The financial side of the country is less visible than the political, economic or cultural one. The difficulties in assessing the financial condition of a country lie not only in the complexity of the issue but in the fact that this financial condition is based on a non-material vehicle – money. The economic and financial ties made a better future accessible to anyone willing to share such values as a liberal democracy order. But the very recent history of the CIS region influenced by Russian politics forced us to change that view. The Russian annexation of Crimea and the attitude toward the Ukraine has changed the geopolitical scene. This is why the aim of the paper is to analyse not only the financial condition of the countries since the late 90s, but to answer the question: how the financial side of the CIS countries and Ukraine influences their position in the local and global context and how it may impact the future role of Russia in the region.
The increase in energy commodity prices accompanied with increasing oil production resulted in the impressive acceleration of Russia’s economic growth in 2000s. On the one hand, the steady flow of foreign funds enabled the improvement of the financial condition of mining companies, on the other, by the increase in budget revenues restored stability in the public sector. Fruits of economic growth were also transferred to the society in the form of rising wages in the public sector and increased social spending. However monocultural economy and a strong dependence on the situation on world commodity markets pose a threat to the Russian economy. The objective of this paper is to shed some light on the problems that will influence Russian economy in coming years. This paper examines three of them: the country’s dependence on oil revenues, unfavorable demographic trends and budget tension arising from oil revenues dependency and rising social cost.
Like other resource-rich countries, the oil-producing CIS countries face special challenges in managing their economies, especially fiscal policies. Their major short-term challenge is to cope with the unpredictable volatility of oil prices, which affects budgeted revenues and ultimately macroeconomic management and fiscal planning. Their main long-term challenge, which relates to the exhaustibility of oil, is to ensure intergenerational equity and fiscal sustainability. International experience suggests that for sound macroeconomic and fiscal performance resource-rich countries need strong fiscal institutions. For oil-dependent countries the appropriate fiscal framework should i) set budgets on the basis of conservative oil price assumptions over the medium term; ii) establish and ensure that oil reserve funds function well; and iii) introduce implicit or explicit fiscal rules together with an independent watchdog to supervise their application. Although the oil-rich CIS countries already have in place elements of such a framework, there is still a considerable scope to strengthen it. Stronger and steadfastly applied fiscal rules will help them to face current and future challenges.
This article examines the activity of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HP), Catherine Ashton, in negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia. Kosovo is a former province of the Republic of Serbia which announced independence in February 2008. Since then, the relations between Belgrade and Pristina have been deteriorating rapidly. One of the most important conditions of the rapprochement between the Republic of Serbia and the European Union is to normalize the relations with Kosovo. Brussels has decided to support this process and Catherine Ashton was a representative of the EU in these negotiations. Serbia and Kosovo signed an agreement on normalization of mutual relations. The result of this agreement is that Serbia has become the official candidate to the EU. The aim of the article is also an analysis of the possibilities of receiving by the Republic of Serbia a full membership of the EU structures. This country, despite beginning the membership negotiations, wrestles with a number of internal as well as external problems. Belgrade was praised for its cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Nonetheless, there are still questions of the weak economy, reforming the judiciary and administration. Moreover, the Republic of Serbia, still wants to build the South Stream through its territory, despite the EU recognizes this project as unlawful. Recently Brussels required from Belgrade revision of its policy towards Moscow and joining the EU sanctions on Russia as a reaction on the Ukrainian crisis and the annexation of Crimea.