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.
In 2011 the IT sector in Southeast Europe suffered from the instability of the national economies but managed to achieve growth in most of the countries in the region.
The sector continued to rely on government spending on IT, investment from telecommunications companies and outsourcing contracts.
When insurance companies in Southeast Europe toasted the arrival of 2011, the general mood was one of caution for the immediate future and belief in the industry’s longer-term prospects.
SEE insurers had just left behind a rather difficult 2010 – a year through which the effects of the financial crisis and the ensuing recession were still keenly felt.
Oil and gas firms increased their number on the list of the 20 SEE companies with the heftiest losses in 2011 to nine from seven in 2010. Analysts attribute the increase to the rise in global oil prices that continued to depress the bottom line of the oil companies in the region, which are involved mostly in refining. Four firms on the list are units of Russian oil major Lukoil.
Under the European Union’s (EU) 20/20/20 climate and energy targets Romania, Bulgaria and Greece have to boost the share of renewables in their energy mixes to 24%, 16% and 18%, respectively. The countries have chosen different mechanisms to achieve these goals and each one is struggling with its own challenges.
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).
While being monitored regularly by central banks within wider reviews on the financial system health, credit quality issues usually take centre stage in times of crisis, bringing along more rigorous measures to contain the damage and pre-empt future adversity and stress.
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.
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.
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.
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.