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Eastern European Countries and Austria | Bilateral Relations

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

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

Bilderberg 2015: The "World Government" Meets in Austria

A select group of global elite is gathering today at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol in Telfs-Buchen, Austria. The 63rd Bilderberg conference is a super secret annual conference where they can discuss politics, economics and foreign policy freely. A total of around 140 participants from 22 countries have confirmed their attendance at the Bilderberg conference 2015. As ever, a diverse group of political leaders and experts from industry and finance have been invited. This year the list includes nine Austrians. Key talking points on the agenda include the Ukrainian crisis, Greece, Middle East and Terrorism (see detailed list below). Security is tight - participants as well as protesters and journalists will have to deal with the Austrian anti terror squad "Cobra". After 1979 it's the second time that the conference takes place in Austria.

June 11, 2015 · Updated: June 11, 2015; 19:00

Analysis: Austrian Economy Falls Behind Eurozone Average

The latest "Attractiveness Survey" from consultancy Ernst & Young Global Limited shows, that espite strong fundamentals, Austria’s economy lost some ground on the Eurozone average in 2014, with growth of just 0.4% compared with 0.9% for the Eurozone as a whole. This comparative weakness will also continue in 2015, with Austria’s GDP growth estimated at 1.1%, against 1.5% in the Eurozone. This is despite a boost from lower energy prices, quantitative easing from the European Central Bank (ECB) and a weaker euro.

June 1, 2015

FDI: Western Europe Overtakes China and North America, Austria Improved Its Position

Ernst and Young's latest European attractiveness survey has been published. FDI into Europe hits a new record with US$305b attracted into the region in 2014, translating to a 36% year-on-year growth, despite global growth slowdown. UK, Germany and France remain the preferred destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) within Europe, while Turkey enters the Top 10. Austria improved its position in the ranking by two notches, rising to position 22 of all 44 countries analyzed.

May 29, 2015

Swedish Embassy in Vienna has New Premises

The Swedish Embassy/UN representation and the OSCE-delegation have moved to new premises with extensive entertainment facilities, Schwedenhaus Wien. This represents a new and unique concept which could be a model for how Sweden will be represented abroad in the future. As the Embassy also represents Sweden in Slovakia and Slovenia, Schwedenhaus Wien will have both a regional and multilateral (UN and OSCE) approach.

May 29, 2015

Andreas Gschwenter Becomes New COO/CIO of Raiffeisen Bank International

The Supervisory Board of Raiffeisen Bank International decided that Andreas Gschwenter will become Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) of RBI from 1 July 2015. Gschwenter was born in 1969, has a degree in business administration and has been Head of Operations (COO/CIO) in charge of IT, operations and cost management at Raiffeisen Bank Aval in Ukraine since 2010. His appointment is subject to approval by the Austrian Financial Market Authority.

May 20, 2015

Analysis: The Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna

The Eurovision Song Contest 2015 has been the 60th edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest musical event. The contest took place in Vienna and followed Conchita Wurst's victory in the 2014 edition with her song "Rise Like a Phoenix". The song "Heroes" by Måns Zelmerlöw took the winning spot in the 60th Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna with 365 points. The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest will therefore be held in Sweden.

May 16, 2015 · Updated: May 28, 2015; 08:00

EBRD Sees Mixed Outlook for CESEE Countries in 2015-16

The outlook for economies in central and south eastern Europe is improving on the back of eurozone monetary easing but prospects further to the east of the transition region have worsened, as the impact of Russia’s recession intensifies.

May 14, 2015

OSCE Troika Urges Advancement in Political Process Aimed at Solving Crisis in Ukraine

Foreign Ministers Dačić, Steinmeier and Burkhalter called for the immediate establishment of Working Groups as provided for in the February 12 Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements and proposed by Special Representative Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini and the Trilateral Contact Group.

April 28, 2015

Billa Invests EUR 100 Million in Bulgaria in Next Years

Supermarket Chain Billa plans to invest some 100 million euros in Bulgaria and to open around 40 new stores.

April 10, 2015

International Jihadism Conference in Vienna: "Tackling Jihadism Together"

Ministers from Austria, the Western Balkans & Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos gathered in Vienna to tackle Jihadism. Austrian FM Kurz: "Tackling Jihadism is an urgent task for all of us - we're in this together!" Avramopoulos: "Need to transform common will into common action".

March 20, 2015

Strabag Builds Two Czech Motorways for € 24 Mln

Strabag a.s., the Czech subsidiary of Austrian-based publicly listed technology group Strabag SE, has been awarded two new motorway contracts in the Czech Republic as part of a consortium with Eurovia CS. The company will build two sections of the D3 motorway (see image) linking Prague with southern Bohemia.

March 9, 2015

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug to Visit Vienna

The Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, Alexander Hug, will visit Vienna, Austria, on 5-6 March.

March 5, 2015

Quality of Living Rankings: Vienna Tops the List Again

Vienna remaines at the top of the 2015 Quality of Living Rankings, boasting the best quality of living for expatriates. In the top 5 there are two other European cities, Zurich (place 2) and Munich (place 4). Also Auckland (3rd) and Vancouver (5th) are among the top five cities.

March 4, 2015

Global Peace Index: Austria is Third Most Peaceful Country

The latest Global Peace Index analyses the state of peace around the world. It identifies the most and least peaceful countries, trends in violence and conflict, and calculates the economic impact of violence. The top three most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark and Austria. Small and stable democracies make up the top ten most peaceful countries. New Zealand, Canada and Japan are the only non-European countries in the top ten.

March 4, 2015

OSCE Chief Observer at the Russian Checkpoints to Visit Headquarter in Vienna

Paul Picard, Chief OSCE Observer at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk will address the OSCE Permanent Council. He will report on the situation including movements across the Russian-Ukrainian border at the Russian checkpoints at Gukovo and Donetsk.

February 25, 2015