Lukashenko says he may quit as president
Belarus hits EU with tit-for-tat sanctions
Belarusian police introduce colour-coded torture system for detained protesters
Kremlin publicly condemns Belarusian police brutality in hint of growing frustration with Lukashenko
Russian services PMI rises to 48.2, but remains underwater as recovery continues to slow
Russia to start mass vaccinations on December 7
Azerbaijan’s Aliyev calls on Armenia, Russia, Turkey and Iran to assist in creating Nakhchivan land corridor
FPRI BMB Russia: Sberbank releases a three-year transformation strategy to e-commerce concern
Ukraine’s banking sector continues recovery, but profits still lagging last year
Ukraine’s real wages up over 10% in October but have been stagnant in dollar terms for almost a year
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Public has confused opinions on resolving the Donbas conflict
Western Balkans plus Ukraine subsidised coal with over €900mn in 2018-2019
Estonian parcel robot firm Cleveron eyes €30mn state loan
Estonia’s chief auditor says €1bn in state COVID-19 loans issued haphazardly
Economic sentiment in CEE falls in November as recovery momentum splutters
Estonian animation studio Imepilt to hold IPO
Brighter days ahead: The economic bounce back in 2021
Central, Southeast Europe stock markets jump in anticipation of COVID-free future
VISEGRAD BLOG: An easing of trade tensions but still an uncertain situation for export-oriented Central Europe
Hungary's PM risks isolation as Poland mulls dropping EU budget veto
Poland ready to back down from veto of EU budget
Hungary's ruling party in damage control mode after MEP sex scandal bombshell
Poland’s PMI remains stuck just above the improvement line at 50.8 in November
Czech companies dominate this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 CE
Coronacrisis to get worse before it gets better forecasts wiiw
EU diplomats say no chance of Bulgaria removing veto for Skopje to start EU accession talks
IMF says downside risks to Albanian economy are increasing
EU ministers fail to agree on launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia
Western Balkans commit to green agenda and regional common market at Sofia summit
Bosnia’s opposition ousts nationalist parties in major cities
Bosnia’s main ethnic parties fight to hold onto power in local elections
Southeast Europe’s EU members to get biggest boost from next budget and recovery funds
Bulgaria imposes 3-week lockdown to slow down COVID-19 spread
CEE politicians highlight trade and security ties as they congratulate Biden
Breakaway Transnistria fully under Sheriff’s control as Obnovlenie party sweeps board in parliament election
Moldova’s presidential election is over, now the battle for the parliament begins
Moldova’s foreign policy reset
Russian establishment quick to congratulate Moldova's new president-elect
Rising COVID-19 cases put intense pressure on CEE healthcare systems
MEPs urge European Commission to act against Hungarian media financing in North Macedonia and Slovenia
North Macedonia mulls decriminalising cannabis to boost tourism
Retail surpass pre-crisis peak as Romanians shop instead of holiday
Romanian venture capital firm Catalyst launches new €40mn-50mn fund for TMT
Aegon to sell its CEE business to Vienna Insurance for €830mn
The state is back in business
Slovenian PM Jansa stands alongside Hungary and Poland in EU rule of law row
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Turkish number crunchers deliver November inflation surprise of 14%
Erdogan needs to go says analyst assessing Turkey’s economic collapse
Ukraine strikes deal with Turkey to produce killer drones instrumental in Karabakh conflict
In Karabakh deal, as many questions as answers
Protesters flood Yerevan demanding Armenia’s “traitor” PM quit over Nagorno-Karabakh surrender
Who emerge as the real winners from the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Below average 2020 wine production destined for volatile and uncertain global market
Iran calls on Saudis to limit $67bn defence spending to Tehran’s $10bn
Iranian prosecutors pledge to pursue Trump for Soleimani killing even after he leaves White House
No reaction from Kazakh elites as bombshell FT report says Nazarbayev’s son in law siphoned millions from pipeline scheme
UK court freezes $5bn in assets connected to fugitive Kazakh banker Ablyazov
Attack of the Debt Tsunami: global debt soars to a new all-time high
Kyrgyzstan's proposed new constitution provokes widespread revulsion
Kyrgyzstan's China debt: Between crowdfunding and austerity
CFC joins RWC in assessing KAZ Minerals buyout offer as under-valuation
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
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
Mongolia’s wrestling culture: From the grasslands to the cage
No surprises in Tajikistan as Rahmon retains presidency with 91% of vote
A Tajikistan poised on verge of economic calamity set for vote
Tajikistan revives on-off dispute with Iran
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
Turkmenistan: Everybody yurts, sometimes
Dirty money investigation reviews identified payments worth $1.4bn linked to Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan unveils extensive privatisation programme
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Romania’s parliament passed a law, drafted by opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) MPs, that freezes the sale of stakes in state-owned companies for two years on June 10.
If enforced, the law will complicate the long-awaited listing of energy producer Hidroelectrica, the most valuable state company, among others.
The bill was passed with 199 votes in favour, 89 against and three abstentions. The vice-president of the ruling National Liberal Party (PNL), Florin Roman, announced that the Liberals will challenge the law through the Constitutional Court. Investors and analysts have criticised the law for its major adverse effects.
The PSD, the biggest opposition force in Romania — which de facto controls the parliament, initiated the bill to "protect national interests in the economic sector," implying that sales would be carried out at unfairly low prices because of the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) induced recession.
“In order to protect the national interests in the economy, it is necessary to prohibit the alienation of any participation of the Romanian state as it is currently held. Obviously, the negative economic effects caused by the state of emergency and the COVID-19 crisis will be prolonged for a longer period than that strictly related to the duration of the state of emergency. Therefore, it is necessary for the prohibition measure to operate for a longer period of time,” according to the authors of the bill.
Romania's biggest investment fund Fondul Proprietatea, the association of CFA analysts and the Association of Financial-Banking Analysts in Romania (AAFBR) have all argued against the law.
Listing minority interests in state-owned companies doesn't hurt "the national interests," the CFA and AAFBR argue. On the contrary, it provides a framework in which those companies become more efficient, gain greater visibility for the business environment, and contribute to sustainable economic growth in Romania. “The listing of minority stakes in state-owned companies is and must be a priority for three reasons: the development of the capital market by listing new companies, increasing the performance of these companies as a result of corporate governance requirements and additional revenues to the state budget," reads a joint statement from the two associations.
Separately, Fondul Proprietatea's manager Franklin Templeton, in a letter issued before the vote in the Chamber of Deputies, urged lawmakers to analyse the potential adverse effects and to reject the draft bill. Fondul Proprietatea holds a 20% stake in Hidroelectrica and other state companies and is directly interested in seeing the companies' shares trading on the stock market.
"Listings also play a critical role in Romania's potential upgrade to Emerging Market status, which risks being postponed indefinitely. Romania would thus be sabotaging its own objective," said Johan Meyer, CEO of Franklin Templeton.
Franklin Templeton outlined a list of negative effects of the law, arguing that Romania's country risk would increase, resulting in higher financing costs for the finance ministry.
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