Elements of Romania’s media sector are actively being leveraged in the hands of an opaque network of state officials, businessmen, and secret services as an informal political and economic tool. Media outlets, for example, have been used to fulfil political agendas in exchange for state contracts; to the benefit of the most powerful family holdings in the country.
The Syrian refugee crisis is worsening the problem of child labour in Turkey. It is believed that as many as 1 million children in Turkey could be exposed to informal labour networks. Expanding concerns about child labour in Turkey are concerns for international investors, further enhancing the need to conduct integrity due diligence on supply chains and partners.
Fiat's 10-year contract with Serbia expires in December 2018, but will likely be extended. Serbia offers a favourable and profitable environment for Fiat; and will do so for as long as fully automated production is more expensive than human labour. Serbia’s sweatshop model of economic growth, however, only feeds the political elite, with low-cost manufacturing jobs contributing to poverty and a growing grey market for employment.
Serbia’s President Vučić is asserting his influence throughout the country’s institutions, including the military. The impact of the President’s visit to Moscow in December 2016 to discuss defence cooperation was, retrospectively, a move that reinforced his position as Serbia’s main guarantor of political neutrality. Vučić continues to balance relations with East and West.
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Etihad’s financial woes may complicate life for Air Serbia, with the Serbian government particularly placed in a precarious position if the Gulf airline withdraws from this venture. Facing additional pressure from regional low-cost carriers, the one airline that may eventually come out on top to dominate the regional aviation sector may be Lufthansa – but it may not risk doing so directly.
The failure of the Cyprus peace talks will have a direct impact on the development of the country’s gas market. Given the geographic location of Cyprus, and ongoing territorial disputes, its politics are colouring commercial negotiations in the gas sector, including those surrounding the Israeli Leviathan basin. This is inevitably creating an insecure investment environment.
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Nigeria has become one of Turkey’s most important providers of liquid natural gas (LNG), and with the LNG industry in both countries gaining increasing prominence, LNG trade between the two is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.
Turkey’s President Erdoğan is building his “New Turkey” – a country more empowered and autonomous. Part of his strategy involves exerting influence over the defence industry; but this is also proving beneficial to patron-client relations and resource distribution; i.e. a new pool of assets that can be channelled to loyal businessmen.
Despite on-going reforms in the Serbian energy sector, including reforms at state-owned EPS, the political situation in Serbia does not herald the emergence of a more transparent and liberalised energy market. EPS remains a resource distribution tool, with indications that President Vučić will likely seek to exert more control over it.
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Greece is under pressure to embark on a privatisation programme to help feed financial stability. Despite rhetoric that the country is committed to a privatisation programme, the Greek government is showing signs of hesitation. With investment opportunities to be had, risks still abound for those that do not have the time or patience to navigate negotiations.
Although Romania has been an EU member for 10 years, the degree of transparency and privatisation of its energy sector fall well below expected EU standards. As a result, Romania’s energy sector remains largely opaque and politically exposed.
Central Asia has acted as a region through which Turkey has sought to channel its soft power, namely through the Gülen Movement. However, because of the AKP-Gülen split, Turkey’s involvement in Central Asia is in decline.
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