Tensions between Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia rise over closed borders

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 26, 2020

After declaring itself coronavirus free, Montenegro plans to open its borders — but not to neighbours Serbia or Bosnia, which claim the decision is linked to the dispute between the government in Podgorica and the Serbian Orthodox church.

CONFERENCE CALL: 5G to turbocharge post-COVID recovery

Ivana Jovanovic in Stuttgart May 18, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has been a fertile breeding ground for 5G conspiracy theories, and legitimate concerns about security still need to be addressed, but rolling out 5G mobile networks in Europe could give economies a much-needed boost.

Viktor Orban sets end of May deadline to return special powers to parliament

Tamas Szilagyi in Budapest May 17, 2020

The legislation allowing the government to rule by decrees during the pandemic had no sunset clause, raising fears that Hungary’s illiberal leader would abuse his new powers.

North Macedonia ranks 2nd in Europe for quality of mobile services finds Germany’s Connect

bne IntelliNews May 14, 2020

Macedonians are extremely satisfied with the standard of telecoms services from the local operators and at the same time enjoy some of the highest quality services in Europe.

Priests' arrests cause clashes in Montenegro

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 13, 2020

Arrests made after thousands of Montenegrins attended a religious procession in violation of a ban on gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Illegal border crossings to EU via Western Balkans increase 60% in January-April

bne IntelliNews May 13, 2020

More migrants risked the Balkan route in January-March, but almost no illegal border crossings during coronavirus lockdowns in April, says Frontex.

Retail sales under lockdown across Central and Eastern Europe are sinking

bne IntelliNews May 12, 2020

A worldwide lockdown has created havoc for retailers as their customers are forced to stay at home. There has been a little respite as sales in March surged due to panic buying but that has given way to a lockdown that keeps stores closed

Serbia raises €2bn from 7-year Eurobond

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 11, 2020

Oversubscribed issue will fund the government's €5.1bn stimulus package after Belgrade decided against going to the IMF for support.

Serbia to end state of emergency, hold general election

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia May 5, 2020

Serbia had one of Southeast Europe's biggest COVID-19 outbreaks but the number of new cases has been falling after Belgrade imposed a strict lockdown.

Protests as support for lockdowns starts to fray

bne IntelliNews May 2, 2020

Thousands of people joined bicycle protests in Slovenia, accusing the government of curtailing civil liberties during the lockdown. Elsewhere in the region, citizens are using "pots and pans" protests to show their discontent.

Western Balkans’ regional GDP to slump by as much as 5.6% this year

bne IntelliNews April 30, 2020

World Bank forecasts all six Western Balkan countries will experience negative growth this year as they grapple with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAPITAL ECONOMICS: Early signs point to steep economic downturn in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)

Capital Economics’ Chief Emerging Markets Economist William Jackson in London April 30, 2020

There are encouraging signs that the authorities in Central Europe have brought the virus under control and policymakers are slowly starting to ease lockdown measures, which will support a recovery in activity, but a sharp slowdown remains inevitable

LONG READ: Serbia practices its four-pillar foreign policy in the coronavirus era

Ivana Jovanovic in Stuttgart April 28, 2020

35 years since the debate was first sparked by Emir Kusturica’s iconic film Serbs still face the dilemma of what is more desirable: Russian poop or American cake. But now two more players — the EU and China — have been added to the mix.