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  • “Why is this order so easy to provoke?” An interview with Bruce Pitcairn Jackson
    You have written that the only one of the EU s Eastern policies still standing by 2013 was the Eastern Partnership I was hoping to get an update on whether you believe it still stands in 2014 And if so with Latvia assuming the Presidency of the EU Council this January what hopes are there for the Eastern Partnership in 2015 After this 9 or 10 months of the Ukrainian crisis obviously it has deeply damaged European institutions including the Eastern Partnership I think I don t fully understand what EC President Junker is trying to do in his new organisation but what he seems to have done with foreign policy is make 8 to 12 people responsible for 1 job The Eastern Partnership under the successor to Stefan Fule the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy is only a part of the Eastern problem But Energy must also be a part of it And Trade is increasingly the most important part of it We have competition and anti trust and all sorts of other foreign policy mechanisms that are spread out all across the Commission It is a serious question as to how the commission functions in a coherent fashion We are past the time when the Eastern Partnership could be run by Radek Sikorsky Carl Bildt and Stefan Fule I think now the new High Commissioner is going to have a role on this Obviously there are two Presidents both Juncker and Tusk who will have something to say there are all these new powerful vice presidents a middle level management So I think the old Commission where one person was responsible for one thing seems to be gone And with the new Commission where the clusters of of 5 or 6 Commissioners are working issues well I don t know how well that will function with Russia which seems to move faster and more decisively But I think a critical question particularly for Ukraine is where are these institutions that are supposed to be available when we ve got our act together We ve got a government in Ukraine but where are the European institutions I m not exactly sure what the answer to that is Another aspect I suppose would be the role the West s sanctions are playing How do you think the sanctions are being implemented and what effect do you think they are having Well foreign policy of the Obama administration has pretty much ended where it is There s not going to be vast changes in Obama s policy for the last two years of his administration So I think we re stuck with sanctions because that s all we can think of and so that s pretty much where it s going to stay The intellectual and the expert community are increasingly pointing out that sanctions may punish Russia but they are having no effect on its behavior More importantly they are doing nothing to help Ukraine and they probably will increasingly impose burdens on our European allies which will become quite painful as the recession grows deeper in Europe I think the consensus view here is sanctions were necessary to say something but they don t seem to be a solution in and of themselves Do you have any potential solutions that you would put forward if you were called upon to do so I know solutions but I can t claim them for my own There is a discussion going on about energy which is not going well They have just broken off talks again today And there has been discussion about directly engaging all these Association issues the DCFTA issues and the Eurasian Customs Union tariff concerns pushing Russia off the battlefield and back into a complicated trade negotiation where its economic interests are at stake That was considered by the heads of state before the Vilnius Summit a year ago but it didn t work The base of all these arguments is the energy trade is the tariff trade is the two rival blocs the internal market of the European Union and this sort of pretend Eurasian Customs Union Well that s where the money is So how do you get back to a discussion of trade between countries which is roughly what the US does with China we don t agree with them we just talk about trade measures And maybe if we re not ever going to agree with Russia we talk about about the things that countries have continued to do which are the rules of free and fair trade That s not the only thing that s out there There isn t any military solution being discussed And there s no way Berlin or Washington would consider any concession on political rights or human rights or compromise on basic values so that s not on the cards So it seems like there s a fairly limited selection of policies on the table or at least ones that are being listened to I don t know if I completely agree with your characterization of that In many times in history I mean even the the European Union began with the coal and steel community which was an economic discussion it was not a political discussion So if you look at the building blocks of international relations when all else fails you can look at these rudimentary navigation tariff barriers as an alternative to shooting at each other The idea is to get the shooting to stop and stabilise relations at the lowest common denominator which is pretty clearly the economics of trade In terms of the economics of trade there s the energy dependency issue as well Are there any strategies in place for the diversification of energy supplies in the EU We ve just seen in Klaipeda a new LNG gas terminal But elsewhere things have stalled Do you think the US will be supporting these sorts of initiatives in future

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/___why_is_this_order_so_easy_to_provoke_____an_interview_with_bruce_pitcairn_jackson/ (2016-02-13)
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  • VKG shuts down two oil factories in Estonia
    than before In 2013 the pilot factory reached the production phase and the resultant decrease in new investments was the cause of the downward trend in R D expenditure The ratio of R D expenditure to the gross domestic product GDP also known as R D intensity declined from 2 16 percent in 2012 to 1 74 percent in 2013 This was the biggest drop 19 percent among the EU member states as the decrease in R D expenditure was amplified by the 6 increase in the GDP Nevertheless Estonia was placed just outside the top ten in the R D intensity ranking of the member states The diagram shows clearly that in the shadow of the intermediary boom caused by the oil industry the long term trend for Estonia has not changed and the convergence to the EU mean is continuing In 2002 the Estonian R D expenditure per inhabitant amounted to just 11 percent of the EU mean whereas in 2013 it reached already 46 percent 47 percent of Estonia s R D expenditure was financed by the government in 2013 and this financing increased by 6 percent compared to 2012 The share of R D financing in the general government expenditure was higher than ever 2 13 percent Comments Related Articles Lithuania will host innovation experts and creators from around the globe Transport Ministry Sacks Chairman of Latvian Railways Office launch party of Latvian Asian Chamber of commerce Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles Goliath Wind signs 100 million euro deal in India Estonia Merko signs contract on construction of Tallinn tram line extension Russian Roulette the shot of vodka heard round the world Estonia was Europe s biggest exporter of wooden houses in 2014 Subscribe A

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/vkg_shuts_down_two_oil_factories_in_estonia/ (2016-02-13)
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  • The packaging iceberg
    educate consumers about waste separation In most Baltic cities it is possible to separate paper plastic PET bottles aluminum cans and glass But many consumers are uninformed about recycling rules and the locations of recycling bins During our research we realized how many problems there still are when it comes to recycling Pusvilka says Many packages are made from a combination of materials such as foil lined plastic candy wrappers These are impossible to recycle and inevitably end up in landfills No wonder that we received so many questions from consumers We are working with several waste management companies to provide answers But the situation is different in every municipality At the moment Latvia recycles only 9 of its waste Lithuania is even worse at 5 while Estonia is making a reasonable effort at 20 Experts believe that up to 90 of our municipal waste could potentially be recycled if properly collected and processed The European Commission is committed to getting the percentage of waste recycled up from a EU wide average of 42 in 2012 to 50 in 2020 With their campaign Generation Awake launched in 2011 they hope to improve resource efficiency in all member states This year they are calling attention to garbage with the slogan Turn waste into a resource Projects and events are being organized all over Europe educating consumers about the three R s of waste reduction Reduce Re use Recycle Although household waste is perhaps the most visible part of the problem most packaging waste is actually produced outside the home Before reaching the consumer products have already journeyed around the globe and they have been covered in packaging at every step Packaging experts distinguish between sales packaging the box the consumer finds in the supermarket secondary packaging keeping multiple products together and transit packaging pallets and crates used during transport Unfortunately there is no data for the Baltics but a study from the USA shows that American industry produces 150 million tonnes of packaging waste annually dwarfing the US household output of 3 million tonnes Of course packaging does have its merits It makes transport easier keeps food fresh whole and hygienic and allows the producer to promote their product and list ingredients But the sheer tonnage of waste ending up in landfills and incinerators combined with the scarcity of source materials make it crucial for producers to start taking responsibility Fortunately environmentally friendly alternatives such as recycled cardboard and bioplastics are slowly gaining momentum in the Baltics And some retailers are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact Dace Valnere spokesperson for Rimi Latvia s biggest supermarket chain declares Rimi collects all primary packaging paper cardboard wood plastic metal for recycling and we are working on reducing the volumes of logistical packaging for instance by replacing single use carton or film packaging with standard reusable plastic boxes Homo ecos s Agita Pusvilka We are happy with the changes we are seeing but we would like producers and supermarkets to do much

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/the_packaging_iceberg/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Ukrainian Melior Games to open Vilnius studio
    markets So far the company has created more than 90 games Their most successful releases have been games for smart phones However Melior Games does not limit itself to games for smart devices the studio s latest project is the Laser Tag system designed for outdoor games According to Denis Oleynik the founder of Melior Games the company was attracted to Lithuania not only by favourable business conditions but also by the attitude of the authorities towards creative IT companies We were amazed by the positive attitude of the Lithuanian government towards game developers We could not believe that state institutions and Invest Lithuania in particular were so dedicated to game developers and their needs Much to our amazement we always received a prompt answer to all our questions or fears even if this meant an hour long video conversation on Skype Such an attitude the business conditions and the idyllic environment in Lithuania were fundamental in our decision to move part of our team from Kiev to Lithuania said Oleynik Two new games from Melior Games The Little Story and LUNA will see daylight in Lithuania in the very near future The studio also provides game development services for external clients Comments Related Articles Households purchasing power growing rapidly in Estonia Chief economist on Euro arrival and Rouble spiral Europe s Shadow Budget Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles Small science delivers big results Sluggish times for Estonia s exports Kazakhstan following Russia s lead bans Baltic fish Estonia s anti money laundering laws clamp down on Bitcoin traders Subscribe A subscription to The Baltic Times is a cost effective way of staying in touch with the latest Baltic news and views enabling you full access from anywhere with

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/ukrainian_melior_games_to_open_vilnius_studio/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Estonia had biggest fall in R&D expenditure in 2013
    a concrete statistical indicator In 2010 2012 substantial investments in new technology were made in the Estonian oil industry which boosted Estonia s R D expenditure The ratio of R D expenditure to the gross domestic product GDP also known as R D intensity declined from 2 16 percent in 2012 to 1 74 percent in 2013 This was the biggest drop 19 percent among the EU member states as the decrease in R D expenditure was amplified by the 6 increase in the GDP Nevertheless Estonia was placed just outside the top ten in the R D intensity ranking The diagram shows clearly that in the shadow of the intermediary boom caused by the oil industry the long term trend for Estonia has not changed and the convergence to the EU mean is continuing In 2002 the Estonian R D expenditure per inhabitant was just 11 percent of the EU mean whereas in 2013 it reached 46 percent 47 percent of Estonia s R D expenditure was financed by the government in 2013 and increased by 6 percent compared to 2012 The share of R D financing in the general government expenditure was higher than ever 2 13 percent Comments Related Articles Households purchasing power growing rapidly in Estonia Chief economist on Euro arrival and Rouble spiral Europe s Shadow Budget Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles Small science delivers big results Sluggish times for Estonia s exports Kazakhstan following Russia s lead bans Baltic fish Estonia s anti money laundering laws clamp down on Bitcoin traders Subscribe A subscription to The Baltic Times is a cost effective way of staying in touch with the latest Baltic news and views enabling you full access from anywhere with an Internet

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/estonia_had_biggest_fall_in_r_d_expenditure_in_2013/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Resource potential exhausted – for continued growth, Latvia must raise productivity
    therefore no substantial contribution to gross domestic product GDP can be expected from labour Thus GDP growth will have to be based on rising productivity To what extent will it be determined by investments The proportion of investments gross fixed capital formation in GDP is stable around 20 to 25 i e it is greater than the European Union EU average and enough to compensate for fixed capital depreciation and produce a slight rise Capital growth will increase the potential GDP by about one percent per annum Stability Programme for Latvia 2014 2017 p 67 It is doubtful that the public can accept such a small growth because it would mean that Latvia would continue to lag behind the developed EU countries The possibilities of raising the intensity of capital use are also limited capacity utilization in manufacturing is close to a historical maximum Thus the potential GDP growth which is estimated at 3 4 per annum for the medium term will mostly be based on TFP total factor productivity growth i e on new technologies human capital a more efficient organization of labour and corporate culture Although the above cannot be defined or measured precisely it is TFP that mainly determines the differences in productivity and income levels among countries empirical research indicates that physical capital and quantitative human capital do not explain the bulk of differences between countries see e g Hsieh un Klenow 2010 Krasnopjorovs 2012 For a brief period before the crisis the Latvian economy was able to grow as a result of physical capital accumulation and after the crisis contribution was also made by an increase in capacity utilization but now it faces a new challenge to achieve better results with the same resources Latvia s success in reducing the gap between its TFP and

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/resource_potential_exhausted_____for_continued_growth__latvia_must_raise_productivity/ (2016-02-13)
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  • News search
    Economic Crime Department have arrested 33 33 percent shares o Read More The EU will continue to boost Baltic economies in 2014 2020 BRUSSELS The EU cohesion policy related EU structural funds will remain the main investment Read More A night to remember at the TBT gala Supporting independent journalism in style at Riga s Grand Palace With Russia and the West still locked in an on going information war as a result of the Ukrain Read More An intro to Latvia s banks The recent crisis and the ongoing economic slack have shed light on the importance of the fina Read More EU Court of Justice allows arrest of airBaltic and Riga airport property VILNIUS Following a Lithuanian court decision the European Court of Justice has granted per Read More Lithuanian schoolchildren attended Russian military camps VILNIUS The Lithuanian State Security Department VSD knew already last year that Lithuania Read More Silicon Vilnius VILNIUS Vilnius Mayor Arturas Zuokas who once clamped down on illegal parking in the city s cycle lanes by running over a car with a ta Read More Lietuva in brief The formation of the Lithuanian military rapid response force has begun Lithuania wil Read More Previous 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 Next Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Subscribe A subscription to The Baltic Times is a cost effective way of staying in touch with the latest Baltic news and views enabling you full access from anywhere with an Internet connection Subscribe Now About The Baltic Times The Baltic Times is an independent monthly newspaper that covers latest political economic business and cultural events in Estonia Latvia and Lithuania Born of a merger between The Baltic Independent and The Baltic Observer in

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/search/jcms/start/1590/ (2016-02-13)
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  • A closer look at Latvia’s banks: Funding structures and business models
    large European banks Ownership concentration Although being long and detailed banks financial disclosures often do not provide a clear picture of their liquidity and solvency situation profitability drivers robustness and resilience In the European Banking sector the ownership of banks shares tends to be very dispersed both in their degree of blocked ownership where shares are held by clients or other interested parties as well as in their degree of institutional shareholder ownership Therefore the ability and incentives for shareholders to monitor the large European banks is limited Moreover because of the explicit as well as implicit guarantee of deposits the complexity and opacity of banks activities depositors and other bank creditors also have limited incentives to monitor the banks This lack of external monitoring gives rise to an agency problem which allows bank managers to act in their own interest that is not necessarily in the interest of the owners or other investors of the bank Of the sample of Latvia s banks considered here there are two banks with a public ownership structure and several banks the largest ones are fully foreign owned subsidiaries Overall the bank ownership cannot be considered dispersed as the total owned by top 10 stakeholders constitute from 72 to 100 in all cases The ownership structures seem to be more concentrated which means that owners have more incentives to monitor the business The degree of institutional shareholder ownership also matters In that respect a fraction of the Latvian Banking sector is held by foreign institutional investors In principle large institutional investors have a long term view which implies a bigger stability of the sector Geography dictates business models The large EU banking groups usually have a complex corporate and legal structure in some cases including more than thousand different legal entities direct subsidiaries driven by regulatory and tax considerations Due to the complexity of their organisation it is very difficult to depict a group s organisational structure As already alluded to the Latvian banking sector is dominated by subsidiaries of large foreign banks such as SEB Swedbank and DNB Bank Historically there are different factors that influence the choice of the funding model of a bank during its foreign expansion The two most important ones are the physical distance from home to host market and the way banks expand business lines abroad Along those lines centralised funding is usually established in case of market proximity and regional integration This is the case for Scandinavian banks in the Baltics including Latvia While decentralised funding is chosen in case of more distant markets such as in case of different continents Apart from the large foreign players there are smaller banks and medium sized banks headquartered in Latvia They include specialised private banks state owned banks with different business lines and customers Therefore their cross border business activities are typically organised very differently from one bank to another They can for example be organised according to geographic areas with dedicated legal entities for each business line

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/a_closer_look_at_latvia___s_banks__funding_structures_and_business_models/ (2016-02-13)
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