Gathered in Bucharest on Wednesday for its General Assembly, Confindustria Balkans, the federation that includes Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, Albania and Montenegro, decided to establish its Balkan coordination centre in Romania. The decision was hailed by Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis, who appreciated upon receiving at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace a delegation of Italy’s General Industry Confederation – Confindustria headed by the organization’s president Vincenzo Boccia, that this is a strong signal that Romania is considered a safe country with a solid economy.
Confindustria’s President Vincenzo Boccia came to Romania to attend the conference “A New Strategy for Internationalization. Confindustria in the Balkans and in Eastern Europe. Challenges, Opportunities and Perspectives.”
The event was attended by many representatives of the Romanian and European authorities: Finance Minister, Anca Dragu, Minister of Economy, Trade and Business Environment Relationship, Costin Borc, Secretary of State who will represent the Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Ciamba, Bulgaria’s Economy Minister, Daniela Vezieva, Trade Minister of Bosnia, Zlatan Vujanovic, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Vojin Vlahović, Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship of Albania, Milva Ekonomim, Member of Parliament – Parliamentary Group for the support of Italian investments Evis Kushi and Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Selim Belortaja.
“The conference “A New Internationalization Strategy. Confindustria in the Balkans and Eastern Europe: Challenges, Opportunities and Perspectives”, which takes place within the General Assembly Confindustria Balkans 2016, is a natural extension of the Economic Forum held on June 14th, during the visit in Bucharest of the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella. This initiative is particularly important, given its strategic role in the region and the interest of Italian entrepreneurs towards this part of Europe and in particular to Romania. In partnership with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Embassy in Bucharest and other diplomatic missions in the area were immediately mobilized alongside Confindustria, Confindustria Balkans and Confindustria Romania in order to ensure a wide institutional participation at this important meeting”, H.E, the Italian Ambassador in Bucharest, Diego Brasioli, stated prior to the event.
“You represent the largest group of foreign investors, those coming from Italy and who are Confindustria affiliates. It is a category of investors that are welcome and, apart from that, they created around 50,000 jobs in Romania for the Romanians, and I believe that the fact that you decided to establish your Balkan coordination centre in Romania is a bit more than an economic signal, it is – at least in my understanding – a [recognition] that to you and your members Romania is considered safe, a good economic location with a good future,” the head of state said at the beginning of the meeting with Italy’s Confindustraia delegation.
“We must make sure bureaucracy doesn’t dent Romania’s competitive edge”
President Klaus Iohannis considers that Romania has a set of competitive advantages to offer, but cautions against bureaucracy, overregulation and lack of predictability possibly denting the country’s competitive edge.
“Currently, within a framework of macroeconomic stability, Romania is an EU economic growth champion with a growth rate of 5.2 percent in H1. We also remark the economic confidence Romania enjoys, which is visible also in the 19 percent increase in FDI in the first eight months of the year. Hence the favorable projections of average annual increases of about 3.7 percent in the next five years, according to the latest IMF data. Romania’s favorable position is also confirmed by the important advantages it offers entrepreneurs. The 16 percent flat tax renders Romania competitive in terms of taxation, but we must also make sure that bureaucracy, overregulation and the lack of predictability don’t dent our competitive edge. Therefore, we need to speed up the streamlining of bureaucracy, increase transparency and enhance the quality of public administration,” reads the message delivered on Wednesday, on the President’s behalf, by presidential advisor Cosmin Marinescu at the conference “A New Strategy for Internationalization. Confindustria in the Balkans and in Eastern Europe. Challenges, Opportunities and Perspectives.”
President Iohannis considers that it is important that support and incentives to SMEs, to the domestic and foreign capital are among Romania’s top priorities.
“The SMEs are the backbone of a healthy market economy, offering stability and prosperity. In this context, increasing economic freedom must also be a priority, because a free economy is the essential ingredient of prosperity,” reads the President’s message, emphasizing also that the economic freedom indicator reflects an upward trend in recent years for Romania’s score, placing it 22nd in the world.
According to the President, this progress needs to be continued by reforms and sound economic policies.
“From this point of view, the two dimensions, that of entrepreneurship and economic freedom, are complementary and support each other. I want a Romania of economic freedom, where work, intelligence, creativity and entrepreneurial courage are cherished and fairly rewarded. It is also important to strengthen the link between education and the labor market, between school and real life. The implementation in Romania, in the next period, of the dual education system allowing companies to contribute together with the Romanian state to better honing the competences required by the labor market, is yet another positive move,” added Iohannis.
He congratulated the special interest of the Italian entrepreneurs to invest in Romania and highlighted the fact that Italy ranks first among foreign investors in terms of number of companies on the Romanian market.
“We have about 15,000 active companies with Italian capital. Almost 60% of these companies operate in trade, manufacturing and construction.
At the same time, there are nearly 9,000 Romanian-Italian joint ventures. These figures show how intense is the economic cooperation between Italy and Romania, but also the huge potential the internationalization of businesses has for everyone involved,” President Iohannis also underlined in his message addressed to Confindustria’s event in Bucharest.
He expressed hope that this event will underpin the successful development of future projects in the bilateral partnership and said he is confident that the experience of Confindustria in Romania will be a model of success also regionally.
Confindustria Romania was founded in 2003 and was the first foreign representation of the Italian confederation.