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2019 European AutoMotive Industry Forum in Craiova. PM Viorica Dancila: More than 500 km of highway built by PSD Governments. We can solve the issue by giving a helping hand, not by making a circus

Premier Viorica Dancila stated on Monday, at the AutoMotive Industry Forum 2019, in Craiova, that work has started on the first kilometres of highway in Moldavia, the Craiova-Pitesti expressway is in an advanced stage, but Sections 2 and 3 of the Sibiu-Pitesti Highway are blocked by legal challenges.

Premier Viorica Dancila stated on Monday that she understands the anger of people who complain about the rhythm of the works on road and railway infrastructure.

The Premier pointed out that work on the first kilometres of highway in Moldavia started last week. Regarding the Craiova-Pitesti Expressway, Dancila said it is already in an advanced stage.

“It will have a length of more than 121 kilometres. It has a total estimated value of approximately 5 billion lei, VAT included, and for efficiency it has been divided into 4 sections. The contracts for the design and construction of the 4 sections were put to tender in 2017, and the contracts for sections 1 and 2 have already been signed in December 2018. Basically, this year, Sections 1 and 2 – 57.55-km long and with a total value of more than 2 billion lei, VAT included – have entered the final stretch, being in the design stage. I must point out that the tender for Sections 3 and 4 was cancelled in court. At this moment, the necessary documentation for these sections is being updated in order to be able to have another tender this year,” Dancila stated in Craiova.

The Premier added that the programme to modernise the Arad – Caransebes – Craiova – Calafat and the Craiova – Bucharest – Constanta Port railway lines is ongoing, and will help boost transport capacity, lower transport duration, and eliminate speed restrictions.

“Last but not least, the Government has recently approved the Bucharest-Craiova-Drobeta-Lugoj project with a Craiova-Calafat branch, which will be built in public-private partnership. The substantiation study will be ready in April, for it to enter the tender. The Pitesti-Sibiu project, just as highly-awaited, is in a fairly advanced stage. Section 1, Sibiu-Boita, design and execution: the offer-assessment process has been finalised. The winner has been announced. The period for legal challenges expires today (Monday – editor’s note). We will be able to sign the contract by the end of the week. Likewise, the offer-assessment process has also been finalised for the design and execution of Section 5, Curtea de Arges – Pitesti,” Viorica Dancila added.

In what concerns Section 4 (Tigveni – Curtea de Arges) of the Sibiu-Pitesti Highway, the documentation needed to launch the public tender procedure has been finalised and sent for publication to the ANAP in January 2019, according to the Prime Minister. However, Sections 2 and 3 of the Sibiu-Pitesti Highway are blocked by the challenge against the Environmental Agreement obtained in December 2018.

 

Highway dispute

 

Premier Viorica Dancila also stated that she understands the anger of those complaining that there are no highways in Romania, but that she believes the problem can be solved only “by giving a helping hand, not by making a circus.”

Dancila added that PSD governments have built 500 km of highway.

“The people are right, they are right to be angry with the rhythm of works in this domain. However, the truth must be stated all the way through. More than 500 kilometres of the existing kilometres of highways were built by PSD Governments. Zero kilometres were built by other governments! And let’s not forget that the man who was Transport Minister in 1999, who then became Romanian President, was explaining to us that ‘Romania doesn’t need highways, the national roads are enough.’ We have been fighting for years against this profoundly mistaken mentality, but also against a series of obstacles that some are raising seemingly intentionally,” Dancila said.

According to the Premier, highways can be built, but not by “making a circus.”

“I made this digression in order to call a spade a spade. Yes, it is an essential problem for the future development of Romania, however, we can only solve this by giving a helping hand, not by making a circus and political statements,” Dancila added.

 

Clean technology represents future; Gov’t has encouraged purchase of new, less polluting cars

 

The Government has encouraged the purchase of new, less polluting cars, through the car park renewal programmes carried out by the Environment Ministry, PM Viorica Dancila said on Monday in the opening of the 2019 European Automotive Industry Forum in Craiova.

“Clean technology represents the future. In agreement with the European objectives of protecting the environment, by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, as well as in agreement with the European and worldwide trends in the automotive industry, Romania’s Government has encouraged the purchase of new, less polluting cars, through the car park renewal programmes carried out by the Environment Ministry,” Viorica Dancila said in the event carried out as part of Romania’s EU Council Presidency.

The PM mentioned that over the recent years there had been promoted a programme under which the citizens are endorsed to buy new cars, on guarantees granted by the state.

“We have already prepared a normative act draft meant to make this programme more flexible and adapted to the European and worldwide trend of shifting the focus on manufacturing hybrid and electric cars. Besides the positive effects on the automotive industry and that of car parts, with a significant share in the national economy, we also have in view the benefits for the environment. However, a common efforts is needed as well as new solutions for the non-polluting, hybrid and electric cars to be more accessible for the citizens. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, you have in Romania’s Government a trustworthy partner, which is open to do even more through an open and fair dialogue with the business environment, both on a national level and on a European level. I confide that through discussions such as the one today among representatives of the European Commission, the national and the European Parliament, the Government and the citizens, those of the auto and car parts industry, we can attain the results we wish for,” Dancila also said.

Also attending the event in Craiova, among others, there were the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs European Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, Deputy PM and Economy Minister Niculae Badalau, Deputy PM and Environment Minister Gratiela Gavrilescu, Transport Minister Razvan Cuc, Defence Minister Gabriel Les, Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship Minister Stefan-Radu Oprea.

 

BusinessMin Oprea: Automotive industry in EU, monitoring results of negotiations in US on customs duties

 

Minister for Business Environment, Trade and Entrepreneurship Stefan Radu Oprea stated on Monday in Craiova within the Automotive Industry Forum 2019 that the representatives of the automotive industry in the EU await the outcome of negotiations with the US on customs duties for imported cars.

“You know very well the challenges at the level of the World Trade Organization, but, moreover, I believe that, as a result of the dialogue we had together, you are also monitoring the results that we, as the Presidency of the Council of the Union wish to have when we talk about the mandates that we have to give our commissioner with the US. As the 90 days pass and President Trump has to express his choice whether he will come or not with customs duties in the automotive area. I believe that continuous dialogue, committed dialogue is the solution that the EU can have in this context,” said Radu Oprea.

Oprea pointed out that another challenge facing the automotive industry in the EU is given by Brexit “so that the impact that this event will have on the automotive industry to be as small as possible, especially since we have an important Romanian community in the UK but also the jobs you create in Romania.”

Radu Oprea also said that eight of the top 10 companies that are currently exporting to Romania are in the automotive field – Renault Dacia, Ford and Star Assembly being on the first three places – and asked the representatives of this industry to better integrate the SMEs from Romania in their production chain in order to reduce the costs and increase efficiency and to use the advantages that the Romanian IT industry can bring as added value for the products in the automotive sector.

 

Ford’s Ian Pearson: Our investment – 1.3bln euro in 11 years since taking over Craiova plant

 

Ford Company invested approximately 1.3 billion euro in the 11 years since taking over the plant in Craiova, Ian Pearson, Vehicle Operations and Site Director of Ford Romania stated on Monday, adding that it is paramount for Romania’s Government to carry through its commitments as regards the transport infrastructure.

In only a few days we will celebrate 11 years since Ford took over the plant in Craiova. In this period we have invested around 1.3 billion euro to develop state-of-the-art technology, both for the production of cars and that of engines, part of these having been presented, as a matter of fact, to our distinguished guests earlier. During today’s visit I had the opportunity to inform Mrs. prime minister and her team about our current business plan and about future developments, including the additional 200 million euro investment announced last year for the manufacturing of a second car model here in Craiova, Ian Pearson, Director of Ford Romania told Monday a press conference held alongside Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and members of the Cabinet, at the end of the visit carried out by the latter at the Ford plant.

The Ford official specified that no further details about the company’s new product can be revealed at the moment.

Ian Pearson pointed out that another topic discussed with the Government was related to the infrastructure.

We have also discussed other key topics, such as the infrastructure which continues to represent a major disadvantage for us. In our previous talks with Romania’s Government we received clear commitments regarding the conclusion of sections 1 and 2 of the express road Craiova-Pitesti, including the two ring roads around Slatina and Bals cities, as well as the work programme for sections 3 and 4. I have emphasised yet again to the Government the fact that it is paramount for them to fulfill these commitments. In addition to this express road, we have also requested a clear schedule for the Pitesti – Sibiu motorway and the repair works of railway links Timisoara-Craiova and Craiova-Calafat. Our investment, especially our new investment in Craiova relies on the Romanian Government’s commitments to bring important improvements to the transport infrastructure and we undertake to further collaborate with the Government so as to make sure that these road and railway improvements are finalised, the Ford official said.

Pearson added that in addition to the financial commitment, the company has started the recruitment, by the end of the year of 1,700 people, as part of the growth plans.

This will bring the total workforce at Ford Craiova at about 6,200 people. Certainly recruiting and training so many people will be a challenge, so in the short term we collaborate with local authorities, Mr. President Prioteasa with his team within the County Council, but also with the mayors of the towns and villages around Craiova to present the opportunities for the existing jobs at Ford. In the long run, we have signed contracts with two local high schools to implement a dual education program starting in September. We believe that good education is a necessity for a thriving economy, he said.

Ian Pearson mentioned that last but not least, Ford Romania will continue to play an important role in community life through all the social accountability initiatives developed by the Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic side of the company.

 

European Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska: Joint efforts should be made to achieve clean vehicles’ roadmap

 

Romania holds an important place on Europe’s map in the car industry, on Monday said in southern Craiova the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elzbieta Bienkowska, adding that in the context of her participation in the Car Industry Forum 2019 she had talks referring to the road-map for clean vehicles.

Today I had very important talks on the future of the car industry, in the context of Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. I have analysed carefully the actions undertaken after the Diesel scandal (…) now it is the moment to move on. (…) Together with the Member States I have prepared a road-map for clean vehicles, but for this to become reality we must make joint efforts to achieve our commitments assumed (…) to create a cleaner car park, to obtain a higher rate of withdrawal of the non-compliant cars, to improve transparency and actions on the information given to consumers. (…) We can say that following this scandal, we now have one of the most efficient regulation regarding the emissions at world level, and have recently adopted new objectives for the fuel saving and the carbon dioxide limits for cars and trucks. Obviously, there are challenges we must face further and let us not forget that we must support the development of the connected and automated driving technologies, the European Commissioner told a joint news conference in Craiova alongside Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila and the Ford Romania President Ian Pearson.

She mentioned at challenges chapter “the climate change, the consumption patterns’ changes and even the commercial threats”.

Last but not least, I have to stress the future towards development based on a society that needs a clean, safe, connected mobility for us all. I’m confident that the European car industry is prepared to answer these challenges, the European official added.

 

PM Dancila: Automotive industry is one of the key sectors for economic growth

 

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila underscored on Monday that the automotive industry is of the key sectors for economic growth and the new investment projects of Ford company represents a sign of confidence in the Romanian economy and a premise for the development of the entire region.

“The automotive industry is one of the key sectors for economic growth and I presented the company leadership the support measures and fiscal facilities which Romania’s Government provides for the development of this sector, with benefits for both parties. The fact that over the past years, Romania’s automotive industry benefited from a constant growth and, last year, our country registered a record production of cars, proves that we are on the right track and Romania provides a beneficial climate for the business milieu. I welcome the new investment projects of Ford company, it is a sign of confidence in the Romanian economy and a premise for the development of the entire region. And the good collaboration with the local authorities played an important role in this regard,” Prime Minister Dancila stated during her visit to the Ford plant in Craiova (Craiova Engine Plant).

The PM added that the discussions also aimed the solutions identified by the Government in order to boost some major investments in the infrastructure area.

 

 

 

 

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