Basescu: Dacia might lose Pitesti plant if Corridor IV is not finalised


In reply, PM Ponta dismissed this hypothesis as nonsense.

If the Pan-European Corridor IV is not finalized, Dacia will lose the Pitesti assembly unit, which has already expanded the company’s activity to Morocco, President Traian Basescu warned on a TV show aired Monday by Look Tv.
“I can tell you the Government will have to fight me if it plans to go through with this approach. If Romania is not fully connected to European road systems through Corridor IV, it will be an enormous setback for us,” President Basescu stated.
According to the president, the stretch between Pitesti and Sibiu needs to be finished first, otherwise Corridor IV will not be linear.
Ambassador Philippe Gustin stated recently in an interview for Mediafax that it was important for Romania to develop highway and rail infrastructure connecting it to Western Europe as soon as possible, because companies like Dacia frequently export cars to that region and any delivery delays influence the cost of cars. The French diplomat went on to say Renault has often complained about this issue and he underlined a highway linking Pitesti to Hungary would be advantageous.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta commented yesterday on the statements made by President Traian Basescu. Ponta dismissed this idea as nonsense. ‘That’s absolute nonsense. Mr. President seems unaware of many things. The president of the Renault Group has been recently in Romania and he said very clear that investments in Romania are going upwards. You either chose to believe the president of Renault or our sinister president,’ Ponta said at the France-Southeastern Europe Business Forum. The Romanian PM also said he has confidence in the statements of the Renault president, ‘not in the nonsense said by Traian Basescu regarding a strictly political matter.’
“It is natural for Dacia to open assembly lines in other countries”
“Currently, Dacia is a renowned brand that has the opportunity to create an entirely Romanian chain of production, from design teams to post-sale services. At present, Dacia is an important European and global brand. We should feel good about this, because it is a normal strategy for such an enterprise – creating new production facilities in the vicinity of its markets. We can only be happy that a country like Morocco, where Dacia has recently opened an assembly line in the vicinity of markets interested in these automobiles, has been invited here (editor’s note – at the France – Southeastern Europe Forum),” the French ambassador said Tuesday, when asked how he comments on the Romanian President’s statement. The French diplomat also mentioned there is no “competition” between Pitesti and the line in Morocco.
“On the contrary, we have every reason to be happy that an enterprise everyone thought was dead 15 years ago is so efficient. Who would have thought 15 years ago that Dacia would be selling cars in Germany, a country in which automobiles are almost considered a cult? I usually prefer to look at the glass as half-full,” Gustin said.
When asked whether he believes the situation in Pitesti has worsened lately, the French ambassador said a centralized economy is out of the question. “Let’s not get stuck in outdated mentalities. We are no longer in a centralized economy. (…) If they believe this is how they can grow, then that is their policy; we are in a different environment now. It is important for them to grow on the emerging markets,” Philippe Gustin replied. The ambassador expressed conviction that the Government in Bucharest can find solutions to satisfy Dacia’s needs.
Further he stressed that the value of the trade exchanges between France and Romania reached a record level in 2013, of over EUR 7 billion, with France ranking 3rd among Romania’s economic partners. The diplomat added that Romania is a territory where the French economic presence has the highest density in the world.
Businesspeople convey signals of stability, more so than politicians
Businesspeople are able to convey the signals of trust and stability Romania and the region are in great need of, even more so than politicians, because democracy and stable societies only exists as long as the business environment is growing, PM Victor Ponta said during his speech at the France – Southeastern Europe 2014 Forum. The Prime Minister noted that this Forum expresses Paris’s intention to reopen relations with a region of Europe that is growing and has “a tremendous potential.” Referring to the Forum, ambassador Philippe Gustin pointed out one of its objectives is to facilitate meetings between potential economic partners.
Business Forum ‘France – South-East Europe’ is organized by the Economic Mission Ubifrance of the French Embassy in Bucharest and attended by PM Victor Ponta, France’s Ambassador to Romania, Philippe Gustin and Ubifrance’s Director General Christophe Lecourtier. Present in the Forum are representatives of over 400 companies from 14 countries. Thus, the event is a tour de force in the business area. The companies present operate in sectors such as: infrastructure, transport, energy, automotive industry, environmental protection, agriculture and food industry, e-commerce, telecommunication, medical devices and equipment.
On a change of topic, the French ambassador said he has created a dialog between major French distribution chains and farmers because he realized it was an aberration for Romanians to buy apples imported from Poland when Romania is a farmer’s paradise.

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