Alarm grows over Afghan security for Turkmenistan-to-India pipeline

Kanat Shaku in Almaty May 18, 2018

Although the Taliban have pledged protection for the TAPI project, the Natural Resources Monitoring Network is anxious.

EU set for clash with US over law blocking Iran sanctions

bne IntelliNews May 17, 2018

Dealing with Donald Trump’s unpredictability is “not a joke now”, says European Council President Donald Tusk.

No “plan B” for Western Balkans’ EU future, Tusk says

bne IntelliNews May 17, 2018

First summit in 15 years intended to demonstrate the EU’s commitment to the region, which has been neglected for years, allowing rival powers to extend their influence.

Romanian private healthcare providers on acquisition spree

Carmen Simion in Bucharest May 17, 2018

Private medical sector is booming as employers in Romania's tight labour market use healthcare and other benefits to attract and retain workers.

Ukraine, Turkey among the “vulnerable three" most at risk to US tightening - Fitch

bne IntelliNews May 17, 2018

Ukraine and Turkey are part of the “vulnerable” three most at risk to US tightening along with Argentina, Fitch said in a note on May 16.

Macedonian PM Zaev awaits verdict in bribery case

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje May 17, 2018

Zaev says the case brought against him when he was opposition leader was politically motivated and aimed at preventing him from releasing explosive evidence of crime and corruption among former top officials.

Medvedev confirmed plans to create offshore companies in Russia

bne IntelliNews May 17, 2018

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has confirmed plans to create special “on-shore off-shore” zones in Russia to allow sanctioned oligarchs to easily transfer ownership of their assets out of the reach of US and European courts.

Turkish banker Atilla gets lenient 32-months prison for Iran sanctions-busting

bne IntelliNews May 17, 2018

Focus now turns to whether US regulators will heavily fine state-owned Halkbank.

Bulgarian government plans €1.7bn army modernisation programme

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 17, 2018

Parliament has been asked to approved acquisitions of 16 fighter jets and 150 armoured vehicles after defence budget was hiked to 4.2% of GDP this year.

Lithuania to restructure state rail company

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw May 17, 2018

Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai will be split into three in a bid to boost efficiency, though passenger services are expected to remain unprofitable.

BRICKS & MORTAR: Budapest's shopping mall market is buzzing

Levente Szilagyi in Budapest May 17, 2018

Futureal Group is the latest firm to start development of a new mall in the Hungarian capital as the booming economy has brought back investors.

Total set to abandon Iran deal unless US waiver is granted

bne IntelliNews May 16, 2018

First Western energy major to return to Islamic Republic since signing of nuclear deal nakedly exposed to Trump sanctions snapback.

Bulgarian government votes to restart Belene nuclear power project

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 16, 2018

Sofia will seek a strategic investor to build the country's second nuclear power plant, a project that opposition politicians argue will seriously threaten Bulgaria’s economic stability.

Turkey’s central bank speaks up after markets stunned by Erdogan shellac lira

bne IntelliNews May 16, 2018

Investors puzzled why president came to London and told them “exactly what they did not want to hear”.

George Soros foundation officially announces departure from Hungary

bne IntelliNews May 16, 2018

Decision comes as the right-wing Hungarian government prepares to impose further restrictions on NGOs through what it has branded its “Stop Soros” package of legislation.

Saudi fund lines up 51% of troubled Tajik bank amid anti-Iran rhetoric

Kanat Shaku in Almaty May 16, 2018

Deal in principle for Tojiksodirotbank stake may be part of an attempt to drive a wedge between Dushanbe and Tehran by the Iranians’ arch-rival.

Romanian prosecutors ask for 7.5 year sentence for ruling party leader

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest May 16, 2018

Power struggle to ensue within Romania’s ruling coalition if Liviu Dragnea gets jail sentence in case concerning fake jobs for party workers.

Slovakia’s ruling Smer to lose powerful critic as President Kiska says he won’t stand for re-election

Jaroslav Hroch in Prague May 16, 2018

Pro-EU president seen as a beacon of democracy in an increasingly illiberal region will stand down after 2019 election with the aim of ending "era of political confrontation".

US sanctions Iran’s central bank governor as "specially designated global terrorist"

bne IntelliNews May 15, 2018

US imposes sanctions on governor of Iran's central bank after accusing him of supporting terrorist activities with scheme that funnelled millions of dollars to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Investors want “plain vanilla central banking in Turkey, not some big Erdoganite economic experiment”

bne IntelliNews May 15, 2018

Turkish president’s “market unfriendly” interview sends lira hurtling to fresh lows beyond 4.50/dollar.