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Do you want to know what drives the day in CEE? We update you regularly on our work and developments in the CEE area from events and discussions to campaigns and the legislative process.

19.07.2022 - The EU opened accession negotiations with Albania

Since Albania was granted candidate status back in June 2014 a lot of time has passed. To be specific 8 years, 97 months, 421 weeks, and 2948 days. Not that we at RBI have been keeping count.

RBI has always been a vocal advocate for European Integration by engaging with representatives of EU institutions and civil society. Further, as Raiffeisen Bank International AG has been active in Albania since 2004 and currently employs about 1265 people who cater to over 480.000 clients at 74 branches, the news was well-received.

But this is also big moment for the EU and its relations with the Western Balkan region. The council’s landmark decision is a direct result of Albania’s relentless determination to advance the reform agenda and is an important contribution to restoring trust of Western Balkan countries in the long-stalled EU-integration process.

But be aware, this is not a happy end to a long story, but a happy beginning of common future and only the first step in integrating all Western Balkan countries into the EU. Although the road ahead may be long and not always easy, you can be certain that RBI will be there every step of the way.

15.07-17.07.2022 - Schwarzenberg Retreat 2022: The Future of Green Finance

Friends of Green Finance from the business, research and the political community followed Prof. Dr. Martin Selmayr’s invitation to Schwarzenberg to discuss how to mobilize private capital for decarbonizing the economy. RBI’s CEO Johann Strobl, the EU-Commissioners Mairead McGuinness and Johannes Hahn, MEPs Claudia Gamon and Rasmus Adresen and Minister Leonore Gewessler, discussed how to remodel our economies towards greater sustainability. 
ESG investments have moved from the periphery to the mainstream, appealing to a broad range of investors. However, for ESG to be an effective tool through which the financial sector can contribute to an environmentally and socially beneficial development of the world, we need governments and regulators to create right framework conditions. This includes for instance applying crafting reliable, yet less complex regulation.

To avoid unnecessary regulatory fragmentation that may have negative consequences, European legislation including the Corporate Sustainability Reporting directive (CSRD) shall contribute to the process of convergence of sustainability reporting standards, reduce the risk of inconsistent reporting both globally and within the EU and avoid disproportionate administrative burden.

With regards to the European Single Access Point (ESAP) it is of utmost importance not to impose any undue types of data reporting requirements on European companies. Well-structured metadata will make it possible to extract and compare information, increase the visibility of the EU companies, and help to increase the refinancing of the green transition.

12.07.2022 - European Council approves Croatia's accession to the Eurozone

Today, the Council adopted the final three legal acts that are required to enable Croatia to introduce the euro on 1 January 2023.

  1. A Council decision on the adoption by Croatia of
    the euro on 1 January 2023.
  2. A Council regulation as regards the introduction
    of the euro in Croatia.
  3. A Council regulation as regards the conversion
    rate to the euro for Croatia. The exchange rate will be set at 7.53450 kuna per 1 euro. This corresponds to the current central rate of the Kuna in the exchange rate mechanism (ERM II).

With the Council of the European Union's approval, Croatia will become the 20th member of the Eurozone!

After years of hard work, difficult intuitional reforms and despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Croatia fulfilled all the Euro-criteria and strengthened its economy. It is for the tireless efforts of Croatia over the past several years that the republic is finally deemed ready to join the Eurozone.

Raiffeisen Bank International AG read Croatia's accession to the single currency as a much-needed sign of life of the European integration process, especially with regards to EU-Enlargement in the Western Balkans.

01.07.2022 - Czech Republic takes over Council Presidency

Today, the Czech Republic takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union. For the next 6 months, the central European country defines the agenda and priorities of the Council and thereby drives forward its ambitious agenda.

Raiffeisen Bank International AG is pleased that a more effective approach to combating money laundering and terrorist financing was declared a priority by Prague. Further, the Czech Republic committed to promote the stability of financial markets and adequate consumer protection. A key topic to follow will be the European Union's future relations with the Western Balkans!

RBI has a special connection to the Czech Republic, as we have been operating
in the Czech Republic since 1993 and are currently the 5th largest bank in the
market with 3,000 employees serving approximately 1,7 million clients. 

28.06.2022 - Forum on Protecting and Facilitating Investment in the Single Market

Europe's Single Market and its businesses need more private investment and private investment cannot  fully unfold its potential without legal certainty. 

RBI welcomes today's European Commission's forum on protecting and facilitating investment in the Single Market. Yet, investors within the EU are still disadvantaged compared to investments from outside the EU. 

It's really time to act! For years, private business and the investment community provide proposals for sound solutions, produce research studies, provide evidence and arguments. Yet, the European Commission is not willing to propose legislation to improve legal certainty for businesses and private investment activities within the Union. 

24.06.2022 - Eurogroup agrees to advance cross border collaboration in the banking sector. 

The Eurogroup pledges to strengthen the EU banking resolution framework and prioritizing the harmonization of national deposit guarantee schemes. This is a further step torwards advancing the Banking Union.

The EU Commission was asked to propose a revision of EU banking resolution law in early 2023, which may extend the scope of application to small or medium-sized banks, a uniform use of deposit guarantee funds in the event of resolution and a harmonization of national insolvency regimes. Importantly, this exercise shall take the characteristics of institutional protection schemes (IPS) into account. Finally, the "public interest test" in resolution law shall be harmonized.

While Raiffeisen Bank International AG welcomes the process that was launched, important elements of the Banking Union should be addressed soon, including home-host issues! Unjustifiable requirements must not hamper financing growth and innovation. Capital and liquidity should be allowed to flow more efficiently
within cross border banking groups in the Union. 

03.06.2022 - RBI at GLOBSEC2022

The Danube Tech Valley Initiative was officially launched as part of the GLOBSEC2022 Bratislava Forum. In honor of this day, leaders from business and politics convened to outline possible roadmaps toward building an innovation-driven economy within the Danube Valley and receive input from a broad array of high-level stakeholders.

There are ambitious founders and visionary start-ups all over Europe longing to change our lives for the better and provide solutions for the key-challenges of our time. However, we need to create a supportive system that promotes their entrepreneurial spirit if we want these young innovators to have an impact on society as a whole.

RBI sees great potential in the Danube Valley to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the turbulence brought along by the war in Ukraine as a hotbed for innovation and transnational collaboration, especially in the fields of STEMs, green and cleantech, cybersecurity, and e-mobility. The Danube Tech Valley Initiative is a great opportunity for the CEE Region, especially the Western Balkans, to be at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship. 

17.05.2022 - RBI at the Brussels Economic Forum 2022

How can we render the European economy carbon-neutral? How can we build an innovative digital economy for the future? And how can we ensure that no one is left behind in the process? These are just some of the questions European and international policymakers, academics, civil society, and business leaders asked themselves this week at the Brussels Economic Forum.

And since 2022 is the European Year of Youth, the Brussels Economic Forum laid a special focus on exploring how we can render the post-crises economy future proof.

Attendees were joined by US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Executive Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis, in discussing the role of sustainable finance in accelerating the green transition, whether public finance models are sufficient to meet the challenges of our times, and Europe’s role in the New World Order.