Judicial reform to boost business in Albania

Albanian parliament, Tirana, Albania (cameron lucida, CC BY-SA)

A new metro system to travel Bratislava – Vienna in 8 minutes

Retail sales up 4.6 per cent in Poland

EU wants details on the Germany-Russia gas pipeline deal

Albania

In the 215 edition of World Bank’s “Doing Business” index Albania fell 35 positions in terms of the overall climate for doing business – from 62nd to 97th. Main reasons are corruption and problems with Albania’s unreliable system of justice. The country, which officially obtained the status of EU candidate in June 2014, has been mulling with a judicial reform for years. Under the pressure of EU leaders Albania will pass new anti-corruption laws. If members of parliament fail to do so, the country will have to forget about the EU integration.

„The constant concern of Albanian and foreign investors is the political influence and bribery that leads decision-making in the country’s courts. (…) The currently-stalled judicial reform program would have an indirect impact in boosting the country’s economic situation by giving more guarantees to investors,” Balkan Insight quotes Mr. Zef Preci, the executive director of Albania’s Centre for Economic Research. “The reform will increase the professional standard of judicial officials, it will lead to more decision-making based on the law and will lift impunity for those who will not [act according to the law],” Preci adds.

EU representatives have argued that a reformed judiciary will create a better climate for investors and more trust in the legal system. Balkan Insight informs that Albanian opposition Democratic Party objects the idea of EU officials taking an active role in vetting judicial appointments, arguing that it compromises Albania’s sovereignty.

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Slovakia

Slovaks may travel from Bratislava to Vienna in 8 minutes. This will be possible when a metro system enabling travelling as fast at 1.200 kilometers per hour will be built.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies that provides the technology, signed a memorandum of understanding with Slovak government in March 2016, is now considering localization to develop the system. Slovak Spectator quotes Bibop G. Gresta from the HTT: “We could choose from five localizations but currently we consider three of them that may be appropriate for launching construction (…) For us it is a very strategic decision which we have to make in the coming days.”

The company is ready to start works. „The company already cooperates with seven local companies and employs 15 Slovaks. The plan is to increase their number to 1,000 and create a base in Slovakia,” writes Slovak Spectator.

But the government hesitates. “Our further steps include help with identifying the localization and crucial actors in the ecosystem and engineers,” Economy Ministry’s spokesperson, Maroš Stano told „Hospodárske Noviny”.

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Poland

The Polish Radio reports increase in retail sales by 4.6 per cent y/y and by 3.2 per cent m/m in June 2016. Experts consulted by the PAP news agency had expected a growth of 3.7 per cent y/y and 2.4 per cent m/m. In real terms, retail sales grew by 6.5 percent y/y.

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Russia

After Germany struck a deal in May 2016 to let Russian state-owned energy producer Gazprom pump more gas through the Opal link (a land link from Nord Stream pipeline), the plan needs to be approved by the European Commission. It is said the deal bypasses EU anti-monopoly rules that cap Gazprom’s use at half of Opal’s capacity.

As CNBS reports, in the decision making process, the EC asked German regulator Bundesnetzagentur for more details. The EC expects to receive them in September 2016. CNBS adds: „Russian pipeline plans have become increasingly politicized due to Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. The EU executive has already delayed making a decision on the Opal link.

Full access to Opal, which provides a land link between Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline to Germany and the Czech Republic, is crucial to Gazprom’s plan to double capacity of the undersea pipeline in a project known as Nord Stream 2.” According to CNBC a positive ruling on Opal would help smooth the way for Gazprom to build Nord Stream 2, which has not yet received EU regulatory approval.

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What’s up in indexes

BUX (of Budapest) was up 0.60 per cent – increasing from 27410.14 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 27573.51 index points Wednesday, July 20th. From year-end it’s up 15.27 per cent.

BET (of Bucharest Stock Exchange) increased from 6645.06 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 6664.72 index points Wednesday, July 20th. So it’s up 0.30 per cent d/d. From year-end it dropped by 4.85 per cent.

PX (of Prague Stock Exchange) was up 0.67 per cent d/d – increasing from 876.21 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 882.07 index points Wednesday, July 20th. From year-end it lost 7.77 per cent. 

WIG20 (of Warsaw) was up 0.44 per cent d/d – increasing from 1792.47 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 1800.41 index points Wednesday, July 20th. From year-end it lost 3.16 per cent.

OMXT (of Tallinn) increased from 1015.57 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 1019.77 index points Wednesday, July 20th. So it’s up 0.41 per cent d/d and up 13.44 per cent from year-end.

OMXR (of Riga) was up 1.13 per cent d/d and up 7.67 per cent from year-end. It increased from 632.74 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 639.92 index points Wednesday July 20th.

OMXV (of Vilnius) increased from 528.35 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 532.97 index points Wednesday, July 20th. So it’s up 0.87 per cen d/d and up 9.67 per cent from year-end.

SAX (od Bratislava) increased from 308.76 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 312.46 index points Wednesday, July 20th. So it’s up 1.20 per cent d/d and up 6.88 per cent from year-end.

SOFIX (of Sofia) was up 0.29 per cent d/d – climbing from 450.73 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 452.05 index points Wednesday, July 20th. From year-end it dropped by 1.92 per cent.

UX (of Kyiv) dropped by 0.09 per cent d/d – falling from 714.09 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 713.46 index points Wednesday, July 20th. From year-end it’s up 4.02 per cent.

CROBEX (of Zagreb Stock Exchange) increased from 1734.05 index points Tuesday, July 19th to 1747.59 index points Wednesday, July 20th. So it’s up 0.78 per cent d/d. From year-end it’s up 3.43 per cent.

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