COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Belarusian government sees $2bn of withdrawals, issues $580mn worth of bonds in 2020
Lukashenko: I am no enemy of the people
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
One of Russia’s biggest wood product companies, Segezha could be Sistema’s next IPO
The volume of the Russian National Wealth Fund tops $183.93bn as gold overtakes dollar asset for first time
EU to begin certifying Russian Sputnik V vaccine for use in Europe
New Ukrainian VC firm QPDigital aims to invest up to $100 million in digital startups
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Most Ukrainians are optimistic about 2021 – poll
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Top Centre Party official suspected of corruption in Tallinn real estate scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
Romanian tech entrepreneurs expand into banking sector
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
Vodafone Albania plans €100mn infrastructure investments after AbCom merger
OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
Bosnia’s real GDP contracts 6.3% y/y in 3Q20
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex10 index at highest level since March 5
OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
Socialist lawmakers in Moldova scrap settlement on $1bn bank frauds
Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
Vast tide of floating waste threatens Balkan hydropower plants
North Macedonia's manufacturing confidence indicator down by 8.5 pp y/y in December
OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
Moldova fears flooding from Ukraine's planned Dniester hydropower plants
Romania’s industrial recovery paused in November
OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Slovenia’s dire COVID-19 situation in 4Q20 caused second economic dip
Slovenia’s Eligma completes €4mn funding round
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Let’s tentatively pencil in a date for Turkey’s hot money outflow
Turkish opposition leader lawsuit demands one lira from Erdogan, police probe “bald” interior minister posts
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
Russia, Kazakhstan pushing for oil production increases on the back of coronavirus vaccine-fuelled oil price optimism
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
Iran’s navy conducts missile drill while analyst argues Trump even capable of nuclear strike in final days
TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
STOLYPIN: Scope for limited progress under Biden, so long as the past remains the past
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Makro positions itself for growth in a more competitive market
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The growing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases is putting healthcare systems in Central and Southeast Europe under intense pressure. As cases continue to rise, there are reports of field hospitals being set up and retired medical personnel and students being brought in to make up staff shortfalls.
Europe has again become the global hotspot for the spread of the virus, accounting for 1.7mn of the 3.4mn new cases reported worldwide in the week ending November 3, according to the latest weekly epidemiological report from the World Health Organisation (WHO). That is a 24% week-on-week increase in cases in the continent.
In the emerging Europe region, Czechia continues to report the highest number of new cases relative to the size of its population: 84,305 in the 7-day period, or 7,887 per million of the population. The figure is slightly up on the 81,970 reported in the previous week, when the government announced a partial lockdown and overnight curfew.
Neighbouring Slovakia racked up 16,863 new cases during the week, or 2,488 per million, but Bratislava is hoping its mass testing programme will stem the spread of the virus – and potentially inspire other countries to follow its lead.
All of the Visegrad 4 countries are struggling with a vicious second wave of the pandemic. Poland announced 120,785 new cases in the week to November 3, and new cases soared to a record 24,692 in the next 24 hours, moving the authorities in Warsaw to announce the closure of the remainder of schools, as well as most retail and cultural facilities.
The government said that the restrictions were “necessary” or the number of cases and deaths would spiral out of control, breaking Poland’s already very strained healthcare system. Existing restrictions were flouted at the mass pro-choice protests taking place for the last two weeks provoked by the ruling of the government-controlled Constitutional Tribunal, which further restricted Polish women’s right to have an abortion.
Hungary reintroduced a state of emergency for 90 days as of midnight on November 3. The rate of daily infections in Hungary has been one of the fastest among EU countries since September, though the government has been – until now – slow to respond by tightening restrictions.
Even in the Baltic states, which until recently had managed to keep the virus under control, new restrictions are being announced. The worst-affected Baltic country is Lithuania, which declared a three-week nationwide lockdown on November 4.
In Southeast Europe, the virus is spreading most rapidly in Slovenia, which reported 12,030 new cases in the last week, or 6,267 per million. Slovenia already has a partial lockdown in place and the government has unveiled new measures to support coronacrisis-struck SMEs.
The situation is only slightly better in Croatia and Montenegro, which reported 3,718 and 3,328 cases per million respectively during the week. Montenegro in particular may be heading for a new surge in cases, as thousands of people largely ignored social distancing rules at mass events to mourn Metropolitan Amfilohije, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro. Although Amfilohije passed away after being infected with coronavirus, the casket was open and mourners were allowed to kiss his body.
Nemanja Radojevic, deputy head of the Clinical Centre of Montenegro (CCM), told public broadcaster RTCG that the tiny country could be heading for a “catastrophic” situation and urged the authorities to start opening field hospitals.
Tighter restrictions have also been announced in Kosovo, while in Bulgaria the informal organisers of the mass protests that have taken place daily since July called for a halt so as not to risk spreading the virus at demonstrations and putting more pressure on the already overstretched health service. Hoteliers in Bulgaria have offered to accommodate coronavirus patients as hospitals are already approaching capacity.
Further east, Armenia remains another hotspot for coronavirus, with 14,417 new cases during the week, as does neighbouring Georgia with 12,296.
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