A new PR disaster for Bulgaria's EU presidency as deputy PM launches racist attack on German MEP

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia February 11, 2018

Boyko Borissov’s government attempts damage control after far-right coalition partner Valeri Simeonov calls for “green jihadist” Ska Keller to be deported to Turkey for joining protests against ski resort in Bulgarian national park.

Poor infrastructure holds back economic growth in Western Balkans

bne IntelliNews February 8, 2018

Better transportation, energy, and telecommunications networks would help Western Balkan countries raise productivity and attract more investment, IMF says.

US starts reviewing Bulgarian tycoon Vassilev’s plea for help

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia February 8, 2018

Vassilev, the majority shareholder of bankrupt Corpbank through which billions of euros of taxpayers’ money were allegedly siphoned off, asked for help under the Magnitsky act after being indicted in Bulgaria.

Tajik lawmakers pave way for Rahmon dynasty

Kanat Shaku in Almaty February 8, 2018

Lower chamber of parliament approves election law amendments that will allow Emomali Rahmon’s still-young son to succeed his father as president.

Divesting business assets of Iran’s military vital to saving economy says Rouhani

bne IntelliNews February 7, 2018

Shaken by the nationwide demonstrations that swept across Iran a month ago, the Iranian government is under growing pressure to generate fresh economic growth.

EIB to go ahead with controversial €1.5bn loan for TAP pipeline

Clare Nuttall in Bucharest February 7, 2018

Funding decision made despite heavy pressure from environmental groups who argued that the development bank should avoid investing in major fossil fuel projects.

European Commission unveils Western Balkans enlargement strategy

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje, Denitsa Koseva in Sofia February 6, 2018

The strategy comes after years of neglecting the region and is expected to counter the growing influence of Russia and China in Southeast Europe.

Polish president signs divisive “Holocaust bill”

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw February 6, 2018

But Andrzej Duda sends bill to the PiS-dominated Constitutional Tribunal for review.

Mining group hit by toxic waste claims in Armenia to lay off most staff

Carmen Valache in Berlin February 6, 2018

Vallex Group to retain only a few of its 1,200 employees amid row over pollution from open-pit copper mine.

Auto-parts producer to close Romanian factory due to worker shortage

Carmen Simion in Bucharest February 5, 2018

Early warning signs that the talent shortage in the Visegrad 4 countries is now being felt in Romania.

Azerbaijan's President Aliyev to run for fourth term in October

bne IntelliNews February 2, 2018

Ilham Aliyev has been in power since the death of his father, Azerbaijan's first president Heydar Aliyev, in 2003, and his reelection this October is seen as a formality.

Tajik energy minister confirms work resumed on Central Asia-China Gas Pipeline

bne IntelliNews February 2, 2018

China was previously thought to have given up on the mega-project when work was temporarily suspended and construction of the Uzbek section was postponed indefinitely.

OLAF starts investigation into EU-funded metro project in Bucharest

Carmen Simion in Bucharest February 1, 2018

European Anti-fraud Office launched probe in response to complaints reportedly concerning inflated payments made to contractor on new line that will link central Bucharest to the western suburbs.

Iranian general warns of threat posed by Telegram's Gram cryptocurrency to banks

bne IntelliNews February 1, 2018

Officials nervous as service hugely popular in Iran sets out to double as a global payment platform.

Unilever slurps up Romania’s Betty Ice

bne IntelliNews February 1, 2018

Romania’s €150mn ice-cream market increasingly in international hands as Unilever's purchase of largest local producer Betty Ice follows sale of no. 2 player Alpin57Lux to Latvia's Food Union.

Kosovo suspends wage hikes for top government officials

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje February 1, 2018

PM Ramush Haradinaj's pre-tax salary would have been doubled under the proposed changes, which drew harsh criticism from the opposition and Kosovo's Anti-Corruption Agency.

Uzbek President Mirziyoyev sacks veteran security chief Inoyatov

Nizom Khodjayev in Almaty January 31, 2018

The feared SNB boss, known as Uzbekistan's “last Stalinist politician”, seems to have been purged by the reformist leader who is surrounding himself with allies.

US includes 210 tycoons, CEOs and officials in 'Kremlin Report'

bne IntelliNews January 30, 2018

The long-anticipated 'Kremlin Report' by the US Department of Treasury includes 210 names of Russia's richest tycoons, officials close to President Vladimir Putin, and CEOs of largest state corporations, but no sanctions on any of these people

Huawei to launch mobile payment system in Russia

bne IntelliNews January 30, 2018

The launch is the latest in Chinese companies opening up their pay systems in Russia, which is emerging as one of their most important markets outside of their own country.

Visegrad countries united in rejecting two-speed Europe concept and migration quotas

bne IntelliNews January 29, 2018

The Visegrad countries rejected any plans for slashing development funds to countries that have differing views within the EU, especially on migration.