“In the context of an act with special connotations, on June 23 this year we have celebrated the anniversary of 130 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Spain and Romania. On the occasion, I structured my speech on two directions: on the one hand I emphasised similarities between our countries’ modern history, which has seen dark periods of war and dictatorship and which eventually led to the democratic and prosperous nations project represented by the European Union; and on the other hand, I stressed the need to look to the future with optimism, in order to overcome the effects of the current economic crisis.
From that prospect of the future that our businesspeople in Romania embody more than anyone else, we must underline the fact that bilateral ties have been constantly on an ascending trend, even before of Romania’s EU accession: our trade doubled in the last few years and a notable increase of Spanish investment in Romania was reported, bringing us on the ninth position in the chart of foreign investors, with over EUR 1 bln, and with good medium-term development prospects.
In this period, many Spanish companies have come to Romania with the wish of benefiting from investment opportunities in the country. Some have conducted a temporary activity. Others have managed to adjust to the country’s particularities and have developed strategies that allowed them to consolidate their presence in the field. Nowadays, in what regards public tenders, Spanish enterprises are present in various sectors, from construction works and water treatment to consultancy projects in sectors such as agriculture, regional development, human resources or competition. Thus, in 2010, Spanish companies have obtained contracts in Romania worth almost EUR 230 M, accounting for 25 new contracts.
In the field of commercial exchange, 2010 saw a progressive recovery of high trade levels which were reported the previous years and were partly lost in 2009. Romanian exports to Spain continued to grow and increased by 32 per cent to EUR 1,042 M. In turn, our exports in 2010 grew by 30 per cent to EUR 873 M. Everything indicates the fact that at the end of 2011, the final results will be better than the previous year’s.
I would also like to note the extraordinary work of both the Cervantes Institute and university departments and the ten bilingual Spanish-Romanian departments in the country. The universality of the Spanish language, confirmed by the growing interest of young Romanians to learn our language, which has so many common traits with Romanian, owes a lot to this patient and not always recognised activity conducted by our teachers in Romania.
In the end, I would like to mention the almost one million Romanian citizens who live and work in Spain. The daily activity of these men and women has shown to the Spanish society a hard-working people whose wish to progress reflects the own progress of the society that welcomed them. We, the Spanish, can showcase with justified pride the levels of cohabitation and integration in our society of the largest community of foreigners residing in Spain.”