Albania changing tax rates to increase revenues


Personal tax levels will increase from 10 percent to as much as 23 percent, the government announced. In other business news: The European Commission approves a financial aid package for Greek highways.

Albania's government will raise business and personal income taxes next month. [Bedrana Kaletovic/SETimes]

Albania will increase taxes in January as it scraps the 10 percent flat corporate and income tax rate to increase the country's revenues. Taxes on the biggest businesses will increase to 15 percent, and personal income tax levels will be set at 13 percent and 23 percent.


The European Commission approved a 3 billion euro financial aid package to support the building of four major highways in Greece as part of a 4.6 billion euro investment. The project, which was frozen in 2010 amid the economic crisis, is expected to create 6,000 jobs. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.


The EU will take up the renegotiation of the South Stream gas pipeline deals on behalf of several member states. The announcement came several days after the European Commission told Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, Greece and EU candidate Serbia that the deals that they had signed with Russia are in violation of EU laws.


Cyprus will spend 340 million euros to combat unemployment, which is expected to exceed 19 percent next year. The funds will go to commercial banks for granting low-interest loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises, as well as for subsidies on existing and new employees' salaries.


Bulgaria will take over the six-month rotating presidency of the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation starting January 1st. The country pledged to do its best to further accelerate the development of multilateral economic co-operation in the region and boost the organisation's efficiency and visibility.


Macedonia and Albania will boost their co-operation in the field of agriculture, the agriculture ministers of the two countries agreed. In particular, Macedonia can export fruit and vegetables, while Albania can bring seafood, lemons, oranges, olives and olive oil to its neighbour.


Turkey welcomed its 10 millionth visitor this year at the Ataturk International Airport. The number of tourists reached the 10 million mark for the first time, officials said.


Countries in Central and Eastern Europe have strong potential for economic growth, according to a survey by consultancy McKinsey. Growth rates in Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia may speed up to 4 to 5 percent annually -- levels that were last seen in the years before the economic and financial crisis, the experts forecasted.


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Serbia's national airline Air Serbia launched daily flights to Slovenia's capital Ljubljana and Bucharest in Romania. The last flight to Bucharest was in 1999, while flights to Ljubljana were halted in 2010.


Standard & Poor's revised its outlook for Bulgaria from stable to negative. The agency cited low economic growth, high unemployment and political uncertainty as the reasons behind its decision.

(Various sources: 11/12/2013-17/12/2013)

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Albania is making some state property available for 1 euro to draw new businesses into the country. Do you think the programme would be successful elsewhere in the region in improving the economy and creating jobs?

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