Your Excellency, how do you see Romania since you came as Ambassador? What do you like and what would you change in Romania?
Romania has made important progress in the last few years to improve the rule of law and in the battle against corruption but significant challenges still remain. The lack of adequate infrastructure continues to be an obstacle that stands in the way of more dynamic development in several parts of the country. There is also an important challenge in investing adequately in the human capital of the many poor Romanians including the Roma minority. But the trends in key areas are positive and that makes me optimistic about Romania. The country is well endowed with natural resources and has a technological and scientific tradition which is impressive. In fact I believe Romania has the possibility to go from reasonable and good economic growth to excellent and impressive economic growth if the key challenges I just mentioned are tackled head- on.
I have travelled extensively in Romania and have been very impressed with the hospitality and kindness wherever I have gone. During my travels I have discovered the stunning beauty and diversity of Romania’s natural landscape. Trekking in the mountains and walking in the magnificent beech forests have been unforgettable experiences.
How do you perceive the prospects of developing the relations between the two states, Sweden and Romania?
Since Romania joined the EU in 2007 the relations between our two countries have developed in all fields. The four freedoms of the EU have boosted trade and investments and increased cultural exchange significantly. There are about 500 young Swedes studying in Romania. We are keen to see more Romanian graduate students at Swedish universities where they can pursue post graduate studies entirely in English.
Many Romanians have settled in Sweden making important contributions to the development of Sweden.
What would be the major events the Embassy of Sweden will develop this year in Romania?
During the weekend June 13–15 we are planning, together with Swedish companies, an event called Suedia Creativa. The event will take place in Herastrau Park and present Swedish innovation, culture and environmental sustainability. Later in the year we hope to arrange seminars on health care and energy efficiency.
What could you tell us about the opportunities of the Swedish companies to invest in Romania?
I think there are interesting opportunities in Romania for Swedish investors. The Romanian economy is growing and in terms of population Romania is the seventh largest country in the EU. The country is blessed with resources in areas where Swedish companies are strong, for example energy, forestry and mining.
Which were the most prominent fields for Swedish investments of late?
Swedish companies have made important investments in Romania in furniture production, telecommunications, beverages and food, health care and auto parts to name a few examples.