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  • NEWS, week 13-17 October Ukraine and Baltic states also hit hard by the financial crisis With even the mighty Swiss banking system needing government support, it will come as little surprise that a swathe of emerging market economies are suddenly looking fragile. Ukraine emerged yesterday as the winner of the title "the next Iceland", with the International Monetary Fund offering the former Soviet republic up to $14bn (£8bn) to shore up its financial system. An IMF delegation landed in the country on Wednesday to try to stabilise the country's battered banking sector and ailing currency, hit hard by the global financial crisis. The central bank was forced to impose restrictions on deposit withdrawals and lending after panicked savers rushed to empty their accounts, draining the banking system of more than $1.3bn. The authorities also had to rescue two key banks and battle a sharp fall in the currency as the stock market plunged. Ukraine emerged as the biggest crisis after Hungary agreed to borrow up to €5bn from the European Central Bank. Capital Economics warned that there were risks for a swathe of emerging European economies in the Baltics and the Balkans, including Lithuania and Latvia. Their problem is that they have been living beyond their means by borrowing to finance increases in their standard of living. Jitters spread to Asia yesterday after Standard & Poor's, the credit rating agency, warned that Korean banks would struggle to repay their debt. BERLUSCONI WANTS EU MEMBERSHIP FOR RUSSIA Silvio Berlusconi,s'est prononcé mercredi pour une reprise des négociations avec la Russie sur un accord de partenariat stratégique et souhaite à terme l'adhésion de Moscou à l'UE. "Il faut absolument le faire", a-t-il déclaré à la presse italienne à son arrivée au sommet de Bruxelles, en réponse à des questions sur l'opportunité de reprendre les négociations avec la Russie. "Mais moi, je vois plus loin. Cela fait des années que j'ai cette vision. Je considère la Russie comme un pays occidental et donc, mon projet est que la Fédération de Russie puisse devenir un membre de l'Union européenne dans les prochaines années", a ajouté le dirigeant italien. RUSSIA DOES NOT NEED TO JOIN THE EU, MOSCOW TELLS BERLUSCONI Moscou est "reconnaissante" au Premier ministre italien Silvio Berlusconi qui a estimé que la Russie devait à terme adhérer à l'Union européenne mais elle "n'en éprouve par le besoin", a déclaré vendredi le représentant russe auprès de l'UE. "Nous sommes reconnaissants à Berlusconi pour son attention mais la direction russe n'a pas de projet concret d'aller dans cette voie", a déclaré Vladimir Tchijov au cours d'une vidéo conférence depuis Bruxelles. "La Russie n'en éprouve pas le besoin", a-t-il dit. "Nous voulons avoir un partenariat stratégique développé avec l'UE mais notre autosuffisance politique et militaire et notre autonomie économique donnent à la Russie toute les bases pour faire prospérer son économie de façon autonome, hors d'une telle union", a-t-il expliqué. "Nous voyons avec quelles difficultés se poursuit le processus d'intégration des nouveaux membres de l'Union européenne qui par leur taille sont tous ensemble plusieurs fois plus petits que la Russie", a-t-il ajouté. Tchijov a également souligné que la Russie était liée à nombre de pays de l'ex- URSS par des alliances, "notamment économiques". Berlusconi avait estimé mercredi que la Russie devait à terme être membre de l'Union européenne. "Cela fait des années que j'ai cette vision. Je considère la Russie comme un pays occidental et donc, mon projet est que la Fédération de Russie puisse devenir un membre de l'Union européenne dans les prochaines années", avait déclaré le dirigeant italien. TYMOSHENKO CLAIMS THAT IMF HAS OFFERED 14 BILLION DOLLARS TO UKRAINE… Ukraine's prime minister said Thursday that the International Monetary Fund is ready to lend the former Soviet republic up to US$14 billion to shore up its financial system but asserted it would only happen if the president abandons plans for early parliamentary elections. An IMF delegation arrived Wednesday to provide advice to Ukrainian authorities and consider extending a loan to stabilize the country's battered banking sector and ailing currency, hit hard by the global financial crisis. Premier Yulia Tymoshenko said Thursday the Fund was
  • considering loaning Ukraine an amount between US$3 billion and US$14 billion. The wide range could not be immediately explained. A spokeswoman at the IMF's Kiev office declined to comment. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose job is on the line if her ally-turned-rival President Viktor Yushchenko realizes his plans for early elections, has said spending US$80 million on the vote at a time of sharp financial troubles is irresponsible. The government, however, passed ammendments in the law Thursday allowing the allocation of the money for the elections. The ammendments must be approved by parliament to pave the way for the early vote, which Yushchenko wants to schedule for Dec. 7. But Tymoshenko remained defiant, saying her faction in parliament will not support the law. Members of Tymoshenko's party blocked parliament's work last week, preventing laws from being passed. She again called on Yushchenko to revive their coalition.…ONLY IF PRESIDENT DROPS EARLY ELECTIONS PLAN But, according to Tymoshenko, if Yushchenko wants the badly needed IMF loan he will have to drop the early election plans. «The International Monetary Fund said that it will be very difficult to hold talks with Ukraine as long as there are all these talks about early election,» Tymoshenko told reporters. In an Oct. 8 presidential decree, Yushchenko dissolved parliament and called early elections after his coalition with Tymoshenko collapsed. Then, the prime minister pledged there would be no election and blocked preparations with a court ruling. Yushchenko is contesting that decision. Meanwhile, credit rating agency Standard and Poor's put Ukraine's foreign currency and local currency sovereign ratings on credit watch with negative implications, citing a «deteriorating economic situation.» The agency also placed three Ukrainian banks _Alfa-Bank Ukraine, Kredobank and Ukrsotsbank _ on credit watch negative. The main stock exchange, the PFTS, which has lost over 70 percent this year, lost a further 5 percent Thursday. President accepts credentials President Victor Yushchenko accepted credentials today from the newly appointed Head of Delegation of the European Commission to Ukraine, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary H.E. Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira, according to the President`s press-office. Speaking to the European Commission Ambassador to Ukraine, President stressed that extraordinary election to the Ukrainian Parliament were the constitutional way to make functioning of the body effective, thus providing stability in the state. “I am assured that Ukraine has the resources to provide worthy, democratic, honest and European response to the challenges that grew out of parliamentary crisis”, said Victor Yushchenko. President also repeated that Ukraine’s course towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration is strategic and remains unchanged. Speaking about topical questions of relations between Ukraine and the EU President mentioned importance of implementing agreements on visa regulations’ liberalization, regulation of local boarder movement particularly with Poland, etc. “We have a good dialogue with the European Commission to solve all these questions”, - said Victor Yushchenko. Britain prevents EU from reopening trade talks with Russia Britain, in alliance with Poland, Sweden and the Baltic States, has narrowly prevented the European Union from reopening trade and aid talks with Moscow, frozen because of Russia's occupation of Georgia. By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels and Adrian Blomfield in Moscow David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary, warned his Italian, German and French colleagues, over Russian trade talks
  • EU "partnership and co-operation" negotiations were halted last month following the Russian invasion of Georgia in August and Moscow's occupation of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After Russia pulled back some troops last week, Italy and Germany have pressed for the resumption of "business as usual" on building trade, energy and political ties with Moscow. Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, even went as far as calling for Russia to be given EU membership when at a Brussels summit late on Wednesday night. "I consider Russia to be a Western country and my plan is for the Russian Federation to be able to become a member of the EU in the coming years," he said. British diplomats were also dismayed earlier this week when France, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, signalled that Paris was resigned to Russian military occupation of the ethnically Georgian Akhalgori district of South Ossetia. David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, warned his Italian, German and French colleagues, at a Brussels summit dinner, that EU could not begin new talks just one day after the acrimonious breakdown of internationally brokered peace negotiations in Geneva on Wednesday. "In due course we can discuss the partnership and co-operation agreement. I don't think today is the day to restart that," he said. EU foreign ministers will decide on the question on Nov 10, just four days before a long-scheduled EU- Russia summit in the southern French seaside resort of Nice. At the Brussels meeting, the European Commission will present a "root and branch audit" of EU-Russia relations. The full agenda for the Nice summit has yet to be agreed but one of the topics will be energy security for European countries that are dependent on Russian energy supplies. "It's wiser to talk to our Russian neighbours" on issues such as energy security," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "I'm in favour of dialogue." Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has swiftly dropped her critical tone of the Kremlin's actions in Georgia in recent days and has even signed up to a new bilateral energy deal with Moscow. Heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas, Germany has been traditionally reluctant to risk offending the Kremlin even though Miss Merkel has been slightly more willing to tackle Moscow than her Social Democrat predecessor Gerhard Schroeder. Britain, already at odds with Russia over the 2006 murder of the ex-KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko, is taking a hawkish line towards Moscow along with former Soviet countries. Andrus Ansip, the Estonian Prime Minister, has insisted that Russia must withdraw all troops to pre- invasion positions before any EU partnership talks can open. "It means we cannot go on with negotiations between the EU and Russia. First they have to fulfil all their obligations," he said. Lech Kaczynski, the Polish president, said that a resumption of talks would represent a "victory for Russia." EXPERTS FORECAST RUSSIA, CHINA, MIDDLE EAST TO BE BIG WINNERS IN ECONOMIC CRISIS La crise financière et la raréfaction du crédit dans les pays développés conduiront probablement à un renforcement du poids des pays émergents dans l'économie mondiale, estiment des économistes ou chefs d'entreprises réunis au Forum des femmes pour l'économie de Deauville. "On ne terminera pas la crise par une guerre. La précédente crise, en 1929, a mené à la seconde guerre mondiale. Mais View slide
  • aujourd'hui il y a des besoins en infrastructures de pays comme la Chine" qui peuvent constituer une porte de sortie, a estimé Jean-Michel Steg, de Citigroup. Le directeur général des activités banque d'affaires et grandes entreprises de la banque américaine en France et en Belgique répondait à une question posée lors d'une table ronde dans le cadre du "Forum des femmes pour l'économie et la société" qui se tient à Deauville jusqu'à samedi. "Au Moyen Orient, la construction continue et elle continuera tant que le baril restera supérieur à 75 euros, ce qui est vraisemblable. Beaucoup de sociétés vont devoir se tourner vers ces pays", a renchéri Laurence Danon du directoire de Edmond de Rothschild Corporate Finance et ancienne pdg de Printemps. Maria Livanos Cattaui, membre du conseil d'administration de Petroplus holding basé en Suisse, partage le même point de vue: "C'est par les pays qui n'ont pas cette avance qu'on va s'en sortir, à la différence de ce qui s'est passé lors de la précédente crise. C'est en répondant au problème de la pauvreté des pays marginaux que l'on peut avoir de l'espoir". View slide