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Eastern European Countries and Austria | Intercultural Relations

Kapsch TrafficCom Not Affected by Polish Government's Cancellation of Tender for Nation-Wide Tolling System

Poland's government has cancelled the tender for a nation-wide tolling system, because the government intends to have the tolling system operated by its own government agencies. Kapsch TrafficCom confirms that its contract regarding the operation of the existing nation-wide tolling system is not affected by this.

Yesterday

Strabag building two more sections of S7 in Poland for around € 200 million

Two subsidiaries of publicly listed construction group Strabag SE have been awarded the contract in Poland to design and build two sections of the S7 expressway north of Warsaw. The two orders have a total value of PLN 828 million, which is equivalent to approx. EUR 198 million.

January 12, 2018

Strabag Secures Orders in Poland for 170 Million Euros

Austria's largest construction group has received orders worth 170 million euros in Poland. The General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways (GDDKiA) awarded three road contracts to the Polish subsidiaries of Strabag, said the listed company in a release.

October 31, 2017

Western Balkans Summit was Held in Paris

Following the 2014 Western Balkans Summit in Berlin and the Vienna Western Balkans Summit of August 2015, the third Western Balkans Summit was held in Paris in the context of the ‘Berlin Process’. More than 500,000 of the people with migration background who live in Austria are from the region. Austrian companies have hundreds of branches or subsidiaries in the Western Balkans, which clearly illustrates the very close economic relations.

July 8, 2016

Western Balkans Countries Discussed Investment, Jobs and Integration in Vienna

The World Bank and the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) held a high-level policy dialogue on ‘Investment, Jobs and Integration’ last week. Ministers and senior officials from the Western Balkans region as well as policy experts from international organisations and the business community gathered to discuss the challenges the region is currently facing, in particular the high unemployment rate, low international competitiveness, and lack of modern infrastructure.

July 8, 2016

Vienna Insurance Group Buys AXA Subsidiaries in Serbia

Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) is acquiring AXA’s life and non-life companies in Serbia. The purchase will increase VIG’s market share in Serbia to around 11.5 percent.

July 7, 2016

RBI Closes Sale of Raiffeisen Banka in Slovenia

Following the completion of all regulatory requirements, Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) formally closed the sale of its Slovenian bank, Raiffeisen Banka d.d. The sales price will be kept confidential.

July 1, 2016

CESEE Outlook: Modest Recovery - EU is Obstacle to Growth – BREXIT Poses Uncertainties

According to the latest prognosis of the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, the countries of Central, East and Southeast Europe (CESEE) will have a trend growth rate of up to 3% in the period of 2016-2018. This is 1-1½ percentage points higher than average growth in the eurozone. Consumption will be the main growth driver. The Austrian economy is still benefiting from its economic ties with the region. Direct effects of BREXIT on the region will be limited – indirect effects for the European economy as a whole may be considerable.

June 29, 2016

Closing of Visa Takeover Brings EUR 97 Million Pre-Tax Profit to RBI

The expected pretax profit from the cash payment of the transaction will be EUR 97 million. It should be booked under net income from financial investments in the second quarter of 2016. Visa Inc. had announced the takeover of Visa Europe Ltd. in November of 2015. The cash payment of this one-off effect will be split between Slovakia, Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, the RBI head office, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Zuno.

June 21, 2016

20 Years Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT): Ministerial Meeting at VIC

Marking the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), a Ministerial Meeting was held at Vienna International Center. Hosting some 40 international organizations, Austria is a hub for the promotion of peace, safety and security, sustainable development and the fight against crime, drug abuse and terrorism.

June 20, 2016

Central European Initiative Discusses Refugee Crisis in Banja Luka

Foreign Ministers of the 18 member states of the Central European Initiative (CEI) met in Bosnia Herzegovina, which holds the initiative’s annual rotating Chairmanship this year. Discussions mainly focused on the refugee crisis and potential solutions.

June 20, 2016

Symposium in Vienna: "Current Security Challenges for Europe: NATO, its Partners and the Warsaw Summit"

The upcoming summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Warsaw from 8th to 9th July 2016 sees the organization facing numerous challenges. The withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan and rising tensions in the European area – from the conflict in Ukraine to the migration crisis, effected the question of the role of NATO’s Partnership for Peace under the new circumstances. A conference in Vienna with the working title "Current Security Challenges for Europe: NATO, its Partners and the Warsaw Summit" intends to discuss these and other pertinent issues.

June 16, 2016

Austria to Open Embassy in Tbilisi this Summer, Latvia to be Closed

Austria is soon to open an embassy in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, the Austrian Foreign Ministry informed journalists following a meeting between Kurz and his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Janelidze.

June 10, 2016

Long-Distance Coach Operator Flixbus to Compete with ÖBB Austrian Railways

Austrian state-run rail company ÖBB Austrian Railways is facing increasing competition of German mobility provider Flixbus which has just launched its third connection for Austria's regional capital cities, between Graz and Salzburg. In January 2016 FlixBus announced its entry to the markets of Central and Eastern Europe with the new branch FlixBus CEE. This includes six countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Croatia) with new lines in the making. () am

April 27, 2016

RBI Not to Sell Zuno Bank to ABH Holdings

The sale of Raiffeisen Bank International’s (RBI) direct bank Zuno to the Alfa Banking Group will not be concluded because ABH Holdings withdrew from the contract of sale.

March 1, 2016

The Western Balkans Conference Which Led to Row Over Worsening Refugee Crisis

Convened on the initiative of Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and Austrian Minister of the Interior Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the Western Balkans conference “Managing Migration Together” was held at the Federal Ministry of the Interior in Vienna. 18 foreign and interior ministers from the Western Balkans attended the conference. The participants included the foreign and interior ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.

February 26, 2016

Erste Group Provides Blackstone with a 5-Year EUR 91 Million Facility

Erste Group provides Blackstone with a 5-year EUR 91 million facility to acquire 12 logistics assets. The 265000 sqm portfolio covers 12 standing logistics investments located in Hungary (5), Romania (4), Poland (2) and Slovakia (1), as well as land reserves.

February 22, 2016

Opening of Austrian Embassy in Minsk: Belarus Acts as an Important Bridge

On 9 February 2016, the Austrian Embassy in Minsk was officially opened by the Secretary General for Foreign Affairs Michael Linhart. The opening of the embassy is an important element in the restructuring process launched by Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz to bring about a strategic re-orientation of the diplomatic representation network. "Austria is thus sending out a signal that the EU's immediate neighbourhood is one of its foreign policy priorities", Linhart pointed out.

February 12, 2016

Activ Solar Files for Reorganisation in Austria, Debts Reach EUR 500 Million

Vienna-based Activ Solar GmbH announced that it is bankrupt and that it has filed for reorganization in Austria due to its investment exposure in Ukraine. The company has amassed debts to the tune of EUR 500 million.

February 10, 2016

Czechs Jirí Šmejc and Karel Komárek Want to Take Control of Casinos Austria

The Czech consortium Austrian Gaming Holding (AGH) of billionaires Jirí Šmejc and Karel Komárek, headquartered in Prague may soon be new majority owner of Casinos Austria AG. According to the Federal Competition Authority (BWB), Austrian Gaming Holding intends to increase one hand its stake in Medial to 88.89 percent and on the other hand to acquire 16.79 percent of Casinos Austria AG shares. Through these acquisitions, AGH will hold directly or indirectly 50.82 percent of the shares and thus acquire sole control of the CASAG.

January 21, 2016

Central and Eastern Europe's Financial Elite Gathered at the CEE Forum in Vienna

The 21st Euromoney Central and Eastern European Forum ended in Vienna today, where 1000 delegates from the region joined local and international investors to help plan, debate and analyze the economic agenda for the region for the year ahead. The vast majority of the delegates have a negative outlook for the year 2016. Only one of the participants expects that this year CEE will grow more than 3.5%.

January 20, 2016

Central and Eastern European Forum in Vienna next Week

The Central and Eastern European Forum - organized by Euromoney - is taking place in Vienna next week. 1,000 top level policymakers, issuers, and commentators from the region will join local and international investors to help plan, debate and analyze the economic agenda for the region for the year ahead.

January 13, 2016

Strabag Builds Hydroelectric Power Plant in Bosnia-Herzegovina Worth € 57 Million

A consortium consisting of Austrian construction group Strabag and Croatian industrial company Končar has been awarded the contract to build the Vranduk power plant on the river Bosna on behalf of energy supply company JP Elektroprivreda BiH.

January 11, 2016

Kapsch TrafficCom AG / Bid opening for tender for electronic tollcollection system in Slovenia

Kapsch TrafficCom AG (ISIN AT000KAPSCH9), listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange in the prime market segment, informs that Slovenian motorway company DARS d.d. has opened the bids received for the tender for a nationwide electronic toll collection system for vehicles above 3.5 tons total weight.

December 17, 2015

Report: Drug Money and Opiate Trafficking on the Balkan Route

A report recently launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that the total value of illicit heroin and opium trafficked from Afghanistan to Western Europe through the Balkans amounts to some $28 billion every year. Sixty-five per cent of this total ($18 billion) is generated in Western and Central Europe.

December 14, 2015

US Company Contour Moves European Headquarters from Paris to Vienna

The Vienna-based European headquarters will be the strategic centre for all thermal and renewable energy facilities in Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Armenia, Spain, Northern Ireland and Ukraine.

December 11, 2015

Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Council of Ministers Places 27 New Diplomats at Head of Embassies

The Council of Ministers of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to place 27 new Austrian diplomats at head of Austrian Embassies worldwide.

December 10, 2015

RBI Sells Slovenian Subsidiary to US Private Equity Firm Apollo

Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) has reached an agreement to sell its Slovenian bank, Raiffeisen Banka d.d., to Biser Bidco, which is managed by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management, LLC. The purchase price has not been disclosed. The expected deconsolidation effect on RBI’s consolidated result will amount to minus EUR 49 million.

December 10, 2015

Hungarian Central Bank Buys Austria's 68.8% Stake in Budapest Stock Exchange

Austrian shareholders CEESEG and OeKB sell their 68.8% stake in Budapest Stock Exchange to Hungarian Central Bank for €42m ($45m), the Hungarian central bank confirmed officially.

November 24, 2015

Austria Supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's EU Reform Agenda

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Secretary General, Linhart visited Sarajevo. EU-accession and fight against radicalization were in the centre of the talks. Linhart: “Full support for the Bosnian reform route”.

November 20, 2015

Journalism Award “Writing for CEE 2015” Goes to Martin Leidenfrost

The EUR 5,000 Writing for CEE journalist prize has been awarded for the twelfth time. Journalists from all round Europe – including Northern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe and the CIS countries – have been invited to submit their works. The Austrian Journalist Martin Leidenfrost wins the “Writing for CEE 2015” award for his column "Expedition Europe". At the award ceremony writer and honorary guest Karl-Markus Gauß touched on the discovery of Europe and SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said, that Europe faces new boundaries and divisions.

November 18, 2015 · Updated: November 20, 2015; 19:00

Only Full EU-Integration Can Stabilise the Western Balkans for a Lasting Time

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz commented on the European Commission’s progress reports, which were presented earlier this month: “Most of the Western Balkans countries’ progress on their way in direction of EU-membership is noticeable and positive. The Commission’s new methodology renders possible an improved analysis on the progress made in the respective countries in the last year. This creates a positive competition. The new progress reports also underscore that all candidate countries still have a lot of hard work before them and EU support towards this is essential. The current refugee crisis is no exception in this respect as it shows, how important the Western Balkans countries and Turkey are to Europe in tackling this particular challenge.”

November 18, 2015

Linhart: “Foreign Policy Should Focus on Stabilization of Neighbouring Regions”

“The European foreign policy must focus more of its attention on the neighborhood, the stabilization thereof – and in the case of the Western Balkans, their way towards the EU – has to be our European priority”, Secretary General for Austrian Foreign Affairs, Dr. Michael Linhart declared on the occasion of the 19th Europe Forum of the Austria Institute for Europe and Security Policy (AIES) in the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna

November 18, 2015

Press Freedom: Every Fifth Day a Journalist is Killed at Work

According to a report from Unesco, worldwide more than 700 reporters have been killed from 2006 to 2014 in the exercise of their profession. On International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the OSCE Representative calls on participating States to step up their investigations.

November 2, 2015

OSCE: Peace and Stability in Europe Impossible without Protecting Human Rights

Protecting and promoting human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, is inextricably linked to the preservation of peace and stability within and between States, participants said today at the opening of a two-day OSCE meeting in Vienna.

October 29, 2015

Austria will Remain an Asylum Country with Tradition

Since 1945 more than two million refugees have come to Austria, whereby almost 700,000 have remained here - that is about 9 per cent of the total population of Austria. Every second refugee had a different mother tongue than German. The refugee crises occurred in a mysterious sequence, as every twelve years, large waves of refugees arrived in Austria: 1956, 1968, 1980 and 1992.

October 28, 2015

VIG Completes Acquisition of Latvian Non-Life Insurer Baltikums AAS

Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) has finalized the 100-percent acquisition of Riga-based Baltikums AAS. As a result of the acquisition, Vienna Insurance Group is now one of the top five insurers on the Latvian market.

October 27, 2015

Joint Russia-US Fight against ISIS: Kerry and Lavrov to Hold Syria Talks in Vienna

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday in Vienna to discuss the Syrian conflict together with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The meeting was made possible following the involvement of Vladimir Putin in serious diplomacy and the surprise visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Moscow on Tuesday.

October 23, 2015

How Can Exporters Benefit from the "Go-International Initiative" of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce?

Even in a challenging global economic environment, exports remain the driving force behind the Austrian economy. The go-international initiative of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce encourages companies to step across the border by offering advisory services, events and support, as well as making it easier for existing exporters to enter additional foreign markets.

October 19, 2015

Current State of Relations between NATO and Austria

NATO-Austria relations are conducted through the Partnership for Peace framework, which Austria joined in 1995. NATO and Austria actively cooperate in peace support operations, and have developed practical cooperation in a range of areas. NATO views Austria as an effective partner and contributor to international security, which shares key values such as the promotion of international security, democracy and human rights. Austria on the other hand selects areas of practical cooperation with NATO that match joint objectives.

October 16, 2015

CEE in the Autumn of 2015 is the New Safe Haven

The key conclusion of UniCredit’s CEE Quarterly 4Q 2015 is that the CEE region, despite its heterogeneity, looks better positioned than most other large emerging markets to cope with potential challenges. In particular they found that market volatility spiked in 3Q15, with the uncertainty surrounding the anticipated Fed rate hike augmented by growing worries about a “hard landing” in China.

September 25, 2015

Austria Opens New Honorary Consulate in Wrocław/Breslau

The population of Wrocław is 633,802, making it the fourth largest city in Poland. Grzegorz Schetyna, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs opened the new Austrian honorary consulate in Wrocław (Breslau) together with Thomas M. Buchsbaum, the Austrian ambassador in Poland.

August 31, 2015

Strabag Wins Road Deal in Poland for € 118 Million

Listed builder Strabag won a EUR 118 million (USD 135.4 million) contract in Poland for the construction of a 15 km motorway section between Woźniki and Pyrzowice plus one motorway maintenance facility, two rest stops, 29 bridges and wildlife crossings. Completion is supposed to take place in mid-2018.

August 27, 2015

Erste Group Presents Net Profit of EUR 487.2 Million in H1 15

Erste Group closed the first half of 2015 with positive results, reflected in strong improvements in profitability, asset quality, lending and capital. The group reported a net profit of EUR 487.2 million in H1 2015, compared to a negative result of EUR -929.7 million in the similar period last year; all countries except Hungary made a positive contribution to this development. Total assets increased to EUR 197.5 billion, compared to EUR 196.3 billion at the end of 2014. This balance sheet growth reflects a 2.2% advance in net lending to customers compared to the end of 2014, to EUR 123.5 billion, supported by the 1.7% growth in loans to households, 2.0% to SMEs and 5.9% to large corporates.

August 7, 2015

Austrian Railways Eyes Acquisitions Across Central and Eastern Europe

Oesterreichische Bundesbahnen (OeBB), the Austrian state railway operator, is eyeing rail cargo operator buys across Central and Eastern Europe, a source close to the company and a person claiming knowledge of the situation said. OeBB, with EUR 3bn in revenue, believes a number of opportunities will soon come up in countries “east of Austria”, including countries of the former Yugoslavia, the source said.

July 6, 2015

Mostboeck: "ATX Valuations Remain Attractive - Catch-Up Potential until Year-End"

The majority of companies in the ATX had to report significant earnings revisions in 2014. In addition, geopolitical risks in the context of the Russia/Ukraine conflict exerted a negative effect. “The significantly improved environment and the digestion of last year's one-off effects are creating notable catch-up potential for the ATX”, notes Fritz Mostböck, Head of Group Research at Erste Group.

June 23, 2015

Ambassador Martin Sajdik Becomes New OSCE Special Representative in Ukraine

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić today appointed Ambassador Martin Sajdik (Austria) as his new Special Representative in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group. He follows Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini (Switzerland) who, having fulfilled this assignment for one year, expressed her wish to step down.

June 23, 2015

VIG's Compensa Acquires Lithuania’s Largest Life Insurance Sales Company

Vienna Insurance Group company Compensa Life SE has strengthened strengthened its sales structure in Lithuania with the acquisition of life insurance sales specialist Finsaltas. Finsaltas holds Latvia's biggest life insurance distribution network and recorded some EUR 7.1 million (USD 8.0 million) in life insurance premiums in 2014. for an undisclosed amount, VIG said Friday.

June 12, 2015

Bilderberg 2015: Full List of All 133 Participants

The full list of all 133 attendees to the top secret Bilderberg Group conference 2015 has been released (see below). The Austrians participating are René Benko, Oscar Bronner, Heinz Fischer, Alfred Gusenbauer, Erich Hampel, Wolfgang Hesoun, Gerhard Roiss, Rudolf Scholten and Karl Sevelda.

June 12, 2015 · Updated: June 12, 2015; 17:45

The Bilderberg Group - Background and Criticism

The first Bilderberg conference dates back to May 1954, when it was held at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Oosterbeek, Netherlands. Partly because of its working methods to ensure strict privacy, the Bilderberg Group has been criticised for its lack of transparency and accountability.

June 11, 2015