COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
Durov rejects Western funds’ offer to buy 5%-10% of Telegram with $30bn valuation
Belarusian government sees $2bn of withdrawals, issues $580mn worth of bonds in 2020
Lukashenko: I am no enemy of the people
One of Russia’s biggest wood product companies, Segezha could be Sistema’s next IPO
The volume of the Russian National Wealth Fund tops $183.93bn as gold overtakes dollar asset for first time
New Ukrainian VC firm QPDigital aims to invest up to $100 million in digital startups
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Most Ukrainians are optimistic about 2021 – poll
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Estonian premier quits after Tallinn development scandal
Top Centre Party official suspected of corruption in Tallinn real estate scandal
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
Romanian tech entrepreneurs expand into banking sector
OUTLOOK 2021 Hungary
Hungarian government remains silent after Capitol riots
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank expects modest recovery for Europe and Central Asia in 2021
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
Slovakia to invest €1.2bn in digitisation
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
Vodafone Albania plans €100mn infrastructure investments after AbCom merger
OUTLOOK 2021 Albania
Kyiv accuses Bosnian President Dodik of lying about icon gifted to Russian foreign minister
Bosnia’s real GDP contracts 6.3% y/y in 3Q20
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING THINK: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
OUTLOOK 2020 Bulgaria
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
Zagreb Stock Exchange's Crobex10 index at highest level since March 5
OUTLOOK 2021 Kosovo
Arrera Automobili aims to launch Albania’s first supercar
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Moldova’s PM resigns to prepare the ground for early elections
Socialist lawmakers in Moldova scrap settlement on $1bn bank frauds
Montenegro’s new ruling coalition carves up top state jobs
OUTLOOK 2021 Montenegro
Vast tide of floating waste threatens Balkan hydropower plants
North Macedonia's manufacturing confidence indicator down by 8.5 pp y/y in December
OUTLOOK 2021 North Macedonia
Transparency International warns of high corruption risk in CEE defence sectors
Moldova fears flooding from Ukraine's planned Dniester hydropower plants
Romania’s industrial recovery paused in November
OUTLOOK 2021 Serbia
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Slovenia’s dire COVID-19 situation in 4Q20 caused second economic dip
Slovenia’s Eligma completes €4mn funding round
Turkish opposition leader lawsuit demands one lira from Erdogan, police probe “bald” interior minister posts
Akbank takes over Istanbul's Palladium Atasehir shopping mall
Armenia’s PM cautions conflict with Azerbaijan “still not settled” after trilateral meeting with Putin
Armenia prepares to ban Turkish imports
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
Russia, Kazakhstan pushing for oil production increases on the back of coronavirus vaccine-fuelled oil price optimism
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Georgia’s political kingpin Bidzina Ivanishvili quits politics
Modern-day “Robin Hood” inspires Georgians drowning in debt
Iran’s navy conducts missile drill while analyst argues Trump even capable of nuclear strike in final days
TEHRAN BLOG: Who’s more credible? Johnson backing Trump’s Nobel chances or Iran applauding arrest warrant for US president?
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
OUTLOOK 2021 Kyrgyzstan
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
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
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
OUTLOOK 2021 Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s Makro positions itself for growth in a more competitive market
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As governments continue to lift lockdowns and travel restrictions across Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe, several countries in the region have reported record-high numbers of new infections in the last few days.
Ukraine has recorded record-high new infections for five days in a row as it appears a second wave of infections has hit after the government eased restrictions in the last few weeks.
The number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Ukraine rose by 656 in the past 24 hours and the daily number has been steadily exceeding the 600 mark for the past five days, Health Minister Maxim Stepanov said on June 15, as cited by Tass.
"We see that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the past five days was consistently over 650. On one day, we had 753 [new] cases. We set record-high infection rates," the minister continued.
Kyiv faces a similar dilemma to other countries in the region, especially those without the financial firepower to sustain their economies through a lengthy lockdown.
The Ukrainian government has been under enormous pressure to open up again as soon as possible, and has been lifting restrictions in the last few weeks. However, it seems the government has acted too soon, as infections have soared as a result.
There is better news from Russia, which has by far the region’s largest tally of coronavirus cases, at 537,210 as of June 16. Moscow recently lifted restrictions, allowing people to go outside without needing a pass, and other Russian regions are also easing restrictions. On June 15, Russia reported 8,246 new COVID-19 cases, which was the lowest daily increase since May 1.
In Moldova, the number of new infections peaked at 406 on June 11, and has remained high since then, with the number of active patients steadily rising. This upward trend emerged 10 days after the first wave of relaxation of lockdown measures.
In response, Moldovan President Igor Dodon brought army officers on to the streets on June 13 to monitor the enforcement of the sanitary measures. But despite Chisinau’s concerns over the rising number of new cases, few of the relaxations made recently have been reversed.
Armenia is another small country that is struggling to contain its epidemic. The daily number of new infections has been rising in the country of 3mn people.
On June 12, Armenia reacted by extending its coronavirus outbreak state of emergency for another month until July 13. However, back in early May Yerevan chose to reopen almost all sectors of the economy, fearing that continuing with the general lockdown would cause too much lasting economic damage to the impoverished country.
Kazakhstan responded to a fresh spike in new infections by locking down several towns and villages in the central Karaganda region on June 11, a month after the country's nationwide state of emergency was brought to an end. Retailers and public transit will work shorter hours and private cars will be banned from moving at night in the central Karaganda region starting from June 13, the government said in a statement.
The Kazakh authorities also suspended the operations of Rakhat, a subsidiary of South Korea’s LOTTE Confectionery, following positive COVID-19 testing among eight workers.
Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama warned citizens that the government could re-impose lockdown measures due to the rising number of coronavirus cases, which are related to people failing to respect safety guidelines. The authorities started to ease restrictions more than two weeks ago, which was followed by a spike in the number of new infections.
By contrast, North Macedonia’s President Stevo Pendarovski decided on June 12 to end the state of emergency which expired at midnight the following day, despite the rising number of new coronavirus cases.
This opens the way for North Macedonia to hold its long-delayed general election in July.
It is just one of several countries from the region that is heading for elections in the coming weeks, despite lingering concerns over the risk of infection.
Croatia’s parliamentary election will be held on the same day, after the parliament was dissolved in May. Daily new cases in Croatia have been close to zero for several weeks now.
Serbians will go to the polls on June 21 in an election that is almost certain to give another term in power to President Aleksandar Vucic’s Serbian Progressive Party.
Poland will hold its presidential election on June 28, in a vote that will test incumbent Andrzej Duda’s ability to see off a challenge from Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who is running for the centre-right Civic Coalition (KO).
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