Noerr Romania, one of the most well-known German brands active on the Romanian market of law firms, cannot miss from an overview of the Romanian-German relationship like this special supplement of Nine O’Clock dedicated to German Unity Day and to the bilateral relations. How would you describe the current Romanian-German relations and their evolution since Noerr started its activity here ?
Thank you very much for the kind words. We started in 1998 in Bucharest, so caught a glimpse of the “rougher” times in Romania. Since then, there were remarkable changes on the market, in the public administration and the bilateral relations. From an economic point of view, I would say that Romania is definitely better stabilized and German investors grew solid roots in the country. The fact that not only Romanians live, work and study in Germany, but the same applies in the other direction definitely helped a lot in the exchange of the two countries. And I am just one example of many.
How do you see the current economic environment in Romania and the main challenges ahead the Romanian economy?
Consumption is booming, real estate and IT are on a rising trend, further investments are planned. There are clear signs of strength and German companies seem optimistic. However – and I will underline this every time I can – this growth should be sustained through public investments in health, infrastructure and education, to name a few. It’s not just the economy that has to deliver and mainly does so, but the public administration as well. Getting connected to Europe via highway is still not possible, public hospitals are just painful to watch, and schools struggle every year to obtain their approval to function. This is just terrible and has to change. Whether we call it “country project” or “a competitive Romania”, these are the real challenges in the years to come.
What are in your opinion the most important legislative changes still needed in order to boost foreign investment but also the ensure a stable and predictable economic and fiscal framework?
I remember reading an article last year, stressing that the Romanian Fiscal Code has been amended for approximately 200 times in the past ten to twelve years. Sometimes it would help a lot to just not have any big legislative change regarding taxes for at least one year. An investment boost has a lot to do with the shortcomings mentioned earlier as well.
We are in the last quarter of 2016. What are the most important achievements of Noerr Romania accomplished so far this year and since our last discussion?
I am glad that we were able to maintain our position as one of the leading law firms for investment, M&A, real estate and financial advisory services including State Aid. Also, we could sustain our growth in the first two quarters. Since it’s not a minor thing to do, I would say that the end of the year will be fruitful for our business.
What further projects has Noerr Romania in view for the remaining period of this year? But for 2017? Of course, we mean those that can be revealed.
Our portfolio of clients remained stable and I am glad we could also diversify our practice in matters of litigation, public procurement and compliance. Real Estate deals grew significantly compared to 2015 and will be a great part of our work next year. Unfortunately I cannot mention names here. On the other hand, we had important projects in Romania for Nidec SoleMotor Corporation, BayWa, ANV Global Services, Harman and Pringles International Operations (Kellogg Group), and also some regional projects in CEE that will keep us busy in the last quarter, and hopefully 2017 as well.
How does Noerr Romania correlate its actions and integrate them in the regional strategy of Noerr CEE?
We are in continuous exchange with our partners in Germany and all our CEE offices in Bratislava, Prague, Budapest and Warsaw. Regular calls, meetings and conferences are a must. I would say that communication and planning are key for this kind of process. Sometimes it works out perfectly, sometimes it doesn’t. But the fact that all these offices are in the EU makes things easier.