Erdogan’s popularity rating sinks amid Turkey’s economic turmoil

bne IntelIiNews January 12, 2022

Poll also shows three potential presidential rivals more admired than ruler of 19 years.

Bulgaria mulls abolishing “golden passports” for investments

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia January 12, 2022

Sofia has been warned by the EU several times that it has to abolish the practice of giving citizenship in return for pledged investments.

Lithuania terminates transport contract with Belarus potassium giant Belaruskali

bne IntelliNews January 12, 2022

Lithuania insists it did not break sanctions by allowing Belaruskali exports but the affair was extremely embarrassing because it has been one of the most strident voices calling for sanctions on Minsk.

Saudi Aramco and MOL buy Lotos assets to make PKN Orlen-Lotos merger possible

bne IntelliNews January 12, 2022

Orlen’s next goal is taking over oil and gas exploration and production company PGNiG to build a regional oil major.

Far-right ‘vaccinated anti-vaxxers’ try to storm Bulgarian parliament

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia January 12, 2022

Supporters of far-right Vazrazhdane party protest against COVID-19 restrictions and green certificates — but one-third of party’s MPs were revealed to have got the jab.

Kazakh and Belarusian CSTO peacekeepers spotted wearing blue UN peacekeeping helmets

Dominic Culverwell in Berlin January 12, 2022

Kazakh state media caused a stir after it published photographs of state security forces wearing blue UN helmets at a checkpoint in Almaty on January 9.

Poland’s pandemic death toll surpasses 100,000 ahead of omicron wave

bne IntelliNews January 12, 2022

Government remains wary of tightening curbs as they would annoy parts of its electorate, with masks and indoor restrictions largely unenforced.

Hungary’s population decline highest since 1876

bne IntelliNews January 12, 2022

The number of deaths in Hungary reached 150,000 last year, the highest since 1945, which means that the country’s population fell by nearly 60,000, the steepest decline in 145 years.

Hungarian president sets election day for April 3

bne IntelliNews January 12, 2022

United opposition faces uphill battle to dethrone strongman Viktor Orban, who has massive financial resources and the entire state apparatus plus most of the media behind him, as well as a gerrymandered electoral system.

Lithuania pays Guantanamo ‘forever prisoner’ $113,000 over CIA torture

Linas Jegelevicius in Vilnius January 12, 2022

Abu Zubaydah is reportedly still in Guantanamo Bay, where he has been held without being charged for the past two decades.

Kazakhstan’s Tokayev slates ‘Nazarbayev’ oligarchs in populist attempt to turn page on country’s unrest

bne IntelIiNews January 12, 2022

Announcing new ‘For the People’ fund, autocrat slams Kazakhstan’s financial system as dominated by large business groups "based on the principle 'everything for friends, and laws for everyone else'".

New faces but no break from the past expected from North Macedonia’s government in waiting

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje January 11, 2022

Opposition VMRO-DPMNE calls for snap election despite Dimitar Kovacevski's pledges to tackle energy crisis and solve dispute with Bulgaria to unblock EU accession process.

Sistema reported to be close to buying PPF's Russian Home Credit Bank

bne IntelliNews January 11, 2022

Sistema's Mobile TeleSystems mobile operator has been building up strong banking and fintech verticals after the incorporation of MTS Bank.

Russia reports poor harvest, Ukraine bumper crop in 2021

bne IntelliNews January 11, 2022

Droughts, death of winter crops and a shortage of migrant workers for seasonal field work hit Russia’s 2021 harvests, which was down to a three-year low, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture reports. Ukraine had one of its best harvests ever.

Dovish Romanian central bank raises interest rate by modest 25bp to 2.0%

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest January 11, 2022

The 25bp rate hike was smaller than analysts anticipated, and left Romania with the lowest refinancing rate among its peers.

Man portrayed as ‘foreign terrorist’ by Kazakh officials turns out to be visiting Kyrgyz musician

bne IntelIiNews January 11, 2022

Case adds to pressure on Central Asian country to prove unrest was very much work of groups abroad.

Kremlin-led bloc will crush any attempts at ‘colour revolutions’ says Putin in wake of Kazakhstan unrest

bne IntelIiNews January 11, 2022

Russian leader joins Kazakh president in describing violent unrest as work of foreign-backed terrorist groups

Heavy EU spending failed to improve rule of law in Western Balkans

bne IntelliNews January 10, 2022

Over €700mn spent to little effect in candidate and prospective candidate countries, finds European Court of Auditors.

Russia says no progress made during first day of security deal talks with US

Ben Aris in Berlin January 10, 2022

No progress was made during the first day of the Russo-US talks on Moscow's demand for legal guarantees of no more expansion of Nato and especially of Ukraine’s inclusion.

Court dismisses case against Polish writer for calling President Duda a 'moron'

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw January 10, 2022

Case reignited the long-standing debate in Poland about limits of freedom of speech and the extent to which public figures are protected against criticism.