Matthias's Feed
Jul 6, 2015

Bulgaria eyes Poland fighter deal to cut dependence on Russia

SOFIA (Reuters) – To reduce its dependence on Russia, Bulgaria is working to sign a contract with Poland as early as July to service Sofia’s Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets, maintained until now by Russia, Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev said on Monday.

A standoff between the West and Russia over Ukraine has forced Bulgaria, part of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact during the Cold War but a NATO member since 2004, to walk a tightrope over its military, energy and trade relations with Russia.

Jul 3, 2015

Across Bulgaria border, fear and gloating over Greek crisis

SANDANSKI, Bulgaria, July 3 (Reuters) – Greece’s debt crisis
is lapping over the border into this southwestern corner of
Bulgaria, where the owner of the Felipe Z textile factory
worries she may not be able to pay her 60 workers next week.

Factory owner Snejana Zachariou explains buyers of her goods
are exclusively Greek. She will sit down with one of them on
Monday to try to work out how she can receive payment for a pile
of orders if Greek banks remain shut and capital controls stay
in place.

Jun 28, 2015

Greek tourism draws line in the sand over tax hikes

PAROS, Greece, June 28 (Reuters) – Alexis Kalaitzoglou makes
a swift gesture to describe what he thinks about Prime Minister
Alexis Tsipras: the shopkeeper of this busy tourist island pulls
his leg back and swings it forward as if to give Greece’s leader
a good kicking.

Kalaitzoglou is angry because his family’s shop of jams,
honeys and wooden handicrafts – part of a wider tourism industry
that is the only bright spot of Greece’s struggling economy –
may be in for a rough ride.

Jun 17, 2015

Greece’s future in EU in doubt if talks fail, central bank warns

ATHENS, June 17 (Reuters) – A warning by Greece’s central
bank that the country risked being driven from the euro zone
and, ultimately, the European Union failed to break a deadlock
with creditors before a potentially decisive meeting of European
finance ministers.

A top Greek negotiator told Reuters Athens was ready to make
unspecified concessions, but once again ruled out any cuts to
pensions – a major sticking point in the negotiations. Germany,
the euro zone’s most powerful economy, stuck to its line that
Greece had to make significant moves to break the stalemate.

Jun 17, 2015

Greek central bank issues “Grexit” warning if aid talks fail

ATHENS, June 17 (Reuters) – The Greek central bank warned on
Wednesday that the country would be put on a “painful course”
towards default and exiting the euro zone if the government and
its international creditors failed to reach an agreement on an
aid-for-reforms deal.

It also said Greece risked a renewed bout of recession and
predicted that the current economic slowdown would accelerate in
the second quarter of this year. The Greek economy had started
growing again last year after being pounded by years of
austerity, but fell back into negative growth in the first
quarter of 2015, contracting by 0.2 percent year-on-year.

Jun 12, 2015

As debt deadline looms, which way will Greece go?

ATHENS, June 12 (Reuters) – Greece’s government is under
intense pressure to deliver unpalatable concessions to
international creditors to break a four-month debt deadlock and
save the country from looming default that could tip it out of
the euro zone.

With no sign of a breakthrough on a cash-for-reform deal
after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met European leaders
for talks in Brussels, here are three scenarios of how the
crisis could unfold.

Jun 5, 2015

Prosecutors launch criminal investigation against Romanian PM

BUCHAREST, June 5 (Reuters) – Romanian anti-corruption
prosecutors said on Friday they had launched a criminal
investigation against Prime Minister Victor Ponta, naming him as
a suspect in crimes including forgery, money-laundering,
conflict of interest and tax evasion.

Prosecutors have made a series of high-profile arrests in
recent months in what remains one of the poorest and most
graft-addled countries in the European Union. The
anti-corruption agency is known locally as the DNA.

Apr 8, 2015

Romania’s corruption fight puts the brakes on investment

BUCHAREST, April 8 (Reuters) – Romania’s crackdown on
corruption is having an unintended consequence: investment is
slowing as many officials avoid approving projects lest they
become the next target of the investigators.

Civil servants and ministers who would otherwise sign off on
projects, sometimes but not always in return for bribes, have
become hesitant. Even honest officials fear the deals will
attract scrutiny by prosecutors and that they will join a long
line of public figures to be investigated or imprisoned.

Mar 29, 2015

As Bulgaria empties, government struggles to dole out pension pot

SOFIA (Reuters) – The poorest country in the European Union enables some public sector workers to retire in their forties. Elena Yaneva hopes she won’t be caught up in Bulgaria’s pending pensions overhaul.

“I do hope I can retire by the end of the year, otherwise I will have to race with the increase (in retirement age) for who knows how many years,” said Yaneva, an accountant who turned 60 this month. “And I do not want to die at my workplace.”

Mar 17, 2015

Romanian PM does not rule out tax cuts by end-2015

BUCHAREST, March 17 (Reuters) – Romania’s Prime Minister
Victor Ponta said on Tuesday that he did not rule out tax cuts
before the end of this year and pledged to meet a full year
fiscal deficit target of 1.8 percent agreed with the
International Monetary Fund.

Ponta told foreign media reporters in Bucharest that
Romania’s finances are in good shape and that he was expecting a
preliminary fiscal surplus of nearly 1 billion euros ($1.1
billion) in the first quarter.