Borderlands at the ballot: Business outlook for Poland, Ukraine and Romania


Risk Advisory is hosting a breakfast briefing and a roundtable discussion on the three largest markets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE): Poland, Romania and Ukraine. We will be joined by guest speakers Marek Matraszek from Warsaw, Radu Magdin from Bucharest, and David Gilgur from Kiev.

We will explore recent developments in political risks for business in Poland, Romania and Ukraine, and the implications of the 2019 election year on these countries’ business climates and on the economy of the wider region. The briefing is aimed at investors and their advisors, for those who are already present in these countries or considering an entry.

Poland, Romania and Ukraine have a striking number of similarities in terms of their economic and political structures and challenges. In 2019 all three countries are facing political uncertainty, to varying degrees. The first to be tested will be Ukraine, with the presidential elections scheduled for the end of March. In May, elections to the European Parliament will take place in Poland and Romania. These can sometimes serve as a barometer of the ruling parties’ popularity – both the PSD in Romania and PiS in Poland are besieged by scandals – and a chance for fringe or opposition movements to gain recognition. In the second half of the year, Ukraine will hold parliamentary elections in October, and Poland is expected to hold its in November, while in December Romanians will elect their president. 

It might be too soon to predict the outcomes of these votes. And so far no plausible scenario appears to threaten the largely investor-friendly consensus in all three countries. What we see, however, is a resurgence of integrity issues affecting both politics and business.

Progress with anti-corruption reforms in all three states is seen as a necessary step to attract more investments. However, concerns over the implementation of these remain. Ukraine has set up a host of new anti-corruption agencies since 2014, and while they have conducted some high profile arrests and investigations, no prosecutions have been secured. Romania’s famed National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), which has served as an inspiration for Ukraine, has suffered the dismissal of its head in 2018, forced by the ruling party’s leader who had himself been prosecuted by the DNA. Lastly, in Poland, the clean image of the ruling PiS party has been shattered by two recent corruption scandals: one that led to the arrest of the head of Poland's financial regulator last November; and another one implicating the leader of the PiS party this January.

These domestic issues are also embedded in wider, external processes, such as Poland’s and Romania’s conflict with the EU over judicial reforms, and, obviously, the ongoing conflict in the east of Ukraine.

That said, is this just business as usual? How should prospective and existing investors in the region prepare for 2019 in CEE’s biggest markets? Risk Advisory has brought together a panel of guest speakers from the region, who are based in Warsaw, Kiev and Bucharest and work closely with foreign investors in their respective countries. Join us to listen to their on-the-ground perspectives, as well as ask questions and discuss upcoming developments concerning the region.

The event will take the form of a briefing and roundtable discussion. If you are unable to join in person, we will also broadcast it as a webinar and make a podcast available.

Breakfast Briefing
Date: Wednesday 6 March 2019
Venue: The Risk Advisory Group, 3 More London Riverside, London, SE1 2AQ
Time: 08:30 – 10:00 GMT

Date: Wednesday 6 March 2019
Time: 09:00 – 10:00 GMT / 10:00 – 11:00 CET /17:00 – 18:00 HKT

Available on request

About the speakers

Marek Matraszek (Chairman, CEC Government Relations) – Marek Matraszek is the chairman of CEC Government Relations, based in Warsaw. CEC is a public affairs consultancy co-founded by Marek in the early 1990s, now working across the CEE region, including Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Radu Magdin  (CEO – Smartlink Communications) – Radu Magdin is an international analyst and consultant with experience of providing strategic intelligence to the highest levels of government, as well as to investors interested in Romania and the region. Radu previously worked as an honorary advisor to the Romanian Prime Minister in 2014-2015 and advisor to the Moldovan Prime Minister in 2016-2017. He also spent five years in Brussels with the European Parliament, EurActiv and Google.

David Gilgur (CEO and founder of Vimes Consulting) – David Gilgur has worked for six years in the financial sector in London, before founding the Vimes Consulting – which provides a home to talented Ukrainian IT & Tech startups.

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