Another year, another St Patrick’s Day. But this time the 17th of March annual celebrations of the patron saint of Ireland are taking place in a year that marks a century of reunification of Romania and beginning of its modern history. Ireland gained its independence in 1921 and must wait three more years for its own centennial.
But from the business point of view, there are reasons for celebration in both countries. Romania and Ireland ended 2017 with 7% GDP growth as the fastest growing economies in the EU. Investors are flocking into both markets as consumer spending shows that households start to feel the benefits of economic recovery. The increase in economic activity is broad-based and economic fundamentals are robust.
Romanian-Irish business ties clearly illustrate that. Last year, Romania became a country of choice for a number of Irish hi-tech companies that needed to expand and grow. Attracted by Romanian technical talent they set up branches and subsidiaries and are spreading the word among other Irish technology companies that may soon follow suit. The growth of the Irish indigenous tech sector is no surprise. Ireland has become one of the tech capitals of the world and is home to a huge array of dynamic Irish tech companies next to the European headquarters of multinationals such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Home-grown Irish companies span a wide range of fields, from mobile payment tech, game design and cloud computing solutions to embedded tech, the Internet of Things and data security. Irish firms are breaking new ground in many of these sectors. And they need to grow close to home, in continental Europe. Romania ticks all the boxes with young graduates with language skills, excellence in mathematics and science, large domestic market and dynamic home-grown tech scene. Romanian impressive 2017 GDP growth rate was also due to the 10.9% increase in information and communications sector and nearly 10% increase in professional, scientific and technical activities.
In other sectors, Irish companies are teaming up with Romanian businesses to provide services (especially construction) in other European markets or to source products and services to gain a competitive edge in their global enterprise. Romanian farmers have discovered Irish agriculture machinery, veterinary products and farming technologies. In Ireland, agriculture plays an important part in the economy. To remain competitive in the world markets and withstand real threats from climate change, rising energy costs and food security, a highly professional group of companies has grown in Ireland that supply anything from genetics services and cow sensors to durable farm machinery and crop protection.
Saint Patrick, who came to Ireland in the 5th century AD and Saint Andrew, the patron saint who brought Christianity to Romania four centuries earlier, never met each other. But today’s dynamic business, cultural and social relationship between Ireland and Romania would make them proud of our two countries. Happy St Patrick’s Day 2018!