Millions of homes in the region not legalised


Greece has the highest amount of illegal homes in the Balkans. Also in business news: Turkey may sell part of Turk Telecom, and Cyprus approved the country's 2013 budget.

More than 7 million homes in Greece are not legal. [Reuters]

There are more than 7 million illegal homes in Greece, local sources reported on Monday (September 24th). Their number is bigger than any other country in the Balkans. Next is Serbia with 780,000 homes awaiting legalisation, followed by Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina with 200,000 and Montenegro with 100,000.


The Serbian government asked China's Export-Import Bank on Monday (September 24th) for an 850 million-euro loan to build new highways. The deal, which was discussed between Serbian Finance and Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic and Export-Import Bank Vice President Liu Liangge in Belgrade, may be signed by the end of the year, allowing construction to kick off in 2013.


Turkey is considering a public offering of a state stake in telecom company Turk Telekom by the end of the year, Zaman newspaper reported on Tuesday (September 26th). Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yildirim said the offer could be less than 15 percent of the company. The state holds a 30 percent stake in Turk Telekom, in which Saudi Oger Ltd has a majority.


Montenegro will continue to register the highest growth in the direct share of travel and tourism in its GDP than any other country in the world, the latest estimates of the World Tourism and Travel Council showed on Monday (September 24th). According to the council, this share will grow by 11.8 percent over the next decade. Last year, the direct contribution of tourism to Montenegro's GDP was 24.3 million euros or 7.5 percent. The survey looked at 181 countries.


The Cypriot government approved the country's 2013 budget on Saturday (September 22nd), envisioning additional spending cuts, cutting 1,000 jobs from the public sector and channelling funds for growth-boosting infrastructure projects. No budget figures were revealed as they will change once the country agrees on its bailout conditions with the troika of international creditors.


The port in Thessaloniki has launched a campaign to increase freight coming from the Balkans. Starting October 1st, until the beginning of 2013, port officials are organising a presentation of the opportunities in Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro. The initiative aims to keep the current amount of freight from Macedonia and Serbia, while increasing shipments from Bulgaria and southern Serbia. As part of the initiative, the port will be opened for visits.


The South Stream gas pipeline may pass through Republika Sprska (RS), after a meeting between Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller and RS President Milorad Dodik discussed possible partnership and signed a memorandum of understanding at a conference in Sochi, Russia, on Friday (September 21st). Gazprom said the two sides paid particular attention to the building of an artery from the planned gas pipeline to RS.


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Croatia's economy has shrunk for a third quarter in the three months that ended June amid shrinking private consumption, exports and industrial production, official data showed September 20th. In the second quarter, GDP declined by 2.2 percent on an annual basis and 1.3 percent vs the previous quarter.


Austria and Kosovo have signed a customs agreement, Tax News reported. The accord aims to combat smuggling and improve the levying of duties.

(Various sources -- 19/09/12-26/09/12)

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