The agreement is the first of its kind for Pristina. Also in business news: The IMF has approved a nearly 2 billion-euro standby loan to Romania.
Employees work at a textile factory in Dragash, Kosovo. [AFP]
Kosovo and Turkey have signed a free trade agreement, the first signed since Kosovo became independent in 2008. Negotiations kicked off last year and were completed in four rounds.
Bulgaria and Serbia plan to build a reverse gas interconnector by 2017, Bulgaria Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev said after meeting his Serbian counterpart, Zorana Mihajlovic. The two officials expressed confidence that the link would ensure natural gas supply security for both countries.
More than 250 participants from 11 countries in Southeast Europe took part in a conference last week dedicated to railway transport. Participants agreed to work on setting up a joint railway system in the region, focusing on the need to streamline road traffic to rail, develop supporting infrastructure and terminals, and strengthen the chain of logistics and quality services.
The IMF has approved a nearly 2 billion-euro standby loan to Romania. The facility will match a backup loan of the same size, requested by the EU. It represents a two-year arrangement and aims to give the government space to continue reforms.
The energy ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro have agreed on their next steps in the Adriatic-Ionian Gas Pipeline project. They will perform a feasibility study and a business model that are to be proposed at their next ministerial meeting in Tirana in the first quarter of 2014.
Croatia's GDP will gain pace next year to register a 1.3 percent growth in 2014, according to a document published on the government's website. According to officials, the government plans to cut the budget deficit from 5.5 percent to 3 percent by 2016 through measures such as a highway concession, higher VAT rate on tourism and higher tariffs on gas and tobacco. Meanwhile, the real estate transaction tax rate will be cut from 5 percent to 4 percent, while the general VAT will remain unchanged at 25 percent.
The troika international lenders of Greece have decided to take a break in their latest mission to Athens, stating they have made good progress. The inspectors have said they will resume discussions within the coming weeks to look into Greek reforms and update their growth and budget targets.
(Various sources – 09/25/13-10/01/13)