EU: Regional economies recovering


Economies in the regional EU member and candidate countries are expected to grow this year. Also in business news: Greece hopes to further Europe's energy security.

Regional economies are expected to start recovering this year. [AFP]

The economies of countries in the region will gradually recover from the economic crisis, the EU said in its latest forecasts for 2013. Bulgaria is expected to register a positive growth of 1.4 percent this year. In Romania, Greece and Cyprus the indicator will be negative at -1.6 percent, -4.4 percent and -3.5 percent, respectively. Among EU candidate countries, Turkey has expected economic growth of 3 percent, followed by Montenegro with 2.2 percent, Serbia with 1.7 percent, Macedonia with 1.5 percent and Croatia with -0.4 percent.


The election of Nicos Anastasiades as Cyprus' new president may ease the country's negotiations with the Troika for a rescue package, Fitch Ratings said. Anastasiades has voiced his intention to secure "timely financial support" and has already engaged in building ties with leaders of key European partners.


Greece may help alleviate Europe's energy security issues due to its untapped resources, Prime Minister Andonis Samaras told a two-day international energy conference in Athens. Greece hopes to generate revenues worth several billion euros over the next 15 years from hydrocarbon deposits which it believes lie in the Ionian Sea and near Crete.


Turkey's Finance Ministry canceled the $5.7 billion privatisation of the country's toll roads. The decision was made as the offer for the system was too low, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said. In December 2012, the highways and bridges were sold through a tender to a consortium of Koc Holding, Gozde Girisim and Malaysia's UEM Group Berhad.


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Bulgaria launched a procedure to revoke the license of Czech utility CEZ, and gave the company two months to fix violations in its work. The move came after the government resigned amid protests against high electricity bills.


Croatia's unemployment reached a 10-year high in January, data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics showed. Unemployment was 21.9 percent, the highest since 2002 when its level reached 22 percent.

(Various sources -- 20/02/13-27/02/13)

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