Talks have begun with the US over Ukraine crisis, but the Kremlin is playing a long game

Ben Aris in Berlin December 8, 2021

The Kremlin was unusually slow to release statements following the two-hour summit on December 7 between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden, but said that talks have begun on the key issues and would continue.

In first ICJ rulings, Armenia largely comes out on top of Azerbaijan

Neil Hauer in Yerevan December 8, 2021

Azerbaijan ordered to prevent incitement of racial hatred against Armenians and protect Armenian prisoners of war.

Romania’s ruling coalition divided over “solidarity tax” for large companies

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest December 8, 2021

First crack appears in grand coalition formed to end long political crisis in Romania.

Corruption scandal brings down senior Fidesz politician

bne IntelliNews December 8, 2021

The fall from grace of Pal Volner could be a message to Brussels that the prosecutors’ office does actually try to tackle graft sometimes.

Putin-Biden summit fails to resolve the Ukraine military build-up crisis

bne IntelliNews December 7, 2021

Putin’s demand that Nato offer guarantees that Ukraine will never join was never something that Biden could consent to.

Kosovo announces plans to apply for EU membership

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje December 7, 2021

Pristina has informed the EU of its intention to apply for EU membership, but its relationship with Belgrade needs to be normalised first.

Corruption probe launched at Bosnia's biggest pharmaceuticals manufacturer

Eldar Dizdarevic in Sarajevo December 7, 2021

Bosnalijek's premises searched in connection to its controversial privatisation with Russian capital through offshore companies in several countries.

Belarus to stand with Russia if war breaks out in Ukraine

bne IntelliNews December 6, 2021

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko made it clear that Minsk’s loyalties lie with Moscow and he would back Russia in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, in a lengthy interview with RIA Novosti.

EC backs strategic gas storage reserve to hedge against future gas shortages

bne IntelliNews December 6, 2021

Europe will create its own strategic gas reserves in order to hedge against future gas shortages, European Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said at a press conference on December 3.

Mass protests throughout Serbia over law on expropriation and Rio Tinto project

Eldar Dizdarevic in Sarajevo December 6, 2021

Tens of thousands of people in more than 50 cities blocked roads against Serbia in protest against Rio Tinto's plans to build a huge lithium mine in the country.

Game of Thrones tourism brought in €180.7mn for Croatia

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia December 5, 2021

Interest in Dubrovnik, Split and Sibenik flourished after they were used as destinations in the hit TV series.

Montenegro to probe wind farm deal linked to murdered Maltese journalist

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia December 5, 2021

Offshore company investigated by Caruana Galizia prior to her murder was reportedly involved in the Mozura wing park deal.

Impasse could collapse nuclear deal talks next week

bne IntelIiNews December 3, 2021

Europe claims Iran has walked back diplomatic progress. US says Tehran has no “constructive proposals”. Iran insists its demands are in line with the 2015 agreement.

Serbian president accuses Rio Tinto’s rivals of being behind anti-mining protests

bne IntelliNews December 3, 2021

Rio Tinto is seeking to develop the Jadar lithium project in Serbia but faces strong opposition.

EU imposes fifth round of sanctions on Belarus over the migrant crisis

bne IntelliNews December 3, 2021

Brussels imposed its fifth round of sanctions on Belarus on December 2 in response to the migrant crisis engineered by Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko in November.

Omicron variant ends Romania’s stock market rally

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest December 3, 2021

In the final week of November, Romania’s stock market indices posted their steepest decline since the initial COVID-19 shock in February-March 2020.

Blinken and Lavrov talks break up after 30 minutes

Ben Aris in Berlin December 2, 2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken appealed to his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to choose diplomacy over coercion in face-to-face discussions in Stockholm but the two sides remain far apart.

EU challenges China’s Belt and Road with €300bn Global Gateway

bne IntelIiNews December 2, 2021

Bloc’s giant investment offer may appeal to countries worried by Chinese “debt-trap diplomacy”. Beijing warns against geopoliticising infrastructure.

Erdogan makes ‘Albayrak’s man’ new finance minister with Turkey still mired in lira crisis

Akin Nazli in Belgrade December 1, 2021

Move came at end of first day of ‘front door’ interventions by central bank on FX market that reportedly burnt up in excess of a billion dollars.

Montenegro’s biggest industrial plant KAP to halt production amid surging electricity prices

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia December 1, 2021

Montenegrin power company EPCG plans to hike the price it charges for electricity from January in line with rising prices on international markets.