Articles by Francesco Martino

"One Coin", story of the cryptocurrency that deceived the world

29/12/2020 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

Bulgarian entrepreneur Ruja Ignatova wanted to "bury BitCoin" and created a new cryptocurrency that was to change the world: "OneCoin". Behind her sparkling dream, however, there was a scam for four billion dollars, which disappeared along with Ignatova herself

Bulgaria, chronicle of a lockdown foretold

09/12/2020 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

After a relatively calm first phase, Bulgaria is now facing a surge in COVID-19 cases, to such an extent that the country now tops both the European and global rankings for covid-related deaths. After controversies and indecision, the government is now set to introduce new measures

Covid-19: the pandemic is testing the Balkan countries' education systems

03/12/2020 -  Gentiola MadhiFrancesco Trupia

Poor investments, politicisation, little regard for teachers: the pandemic has exacerbated the structural limits of school systems in the Balkans. The case of Kosovo

Bulgaria – North Macedonia, a short-sighted veto on the road to the EU

25/11/2020 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

With the veto on the opening of negotiations for North Macedonia's accession to the EU, the Bulgarian government plays the nationalist card, above all for contingent reasons of domestic politics. The consequences, however, are likely to be heavy in the medium and long term

#CyprusPapers, if the EU passport is for sale

15/10/2020 -  Francesco Martino

Cyprus has cancelled its controversial "citizenship for investment" programme after an investigation by Aljazeera – called #CyprusPapers – uncovered corruption and irregularities that allowed dozens of suspected or convicted individuals to obtain an EU passport

EU and the Western Balkans, a long engagement

14/10/2020 -  Francesco Martino

Cautious optimism and a new package of economic incentives for the Western Balkans: with the "2020 enlargement package", the EU tries to relaunch the integration of the region, but the prospects remain of slow, never predictable progress

Administrative elections in Romania: Bucharest and beyond

23/09/2020 -  Francesco Magno

On 27 September the administrative elections will take place in Romania. All eyes are on Bucharest and the uncertain outcome between outgoing mayor Gabriela Firea, PSD, and Nicușor Dan from PNL. Yet, indications on the country's political future will also come from the peripheries

Milo Đukanović: the defeat of the last "king of Montenegro"

03/09/2020 -  Francesco Martino

After thirty years of uncontested rule, with the elections of Sunday 30 August, president of Montenegro Milo Đukanović lost control of the Podgorica parliament. The parable of "King Milo" and the reasons for the historic defeat of a leader as long-lived as controversial

Protests in Bulgaria, the voices from the square

03/08/2020 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

Protests against the Borisov government have been going on for over 20 days in Bulgaria. Our correspondent was at the heart of the demonstrations – in the centre of capital Sofia – to collect the live voices of the protest

Bulgaria, if coronavirus tests freedom of expression

25/03/2020 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

Fines and prison for spreading "false news" about coronavirus, police access to sensitive phone and web traffic data: some norms of the COVID-19 "emergency package" by the Bulgarian government have stirred a debate on freedom and rights in the pandemic

Bulgaria, waiting for the coronavirus "stress test"

11/03/2020 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

The Borisov government reacts mildly as the first cases are being reported in Bulgaria. Strong concerns about the Bulgarian healthcare system's ability to withstand the impact of Covid-19, especially if the situation deteriorates quickly

Balkan route: fragile calmness on the Bulgarian front

06/03/2020 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

Good relations with Turkey and especially with president Erdoğan, at all costs: this is how prime minister Boyko Borisov has managed to protect Bulgaria from the new migration crisis. However, this strategy may be based on fragile foundations

Moldova: towards a new psychiatric care system

17/02/2020 -  Francesco BrusaAndrea Bonetti

Moldova is undergoing a radical reform of the psychiatric care system. The country is transitioning from the old model of psychiatric assistance to a new system, based on the establishment of so-called "community medical centres". A reportage

Moldova, a "slow" invitation to discover the world of wine

22/01/2020 -  Francesco Martino Chișinău

From Cricova's mysterious tunnels to the small wineries of Gagauzia, the Republic of Moldova aims to become an alternative to mass tourism destination thanks to hospitality traditions and the millenary cultural and historical heritage. The ace up its sleeve? Viticulture

Presidential elections in Romania: wet powders

08/11/2019 -  Francesco Magno

Unlike in the past, the presidential campaign for November 10th is particularly subdued. Outgoing president Klaus Iohannis, as the favourite, will probably take the most advantage from this state of affairs. An analysis

Albin Kurti's Kosovo

10/10/2019 -  Francesco Martino

After years of opposition and activism, Vetëvendosje leader Albin Kurti, winner of the October 6th elections, is about to become the new prime minister of Kosovo. For the country, a political turnaround not without unknowns

Bulgaria, radio silence

20/09/2019 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

Bulgaria confirms its structural problems in the field of press freedom. This time, the scandal is the attempted removal from the public radio (BNR) of an inconvenient journalist, followed by a mysterious obscuring of the repeaters

What future for tourism in Bulgaria?

23/08/2019 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

According to Sofia's Ministry of Tourism, the sector now represents as much as 12% of the country's gross domestic product, for a turnover of around 4 billion Euros in 2018. However, Bulgaria has not yet managed to go from "alternative solution" to "preferred destination"

Turkey: freedom of expression is still possible

22/07/2019 -  Francesco Brusa

Şükran Şençekiçer, host of online television channel Medyascope, is certain: in Turkey – despite government repression – some have survived and do good journalism. And here we must start again, with courage and enthusiasm

Rivers, stones and legends: Walking the ancient paths between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro

25/06/2019 -  Francesco Martino Trebinje

Suspended between the Adriatic and the Dinaric Alps, the lands on the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro hide an amazing historical, cultural, and landscape heritage, which is still little known and just waiting to be discovered