Greece approves gas pipeline deal


Construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline is to begin in 2015. In other business news: Romania's president balks at a standby deal with the European Commission and the IMF.

Greece's Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras (centre), Trans Adriatic Pipeline's Managing Director Kjetil Tungland (left) and Greece's Deputy Minister of Environment Energy and Climate Change Asimakis Papageorgiou after the signing of a host government agreement in Athens on June 26th. [AFP]

The Greek parliament has ratified the agreement for the building of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The facility will transport natural gas from the Caspian region via Greece and Albania to southern Italy and Western Europe. Construction is set to begin in 2015 and be completed in 2019. '


Romania President Traian Basescu will not ratify the government's review of a standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission. He said he is opposed to the introduction of a new fuel tax under the terms of the 4 billion euro deal that was reached several months ago.


International ratings agency Moody's upgraded Greece's credit rating by two notches to Caa3. The agency cited the better results achieved in the country's economic adjustment programme and the fact that its budget deficit target is within reach.


Bulgaria and Romania agreed to set up a joint working group to outline opportunities for broader co-operation in tourism and creation of joint tourist products to be offered to third countries. The agreement was reached during meetings of Bulgarian officials and their Romanian counterparts in Bucharest.


Overregulation in Greece costs businesses and consumers 5.2 billion euros a year in the form of lost efficiency and higher prices for goods and services, according to a new report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The document, which focuses on food processing, retail, building materials and tourism, urged the government to simplify procedures to give a boost to the private sector and competition.


Croatia will reveal a new offer for investors in the tender for a stake of up to 49 percent in its loss-making state-controlled Croatia Airlines. The statement came after an initial call failed to attract any candidates within the 30-day deadline.


International ratings agency Standard and Poor's has raised its long-term sovereign debt rating on Cyprus to B-/B from CCC+/C. The agency cited a reduced possibility of defaulting on the island's sovereign debt.


The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank will grant Serbia three loans totalling 273.8 million euros. The facilities will be used to support the rehabilitation and safety of 1,100 kilometres of major roads in Serbia over the next five years.


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Romania and Montenegro will hold a bilateral economic forum next year, Romania Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his Montenegrin counterpart Milo Djukanovic agreed at a meeting in Bucharest. The goal is to raise awareness of commercial and economic co-operation opportunities.


Authorities in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) expect to start talks in late February with oil giant Royal Dutch Shell on a concession for oil exploration. Discussions are expected to last up to nine months and may result in investments between $300 million and $700 million.

(Various sources: 26/11/2013-03/12/2013)

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