Poland ditches its finance minister: Emerging Europe this week
Poland Finance Minister Tadeusz Kościński has resigned following a backlash over how the government has implemented a landmark package of tax reforms. The so-called Polish deal, which came into force at the start of this year, includes a series of spending commitments and tax changes for low and middle incomes that the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party had hoped to boost to both the economy and his own. declining popularity. However, the package proved controversial and caused confusion as to the effect of some of the changes. Some low earners received less income in January than expected, even though officials said only high earners would be affected.
The South Korean manufacturing conglomerate Samsung will invest around 900 million zlotys (198 million euros) in the expansion of its production capacity in Poland around its existing facilities in the town of Wronki. The company will create a new 40,000 square meter production and warehouse hall and expand its existing refrigerator factory, said Olgierd Bałtaki, director of Samsung Electronics Poland Manufacturing. It will also, he added, “create an industrial complex near the existing Wronki factory” which will function as a “cluster of household appliances in which the factory’s subcontractors will be located. “.
Bulgaria The new Prime Minister has criticized the country’s prosecutors for dragging their feet in the fight against corruption, pledging to tackle the problem in the European Union’s most corrupt member state. Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was summoned as a witness on Wednesday after accusing chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev of not doing enough to investigate high-profile crimes. These include financial and other crimes committed over the past decade, which the media has often covered in great detail, but which remain unsolved.
The first batch of US troops reinforcing NATO allies on the eastern flank following a Russian military buildup on the Ukrainian border arrived in Romania, Defense Minister Vasile Dincu said on Tuesday. The United States is sending nearly 3,000 additional troops to Poland and Romania to shield Eastern Europe from potential fallout from the Ukraine crisis. The Pentagon has announced that it will move a Stryker squadron of about 1,000 US military personnel from Vilseck, Germany to Romania. In Poland, troops began arriving on Saturday.
New Czech The government has approved a revised budget for this year in a bid to wean the central European country off its pandemic-era deficits and help tackle soaring inflation. After taking power two months ago, Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s cabinet voted a deficit of 280 billion crowns ($13.2 billion) on Wednesday. This represents a 26% reduction in the gap projected by the previous administration led by billionaire Andrej Babiš, and a 33% drop from last year’s record deficit. The bill must be approved by the lower house of parliament.
Swimming will have world championships after all in 2022, with Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the sport’s world governing body jointly announced the “extraordinary” event on Monday. Budapest will host an additional world championship from June 18 to July 3 to fill a void left by the planned event in Japan being pushed back to 2023 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Hungarian capital hosted the worlds in 2017 and was already scheduled for another round in 2027 before the final award. The championships are usually held every two years.
German prosecutors are investigating a Czech millionaire for allegedly driving on a highway at speeds of 417 km/h. Radim Passer is accused of organizing an illegal car race on the A2 motorway between Berlin and Hanover in July 2021. The driver of the Bugatti Chiron vehicle had recorded the incident and posted a clip on YouTube earlier this year, prompting many reviews in Germany. The 58-year-old millionaire drove “at an inappropriate speed, in defiance of traffic rules and in a reckless manner in order to reach the maximum possible speed”, prosecutors said.
Croatia The national bank has announced a new tender for the design of the country’s one euro coin after a plagiarism scandal led to the withdrawal of an earlier bid. Croatia is preparing to adopt the euro in 2023 and last week revealed the winners of a competition whose designs were to be minted in the Balkan country’s new coins. The controversy centered on a logo featuring a marten standing on a branch that looked strikingly similar to a photo taken by British photographer Iain H Leach, prompting accusations of plagiarism.
Russia and Belarus Thursday began 10 days of joint military exercises as part of ongoing diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis over fears the Kremlin is planning an incursion into Ukrainian territory. The military exercises, called “Allied Resolve-2022”, have started in Belarus and will end on February 20, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday. “The purpose of the exercise is to work out the tasks of suppressing and repelling external aggression while conducting a defensive operation, combating terrorism and protecting the interests of the Union State,” says the press release.
Skier Darya Dolidovich fled Belarus after being banned from participating in the Winter Olympics due to accusations over his involvement in the country’s opposition movement. The 17-year-old cross-country skier was stripped of her International Ski Federation (FIS) code – which is required for athletes to compete in events organized by the governing body – in December. This followed a decision by the Belarusian Cross-Country Skiing Federation, according to Reuters.
Azerbaijan released eight Armenian soldiers captured in deadly border clashes last year as the two sides seek fresh talks on easing their simmering border dispute. Azerbaijani officials said the Feb. 7 decision was made based on “humanistic principles.” According to officials, the group of Armenian soldiers sent back to Yerevan includes several servicemen involved in border clashes in mid-November. French President Emmanuel Macron said his country had sent a plane to pick up the group.
EstoniaVenture capital firm Change Ventures announced this week the closing of a €49 million fund, the largest seed fund raised in the Baltic to date and the latest sign of an accelerating boom in the region. Baltic start-ups raised more than €1.5 billion in 2021, triple the amount raised in 2020, according to the Baltic Startup Funding Report. And the pace seems to be accelerating: a billion euros in fundraising took place in the second half of 2021, and 2022 started even faster.
The legislators of Montenegro overthrew the government last Friday after internal disputes and weeks of political deadlock. Parliament passed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić and his cabinet. Krivokapić’s pro-Serb conservative government has been embroiled in bitter infighting since coming to power in 2020. The vote was backed by opposition parties and even a junior government partner, the progressive URA party.
Serbia amended its constitution to make its judiciary more independent of politicians, fulfilling a key requirement on the Balkan state’s path to European Union membership. Lawmakers on Wednesday approved changes to the way judges and prosecutors are appointed, following a Jan. 16 referendum on the issue. The amendments authorize two special bodies, the High Court Council and the Attorney General’s Office, to assume authority previously held by Parliament. “Serbia has taken a big step forward in improving the rule of law, which is deeply in the interests of all its citizens,” said Parliament Speaker Ivica Dačić. “It’s a rare example of people in power handing over some of their authority.”
The authorities in Kosovo on Wednesday suspended restoration of a former home linked to an Albanian official who was a notorious Nazi collaborator during World War II. The project, funded by the European Union and the Kosovo Ministry of Culture, had become the target of criticism from Germany and accusations of anti-Semitism. The Kosovo authorities have stated that they will seek alternatives for a new cultural center which has been planned for the restored property.
The European Union and the United States on Tuesday urged Albania to pass a constitutional amendment to complete the vetting of the judiciary on its journey to one day joining the bloc. A judicial reform approved in 2016, following direct assistance from Brussels and Washington, vetted hundreds of judges and prosecutors, but some 300 others still remained. His five-year term is over and parliament is expected to approve a constitutional amendment to extend the vetting process, world powers have demanded. A joint EU-US statement said “vetting of judges and prosecutors is a fundamental part of justice reform.”
from Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev gave the government two months to draw up a plan to repatriate what he described as huge sums of money smuggled out of the country. During his remarks to the cabinet on Tuesday, Tokayev did not name anyone suspected of hiding money in foreign offshores, but the appeal will be read by many as another jab at the front of the family of the President’s predecessor, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Uzbekistan urged the international community to consider engaging with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and provide assistance to the country in an effort to mitigate an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. Speaking to reporters in Tashkent, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov said the lack of relief to Afghanistan could lead to more instability. “The deterioration of the situation (…) could lead to the radicalization of society, clashes between groups and the possible consolidation of extremist forces,” he said in comments reported by the government newspaper on Tuesday. Narodnoe Slovo.
Photo: Tadeusz Kościński at an EU Council meeting in October. © European Union.
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