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Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Business in Romania blog
(Source: Jurnalul National)

The Romanian-British economic forum assembled in London last week-end the great majority of the people contributing to the two billion euros worth bilateral trade volume this year.

Romania came to the forum having to show some interesting developments: a 7% growth rate forecast for this year, which is the highest in Europe, and the quasi-certainty it will be accepted in the European Union in 2007. These are good foundations for investments in a domestic market which still can absorb a lot.

The title of the forum was “Competitive business relationships in the New Europe.” The New Europe here was not the one American defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, referred to during the Europe-U.S. crisis. The New Europe here hinted at the new type of relationships forging among old and new members of the EU.

Lord Alan Watson opened the debate at the Hilton Hotel, suggesting a new approach should be made than looking at statistics to assess the integration pace of various countries. Stark figures say Lithuania needs 53 years to catch up with the European developed countries, Poland – 59 years, and Romania – 80.
This means that the Romanians to live on an equal foot with the other Europeans are not even born yet.

“Such a conclusion might depress me, said Lord Watson. If we focus on the tough problems Romania still has, the conclusion may only be pessimistic. But statistics say nothing about people, or the vitality of the young generation, or the exceptional ability Romanian have to adapt and to innovate, or their high level of culture, which radically changes such depressing statistics.”
He added that two million Romanian school children learn English, and cited that as a further argument on behalf of his take.

The Romanian model of “stepping stones” type of development is well illustrated by the mobile phone sector. This was a short cut from developing a costly fixed line telephony network. Also praised were the solutions found to solve the crisis in the orphanages, the political decisions regarding adoptions, and the rhythm of negotiating the accession chapters to the EU.
Romania moves foreword, was the conclusion of the economic forum.

During the plenary meeting Adrian Severin [former minister] commented on the consequences of globalization on Romanian politics. Because of this phenomenon, he said, Romania is led by three governments: one in Bucharest, responsible for the national policy regarding cohesion and specific interests, a second one in Brussels, which pushes the EU policy towards Romania, and a third one in Washington, where the headquarters of the IMF and the World Bank are.

Maria Luisa Cicogani, director with the EBRD, directly criticized the Romanian National Bank for suppressing the consumer goods credit market. The fact that a lot of debt is accumulated outside the banking system because of the credits should not block the governmental lending, Cicogani said. The aggregate of consumer goods credits in Romania is smaller than the EU average or the one in the new EU members.

Romanian president [Ion Iliescu] and [former] King Michael both took part in the economic forum. They did not know of each others presence at the forum, but when the president was informed by the Jurnalul national correspondent, he adapted quickly to the situation and went to greet Michael I. Bogdan Popovici, the head of the team organizing the forum, marked another professional success with this event.

Posted by Mihai : 9/14/2004 10:02:00 am Romania Business on Fast-Track Forward
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