Voices from Europe & Central Asia
Syndicate content

What happens if you don’t pay your bill? Lessons from Central and Eastern Europe

Georgia Harley's picture
Also available in: Македонски


We all have regular bills to pay for the ubiquitous services we consume – whether they be for utilities (water, heating, electricity etc.), credit cards, memberships, or car payments.  But, not everyone pays.  

So why don’t people pay?  Why are some countries better at this than others?  And what can be done to improve systems for debt collection?

Come for the job, stay for the city: The attraction of magnet cities in Romania

Marcel Ionescu-Heroiu's picture
Also available in: Română
Photo by Shutterstock.com

When looking at the findings from a recent report, you will be struck to learn that more than 15% of people in Romania would consider moving to Cluj-Napoca. Today, however, this Functional Urban Area (FUA)* represents just 2.3% of the total population in the country. Cluj-Napoca is not alone in serving as an attractive urban destination – many people also expressed interest in moving to Bucharest (14.4%), Timișoara (11.9%), Brașov (11.5%), Sibiu (5.16%), or Iași (4.3%).

So, what, then, are the local administrations in these dynamic FUAs doing to attract these people?
 
The unpleasant answer is: not much, unfortunately.

How can we ensure that fewer people die on Romania’s roads?

Radoslaw Czapski's picture
Also available in: Română | Русский


Ask any resident of Romania whether their roads are safe and they will answer a resounding “no”. In 2016, fatalities on Romania's road reached 1,913 - more than double the number of fatalities compared with the EU-28 average of 925. Romania’s average fatality rate over the past six years has consistently been twice higher than the EU-28 average, registering around 91 fatalities per million people, compared to 51 for the rest of the EU.
 
Alarmingly, Romania’s fatality rate keeps increasing - reaching 95 per million people in 2016. In addition to the human tragedy this situation represents a huge economic cost. According to the General Transport Master Plan, costs of fatal road crashes in Romania are alarmingly high - estimated to be at least 1.2 billion euro (5.4 billion RON) per year.

Armenia’s future – imagined in drawings and words

Vigen Sargsyan's picture
Also available in: Հայերեն


As the Armenian-American writer and humanitarian William Saroyan (1908-81) once said, children are “the only race of the earth, the race of man.” Indeed, young children exude a sincerity and innocence when expressing themselves – often captured so well in their drawings and paintings. They can be extremely creative – whether at painting, drawing, music, or performance – and especially before the age of 10 to 11 years, according to tutors.
 
Therefore, as part of our broad public consultations in designing the World Bank’s upcoming Systemic Country Diagnostic for Armenia, we decided to hold a creative contest for young Armenians.
 
First, we went to Yerevan’s School No. 19 and asked fourth and fifth graders to describe for us how they envisioned their “future Armenia”. To our great delight, the kids submitted over 100 drawings for consideration by a jury composed of their tutors.

It’s no surprise that kids’ drawings are often used in psychology as a tool to measure such things as emotional intelligence, confidence, and identity. Indeed, their drawings can be candid reflections of life as they see it, incorporating their unique observations of the world around them. Each drawing, it seems, is like a snowflake – no two are alike.

Confessions of an Armenian (aspirational former) smoker

Vigen Sargsyan's picture
no smoking Armenia
First confession: I am a seasoned smoker.

Next confession: I have long dreamed of adding “former” to that status. From time to time, my inner struggle reaches a crescendo, but then the momentum vanishes until the next wave of self-examination.
 
Smoking is the worst, if not the most stupid habit I have. I definitely understand that the damage caused to my health from smoking cannot be undone. I suspect my habit is a bit generational: my father was a smoker – until the doctors came up with a verdict – and the smell of smoke has been at home since my childhood. My son picked it up too, unfortunately. The only change between the generations is that my dad smoked at the table; these days we lean on the balcony.

A dream come true! Georgian nationals can now travel visa-free to most EU countries

Ana Chechelashvili's picture
 
Nadikvari Park, Georgia
Nadikvari Park autumn festivities, Kakheti region of Georgia
Photo: Leonid Mujiri / World Bank



























A huge wave of celebration engulfed Georgia recently because, on March 28th, 2017, Georgians gained visa-free travel to most EU countries. This is a significant achievement for the country, 26 years after independence was restored.

Visa-free travel is one of the most tangible benefits for every citizen of Georgia, obtained from the Association Agreement signed with the European Union in June 2014. This agreement will contribute to Georgia’s gradual economic integration into the EU Internal Market, notably through establishing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
 

Why we need to talk about Roma inclusion

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture

The Roma are Europe’s largest ethnic minority group, and arguably the most discriminated-against one. Despite efforts to promote Roma inclusion over the last decades—including from the European Union institutions, governments, development organizations, and civil society organizations—a large share of the Roma remain poor, and have inadequate access to basic services.

On the road in Georgia – through past, present and future

Mercy Tembon's picture
A handmade map of Georgia




















What an experience! It started bright and early on a Thursday morning as we boarded the car in the basement of the Word Bank office in Tbilisi and set off for a two-day visit to the Imereti region in the west of Georgia.

The first stop along our route was the Gelati Monastic Complex – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – which is an impressive conservation and restoration project supported through the World Bank’s Second Regional Development Project (RDP), the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation and the State Municipal Development Fund of Georgia. Our contribution is to help build infrastructure around the monastic complex that will facilitate tourist access to this historical site, and by consequence help further develop the local economy.

Moldova – What’s next?

Alex Kremer's picture
Also available in: Русский | Română
Road menders in MoldovaAfter a two-year hiatus, the World Bank provided much-needed budget support to Moldova in November 2016. That disbursement of $45 million reflected our confidence that the Government and the National Bank were at last dealing with the conditions that had previously lost – in a scandalous fraud – one eight of Moldova’s yearly income.

Helping Moldova to stabilize an economic crisis, however, is only the beginning of growing the economy and improving people’s lives. So, where should we focus our efforts now?

Armenia can reach for the stars – with the right skills!

Laura Bailey's picture
Also available in: Հայերեն
STEM


























April 7th is an Armenian national holiday celebrating motherhood and beauty. And it may not surprise you that, since it comes one short month after International Women’s Day, we tend to combine the two events into a 30-day celebration of opportunity.

We get a lot of oversees movies here in Armenia – conveniently located at geographic and cultural crossroads – so l discovered a charming film called Hidden Figures which has captured a lot of interest in this very scientifically-minded country. It is an inspiring story with a lesson that translates easily here – that if all Armenian students and workers are empowered with skills, opportunity, and family and community support, they too could reach for the stars!

Pages