Protests in Bulgaria escalate with police violence, clashes among rival groups

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia July 11, 2020

Tens of thousands gather to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and chief prosecutor Ivan Gechev, accusing them of corruption and dependence on criminal groups.

Bulgarian President Radev backs anti-government protesters

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia July 9, 2020

Radev takes on Bulgarian government and chief prosecutor after raid on presidential offices. Protesters demand resignation of politicians they say are completely dependent on corrupt businessmen.

Reforms stall as Zelenskiy actively undermines NBU independence

Ben Aris in Berlin July 9, 2020

Confidence in the Z-Dream of rapid, deep and far-reaching reforms by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that will transform Ukraine almost totally evaporated this week.

Bulgarian president’s advisors arrested after raid on presidency

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia July 9, 2020

There is speculation that the probe is intended to silence President Rumen Radev, the loudest critic of the government and the prosecution.

Moldova seeks $550mn from IMF and new €100mn MFA with EU

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest July 9, 2020

PM Ion Chicu says a new IMF arrangement is "essential" to help Moldova through the coronacrisis.

Serbia’s president claims foreign intelligence influence in anti-government protests

Ivana Jovanovic July 8, 2020

President Aleksandar Vucic says foreign powers aimed to weaken Belgrade’s international position ahead of talks with Merkel and Macron on restarting the Belgrade-Pristina negotiation process.

Slovenia’s Hisense Gorenje sets up global R&D centre in Velenje

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje July 8, 2020

Slovenian R&D centre for cooking appliances and dishwashers will serve Chinese Hisense's global operations.

Famous ex-defence reporter arrested, accused of treason

bne IntelliNews July 8, 2020

Ivan Safronov's arrest appears to be part of an escalating crackdown on Russian journalists by the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov takes a holiday as WHO mission finally arrives in Ashgabat

bne IntelliNews July 8, 2020

Turkmenistan is one of the only countries worldwide that has not officially registered a single COVID-19 case. Independent reports say the virus has been allowed to spread to all regions of the country.

Violent clashes with police at thousands-strong anti-lockdown protest in Belgrade

bne IntelliNews July 7, 2020

Curfew imposed for this weekend as new coronavirus cases push Serbia's healthcare system close to capacity. Protesters fear a new lockdown will cause economic hardship and job losses.

Belarus presidential election to have no outside observers, opposition may united by a single candidate

bne IntelliNews July 7, 2020

There will be no independent observers for the August 9 Belarusian presidential elections, giving the authorities a free hand to fix the result. The opposition leaders plan to rally around one name if any of them qualify for the race

US intelligence memo admits there is “no evidence” of Russian payment of bounties to Afghans for killing US soldiers

Ben Aris in Berlin July 7, 2020

The New York Times reported on June 3 that a CIA memo admits that intelligence agencies have “no evidence” that payments made by the Russian foreign military intelligence GRU to Afghan fighters were bounties for killing US soldiers.

The bubonic plague has swapped its rats for marmots in Mongolia where two cases reported

Anand Tumurtogoo in Ulaanbataar July 7, 2020

On July 1, Mongolia’s National Centre for Zoonotic Disease (NCZD) reported two cases of the bubonic plague in the western part of Mongolia, in Khovd Province. Two brothers, aged 27 and 16, have caught the disease and are in critical condition

Romania’s Blue Air goes from flying high to seeking debt restructuring

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest July 7, 2020

Romania's biggest airline by the number of passengers transported has initiated a preventive agreement as it aims to avoid insolvency by restructuring its overdue debt worth over €100mn.

Serbia opens field hospitals as coronavirus spreads

bne IntelliNews July 6, 2020

All hospitals in Belgrade have reached full capacity as the number of COVID-19 infections rose sharply in recent days.

HDZ’s Andrej Plenkovic ready to form new government in Croatia

bne IntelliNews July 6, 2020

Plenkovic promises speedy formation of new government after Croats opt for continuity in general election.

Czech mining group OKD to shut down its mines for six weeks

bne IntelliNews July 6, 2020

State-owned hard coal mining group closed all its mining operations to mitigate a COVID-19 outbreak.

Hungarian government paid Wizz Air €14mn to fly in PPE from China

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest July 6, 2020

Foreign ministry reveals cost of bringing medical equipment to Hungary— but won't comment on why the government picked Budapest-based no-frills airline for the flights rather than specialised cargo carriers.

Week before crucial vote, no way of telling who will be Poland’s next president

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw July 6, 2020

Incumbent President Andrzej Duda andmayor of Warsaw Rafal Trzaskowski are consistently neck-and-neck in the polls six days ahead of the second round of Poland's presidential election.

Preliminary results show clear victory for HDZ in Croatian general election

bne IntelliNews July 5, 2020

If confirmed by the final results, PM Andrej Plenkovic's HDZ would fall short of an absolute majority but be in a strong position to form a new government.