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February 8, 2023

President Basescu wants severe measures against infrastructure project “balkanization”

I believe that Romania is the only country where major firms involved in infrastructure works afford such a thing, declared the Head of State at the Romanian Economic Forum.

The authorities want to take tough measures against the firms which try to block the European projects, President Traian Basescu declared yesterday, at the Romanian Economic Forum – organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham Romania) in a partnership with the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce (BRCC), the Foreign Investors Council (FIC), and the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Romania (AHK).

He said that certain foreign firms contest the assigning of infrastructure contracts to other competitors, with the purpose to block the projects and oblige the winner to concede them a part of the value of the contracts.

The Head of State called the phenomenon “balkanization” and stressed that special measures will be taken to avoid such cases. Traian Basescu declared himself convinced on the one hand that Romania is able to spend the European money due to it during 2007-2013. Several projects with European funds which target the infrastructure are already prepared. He gave the example of a project in private public partnership of EUR 1,6 bln blocked by the firm which lost the auction, a firm of great tradition in West Europe.

President also thanked the foreign investors who have brought EUR 55 bln to Romania, but wanted also to convey a warning to the western firms which deal with infrastructure works. “I believe that Romania is the only country in which major firms involved in infrastructure works afford such a thing,” President said.

7.4 pc gdp, economic growth one year after US, 6-9 months after EU

Romania cannot get out of the crisis alone, President Traian Basescu declared at the opening of the Forum. He appreciated that Romania will resume the economic growth one year after the US and 6-9 months after the European economic powers. More exactly, Basescu assured that Romania will “probably” resume the economic growth next year, in the second quarter, showing that in the third quarter of this year the Romanian specialists estimate a fall of GDP 1 per cent smaller than that predicted by IMF, namely -7.4 per cent. The Head of State declared that “in the past few days the RON did not feel very well because of the significant strengthening of the European currency,” stressing that one of the major objectives is to maintain a rate between 4 and 5 RON for one Euro, that would facilitate the exports, and, at the same time, would not destroy the purchasing power of the Romanians. He said that another objective is to maintain the budgetary deficit, in order to preserve the current investments “as small as they are, of EUR 8-9 bln,” and to pay in time the salaries, the pensions, and the social aid. The exports are another key sector for the stability of the Romanian economy. President Basescu explained that the exports have declined 15 per cent over the past year. Romania imports around 70 per cent of the food. Traian Basescu warned that the Romanian state must get ready for the delocalization of the big companies, and therefore the massive interventions are necessary in order to support agriculture and develop tourism.

Measures likely to target economic performance, not the electoral cycles

Basescu made an extensive presentation of the anti-crisis governmental measures, stressing that the Executive has never intended to put an end to the crisis, as it is mentioned on the TV. President spoke about the reasons for which the money was taken from IMF and EC, and also about the success of some governmental programmes, such as the “First House,” or the state guarantees for SMEs and major firms, such as Ford, Renault, Oltchim. In their turn, the representatives of the foreign investors stressed that Romania must adopt sustainable, transparent and predictable measures, that would target the economic performance, not the electoral cycles, and would maintain and attract direct investors. “If existing investors become discouraged, then Romania’s reputation among all potential investors will suffer,” declared the US Ambassador to Bucharest, Mark H. Gitenstein. The same stressed that the investors need first of all stability and predictability in the governmental decisions. The policies must reflect a long term vision for the national development. In the economic forum of yesterday the associations of the foreign businessmen told the Romanian authorities that the reform of education must fulfill the demands of the labour market and assure a high labour productivity.

“Romania will not be for a long time a country with cheap labour, it must be competitive, and therefore the education system must adapt itself to the requests of the market, AHK president, Radu Merica, declared. In his opinion, agriculture, energy and the IT sector must be the strategic domains of the authorities. In his turn, Raymond Breden, vice president BRCC, proposed the authorities to set up a unique office for investors, useful especially for the small and medium sized firms. AmCham Romania president, Sorin Mandrutescu, estimated that the investors need a functional organization, wherefrom to obtain all the information required for their activity on the Romanian market.

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