THE UNBIASED OBSERVERS, Issue 29


From 1 September 2011 this newsletter service is subscription only. See Balkan News Service for details.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Politics and others:

Albania:

  • Miners Strike in Albania Continues
  • A Center for Assistance of Victims of Trafficking to be Opened in Tirana

Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  • President of FBiH Zivko Budimir:“Operation Storm  – a Symbol of Patriotism, Pride, Courage and Honor”

Bulgaria:

  • Bulgaria’s Railways Become More and More Risky
  • A Top Functionary of Bulgaria’s Ruling Party Arrested over Online Scam

Croatia:

  • Forthcoming of the German Chancellor Visit to Croatia
  • Vatican in a Property Dispute with Croatia; Croatia: “Property to be Restored to the State”

Greece:

  • A September Strike of Civil Servants in Greece Thwarts Government Plans for Revenue Collection

Kosovo:

  • Only Rudare Barricade Remains in N Kosovo

Montenegro

  • Germany Supports Montenegro’s EU Integration; Media Freedom –a Key Condition

Romania

  • EU May Call on Spain to Lift Labor Restrictions for Romanians

Serbia

  • Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic “Serbia Sees the Events in Kosovo as an Attempt of Aggression”

Turkey

  • Turkey Welcomes the Pull out of Tanks from Syrian Hama and Expects More Steps in the Next 10-15 Days, 27 Killed in Syria in the Night of 10 August, Tanks Back in Hama Again
  • The Turkish Deputy Chief of Army Staff Faces Court after Coup Allegations
  • Turkish Businessman Freed after Abduction by PKK
  • A Survey among Turkish Journalists Reveals Censorship

Economy:

Albania

  • Albanian PM Promises to Boost Tourism

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Renzo Daviddi: IPA Funds Not Lost for BiH, EUR 100 M per Annum

Bulgaria

  • Bulgaria – Russia Start Talks over Belene Nuclear Power Plant Again
  • Bulgaria’s Supreme Court to Rules in Favor of Lukoil

Greece

  • Greece Worried about Possible Delays in the New Bailout Package

Montenegro

  • Slovenia’s Petrol Cancels a EUR 155 M Contract in Montenegro

Macedonia

  • The Latest Hike in Fuel Prices Results in Queues at Petrol Stations in Macedonia

Romania

  • Despite EU Warning, Romania Includes Requirement for Local Office Registration in Gambling Regulations

Serbia

  • Serbian Government Signs Precautionary Arrangement with IMF

Cyprus

  • Fitch Sends a Warning that Cyprus Needs a Bailout

Turkey

  • Turkish PM Erdoğan Urges Citizens to Avoid Irresponsible Spending

BALKANS – POLITICS & OTHER

Albania

Miners Strike in Albania Continues 

Tirana, Bulqiza miners demand 40% increase in wages, better working conditions, reduction of retirement age and management change. The 17 day protest in Bulqiza mine continues after miners rejected the proposal of the company ACR to sit at the table and to reach an agreement. Strikers insist that the talks should be held Bulqizë, where the hunger strike is organised, ATA reports.

A Center for Assistance of Victims of Trafficking to be Opened in Tirana

Tirana, France’s Permanent Representative to Vienna-based UN Office will finance the opening and functioning of an office at General Department of Police in Tirana, which will advise and provide assistance to trafficking victims. The financial agreement was signed by Minister of Interior Bujar Nishani and Ambassador of France Maryse Daviet on 10 August, ATA reported.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 

President of FBiH Zivko Budimir:Operation Storm – a Symbol of Patriotism, Pride, Courage and Honor 

Sarajevo, President of FBiH Zivko Budimir congratulated president of Republic of Croatia with the day of victory, homeland gratitude and Croatian defenders day, FENA reported. 

“I send special congratulations to members of Croatian Army (HV) and Croatian Council of Defense (HVO) and families of those killed in military action “Storm”. “Storm” will stay marked in history of Republic of Croatia as symbol of patriotism, pride, courage and honor. We cannot forget its positive influence on completion of war in BiH. Members of HVO and HV made great success in actions prior to “Storm”, and then in “Storm” itself, and sacrificed for freedom of Croatia, but BiH as well. We owe them eternal gratitude for that“, it is stated in congratulations of president of FBiH Budimir.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s Railways Become More and More Risky

Yet another railway incident proves that the safety certificate update of Bulgarian trains is an issue. The express train running between the Bulgarian capital Sofia and the Black Sea city of Varna caught on fire on 10 August, the Bulgarian National Television, BNT reported.

The fire has been triggered by a problem in the breaking system. Emergency crews have stopped the composition at the Kumanitsa stop, near Sofia, after receiving a call on the 112 emergency hotline. No one of the panic-struck passengers was injured.

The incident with the Sofia-Varna train is the latest in a string of increasingly serious incidents. On July 20, train No. 2615 of the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) caught on fire on route from the capital Sofia to the Black Sea city of Varna. The train was stopped and the 214 passengers were evacuated intact. However, the fire spread to the first two passenger cars before the fire brigade units arrived at the scene more than an hour after the fire started, Bulgaria’s Novinite.com reported.

On June 29, 2011, a local train between Cherven Bryag and Montana in Northwestern Bulgaria had to stop near Vratsa because of a fire on board, without any victims.

On June 10, 2011, the locomotive of a freight train also caught on fire near Simeonovgrad in Southern Bulgaria, with the driver managing to flee intact.

The most severe train incident in Bulgaria since 1992 was also caused by a train fire when 9 persons were burned to death, and 9 others were injured in the night Sofia-Kardam train in February 2008 near Cherven Bryag.

The Bulgarian Railway Company, which is in deplorable financial position, still waits for a loan from the state. A discussion over the safety certificates of Bulgarian trains that started at the beginning of 2011 has been sidetracked but it has left a lot of questions about the safety of both BDZ personnel and passengers.

A Top Functionary of Bulgaria’s Ruling Party Arrested over Online Scam

Sofia, Members of the Parliament and high-ranking police employees are among the 225 Bulgarians who were defrauded in the first ever case of online collective shopping scam, Bulgaria’s Novinite.com reports. 225 people from all over the country have paid between EUR 179 and EUR 2,045 for fake vacations to the Maldives and Corfu offered by the Plovdiv-based company “Euro Holidays.”

The Plovdiv police have arrested Venelin Kachakov, 37. He is charged with large-scale fraud and is suspected of draining EUR 306 770.

An investigative report of the Bulgarian TV channel bTV revealed meanwhile that the arrested Venelin Kachakov is among the top Plovdiv functionaries of the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party. He is also among the founders of the GERB Entrepreneurs organization. The organization is a national structure of GERB, founded in October 2008, by 700 representatives of the small and medium business from all over the country.

Croatia

Forthcoming of the German Chancellor Visit to Croatia

Zagreb, The Croatian and German Foreign Ministers, Gordan Jandrokovic and Guido Westerwelle, who met in the southern Croatian Adriatic resort of Dubrovnik on 10 August, announced a forthcoming visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Croatia and expressed satisfaction with the high level of relations between the two countries, Hina reports. 

Vatican in a Property Dispute with Croatia. Croatia: “Property to be Restored to the State”

Zagreb, Croatia’s Chief State Prosecutor’s Office filed a motion (10 August) with the Municipal Court in the northern Adriatic town of Buje, Hina reports. The purpose of the motion is to “secure non-pecuniary claims by the Republic of Croatia by imposing a temporary ban on the alienation of and laying of claims on real estate previously restored to the Dajla parish,” announcing that it would take “appropriate legal measures” to ensure that the ownership of the real estate in question was restored to the state.

As earlier reported there is a lingering dispute between a Croatian diocese and the Benedictine religious order that has prompted an unusual direct intervention by the Vatican, and caused a chill in diplomatic relations between Croatia and the “Holy See,” the Balkan Chronicle reports.

The dispute concerns the Benedictine monastery at Dajla, which was confiscated from the Benedictines by the Communist regime of what was then Yugoslavia. After the fall of the Communist government, the property was restored to the Diocese of Porec i Pula, Croatia.

Benedictine leaders in Italy asked for compensation for the property, and a Vatican-appointed commission backed their claim. But Bishop Ivan Milovan of Porec i Pula has refused to pay the indicated sum, saying that the payment would bankrupt the diocese. The issue also has created diplomatic tensions between the Vatican and Croatia.

Greece

A September Strike of Civil Servants in Greece Thwarts Government Plans for Revenue Collection

Athens, The government appears to be heading for a collision with civil servants next month, as their union has suggested that its members who work in revenue collection departments could go on strike, thereby hampering the effort to get public finances on track.

The civil servants’ union, ADEDY, has expressed serious objections over the past few days to the government’s plans to make further cuts to bureaucrats’ salaries and supplementary payments. Public sector workers have already seen the 14 monthly salaries they receive each year slashed by up to a third since the government began implementing spending cuts early last year.

“The cuts to wages and pensions must stop,” ADEDY head Spyros Papaspyrou told Kathimerini on 10 August.

Kosovo

Only Rudare Barricade Remains in N Kosovo

Serbian State Secretary for Kosovo-Metohija Oliver Ivanovic stated in Zvecan on 10 August that the Rudare barricade does not represent a major problem unless removal of barricades constitutes one of the conditions for the realisation of the interim agreement between the Serbian government and KFOR. He explained that KFOR is aware that removal of the Rudare barricade would require a bit more time because it is technically complicated and consists of construction machines. In an interview for the Radio and Television of Serbia morning programme, Ivanovic said that KFOR has an alternative passage through Mitrovica’s district of Zvecan.

Ivanovic believes that this disunity [between N Kosovo municipalities] does not jeopardise the interim agreement between the Serbian government and KFOR, but “it still causes harm”, because the moment disunity becomes visible, we become a target for many who do not have a benevolent attitude toward us.”

“We badly need unity, and parties, partisanship and party policy can wait until some pre-election period,” Ivanovic said.

He expressed expectation that people would slowly gain confidence in terms of the agreement and its implementation, adding that “we need to consider KFOR because it is an international factor with which we had relatively positive cooperation so far.”

Serbs from Zubin Potok removed on 10 August the barricade in the nearby village of Zupce, which was put up on the road leading towards the Brnjak administrative crossing over two weeks ago, Tanjug reported.Serbs from Leposavic also removed the roadblock set up in the night of July 25 following the attempt by the Kosovo Police Service special unit ROSU to assume control over the Jarinje and Brnjak administrative crossings.

The only barricade left in north Kosovo is the biggest one located in the village of Rudare near the town of Zvecan on the magistrate road between Kosovska Mitrovica and Raska, which is nearly one hundred meter long.

Montenegro

Germany Supports Montenegro’s EU Integration; Media Freedom –a Key Condition

Podgorica, “Montenegro can count on Germany’s  support in the process of European integration, but the country still needs to be devoted to the implementation of reforms, to fighting corruption and crime and to media freedom,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said during his visit to Podgorica.  At a joint press conference with his Montenegrin counterpart Milan Rocen, Westerwelle stated that Montenegro and other Western Balkan countries belong to the European Union.

“If Montenegro pursues decisive reforms, the EU would support its further European integration,” Germany’s Foreign Minister said.

Westerwelle has previously met with representatives of newspapers Vijesti, Dan, and Monitor and stated that media freedom is one of the key things on the road to full membership in the EU.

Romania

EU May Call on Spain to Lift Labor Restrictions for Romanians

Bucharest, Spain will not be allowed to decide unilaterally when to lift restrictions for Romanians main workers on its labor market and the European Commission may ask for the restrictions imposed on July 22 to be lifted anytime, official sources told Mediafax.

Spanish authorities had planned to keep restrictions for Romanians until the end of 2012.

According to the report of Mediafax, the European Commission will require Spain to send it quarterly reports regarding its labor market and the country is to submit its first such report by the end of this year. The European Commission is expected to present its official stance on the matter on 11 August. The Spanish Government decided on July 22 to temporarily reintroduce mandatory work permits for Romanians in a move to counter rising unemployment. The measures do not affect Romanians already working in Spain.

Serbia

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic “Serbia Sees the Events in Kosovo as an Attempt of Aggression”

Belgrade, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic says that the forthcoming meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will be a moment of truth since it will become clear what the international community thinks about aggression and use of physical force in order to achieve political goals, Tanjug reports

“The forthcoming s[UNSC] sitting is very important and it represents a moment of truth about what has happened in Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) over the past few weeks and what the stance of the international community is,” Jeremic told a joint news conference with Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.

According to Jeremic, it will be known after the UNSC meeting to what degree it is recommendable and desirable for physical force to be applied as means for achieving political goals.

“Serbia considers this to be unacceptable and that all problems could be solved through dialogue only, and unilateral use of physical violence is unacceptable,” Jeremic said.

He added that the international community’s position on aggression would be made public after the meeting because, as he said, “Serbia sees the events in Kosovo as an attempt of aggression.”

“Aggression must not be tolerated or rewarded and we will try to defend this stand by means of all available resources and arguments,” Jeremic said.

He noted that the meeting should be held by the end of the month, but the exact date of the has not been specified yet.

The Serbian minister said that the majority of UNSC members support Serbia’s stands, even on this issue, and added that Serbia would be in close contact with all UNSC members in the course of next week, especially with those that support Serbia’s stands.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that his country strongly supports dialogue as a means for solving problems.

Turkey

Turkey Welcomes the Pull out of Tanks from Syrian Hama and Expects More Steps in the Next 10-15 Days, 27 Killed in Syria in the Night of 10 August. Tanks Back in Hama Again

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey’s ambassador to Syria confirmed that tanks and security forces were leaving the revolt hub of Hama after the envoy visited the city on 10 August following seven-hour talks between Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on 9 August.

Turkey welcomes the pull-out of Syrian tanks from Hama as a direct outcome of its pressure on Damascus, but remains cautious and urges more steps within “10 to 15 days” to ease the turmoil, Hürriyet reports.

Meanwhile, a report of APA reveals that at least 27 were killed in an operation of the Syrian army. Tanks entered Hama again.

 The Turkish Deputy Chief of Army Staff Faces Court after Coup Allegations

Retired Gen. Hasan Iğsız is a suspect in a probe into the “Internet Memorandum,” an alleged document by the General Staff about setting up 42 Internet sites to distribute propaganda against the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and Greeks and Armenians, Hürriyet reports. On 10 August, Gen. Hasan Iğsız, former commander of the First Army and the former deputy chief of General Staff appeared in court after he had been arrested as a member of a group of 14 whom the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on 8 August ordered to appear before the court.

The court ruled that the Internet Memorandum case be merged with the Action Plan for the Fight against Fundamentalism case. This plan allegedly includes strategies to end both AKP rule and the activities of the Fethullah Gülen community, a religious group believed to have links to the government.

Eight active-duty generals who are also suspects in the same investigation are expected to appear before the court by 12 August. Of the Turkish military’s approximately 300 active-duty generals, more than 40 are under arrest on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

Turkish Businessman Freed after Abduction by PKK

The outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) released early дх 10 August a prominent businessman who was kidnapped over the weekend in southeastern Turkey, local Today’s Zaman reported.

Businessman Abdullah Tuz was reportedly abducted after Tarawih, an extra night prayer specific for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, in the Ferez village of Adakli district in the predominantly Kurdish province of Bingol, said the report, adding that his family informed the gendarmerie after they failed to hear from Tuz. Tuz was reportedly released from the Karacehennem forest near the village and he testified to gendarmes as to why the PKK kidnapped him and what he did for the three days.

About 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the PKK in the past over two decades. Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, the banned PKK took up arms in 1984 to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey.

A Survey among Turkish Journalists Reveals Censorship

Istanbul Bilgi University Professor Esra Arsan carried out a survey among 67 journalists from various media outlets, such as Milliyet, Hürriyet, Zaman, Taraf, Sabah, Habertürk and Sözcü. 85.1 percent of the journalists say censorship and self-censorship are definitely common in the Turkish media while 14.9 percent define censorship as fairly common, Hürriyet reports. As to how censorship is applied, 95 percent of the journalists comment that the government intervenes and 89 percent say that the media owners do.

BALKANS ECONOMY

Albania

Albanian PM Promises to Boost Tourism

Tirana, The Albanian government discussed tourism and investments in tourism at its meeting on 10 August. According to Prime Minister Sali Berisha 412,000 more tourists have visited Albania since Jan 2011 compared to the last year. Berisha stated that “legislation will be adapted to the new philosophy of tourism,” ATA reported. “Two main goals will be achieved in relation to tourism: access of the whole nation to the sea and approval of over three-floor buildings in the coast only by the national territory adjustment council of the republic of Albania,” Berisha said.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Renzo Daviddi: IPA Funds Not Lost for BiH, EUR 100 M per Annum

Sarajevo, Use of funds from Instrument of Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) in BiH is going according to plan and those funds have not been lost for BiH, Renzo Daviddi, acting Chief of Delegation of EU to BiH said, quoted by FENA.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria – Russia Start Talks over Belene Nuclear Power Plant Again

Sofia, Bulgaria and Russia have started negotiations on their claims for one another over delayed payments for equipment for the Belene nuclear power plant, parallel to the general talks on the fate of the troubled project, Bulgaria’s Novinite.com reports.

Russia’s Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, and Bulgaria’s National Electric Company (NEC), commenced the talks on the new issue 10 August, Atomstroyexport says in a statement.

The two parties have resorted to the negotiation table after Atomstroyexport was first to say it would file an EUR 58 M suit for NEC in the International Arbitration Court in Paris, with NEK reacting by threatening a counter suit for EUR 61 M. The aim of the new talks is to settle the mutual claims without resorting to arbitration.

While the future of the 2000-MW Belene power plant remains hanging in the air, the bone of contention in this particular scenario is related with equipment for the NPP, whose construction was first started in 1980s. Atomstroyexport, the company chosen to build the second Bulgarian NPP formally confirmed in late July 2011 that it had filed a lawsuit for EUR 58 M against Bulgaria’s National Electric Company NEK at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris as a result of NEK’s failure to pay on time for already completed works.

The lawsuit in question, however, and its potential Bulgarian counterstrike refer to a dispute over equipment delivery payments, and not to the final decision on the fate of the Belene project that the Bulgarian state has to make. Atomstroyexport claims that it has been completing tasks on the Belene project on credit, on Bulgaria’s request, and regardless of its dispute with the Bulgarian government over the price of the NPP, and the need to sign a final construction contract. NEC has reacted with surprise, and with a threat that it will launch a counter lawsuit against Atomstroyexport worth EUR 61 M that the Russian company owes to it under a contract to buy back the old equipment at the Belene NPP construction site, which has been stored there since 1991. NEC explained that the delayed payments by Atomstroyexport over the contract in question is the reason it terminated its payments to the Russian company – apparently, thus generating the reason for Atomstroyexport’s claims.

According to the Bulgarian state electricity company, Atomstroyexport has offered a new deal for settling the equipment payment questions. NEC has also stated that it is “open for dialogue” for the resolution of the existing problems. Bulgaria’s state-run power grid operator has threatened to sue in Geneva Russia’s state nuclear company Atomstroyexport over delayed payments on planned Belene nuclear plant.

In its latest statements on the possible “counter-claim”, the government in Sofia pointed out that its step should not be described as a counter-claim to Moscow’s lawsuit at an arbitration court in Paris. “The action was described as a “counter claim” just because the two sums in question are similar,” a statement by the Economy and Energy Ministry said last week

Bulgaria’s Supreme Court to Rules in Favor of Lukoil

Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) is expected to rule on the revocation of Lukoil Bulgaria’s license to operate excise storage facilities. The sitting of the Supreme Court is scheduled for 10 August. The information was reported by the Bulgarian Sega daily, citing their own sources.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the VAS decision, the Customs Agency has published their appeal claims to VAS against the rule of the Sofia City Administrative Court, SCAC, which reinstated the license on the grounds the only refinery in the country, owned by Lukoil, should continue work because the opposite would cause serious harm to the economy.

The Customs say there is a threat for the State treasury to loose large revenues over the failure of Lukoil to install the mandatory electronic measuring devices since it allows the company to sell fuels without paying the owed excise. They further point out Lukoil Neftohim has given them a bank guarantee, but it covers only 25% of the excise.

On August 3, Bulgaria’s Customs Agency logged an appeal against the SCAC rule to reinstate the license of Lukoil Bulgaria to operate excise warehouses.

On August 1, SCAC blocked the preliminary execution of the Customs Agency decision on the withdrawal of Lukoil’s license and the closure of the only refinery in the country.

The crude oil processing plant in the Black Sea city of Burgas can work under the conditions preceding the punitive measure of ACSC until the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) decides on the appeal lodged by the Customs Agency. According to a report of the state-owned TV channel BNT, little after Lukoil was officially given the green light, the tanker terminal started servicing incoming and outgoing oil tankers.

After the refinery was stripped of its license, over the failure to install electronic measuring devices, the oil processing installations of the plant were switched into hibernation mode, which allowed it to start working at full capacity within 8 hours after the Court permit.

Cyprus

Fitch Sends a Warning that Cyprus Needs a Bailout

The government of Cyprus officially unveiled a ЕUR 750 M austerity package aimed at shoring up the economy, but it was not enough to avert a downgrade by ratings agency Fitch, which warned the island would need an EU bailout, Cyprus Mail writes.

Opposition parties that found the package inadequate said they would amend it or “bin it”, which prompted a reaction from unions who threatened that they would take industrial action “the likes of which have never been seen before”..

The austerity measures include a 2.0 per cent VAT hike from 15 to 17 per cent, an increase in income tax to 35 from 30 per cent for those earning EUR 60,000 a year or more, and higher tax on interest on bank deposits.

Greece

Greece Worried about Possible Delays in the New Bailout Package

Athens, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos confirmed that the program for private sector involvement (PSI) in Greece’s second bailout package will include bonds maturing after 2020, as the original eurozone decision had provided for last month. Sources suggest that the program will include bonds maturing up to 2024, so as to take private sector participation up to EUR 135 B, Kathimerini reports.

However, for PSI to take effect, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) will need to be able to offer guarantees to the private companies that will swap their old Greek bonds for new ones, and the European Commission is trying to bypass the time-consuming process of ratification by national parliaments.

There will be renewed negotiations between representatives of eurozone finance ministries on 11 August, including talks regarding the course of the PSI program, after it was made known that Dutch banks and insurance companies will also be participating. Germany and France are expected to approve the broadening of the competences of the EFSF in special sessions of their national parliaments, sending a message to fellow eurozone countries to follow suit. If this does not happen, there is widespread worry that it will be October before all parliaments approve the European Union summit decisions, resulting in a further delay in the new package for Athens.

Montenegro

Slovenia’s Petrol Cancels a EUR 155 M Contract in Montenegro

Podgorica, Slovenia’s Petrol oil company has reached agreement with the Montenegrin government on the consensual cancellation of a contract under which the Slovenian company should invest EUR 155 M in Montenegro, HINA reported.

Macedonia

The Latest Hike in Fuel Prices Results in Queues at Petrol Stations in Macedonia

Skopje, The increase of fuel prices by EUR 0.83 in Macedonia resulted in lines of cars at petrol stations on 10 Augus, Macedonia’s Dnevnik reported. The price of Eurosuper 95 is up to EUR 1.33, while Eurosuper 98 sells at EUR 1.35. The price of diesel is up to EUR 1.15.

Romania

Despite EU Warning, Romania Includes Requirement for Local Office Registration in Gambling Regulations

Romania’s government took a regulatory decision on gambling re-imposing the requirement for gambling operators to have offices registered in Romania, Mediafax reports. The main argument in favor of this condition is that authorities will be facilitated in terms of uncovering money laundering.

Serbia

Serbian Government Signs Precautionary Arrangement with IMF

Serbia’s government views the new precautionary arrangement that Serbia will sign with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as essential. This arrangement would be a guarantor of macroeconomic stability, but also an indication that the Serbian government takes credible economic policy, which is a positive signal to all potential investors in Serbia.

In such conditions, with strict adherence to fiscal rules, it is also necessary to encourage export-oriented economy and competitive industries, such as food processing and agriculture.

The government meeting assessed the adopted fiscal policy rules and concluded that it must be followed strictly in order to maintain stability in the foreign exchange market and prevent potential risks that could affect the larger oscillations of the dinar. In that sense, fiscal responsibility, savings and cuts in public spending must be respected at the republic, provincial and local levels.

The meeting also discussed the issue of liquidity in the financial markets, as well as the possibility to increase investments with appropriate interest rates.

The Serbian government will hold meetings with businessmen and commercial banks to review their proposals and evaluate the current situation, a statement issued after the meeting says.

Turkey

Turkish PM Erdoğan Urges Citizens to Avoid Irresponsible Spending

“The market trauma that shook both Turkish and global markets following a downgrading of the U.S. economy by the rating agency Standard & Poors will not have lasting effects on the Turkish economy,” a statement by the Turkish Prime Minister’s Office following a meeting of the The market trauma that shook both Turkish and global markets following a downgrading of the U.S. economy by the rating agency Standard & Poors will not have lasting effects on the Turkish economy, a statement by the Prime Ministry following the committee meeting, reads.

The developments in the global economy “are not expected to have long-term negative effects on the Turkish economy and financial markets,” according to the written statement, cited by Hürriyet.

“We will not allow the crisis psychology to hold us captive,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said while speaking to members of his party in Ankara on 10 August. Erdoğan urged Turks to avoid irresponsible spending and prefer investment in property over items such as new cars.

The coordination committee decided to control growth, current account deficit and fluctuations in the market through an action plan revealed in the Tuesday statement. A set of other measures were included in the action plan as well.

Both the Turkish currency and the Istanbul bourse experienced a sharp fall before the closure on 5 August.

The lira weakened 0.9 percent to 1.7721 per dollar, bringing losses to 8.4 percent in the quarter to date. That makes the lira the worst-performer among 178 global currencies.

The benchmark ISE National 100 dropped 5.01 percent, to 50,308. touching its lowest close since February.

(Mariela Zamfirova, MBA; 11 August 2011)

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About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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