Disgraced daughter of late Uzbek dictator pleads for clemency

Kanat Shaku in Almaty June 25, 2019

Gulnara Karimova makes move after $1.2bn of her assets are reclaimed by Uzbekistan. Once known as the country’s “most hated person” and accused of massive telecoms and other corruption, she is languishing in jail with health problems.

Poland’s Supreme Court reform breaches EU law, the bloc’s top court rules

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw June 25, 2019

Poland dropped the contested changes in December, but the European Commission pressed on with the case to enshrine in the EU’s legal order that any member state’s tinkering with the independence of the judiciary must be contained.

Albania’s top election body decides local vote will go ahead

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 24, 2019

Electoral College weighs in on constitutional crisis after Albania's President Ilir Meta cancelled the local election, while Prime Minister Edi Rama insists it will go ahead.

More than 250,000 gather in Prague for anti-government protest

Nelly Tomcikova in Prague June 24, 2019

A series of protests against the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his minority government culminated on June 23 with the biggest mass protest in Prague since the Velvet Revolution in 1989. More than 250,000 people gathered on Letna plain.

Crowd at Ukraine's gay pride march doubled this year

Ben Aris in Berlin June 23, 2019

Ukraine celebrated its third Kyiv Pride with a record turnout of 8,000 people who marched through the capital despite violent threats from far right extremists who had also travelled to Kyiv to prevent the march.

Erdogan candidate suffers thumping defeat in Istanbul revote

Akin Nazli in Belgrade June 23, 2019

Sensational victory for opposition's Imamoglu. How strongman president reacts to second humiliation now the question in earthquake for Turkish politics.

Serbia/Kosovo summit cancelled

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 23, 2019

Kosovan president blames "hasty, uncoordinated and wrongful decisions" by officials in Pristina, which he says have damaged the country's standing with its international partners.

Owner of largest Moldovan business group Trans-Oil sells 12% stake to US fund

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest June 23, 2019

Oaktree Capital Management makes the first corporate investment by a major US asset management firm in Moldova.

Subsidies for coal power three times higher than for renewables in Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia June 23, 2019

Three Western Balkan states paid €444mn in direct subsidies to coal-fired plants and just €147mn for the production of energy from renewable sources in 2015-2017, a report from the Energy Community showed.

Istanbul revote: Erdogan’s ‘Ocalan’ strategy to win over Kurds looks like a dud

Akin Nazli in Belgrade June 21, 2019

Turkey tense ahead of controversial June 23 poll with strongman’s strategies for reclaiming the city seemingly failing at every turn.

CEE states block EU ambitions to go carbon neutral by 2050

Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw June 21, 2019

A group of Eastern European member states said no to a carbon neutrality goal without guarantees that the cost of reducing emissions is offset to lessen the impact of the transition on their economies.

Georgian protesters attempt to storm parliament after "protocol blunder" with Russian MP

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest June 21, 2019

Scores injured after crowd incensed at lawmaker taking the speaker’s chair is pushed back with rubber bullets and tear gas.

Czech energy company CEZ exits Bulgaria, faces a lawsuit from the Pirates at home

bne IntelliNews June 21, 2019

The Czech state-owned energy company CEZ Group sold its assets in Bulgaria to the local Eurohold company for €335mn after an earlier deal was blocked by regulators.

Trump tells world to ‘wait and see’ how US will respond to Iran shooting down drone

bne IntelliNews June 20, 2019

Anxieties over conflict in Middle East grow as day also sees Iranian-backed Houthis hitting Saudi desalination plant with apparently sophisticated missile.

Main suspect in Moldova’s $1bn bank fraud sells business as his alleged protector loses power

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest June 20, 2019

Change in ownership of the duty-free chain that was previously the Shor family's flagship asset revealed shortly after change of government in Chisinau.

IMF warns that Kosovo's 100% import tariffs backfired on local population

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 20, 2019

Tariffs intended to punish Serbia and Bosnia have increased prices of food and other consumer goods on the domestic market, impacting lower income households.

Credibility of Turkey’s inflation data questioned by opposition motion put to parliament

bne IntelliNews June 19, 2019

MP asks finance minister Albayrak if he has asked the statistics institute to adjust consumer price rise figures in a “fictional” way. Adds that incorrect numbers would wrong millions of workers by restricting pay hikes.

RATINGS ACTION: Moody’s cuts 18 Turkish banks in wake of surprise sovereign downgrade

bne IntelliNews June 19, 2019

Rating agency sees Erdogan administration as unwisely focused on near-term priority of “propping up economic activity at expense of eroding underlying resilience of economy and banking system to external shocks”.

Romania’s opposition fails to overthrow government with no-confidence motion

Iulian Ernst in Bucharest June 19, 2019

Result will strengthen the position of Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, who aims to lead the ruling Social Democratic Party after its former leader was sent to prison.

European Council delays decision on EU accession talks with Albania, North Macedonia until October

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 18, 2019

Council praised North Macedonia for its historic Prespa Agreement that resolved the long-standing name issue with Greece, but mentioned nothing about Albania.