European Commission praises Bulgarian progress on rule of law, criticises backsliding in Romania

bne IntelliNews October 22, 2019

Bulgaria close to having CVM monitoring lifted, while backtracking in Romania is a “source of concern” despite recent reset in relations.

Serbia, Croatia join race for VW plant but carmaker ‘not actively looking for alternative to Turkey’ as things stand

bne IntelliNews October 22, 2019

German auto giant, fearing reputational damage by association following Turkish invasion of Syria, is taking stock of situation.

EBRD opposes naming of Halkbank executive convicted in US as Istanbul stock exchange boss

bne IntelliNews October 22, 2019

“We were not consulted and we do not support it,” says spokesman for development bank that owns 10% of Borsa Istanbul. Appointment widely seen as political rebuttal to New York indictment brought against state lender.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy announces cooperation with richest Pole on small modular reactor for Synthos

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw October 22, 2019

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has signed an agreement with Poland’s chemical giant Synthos, owned by the richest Pole Michal Solowow, on the potential construction of a small modular reactor.

Sacked Romanian airline boss says minister told her to delay opposition MPs’ flights to critical vote

bne IntelliNews October 22, 2019

Former Tarom CEO Madalina Mezei told prosecutors she was asked to delay flights to Bucharest ahead of the no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Viorica Dancila’s government.

Former jailed Halkbank deputy GM appointed boss of Istanbul stock exchange

bne IntelliNews October 21, 2019

Move will be taken as underlining Turkey’s angry rejection of US indictment of public lender on Iran sanctions-busting charges.

Turkish Airlines ‘mandates lenders for eurobond or trust certificate issue’

Akin Nazli in Belgrade October 21, 2019

Meanwhile, Turkey-Singapore JV Mersin International Port obtains approval to issue up to $650mn of Eurobonds, and Vakifbank obtains $417mn securitisation loan.

Russian petrochemical giant Sibur produces first polyethylene from its own feedstock at ZapSibNeftekhim

bne IntelliNews October 21, 2019

After the ramp-up to its full capacity, the ZapSibNeftekhim petrochemical facility will manufacture 1.5 mt of polyethylene per year, making it Russia’s largest polymer production facility.

Rosneft builds base in Arctic

Newsbase October 21, 2019

Rosneft has won subsoil rights to a new oil and gas block in the north of the Krasnoyarsk region, consolidating its position in the Arctic.

Mass protests in Croatia after gang rape suspects released

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow October 21, 2019

Protesters in Zagreb and other major cities urge changes to the Criminal Code, as President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic says Croatia "must not turn a blind eye to violence".

Russian government to sell minority stake in Aeroflot carrier

bne IntelliNews October 21, 2019

Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development is considering proposing a 1.17% minority stake in national air carrier Aeroflot to private investors by 2022.

North Macedonia to hold snap general election on April 12

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje October 20, 2019

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev had staked his political career on Skopje securing a date for the start of accession talks at the October EU summit, but France held out against further enlargement of the bloc.

Lithuania considers banning purchases of electricity from Belarus’ nuclear power plant

bne IntelliNews October 20, 2019

President Gitanas Nauseda says he wants to prevent countries with “unsafe nuclear power plants” from exporting electricity to Lithuania, but fellow Baltic states Estonia and Latvia appear not to share his concerns.

France blocks launch of EU membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje October 19, 2019

Fears among EU officials postponing the decision on membership talks yet again will increase Russian, Turkish and Chinese influence in the fragile Western Balkans region.