Turkey, Greece to build bridges


The two countries will build two new bridges over the Maritsa River. Also in business news: Standard & Poor's lowers Cyprus' long-term rating, citing ongoing talks with international creditors.

The Maritsa River separates Greece and Turkey. [EU]

Turkey and Greece are planning to build two new bridges over the Maritsa River that separates the two countries, the foreign ministry in Ankara announced on Friday (August 3rd). Currently, the two shores are connected by an old bridge, which was built more than 60 years ago and is insufficient to serve busy traffic.


Rating agency Standard & Poor's on Thursday (August 2nd) lowered Cyprus' long-term rating to BB with negative watch, citing increasing pressures from uncertainty in terms of the island's ongoing talks for a bailout with international creditors. According to the agency, Cyprus will negotiate a package of around 11 billion euros, which represents 60% of the country's GDP.


Greece has the highest youth unemployment out of the EU member state countries, data from Eurostat showed. Greek youth unemployment stood at 52.3% as of April, according to the latest available data, compared to an average EU level of 22.6% as of June.


Turkey and South Korea signed a free trade agreement aimed to improve economic ties between their countries. The deal, signed on August 1st, will become effective at the end of this year.


The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development agreed on Friday (August 3rd) to assign a consortium of Macedonian company Granit and Laktasi-based Integral Engineering to build the first section of a road connecting Banja Luka and Doboj in Republika Srpska. The construction of the 37km-long project, financed by the Bank, will cost 180m euros.


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Albania and Macedonia are among the countries with the lowest labour productivity in the Balkans, according to a comparative survey of 40 global economies published by Serbian think-tank Makroekonomija on Monday (August 6th). The study based on IMF data includes Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and Albania, where Serbia has been taken as a base. The data shows that the highest productivity is in Greece.


Greece's government adopted a law aimed at speeding up privatisation, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras announced on Monday (August 6th). According to ANA-MPA, Athens's former Hellinikon airport site, the public lottery company and natural gas distributor Depa will be among the first ten companies to be sold off by the state.

(Various sources -- 01/08/12-08/08/12)

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