Balkan Developments

Crucial conference on Cyprus on 12 January

Photo: BGNESGreece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held a telephone conversation with his British counterpart Theresa May on the upcoming international conference on the reunification of Cyprus in Geneva on 12 January. Theresa May agreed with Prime Minister Tsipras that the two leaders in Cyprus had made excellent progress in advancing discussions, and discussed how to maintain this momentum in the forthcoming Geneva talks.  

Tsipras is to hold talks on the issue with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, French President Francois Hollande and with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. According to Swiss newspaper Le Temps, Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan will be attending the Geneva talks on 12 January, alongside the prime ministers of Greece and Great Britain. Before that, the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will be meeting January 9 – 11.

State of emergency in Turkey extended by three months

Photo: BGNESThree days after the deadly attack on New Year’s Eve at a night club in Istanbul, Turkey’s parliament voted a three month extension of the state of emergency put in place in the country after the attempted coup in July. The implementation of the state of emergency which has resulted in the arrest of no less than 37,000 people has raised concerns in the EU. It has already been extended once and Turkey should have reverted to normal law enforcement on 19 January.

Inflation in Turkey reaches 8.5 percent

Photo: BGNESInflation in Turkey has surpassed expectations in December - from 7 percent on a yearly basis in November to 8.53 percent in December, statistical data indicate. Under these circumstances the government is estimating an inflation rate of 7.5 percent at the close of 2016 and 6.5 percent in 2017.

Tax debts in Greece dangerously high

Photo: BGNESThe debts Greeks owe tax authorities exceeded 94 billion euro in November, with the number of debtors reaching over 4.3 million, the Greek writes. Analysts warn that unless debts take a downturn, they will surpass 100 billion euro in the first quarter of this year, reaching 60 percent of the country’s gross domestic product by the year’s end. What worries the financial authorities in the country most is the fact that tax debts have been growing despite the existing sanctions like confiscation of real estate properties and of income. Last year saw an average of 500 such confiscations a day.

Romanian government receives vote of confidence

Photo: BGNESAlmost one month after the elections won by the left-wing in Romania on promises of economic advancement and prosperity, the new social-democratic government received broad support in parliament. Together with the small Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), the social-democrats are relying on 250 votes in the 465-seat parliament. ALDE has four ministers and one deputy prime minister in the new cabinet of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu. The government’s programme envisages that Romania shall be the 13th most powerful economy in the EU by 2020 (Romania now occupies 17th position) as well as a 5.5 percent annual GDP growth. In 2016 the growth rate stood at 4.8 percent. The right-of-centre opposition is accusing the prime minister of populism, saying that these are promises impossible to keep without causing financial ruin.

Bosnia worried by poor relations in the region

Photo: BGNESMladen Ivanic, chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia stated that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s relations with its neighbours had never been worse, Tanjug reports. In light of this, Ivanic emphasized that it is imperative to hold a trilateral Bosnia-Serbia-Croatia meeting so as to “ease” relations among them.

Stoimen Pavlov

English version: Milena Daynova

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