Russia's Gazprom will reduce gas prices by 20 percent as part of the agreement. Also in business news: Turkey officially introduced the prototype of the first national tank and Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is embarking on an investment tour next week.
Russian gas giant Gazprom chief, Alexei Miller (left) shakes hands with the head of the state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) Mihail Andonov after signing an agreement for the South Stream pipeline project. [AFP]
Bulgaria and Russia signed an investment agreement on Thursday (November 15th) to build the South Stream gas pipeline project, which will ship natural gas across the Black Sea to Europe. As part of the deal, Russia's gas giant Gazprom also agreed on a 20 percent cut in gas prices to Bulgaria, which will become effective on January 1st 2013.
Slovenia is the best country for business in the region, according to Forbes' latest ranking published on November 14th. The Balkan state is at 23rd, followed by Cyprus at 25th, Macedonia at 37th, Montenegro at 45th, Croatia at 47th, Bulgaria at 49th, Turkey at 52nd, Romania at 60th, Greece at 68th, Albania at 74th, Bosnia and Herzegovina at 85th, and Serbia at 90th. The list ranks a total of 141 countries based on 11 factors, including innovation, technology, corruption, red tape and investor protection.
Turkey officially introduced the prototype of the first national military tank called Altay on Thursday (November 15th). The project, one of the biggest in the country's military industry, envisions the production of 250 tanks in the first stage. Expectations are that Altay will be ready for serial production in 2016.
The Cypriot Central Bank said on Sunday (November 18th) that talks with the island's potential creditors on a possible bailout package have wrapped up with an agreement in principle on all issues. As part of the talks, a mission of the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF arrived on their third visit to the country on November 9th. According to calculations, the possible financial aid would be in the amount of 11 to 16 billion euros.
Greece Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is embarking on an investment tour aimed to promote business opportunities in his country, which will take him to Qatar, China and Russia. The trip starts in Qatar on November 27th. The other two destinations are still awaiting official confirmation, Samaras' office said.
By 2016, Romania will have more electricity produced by solar sources than nuclear energy, according to official figures released Monday (November 19th). The national energy regulator said that installed capacity at local solar plants will reach 50 to 100 mW at the end of 2012, 500 to 1,000 mW at the end of 2013, and 1,500 mW in 2016. The two reactors of Romania's only nuclear power plant in Cerna Voda produce a total of around 1,400 mW, covering 18 percent of the country's energy needs.
The Croatian government presented the draft state budget for 2013 to parliament on Monday (November 19th). According to the document, the country's budget deficit will widen to 3.1 percent of GDP next year, while economic growth will be 1.8 percent from an expected contraction of 1.1 percent in the end of this year.
(Various sources -- 14/11/12-21/11/12)