Political fluidity in Macedonia, largely tide to the question of the country’s name and Greece vetoing EU and NATO accession until resolution is found, is facilitating the rise of politically exposed private sector interests. Whilst it is still in government, individuals tied to and associated with senior ruling SDSM figures are isolating ways to secure personal financial benefit before there is a change in the status quo.
Opportunities for growth are increasingly being stymied in the Western Balkans because of the growth of informal political influence (ostensibly through the rise of illiberal regimes), and an evolving notion of corruption. No longer is the main concern focused on influencers that ‘buy’ access to privilege; but more so on concerns that ‘legitimately’ elected leaders are presiding over the capture of state institutions and a massive redistribution of wealth.
China’s grandiose infrastructure project, the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR), has begun to take root in the Balkans, with regional states increasingly looking to jockey for the position of China’s most reliable regional partner. As Chinese investment takes shape, there are indications that the region will continue to slip into an illiberal democracy more akin to today’s Turkey and Russia; with potentially larger repercussions for Western investment.
There are concerns that a series of reforms that reduce the independence of the Romanian judiciary will impact how international and non-politically exposed commercial players are able to compete in the market. If these reforms are passed, they have the ability to set the stage for the implementation of a de facto system of crony capitalism; a system that would ultimately serve the interests of the political and economic interests of Liviu Dragnea.
Last month, the Serbian Government and France’s Vinci finalised the agreement that will put Belgrade airport in the hands of one of the world’s largest construction and concessions companies. It is reported that Vinci will pay €500 million in concession fees, and invest another €732 million over the next 25 years.
In this third part of our series on the effects of Climate Change in the Balkans, future political, economic and social scenarios are summarised from the Report, available through the Shadow Governance Intel Report Store. This summary presents the key scnearios likely to emerge in the region as a result of Climate Change and the impact it is already having. This analysis also highlights how this phenomenon can reinforce, or undermine, the current authoritarian trends amongst the ruling elite in the Balkans.
Free Article
There are strong indications that the Balkan peninsula is beginning to witness significant environmental, economic and political implications from its exposure to climate change. This analysis is a summary of a more extensive report to be released by Shadow Governance Intel on the impact of climate change on the Balkan countries – now, and future scenarios. In addition to the obvious environmental impact, the biggest concern is whether the fallout from climate change will have a detrimental impact on the political stability of an already-fragile region.
Although the Bulgarian banking system is generally dominated by international banks, a small part remains under the control of indigenous entities, some of which remain open to allegations of questionable practices and associations. There are concerns that the largest of the country’s domestic banks will contribute to wider industry instability if they continue to be regarded as politically exposed, and open to providing politically influenced loans regardless of their commercial viability.
Energy systems play a key role in the global phenomenon of climate change. The lack of modernisation and renewal of these system not only aggravate the effects of climate change, but it also has a direct impact on the population, which is exposed to higher levels of pollution. Governments in the Balkans have arguably neglected to make necessary legal changes to protect the environment, a factor that is ostensibly aggravating the exposure of this region to this global phenomenon.
2018 is expected to be a year of consolidation in Bulgaria's banking sector. New laws and transparency requirements have been implemented in this economic sector, with the hope that these initiatives will reduce allegations of questionable activities associated with the country's banking sector. This is particularly the case with locally owned banks as they seek international investment.
Turkey’s banking sector is crucial to the success of the AKP and President Erdogan. Although the sector itself primarily functions independently of government interference; there are growing concerns that it is becoming increasingly exposed to informal mechanisms of political influence. This is a summary of a report available in the Shadow Governance Intel Store, that looks at how political exposure plays out in Turkey’s banks, and assesses the repercussions this can have on the future viability and reputation of the sector going forward.
International investment in the TRNC tourist sector is impacted by the fact that the TRNC remains solely recognised as an independent territory by Turkey. In addition to this political factor, scarce energy and water resources increase the costs associated with investing in tourism. This predicament, however, has interestingly facilitated the emergence of informal investment opportunities for smaller entrepreneurs.