On 21 May the Russian press, citing sources within Gazprom, stated that Belarus is behind on its payments for Russian gas to the tune of US$137mn for the first quarter of this year. This debt results from the fact that Belarus is still paying off its arrears at last year’s price, which is lower than the one currently applicable. As a result, towards the end of this year, Minsk will be faced with the need to pay a significant debt; this could be an additional instrument to strengthen pressure from the Kremlin, which aims to take control over strategic economic assets in.
The large number of possible post-electoral configurations will make negotiations on the formation of the government more difficult. Talks will probably be protracted and offer an opportunity for President Vaclav Klaus to be actively engaged.
Moscow’s actions during the Iran crisis are a sign of its efforts to provide political support to Barack Obama’s administration. Moscow recognises that Obama’s policy can bring it specific benefits, and so it is endeavouring to ensure the policy’s continuation. in expectation of further political and economic gains.
On 12 May the Slovak Statistical Office announced that in the first quarter of 2010 the Slovak GDP has increased by 4.5% year on year, which probably constitutes the best result in the EU (Poland has not yet revealed its quarterly statistics). The data shows that after the deep recession of 2009 (a decrease in GDP of 4.7%) Slovakia has entered a period of a high economic growth rate. This is confirmed by the EC’s forecasts for April, according to which Slovakia will be the most dynamically developing EU country in 2010 (an expected growth of 2.7% of GDP).
On 15 May in Rostock the Left Party held a congress during which the new party authorities were elected. The change in the leadership of the party was meant to signal the consolidation of the party and emphasised its ability to enter into coalition with other parties. Once again the party did not manage to adopt a programme, which has a negative impact on the party's image and limits its capacity to form coalitions.