Eastern European states are in for a new round of the crisis. The external control of the banking sector and high reliance on external credit has landed the countries of Eastern Europe in a vulnerable position. Now, credit flows from Western banks are drying up again. Hungary has been the first country in the region to ask for IMF support again, Joachim Becker reports.
Western European banks experience increasing problems to refinance their activities and they face higher capital requirements. In addition, they start to pay the bill for their past lending policies. Lending used to expand very rapidly in the pre-crisis years. Lending of the local daughters of Western parent banks often exceeded deposits in a significant way. For example, it is reported that the credit/deposit ratio of the Austrian Erste Bank was about 200% in Hungary, 150% in Croatia and 140% in Romania. For Raiffeisen, this ratio amounted to 150% in Ukraine and 130% in Romania ...
Weakening of workers' rights in most regions is being aggravated by severe crackdowns on freedom of speech and assembly, according to the 2016 Global Rights Index. Restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, including severe crackdowns in some countries, increased by 22%, with 50 out of 141 countries surveyed recording restrictions.
The year 2015 was marked on the one hand by the inability of the European Union (EU) to emerge from the crisis, and on the other by a dramatic rise in the number of people taking flight from their homes and from their homelands, because of wars and terrorist attacks, in many cases caused by the destructive policies of the EU and of its member states.
The world economy stumbled in 2015 and only a modest improvement is projected for 2016/17 as a number of cyclical and structural headwinds persist, says the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2016 report. Global growth is estimated at a mere 2.4% in 2015.
Within a few weeks leftwing governments in Latin America have experienced a breath-taking decline. The Latin American (centre-) left forces suffered several strategic defeats. They occurred in the biggest Latin American economies. First in Argentina, than in Venezuela, and also in Brazil the days of an uncontested majority of left forces are definitely over now.
14 years after their previous strategy on gender mainstreaming, the WBG has decided to develop a new Gender Equality (GE) Strategy. This briefing document presents WIDE+ critical reflections and key recommendations to enhance the new World Bank Group's (WBG) strategy on Gender Equality.