NEWS AND EVENTS

Greek airline Aegean Airline announced its interest in strengthening its presence in the Croatian market. In this direction goes the introduction of new seasonal flights from Athens to Zagreb and Zadar, soon to be integrated by a daily connection towards Dubrovnik and a weekly one to Split.  However, Aegean Airline’s expansion plan does not stop in Croatia; this summer flights to and from Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital city, will increase their frequency, from 2 to 3 times a week.

Albanian Prime Minister Fatmir Xharfaj has expressed his satisfaction for the success of the measures introduced in the last few months to fight international drug trafficking who has in Albania one of its most used beach-head to approach the European markets. Xharfaj’s words followed the publication of the results of the last operation carried out by Albanian police, who seized over 600kg of Colombian cocaine.

Without external help, Ukraine will not be able to repay its debt in the following years. This is what the International Monetary Fund stated after the visit its representatives paid to the country last month. The IMF is now putting pressure on Kiev to obtain the creation of an independent anti-corruption court and the increase of the gas prices for the population and the enterprises to a single market level.

Against the background of unstable interior politics, fighting in its eastern territories and the impossibility to reform the economy due to the high interests on foreign debts absorbing almost all the resources at Kiev’s disposal, the IMF is the only source of financial support for the country.

The two measures the IMF suggested aim at ensuring Ukraine’s solvency, while, at the same time, reducing the exploitation of structural weaknesses that encourage illegal and unlawful practices.

The most serious of those violations takes place in the gas market. Since Ukraine adopts two prices, one for the populations, subsidized, and one for companies, a strong temptation exists for the latter to buy gas at a reduced price under a scam scheme and employ it for industrial purposes, with relevant collateral damages for the State.

To oppose this abuse IMF has requested the adjustment of the gas price to market level, as it was already in 2016, when the Ukrainian government passed a bill to impose a single price to be revisited at regular intervals. Although the measure seemed promising, it was short-lived, killed by the ministerial cabinet’s refusal to increase the price for households by 18% as winter was approaching.

Progresses in the fight against corruption have been also quite scarce and discouraging: the law to establish the anti-corruption Court has yet to be discussed in parliament, after it was heavily criticized for its many inconsistencies with what was laid out by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe regarding the transparency and independence of judges’ selection.

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