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Albanian opposition leader accuses the majority for connections with criminal gangs

Albania lost a golden opportunity to open accession talks because it did not deliver the criteria set by the EU and the reason for this is that the country’s political class is connected to criminal gangs.

This was declared today by the Albanian opposition leader, Lulzim Basha during a conference held in Tirana by the women of EPP dubbed “What is keeping the Balkans outside of the EU?”.

According to him, “institutions have been captured by crime and Europe cannot tolerate politicians who have connections with criminals”.

“The opposition has made its position very clear; it wants to cut all ties between politicians and criminals and this is the reason why we have proposed the vetting of politicians”, he added among others.

Meanwhile, Basha also added that “Europe will never accept Albania for as long as the country has politicians who are connected to criminal gangs”. /ibna/

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Inauguration of the SOCAR refinery in Izmir

The state-owned company of Azerbaijan, SOCAR, has put its own stamp in the field of hydrocarbon management in Turkey, inaugurating its first refinery in the eastern city of Izmir.

Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his Azeri counterpart, İlham Aliyev were at today's inauguration ceremony of the STAR refinery.

It took seven to build the refinery -its construction started in 2011- and is expected to reduce Turkey's annual current account deficit by at least $ 1.5 billion.

It is one of the biggest investments in Turkey's history, with a budget of $ 6.3 billion, and one of the largest oil and gas facilities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The STAR refinery started its operation by receiving the first cargo ship carrying 80,000 tons of crude from Azerbaijan in early August.

SOCAR's chief executive for Turkey, Zaur Gahramanov, then confirmed the arrival of the first freight and said production would begin at the end of October.

With this refinery Turkey's need to import jet fuels, which will account for 7% of STAR's total output, is expected to be completely eliminate while at the same time it is anticipated to reduce its LPG imports from 79% 70%.

With an annual production capacity of 10 million tons of crude, the refinery will also produce 1.6 million tons of naphtha and 1.6 million tons of jet fuel annually…. / IBNA

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Lending in Albania drops: Central Bank

The Report on Lending for the third quarter of the year published by the Bank of Albania suggests a decrease in lending for businesses operating in the country. Meanwhile, the report adds that lending for individuals grew and this includes consumer loans and mortgage loans.

On the other hand, in the last quarter of the year, banks are expecting to apply similar standards to the third quarter regarding business loans, while for individuals, they’re expected to soften them even further.

According to banks, demands for loans are expected to be higher in the third quarter for both businesses and individuals alike. /ibna/

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FDI in Bulgaria in January-August 2018 was 230.5M euro

Foreign direct investment in Bulgaria in the first eight months of the year stood at 230.5 million euro, the equivalent of 0.4 per cent of the gross domestic product, statistics from the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) showed on October 19. In the same period of 2017, FDI was 812 million euro, but the original amount reported by BNB last year was 516.4 million euro, which was revised upward later.Investment in equity, including in the real estate sector, recorded an outflow of 27.1 million euro (compared to an inflow of 174.4 million euro in January-August 2017) and re-invested earnings accounted for an outflow of 18 million euro (less than the outflow of 33.6 million euro a year earlier), according to preliminary data.Receipts from real estate investments by foreign companies totalled 4.6 million euro, compared to 13.3 million euro during the same period of 2017.The central bank data showed 275.6 million euro in investment inflows as debt instruments, recorded as the change in the net liabilities of Bulgarian companies towards their foreign investor owners, compared to 671.2 million euro in the first eight months of 2017. Such financial flows include financial loans, suppliers’ credits and debt securities, BNB said.By country, the largest direct investment in Bulgaria in January-August 2018 came from the Netherlands (264.9 million euro), Russia (158.5 million euro) and Germany (79.7 million euro). Notable net outflows were recorded towards Italy (-164.4 million euro) and Ireland (-112.1 million euro).According to preliminary figures, Bulgarian investment abroad increased by 287 million euro in the first eight months of 2018, compared to 219.2 million euro in the same period of last year, BNB said… / ΙΒΝΑ

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Albanian president praises the friendly ties that exist between Albania and Italy

Albania and Italy have old historical, cultural, economic, political ties and above all, the people of the two countries have a special bond.

This relation has become even stronger after 1990, reaching its highest level with the Strategic Partnership document signed in February 2010.

This declaration was made today by the president of Albania, Ilir Meta during a special ceremony to honor former Italian commissioner, Franco Frattini.

According to him, “a new Albanian-Italian spring is being born”.

“This new season of our relations has been associated with numerous projects which are becoming more and more ambitious and these projects aim at delivering our political commitment which is part of our strategic partnership. One of the projects which better reflects this important document of our cooperation is the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, which affects an important and strategic domain such as energy and this is an important area not only for our countries, but for the entire Europe”, Meta said. /ibna/

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Pressure on government grows as FM resignation fallout continues

The Greek coalition government continues to be under pressure following the resignation of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias earlier this week.

Opposition parties came down hard on the Prime Minister, focusing on Kotzias’ clash with Panos Kammenos, the Defense Minister and leader of junior coalition partner Independent Greeks.

New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis slammed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for taking the side of his coalition partner over the Foreign Minister, which led to the latter’s resignation.

“It's perfectly clear that Mr Tsipras is not just a weak prime minister, he is a hostage [to his alliance with Kammenos]. The sooner this farce ends, the better it will be for the country,” Mitsotakis charged.

A similar view was echoed by Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis, while Movement for Change leader Fofi Gennimata said the PM is “walking toward the cliff hand-in-hand with Mr Kammenos,” and that the foreign minister's resignation “confirms the crisis that is smoldering in the government partnership.

Meanwhile, New Democracy upped the pressure on the government by flagging reported claims by Kammenos that Foreign Ministry funds have been mismanaged during Kotzias’ tenure. Sources close to the former FM have rejected any such claims. Nevertheless, ND called on the government to provide explanations.

MPs of the Movement for Change also called on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to clarify whether Kotzias quit over claims relating to mismanagement of funds.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos played down the demands of the opposition, while pointing out that Kotzias had voluntarily decided to resign for reasons not related to government work.

Government sources attacked the main opposition, calling Kyriacos Mitsotakis questioning of the use of so called “secret” ministry funds, “wretched”. “The government has nothing to hide”, the same sources pointed out, urging ND to stop undermining the country’s foreign policy./IBNA

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