A new water treatment plant will serve both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities. In other business news: The European Commission may simplify the rules for Schengen visas in an effort to boost tourism, and air travel in the region is about to become easier.
"Local leaders of the two communities have succeeded in putting the needs of the population first to solve the sewage problems of the Greater Nicosia area," EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule said at the Tuesday (April 8th) opening of a water treatment plant in Cyprus. [AFP]
A wastewater plant that will serve Nicosia in Cyprus opened as part of a project that was 30 percent financed by the EU. The facility will serve 270,000 people from both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, treating an average of 30,000 cubic metres of wastewater a day and providing 10 million cubic metres of treated water a year for agricultural irrigation. It will also produce more than 3,000 metric tonnes of dry solids a year for fertilizer use and generate power from biogas to partly cover the city's energy needs.
Romania plans to cut corporate profit tax rates for companies that reinvest in the country, Finance Minister Ioana Petrescu told Reuters. She said the measure would likely be introduced in July. Other levies will also be cut in an effort to create jobs and secure economic growth of about 3 percent in 2014.
NATO reopened the airspace over Kosovo for civilian traffic. Thus, commercial air carriers will be able to take more direct routes across the Balkans. Estimates suggest the move will affect about 180,000 civilian flights annually.
The European Commission proposed simplifying rules for obtaining Schengen visas in an effort to encourage travel to the bloc and increase tourism income. The changes may bring an estimated 130 billion euros over five years and help create 1.3 million jobs, the commission said.
Turkish Airlines will launch direct flights from Istanbul to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina starting May 2nd, the air carrier announced. Meanwhile, Wizz Air, the biggest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, said it is halving its capacity in Belgrade by cutting low-cost routes to Oslo and Brussels and reducing the number of flights to other destinations. The move was attributed to high airport fees.
Romania may gain hundreds of millions of euros a year in tax receipts if it integrates the Roma minority into the country, according to a World Bank study. If Roma unemployment goes down and wages go up, Romania could achieve productivity gains of 887 million to 2.9 billion euros a year, which represents up to 2 percent of GDP, while extra taxes may come up to 675 million euros.
Albania's parliament approved a loan agreement with the IMF that will provide the country with 330 million euros. The deal does not envision any tax hikes or pension cuts, Finance Minister Shkelquim Cani said.
(Various sources -- 02/04/14-09/04/14)