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Sweden - Southeast Europe News Site


to the news site of the Chamber of Commerce for Sweden - Southeast Europe in cooperation with Business Sweden and Governments and Organisations in SEE.

Romanian companies show a competitive edge at Mobile World 2016 in Barcelona

Romania Posted on Mon, February 29, 2016 10:39:25

Romania is one of the most interesting markets in Europe for technology investment and trade, as well as a recognized partner for some of the world’s most demanding customers in IT services outsourcing, business process outsourcing, call center support and product development.

Customer surveys show that costs and pricing only represent a fraction of the decision criteria for locating offshoring projects. Romania is not the lowest cost location for outsourcing, but when performance and engineering competences are added to the equation it is highly competitive.

Several Romanian IT companies participated in the Romanian pavillion at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week and you find the list here with their respective area of business. As far as we know only one of the companies, M&M Medianet Com, have a representation in Sweden so there are plenty of opportunities for Swedish companies who want to find a Romanian IT partner.

Sweden signing deal with Romania on welfare support

Romania Posted on Sat, June 06, 2015 09:30:41

Sweden and Romania will sign a new agreement on welfare support from Sweden to Romania, to help the struggling country solve some of its most pressing social issues, including providing aid for Roma beggars on home turf. The Swedish support will mainly focusing on the education of Roma children, women’s rights and welfare services.

The deal follows a surge in begging in Sweden, with a study in April suggesting that around 4,000 vulnerable EU migrants – many from Romania – are now living in the Nordic nation.

Most of the beggars are members of the Roma community – one of the EU’s largest minority groups. Many live in tents or caravans and make a living by asking Swedes for money outside shops and underground stations. Read more here.

Romania to see among highest growth in emerging Europe, says EBRD

Romania Posted on Tue, May 19, 2015 08:29:28

Romania will register this year one of the highest economic growth in emerging Europe – 3 percent – and 3.2 percent in 2016, amid stronger economic environment in the Eurozone, according to the latest Regional Economic Prospects report released Thursday by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
EBRD also shows in its latest Regional Economic Prospects report that Romania’s economy grew by 2.8 per cent in 2014, on the back of strong private consumption, boosted by a rise in minimum wage in mid-2014, while contribution of net exports remained low and investments subdued. Read more here.

Changes in the Romanian embassy in Stockholm – We wish Bogdan Badescu lots of success as he moves on

Romania Posted on Mon, August 25, 2014 17:39:33

The Economic Counsellor during several
years in Romania´s Stockholm Embassy, Bogdan
, is about to leave his post for new challenges as Economic Counsellor
at the Romanian General Consulate in Barcelona.

At a reception in the Romanian embassy, our
member Inger Björklind Bengtsson, on
behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, presented Bogdan with a dedicated copy
of her recently published book, ”From Rune Stones to Radio Waves – How a
Viking Village became Sweden´s Silicon Valley”
(see picture). The book
describes how Kista – a suburb just north of Stockholm – over the centuries
developed from a large Viking settlement into the birthplace of modern
telecommunication. Maybe the book can be an inspiration to Bogdan as he now
proceeds to conquer a new market, although on a friendlier note than our Nordic
ancestors did.
(However, Spain might not be a very good example of the Vikings´ success, as
they never got a real foothold there and were rather early thrown out of the
Iberian peninsula. Hope you will be more successful in the region Bogdan 🙂

Sad to see Bogdan go, all of us in the
Chamber of Commerce would like to express our warmest gratitude to Bogdan for the close cooperation
and all the support he and the embassy always have shown our organisation. We
wish you lots of success on your new post!
We will return later with a presentation of Bogdan Bădescu´s successor.

Have a glass of “Royal Romania”

Romania Posted on Sun, March 23, 2014 21:08:16

They say an excellent product sells itself and probably that is
particularly true when it comes to wine. The words about the product go from mouth
to mouth so to speak.

But the Romanian wine producers didn´t take a chance when
they introduced their best wines to Sweden some days ago. They brought not only
one but two royal celebreties with them to lighten up their event at the Grand
Hotel in Stockholm. And maybe that was not a bad idea after all. Allthough
Romania is one of the oldest wine producing areas in the world and the biggest
in Southeast Europe, the bottles that are sold in the Swedish state´s wine
monopoly, Systembolaget (to keep that monopoly was one of the requirements Sweden put on the EU to accept membership), may not be the first pick by a
thirsty Swede for his party. So Sweden obviously called for a special treat.

The celebreties, who came to introduce the best of the
Romanian wines to Sweden, were H.R.H Prince Radu and H.R.H. Prince Nicholas of
Romania, and the whole event was hosted by the charming Romanian ambassador
H.E. Răduţa Matache. The large room in Grand Hotel was crowded with people who
were eager to know more about Romanian wine – and perhaps have a glass or two
at the end of a busy day.

In order to be able to try out most of the Romanian
wine, the Chamber of Commerce for Sweden – Southeast Europe sent two of their top
experts to the event.
And the verdict? ”Impressive, excellent, lovely spicy finish, round and harminous” and
similar comments were words we shared with many others.

Let´s hope that the Swedish state monopoly´s purchasers who were seen carefully hiding in the crowd also shared our views, so all Swedes can enjoy
an excellent drop of Romanian wine now and again without having to travel to
Romania each time.

And by the way, you don´t need to bring your royals next time. We´ll be there

In the picture our Chairman Martin Ancons is seen between the Romanian Ambassador Ms Matache and H.R.H Prince Nicholas. Click on the picture for more photos (© Göran Uvner) from the venue here.

And OK, if you absolutely want me to mention which of all the fine wines I preferred, it was a red one from Halewood Wines, a producer who got its name after the Englishman John Halewood who began to acquire vineyards after the fall of communism and set up his own Romanian production business.

Romania rockets to the top of CEE’s thrusting recovery

Romania Posted on Tue, February 25, 2014 17:06:45

Central and Eastern Europe took a huge
stride in its economic recovery in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to
flash estimates on growth released on February 14. Amid a raft of strong data, including an impressive acceleration in the Czech Republic, Romania
stood out with GDP growth of 5.2%.

It was Romania’s strongest quarter in five
years, and pushed the country towards a full year expansion of 3.5%. The Czech
Republic meanwhile swung from a 1.2% decline in the third quarter to expansion
of 0.8%. It wasn’t all plain sailing; Poland disappointed slightly at 2.7% year
on year.
Romania however stood head and shoulders above the rest of the EU, with the
Baltics – who have dominated the bloc’s top spots for GDP growth over the past
couple of years.
Read the full article in East Capital web page here.

Stockholm – Bucharest now nonstop

Romania Posted on Tue, February 25, 2014 16:56:28

TAROM, the Romanian Airlines will resume service to Sweden,
after 13 years of absence. Starting with 2nd of June 2014, TAROM (a Sky Team member) will operate direct flights between Bucharest and Stockholm and return.

“TAROM’s analysis shows that the route has an important
traffic potential”, according to Christian Heinzmann, the company’s General Manager.

The flights will have the following schedule, displayed in
local times:
Monday, Wednesday, Sunday (on board Boeing 737-300
RO 331 08:40 Bucharest Otopeni (OTP) → 10:30 Stockholm
Arlanda (ARN)
RO 332 11:15 Stockholm Arlanda → 15:00 Bucharest Otopeni

Tickets for the new destination are already on sale, for
prices starting with EUR 155 for a return trip (with limited seats at this fare),
available on the airline’s website, in TAROM offices and/or through TAROM travel

Are you a Swede interested in doing business with Southeast Europe? Or someone in that region having business relations with Sweden? Then you are very welcome to join our web forum here.

H&M plans to open four new stores in Romania by the end of 2013

Romania Posted on Thu, September 26, 2013 09:03:50

The Swedish fashion retailer H&M plans to open four new stores by the end of November 2013 in Romania according to a newsflash from PMR; one in Ploiesti and three in Bucharest. As a result, the company will reach a total of 29 outlets on the Romanian market. The H&M store in Ploiesti, the second in the city, will be inaugurated on 3 October 2013 in the AFI Palace shopping centre.An H&M store in the Promenada Floreasca shopping centre in Bucharest will be open on 17 October 2013. A high-street outlet will be inaugurated on 7 November 2013 in Bucharest. There is no date scheduled for the inauguration of the H&M store slated to be opened in Bucharest’s Iris Shopping Center.
H&M has opened six new stores since the beginning of this year.
H&M doubled its sales revenues on the Romanian market in the 2011/2012 fiscal year (ending 30 November), thus reaching €74m. It opened eight new stores last year in Romania.

EBRD will help Romania access EU funds, advance structural reforms

Romania Posted on Sat, November 24, 2012 21:05:15

The EBRD and the Romanian government have signed a framework agreement to help Romania make good use of the funds allocated by the European Union for projects that aim to boost the country’s economic and social development.
The framework signed today in Bucharest paves the way for the EBRD to support sector reforms and help define operational priorities in the areas of energy efficiency, development of municipal services and projects, and support for attracting private resources and introducing alternative financing mechanisms for infrastructure.
The EBRD will specifically focus on energy efficiency in public and residential buildings, support for regional water and wastewater treatment companies, support for the preparation of district heating and urban transport strategies, among others. Read more here.

Romanian companies looking for business partners and agents in Sweden

Romania Posted on Mon, August 27, 2012 11:59:33

Romania has
a long tradition of Handicraft and design products which are sold in many
countries. Some products have been marketed earlier in Scandinavia and now the Romanian
association for handicraft and production decided it was time to make a new
marketing drive to two of the countries, Sweden and Norway. Hence a dozen of Romanian
manufacturers went on a northbound trade mission a few days mid August. Apart
from meeting potential agents and retailers, the Romanian group also visited the
Formex fair in Stockholm to take a look at Swedish design products and make new
business acquaintances.
businessmen and –women from Romania were representing very different product
areas, such as wooden products, fashion dresses, sweets etc, all organized
within UECOM (Romanian Handicraft and Production Co-operatives). During one day
representatives of the Chamber of Commerce for Sweden – Southeast Europe had an
opportunity to enjoy an exclusive presentation of the Romanian companies and
their products at a meeting in the Romanian Embassy in Stockholm. In the picture
below H.E. Ms Răduţa Matache, Romanian Ambassador to Sweden is surrounded by
representatives of the business delegation and Swedish colleagues from our
Chamber of Commerce.

Here are links to the Romanian companies who are looking for business partners in Sweden and
Norway. Those interested to make contact are welcome to send an email to
Sweets and
Wood Processing,
furniture, wooden products:

Möt rumänska affärsmän på matchmaking-besök i Stockholm

Romania Posted on Tue, August 14, 2012 14:26:49

Företrädare för den rumänska organisationen The National Union of Handicraft and Production Co-operatives (UCECOM) kommer att besöka Sverige och Norge på en “trade mission” mellan den 18 och 25 augusti i avsikt att träffa potentiella affärspartners här. Organisationen har i hemlandet över 500 medlemmar inom tillverknings- och tjänstesektorn och täcker branscher som möbler, kläder, livsmedel m fl.
Den rumänska delegationen kommer att bestå av såväl representanter från ministerier som från privata företag. I samband med besöket i Stockholm anordnar rumänska ambassaden ett business forum och matchmaking event den 20 augusti dit intresserade svenska företagsrepresentanter är välkomna. Inbjudan från ambassaden samt kontaktuppgifter kan hämtas här.

Romania is growing strong on applications for mobile platforms according to E & Y

Romania Posted on Fri, August 03, 2012 15:38:24

Romania is a more and more attractive emerging market for software developers, especially applications for mobile platforms, according to an Ernst & Young survey called “Opportunities and optimism: how CEOs are embracing digital growth.” In Appstore there are over 400 Romanian applications and a similar number is found on the Android market, according to Syscom Digital. “The number of applications developed in Romania is continually growing and it is estimated it will grow five times by the end of the year,” says the Ernst& Young survey. Read more here.

Romania ranked 6th among emerging countries for outsourcing

Romania Posted on Thu, June 21, 2012 07:49:09

Romania is ranked 6th in The Times outsourcing supplement which points out that although it may not seem an obvious choice, Romania has an ever increasing reputation as an attractive outsourcing destination and a leader in IT outsourcing. With more than 100 universities, Romania is renowned for its high quality labour pool with language and mathematics skills in abundance. It was ranked 25 in the 2011 Global Services Location Index produced by management consultancy A.T. Kearney.
John Cotterell, Endava’s Chief Executive added further comment on the region: “Romania is seen as a unique location. It is easy to reach with a 2-3 hour flight from major European capitals and the IT centres in Romania are all university cities where we can also find available office space and excellent communications infrastructure.” Read more in the article in Outsourcing News.

Romania less risky than Spain and Italy

Romania Posted on Sun, April 22, 2012 14:34:48

Romania is a less risky debtor compared to older EU members such as Spain, Italy or Hungary, but the country is still paying higher interest rates on its sovereign debt compared to the first half of 2011. This stems from a global ranking from British market researcher CMA, Mediafax reported April 19.
In its latest quarterly global sovereign credit risk report, CMA said Romania slid five notches to 21st in the top of the riskiest economies that could default on their debt in the next five years. Romania’s cumulative default probability index decreased to 20% at the end of March, from 27% in December 2011, the report noted.
Cyprus leads the top ten most risky sovereign credit chart. The country replaced Greece as the world’s economy most probable to enter default in the medium term, after the latter finally initiated a debt-restructuring program (which is perceived as a default). Portugal is the second most risky debtor worldwide, followed by Pakistan and Argentina, the report stated. (Source: bne/

Romania to receive MEUR 306 grants from EEA and Norway

Romania Posted on Wed, April 18, 2012 11:14:16

Romania received almost EUR 100 million through EEA and Norway Grants over 2007-2009, and the same entities will make available a further EUR 306 million in the next five years. The EEA and Norway Grants will contribute to co-financing of projects in key areas of support such as environmental protection and climate change, research and scholarships, civil society, green industry innovation, justice, cultural heritage and similar. ( 18/4)

Join in for a Match-making event between Swedish and Romanian ICT companies

Romania Posted on Sun, October 30, 2011 22:49:27

The Embassy of Romania and the Chambers of Commerce for Sweden-Southeast Europe are inviting Swedish companies in the ICT sector to a seminar with Romanian counterparts. The event will take place in the Romanian embassy in Stockholm on November 3rd.
15 Romanian companies specalised in outsourcing and software development will be in place at the event which will round off with matchmaking between the companies.
The programme can be downloaded here and the list of Romanian companies here.

Nokia closing down in Romania – Hungary next?

Romania Posted on Fri, September 30, 2011 13:22:54

Nokia said yesterday it would close the Cluj factory in Romania, which opened just
four years ago and manufactured more simple cellphone models, leading to 2,200
job losses. The plant turnover was comparable to 1.3 percent of Romania’s GDP last year according to Reuters.
Nokia said it was also evaluating the future of its plants in Hungary and this
would result in job cuts next year. (Reuters, 29 Oct)

OTE plan to merge Romtelecom and Cosmote Romania

Romania Posted on Sat, June 11, 2011 10:25:30

OTE, the Greek telecommunication holding, made a proposition to the Romanian government to merge fixed-line telephony operator Romtelecom with Cosmote, according to a press release published by the Romanian Ministry of Communications and Information Society (MCSI). OTE also declined to buy the government’s 45.99% stake in Romtelecom because of the difficult economic situation in Greece and its financial strategy to reduce its exposure to debt. The group may reconsider buying the stake if circumstances change, however.
OTE believes that the merger of Romtelecom and Cosmote will create synergy on the market through offering tariffs that are more attractive to users and will generate better profit. Read the whole PMR article here.

Slower recovery in Bulgaria and Romania

Romania Posted on Wed, April 27, 2011 12:30:56

Romania and Bulgaria’s economies turn back very hard on growing, so that recovery from the crisis lasts longer in comparison with other countries in the region said Thursday, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Thomas Mirow. The bank forecasts a 1.1% growth in Romania’s GDP for 2011. The Balkans region remains vulnerable to risks generated by the sovereign debt crisis in Greece, as these states’ economic recovery is slower than that of other Eastern European states, he added. Read more in

Green Energy Forum in Romania

Romania Posted on Thu, March 24, 2011 22:16:22

Join leading companies involved in the development and implementation of renewable energy projects and debate major issues in the sector in a high profile interactive event. The event gathers key decision makers and major players involved in the development of local renewable energy projects, from leading companies of the sector to authorities and financing institutions. Government officials and company representatives will discuss key topics such as:
Incentive schemes for green energy production – Green certificates, EU structural funds or the Environment Fund
Selling green energy in Romania: opportunities of fixed contracts, day ahead and the intra-day market
Challenges in integrating renewable energy in the national power grid system
Romania’s potential in wind, solar, biomass and small hydro
Private financing of renewable power generation projects
Read more about the forum here.
The findings at the Green Energy Forum 2011 will be published in a worldwide special report in The Diplomat Bucharest and on

Will Bucharest be the next “Chinatown”?

Romania Posted on Wed, March 02, 2011 12:56:23

The Bucharest Mayor Sorin Oprescu has been on an official visit to Beijing, where he hoped to find investors for the city´s projects, after the city councilors voted to slash the budget by over 1 billion lei. Oprescu also visits Shanghai and negotiate a series of collaborations.
Oprescu met with representatives of the Beijing Construction Engineering Group to discuss a public-private partnership for large construction and infrastructure projects (Source:

H&M to open first Romanian store on March 25

Romania Posted on Sun, February 06, 2011 21:52:11

H&M, the Swedish clothing retailer, will open its first store in Bucharest on March 25 in the AFI Palace Cotroceni shopping center, reports Romania Business Insider. H&M plans to open six stores in the first half of 2011 and hire at least 300 people by the end of the year.
“When we open new stores we take into account factors like number of clients, business locations and business environment. We believe Romania is in the right moment for our development plans, irrespective of the economic crisis,” said Pernilla Halldin, H&M spokesperson, quoted by
Read more in the Romania Insider website here.

Från kommunism till kapitalism genom Rumänien

Romania Posted on Tue, October 26, 2010 22:29:29

Följ med på en varm och humoristisk resa genom Rumänien. Från kommunism till kapitalism i en av Rumäniens starkaste symboler – bilen Dacia. Vi möter olika generationer rumäner, från gamla nostalgiker till unga entreprenörer. De har alla bilen Dacia gemensamt. Från början var Dacia en symbol för ambitionerna med kommunistisk teknologi, i dag är den en reflektion över den nya globala ekonomin. 1999 köptes Dacia av Renault och är nu en bästsäljare på utvecklingsmarknaderna.
Se filmen här.

Skuldtyngda rumäner hoppas på lotterivinst

Romania Posted on Tue, August 31, 2010 13:26:47

I Rumänien spekuleras det i en snar regeringskris. Regeringen vacklar på grund av sina tuffa åtgärder mot den ekonomiska krisen. Besparingarna är tuffa för de flesta rumäner, rapporterar Sveriges Radios utsända i Dagens Eko.
Lönenivån i offentliga sektorn har sänkts med 25 procent, tusentals jobb har dragits in och momsen har höjts. Men Monica Cojoaca, som jobbar på bank, klarar inte att anpassa sig till sämre tider.
– Det är svårt att lägga bort kreditkortet, säger Monica Cojoaca och skrattar lite generat.
Hennes skulder växer stadigt. Hon är 30 år och lever ensam i en etta, som föräldrarna hjälpt henne att köpa.
Banklönen på omkring 6 000 kronor i månaden har inte stigit på två år och någon höjning är inte i sikte, inte heller som privatanställd.
– Jag hoppas jag vinner på lotteri någon dag, säger den unga rumänskan och det kan man nästan förstå, när hon, banktjejen, avslöjar att hon dribblar skulder och köp mellan fyra olika kreditkort.

Rumäniens ekonomiska sits liknar mycket Spaniens. Statens finanser var tidigare i schack och ekonomin växte under många år tack vare rumänernas köplust. Men nu har bubblan spruckit och de står i stället kvar med stora skulder till utlandet. Ekonomin krymper. Butikerna stänger.

Romania macroeconomic update: Slower growth and higher inflation

Romania Posted on Tue, July 13, 2010 22:49:34

Romania’s Constitutional Court ruled on 25 June that some of the
austerity measures to be implemented by the government are
unconstitutional. To offset the ruling that pensions cannot be cut, the
government decided to increase VAT from 19% to 24%. These events
have prompted Bank Austria to re-think some of the trends envisaged for Romania.
The possible delay in a rebound of local demand – the VAT increase will
directly impact on household consumption – will be reflected in a further
drop in real GDP, by 2.5% yoy in 2010, a significant downward revision
from their previous forecast of -0.9% yoy.
Members can download Bank Austria´s revised forecast for Romania here.

Romania plans big VAT rise

Romania Posted on Tue, June 29, 2010 20:14:32

Romania plans to raise value-added tax (VAT) to 24% in an effort to curb the country’s deficit, the prime minister has said. Emil Boc said the 5% rise was an attempt to guarantee a $20bn International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. The move comes after Romania’s top court ruled out plans to cut pensions, prompting the IMF to delay key talks. Read the full BBC article here.

Black Earth East förvärvar mer jordbruksmark i Rumänien

Romania Posted on Mon, May 10, 2010 23:36:27

Svenska Black Earth East:s affärsidé är att förvärva jordbruksmark i Rumänien. I augusti 2008 genomfördes det första markförvärvet. Det senaste förvärvet om ca 50 ha skedde i mars 2010 och fortsatta markförvärv planeras att genomföras under 2010. Bolaget är ett publikt onoterat aktiebolag, som bildades 2007 och har bedrivit aktiv verksamhet sedan 2008 då även de första förvärven om ca 150 hektar åkermark påbörjades.
Bolaget befinner sig ännu i uppbyggnadsfasen och de första markförvärven har genomförts. Befintlig mark har brukats och inbringat en skörd. Black Earth East har genom sin närvaro i Rumänien etablerat sig som en aktiv aktör och byggt upp viktiga och nödvändiga kontakter inför kommande och fortsatta markförvärv. För att läsa en intervju med bolagets VD Johan Skålén klicka här (Stockpicker Newsletter 10 maj).

Inbjudan till deltagande i affärsdelegation till Rumänien och Moldavien

Romania Posted on Fri, April 30, 2010 23:17:42

Exportrådet i Bukarest i samarbete med vår ambassad i Rumänien inbjuder till deltagande i en affärsdelegation till Rumänien och Moldavien den 25 till 28 maj.

Båda länderna har stora behov av att uppgradera sin infrastruktur inom flera områden såsom energi, avfallshantering, vägar, transporter mm. Eftersom Rumänien är ett EU-land är det på många sätt enklare att göra affärer där, men vår uppfattning är att efter den första intressevågen från svenska företag har landet lite grann ”glömts bort”. Rumänien har dock 22 milj. invånare och stora naturtillgångar, så det är en intressant marknad.

Moldavien har en ung och reformvänlig ledning som arbetar för att landet skall komma in i EU och för att skapa ett bra affärsklimat. Det är ett fattigt land och lönerna är låga, men befolkningen är välutbildad och språkkunnig, vilket t ex visas genom att ett svenskt företag har etablerat ett call center där. Några stora svenska företag är redan på plats i Moldavien.

Exempel på projekt: Det finns flera gemensamma projekt för Rumänien och Moldavien inom transportväsendet. Fem broar över floden Prut, som är gränsflod mellan de två länderna skall renoveras. Järnvägen Iasi-Chisinau-Tighina byggs om så att rälsen får europeisk standard. Två stora projekt rörande överföring av gas och el mellan länderna är under diskussion.
EBRD har avsatt 20 milj. Euro till ”energy efficiency and renewable energy projects” i Moldavien. En förstudie för upprättande av en ny kraftledning Balti-Suceava är snart klar.

Besökarna ges tillfälle att träffa regeringsföreträdare och bilda sig en uppfattning om det politiska och ekonomiska läget i länderna samt informeras om planerade och pågående projekt,

Program och anmälningsblankett kan laddas ner här.

Romania ‘to host US missile shield’

Romania Posted on Mon, February 08, 2010 23:50:59

Romania has agreed to host missile interceptors as part of a new US defence shield, its president says. President Traian Basescu said the plan was approved by the defence council. It still needs parliamentary approval. The US scrapped a previous missile shield, based in Poland and the Czech Republic, which had infuriated Russia. Instead the new system would provide better defence from “the emerging threat” of Iranian short- and medium-range missiles, a US official said. Read more in this BBC article.

“EU creates worse cultural catastrophy than Ceausesco” says Deutsche Welle

Romania Posted on Mon, February 01, 2010 09:30:12

Anybody of another oppinion than Deutsche Welle in this article published January 25?
Please feel free to give your comment below.
EU subsidies to Romania may be a blessing for the economy, but for rural life they’re a curse. Unemployment is skyrocketing and traditional architecture is disappearing at an alarming pace, writes DW’s William Blacker.
In the late 1980s, English newspapers were full of stories of how Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was laying waste to the historic villages of Romania. There followed an international outcry against such brutal, architectural vandalism.
But then in the final days of 1989, Romania’s bloody revolution brought an abrupt end to it all. Ceausescu and his wife Elena were led out into the backyard of a militia garrison in Targoviste and shot dead.
By chance, two weeks later, I was travelling through eastern Europe and found myself crossing the Romanian border, where I expected to find a wasteland of bulldozed settlements. Instead I found villages more intact and more beautiful than any I had seen in all of eastern Europe. It was then I discovered that Ceausescu’s plans to “systematize” the villages had never been carried out.
Not only were the villages beautiful but they were also full of people, all of whom had jobs. The land around the villages was neatly cultivated, there were thriving forests, and nowhere was there any sign of advertising or neon lights.

Modern blundering
Now the communist cooperative farms have closed down, and to find work villagers are forced to travel abroad, often lured by false promises and ending up begging and working in prostitution.
The forests are being chopped down at a rate faster than at any time since World War II – there is now 20 percent less forestland in Romania than in 1989 – and the once pristine countryside is now littered not only with plastic, but also with advertising billboards and neon lights promoting the same Western products which create that litter. The modern world has blundered in with barely a thought for the consequences.
Those villagers who didn’t go abroad to work have until now, with their few animals, managed to survive. But this year the pace of change accelerated.
In August I watched as monstrous, EU financed machines rumbled though my village and headed for the hay meadows. There they roared up and down spewing forth huge, cylindrical hay-bales.
One man operated each machine, and the jobs of 20 people, mostly Sinti and Roma, were gone in a moment. The benign, small-scale agriculture upon which the villagers relied was brought ever nearer its end.

EU subsidies hurt the poor
You might think the EU agricultural subsidies given directly to farmers are helping – and in a way they are – but they are given only to those who already have more than a certain amount of land or number of animals. The smallest subsistence farmers receive nothing, and so, as ever, the rich get richer and the poor are squeezed out.
But there is a greater irony. Those lucky enough to receive EU subsidies, often pocketing large sums of money, are using them to modernize their 18th and 19th century village houses beyond all recognition, turning them into garish villas which bear no resemblance to the historic architecture around them.
For a tiny proportion of the money spent on subsidizing agriculture, the EU could have ensured that Romania’s historic architecture was properly legally protected. It did not.
The result is a creeping cultural catastrophe, and the destruction is on a scale far greater than anything Ceausescu ever achieved. Ceausescu had wanted to destroy Romania’s historic villages; the modern world and the EU are now doing his work for him. (Deutsche Welle, Jan 25).

Romania finance ministry rocks

Romania Posted on Tue, January 19, 2010 23:08:43

Romania’s finance minister has appointed a rock star to help improve the ministry’s image as parliament prepares to pass an austerity budget that would freeze public sector wages and trigger job cuts.
Dan Bittman, lead singer of Romanian group Holograf, will work with Andrei Gheorghe, a radio presenter and host of the Romanian version of television show The Weakest Link, to “translate technical language for the people”.
Sebastic Vladescu, finance minister, said Mr Bittman, 47, would deliver feedback from the public and offer “an objective opinion on the image of the institution”. Mr Gheorghe was appointed two weeks ago as Mr Vladescu’s communications adviser.
Efforts to soften the finance ministry’s image come as Romania’s parliament debates a budget that would narrow the fiscal deficit and help unlock assistance from the International Monetary Fund. Read more in the FT article here.

New Romanian government gets green light from parliament

Romania Posted on Sun, December 27, 2009 12:01:52

The Romanian parliament has approved the new centrist government of Prime Minister Emil Boc just two months after the premier’s previous cabinet failed to win parliamentary support.

The new cabinet of Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc has been given parliamentary approval, ending a political crisis in the country and reaffirming Boc’s leadership two months after parliament rejected his previous cabinet.

Boc named his 15 cabinet members on Sunday with many former ministers retaining their positions in the new coalition government.

As one of its first acts, the new government approved an austerity budget for 2010, which Romania hopes will lead to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic rescue package to aid the country’s recovery from the financial crisis.

The IMF has frozen parts of a 20 billion euro ($28.7 billion) aid package to Romania which are vital to the country’s efforts to drag itself out of recession.

Boc said his main priority was to push the budget through the assembly by mid January, with the aim to cut Romania’s deficit to 5.9 percent from 7.3 percent as it stands.

“We aim to ensure a re-launch of the national economy next year. The budget is based on indicators agreed with the IMF,” Boc told reporters shortly after his cabinet was given parliamentary approval.

“2010 will be also a difficult year … we must be aware that before we reach a bit of wellness we have to undergo a bit of hardship … so I will need to take responsibility for measures which are not necessarily popular but badly-needed,” Boc told parliament. (Deutsche Welle 26 Dec)

Från det ena till det andra

Romania Posted on Tue, December 22, 2009 18:48:07

På Rumänska kulturinstitutet visas utställningen Från det ena till det andra, där de medverkande konstnärerna ställer ut verk som berör förändring i samhällets strukturer ur olika perspektiv. Tjugo år efter Berlinmurens fall har Harun Farockis och Andrei Ujicas film Videograms of a Revolution (1992) blivit en samtida klassiker. Den både fångar och diskuterar ett ögonblick av radikal förändring. I filmen får vi via den rumänska televisionens rapportering från Ceausescus sista tal i Bukarest och amatörers videofilmer av händelser på gatan följa en omvälvande protest med stora konsekvenser. Från det ena till det andra visas på Rumänska kulturinstitutet till och med den 19 februari 2010.

Stora affärsmöjligheter inom infrastrukturområdet i Rumänien

Romania Posted on Thu, November 19, 2009 13:47:09

…här presenterade av Exportrådets Helen Gustafsson:


IMF and EU delay Romania loan due to government collapse

Romania Posted on Mon, November 09, 2009 15:07:26

The International Monetary Fund and the European Union told Romania on Friday that they will delay the next installments of a bailout loan package valued at more than $30 billion, until the country has a new government.

The lenders were responding to the collapse of Romania’s coalition government last month, which froze the country’s ability to enact spending cuts the IMF has demanded as a condition of its loan.

“We will proceed to the next disbursement once the political situation is resolved,” Jeffrey Franks, head of the IMF’s mission in Bucharest, told reporters, according to wire reports. (Wall Street Journal, Nov 9)

UD inbjuder till möte om Rumänien och Moldavien

Romania Posted on Tue, November 03, 2009 21:58:33

UD:s enhet för Östeuropa och Centralasien i samarbete med UD:s enhet för Europeiska Unionen inbjuder till ett möte i samverkansgruppen beträffande Rumänien och Moldavien den 25 november kl 13.30 – 16.30. Plats: Rotundan, Rosenbad 4, Stockholm.

Samverkansgruppen är ett diskussionsforum som bildats på initiativ av UD och representanter för svenskt näringsliv. Mötena har en informell karaktär och deltagarna ges möjlighet att diskutera allehanda frågor som rör utvecklingen i vår region. UD kommer att informera om intressanta in- och utgående politiska besök och händelser/aktiviteter där vi tillsammans kan agera för att skapa bättre förutsättningar för företagen att göra affärer.

Vid mötet den 25 november kommer vi att diskutera utvecklingen på de moldaviska och rumänska marknaderna tillsammans med bl a Moldaviens chargé d´affaires a.i. Tatiana Molcean och Rumäniens ambassadör Raduta Matache. Även handelssekreterare Helen Gustafsson, Exportrådet, kommer att medverka. Välkommen med din anmälan senast den 18 november. Enklast gör Du det genom att maila till:

Romanian government falls after no-confidence vote

Romania Posted on Tue, October 13, 2009 21:22:22

News flash from Business New Europe:

The Romanian govt. of PM Emil Boc, the head of the Liberal Democratic Party that also supports incumbent President Traian Basescu was ousted in a 258-176 no-confidence vote called by the National Liberal Party and the Hungarian Democratic Union and also supported by the larger Social Democratic Party. The latter party was part of a loose governing coalition until Oct. 1, but pulled out from the government after PM Boc fired Interior Minister Dan Nica, of the Social Democrats.

The firing of Boc’s cabinet, the first such obtained by means of a no-confidence vote in 20 years, adds a political crisis on top of the economic one that has already hit Romania earlier this year. Romania will be governed by Boc’s cabinet until President Traian Basescu nominates a new prime minister, who will have to form a new cabinet. Opposition parties want an independent to head a cabinet of “technocrats” until after presidential elections scheduled Nov. 22, with a runoff ecpected Dec. 6.

The problem EU-member Romania faces is that it will have an unstable and fragile government during one of the most difficult periods in its economy, at a time when the country needs a firm cabinet to safeguard its interests and the pledges it made to the EU and IMF.

Protester och oro i krisdrabbat Rumänien

Romania Posted on Fri, October 09, 2009 00:00:41

Från Sveriges Radios utsände:
Landet är på en och samma gång inne i en djup ekonomisk, social och politisk kris. Finansoron i världen har gjort att produktionen sjunkit brant, 800 000 offentliganställda har varit ute i strejk och regeringen har spruckit.

Fortfarande för bara drygt ett år sedan kom det idel optimistiska rapporter om ekonomin. Tillväxten var den högsta Rumänien någonsin noterat och den mest snabbväxande inom EU. De unga, välutbildade höginkomsttagarna festade vilt på nattklubbarna i huvudstaden Bukarest. Och det var inte en kort, tillfällig högkonjunktur. Efter det kaotiska 1990-talet har 2000-talet inneburit en gradvis stabilisering och det ekonomiska läget har blivit allt bättre även om korruptionen förblivit ett problem av gigantiska mått.

Men så slog finanskrisen till och Rumänien är en av de trots allt svaga länkarna i världsekonomin som därför drabbats hårdast. Bruttonationalprodukten, värdet av alla varor och tjänster som tillverkas, väntas sjunka med uppemot 10 procent i år, även exporten minskar kraftigt medan budgetunderskottet har skjutit i höjden. För att klara ekonomin har regeringen tvingats begära hjälp från Internationella valutafonden, IMF, och man har fått ett jättelån på 20 miljarder euro, drygt 200 miljarder kronor. Utan det hade förstås de ekonomiska utsikterna för 2009 sett ännu sämre ut. Men stödpaketet har också resulterat i problem eftersom pengarna kommer med hårda villkor. Och de har resulterat i social oro och i förlängningen i en regeringskris. Läs mer på SR:s hemsida här.

Romania´s ruling coalition collapses

Romania Posted on Thu, October 01, 2009 14:26:21

Political machinations continue in Romania, with the Social Democrats (PSD) appearing this morning to walk out of the ruling coalition with the Democrat Liberal Party (PD-L), thereby raising doubts as to whether Romania is heading to early parliamentary elections.

The current spat follows the move by the prime minister, Emil Boc (PD-L), to dismiss the PSD interior minister, Dan Nica, after he alleged that the forthcoming presidential election (due to be held on November 22) would be rigged. The PD-L asked the PSD to name a replacement for Nica, and when it refused the prime minister apparently appointed a PD-L candidate, Vasile Blaga, who previously served as minister of interior. Evidently this latter move was too much for the PSD to stomach and this morning they seem to have formally left the coalition.
The PSD’s move seems likely to be positioning ahead of the presidential elections which incumbent, Traian Basescu (PD-L) still seem well placed to win. Basescu continues to lead in the polls (albeit his support has fallen to around 30%) but may be forced into a run-off vote by the chairman of the PSD, Mircea Geoana, who is also expected to stand, and PNL candidate, Crin Antonescu. The latter two candidates are currently polling around the 20% mark in opinion polls. The PSD is also probably worried that its presence in a government, which has signed up for an austerity programme under a new IMF SBA, will ultimately damage its electoral prospects.

The PD-L now faces the choice of whether to go to early elections or of trying to cobble together a coalition with other opposition parties. This will be difficult though as previous coalitions with the National Liberals (PNL) have proved unstable/difficult and the latter party has thus far vowed not to re-enter a coalition with the PD-L. A PD-L/PNL coalition would though hold majorities in both the Senate (79 out of 137 seats) and the Chamber of Deputies (180 out of 334 deputies). The only alternative for the PD-L would be to look for support from the ethnic Hungarian party, the UDMR, albeit with the UDMR holding just 9 seats in the senate, and 22 in the Chamber of Deputies, this would still leave the PD-L short of a majority (the PD-L has 51 seats in the senate and 117 in the Chamber of Deputies). Note that the PNL and UDMR both filed a motion of no confidence in the Boc government only last week, which failed with the backing of just 112 deputies, short of the 236 needed to carry the motion. Clearly, it could be difficult to reformulate a majority coalition in the current tense political environment, with the PD-L having few easy options.

A political crisis is the last thing that Romania needs as the government battles to comply with an IMF programme, which plans far reaching structural reforms, as well as trimming the budget deficit from an expected 7.3% of GDP this year to 3% of GDP by 2011. The IMF board signed off on the second review of the €12.9bn IMF programme last month, agreeing to the disbursement of €1.9bn in credit. The Fund board did though call on the government to push through with reforms that would ensure a permanent reduction in current budget spending. If Romania is going to joint presidential/parliamentary elections, the implementation of these reforms could well be delayed, possibly delaying the release of the next IMF tranche.

The RON has felt the pressure over the past 24 hours, weakening to RON4.27:€1 this morning, after trading sub the 4.20 level last week on the back of the disbursement of IMF funding, plus also some hints of BNR intervention; we sense that the BNR intervened to take the RON stronger to set the stage for the official rate cut earlier this week. Prior to this the RON had been on a slowly weakening trend, managed we think by the BNR. The evidence suggests that the BNR has been in the market this morning, trying to limiting RON selling pressure. The BNR still has plenty of ammunition to manage the exchange rate, as it has around US$30bn in reserves, further replenished with the release of IMF Funds. The BNR is though very sensitive to the exchange rate, given the high level of FX borrowing by households/corporates, and will likely continue to weigh in selling FX to cap weakness to 4.30 at least in the short term (the next week). Beyond that and against the context of a protracted election campaign (parliamentary and presidential) we may well see a resumption of the steady deprecation trend, managed again heavily by the BNR. (Business New Europe, Oct 1st)

EIB increases its support for SME projects in Romania by EUR 140 million

Romania Posted on Wed, September 02, 2009 22:30:45

The European investment Bank (EIB) is providing two intermediated loans to support the projects of small and medium-sized enterprises in Romania: EUR 80 million to Bancpost S:A. and EUR 60 million to EFG Leasing IFN S.A.
Read more here.

Romania economic statistics for first half 2009

Romania Posted on Tue, September 01, 2009 20:21:23

The Romanian Embassy in Stockholm has kindly supplied us with the attached up to date statistics made by Ernest & Young Romania.

Rumänien bland de hårdast drabbade

Romania Posted on Mon, August 10, 2009 20:32:59

Rumäniens ekonomi är en av hårdast drabbade i EU. Landets handelsunderskott minskade mer än 60 procent under första halvåret i år, men inte på grund av att exporten tagit fart, utan för att företagskonkurser och arbetslöshet minskat konsumtionen (lunchekot 10 augusti).

Romania’s energy firms set for overhaul and bourse entry in sweeping privatisation plan

Romania Posted on Mon, June 22, 2009 08:29:38

Romania’s state energy companies are slated for restructuring into two holdings that the government hopes will lead to a minority flotation on the Bucharest bourse in around two years.
The move is part of an energy strategy aimed at lowering medium-term energy dependence by enhancing production, which Finance Minister Adriean Videanu unveiled in parliament last week.
Under the overhaul that Videanu wants approved by the end of 2009, the two new companies would also show an output cost of 44 euros per MWh, down from 48 euros the government has estimated for the state sector at present. ( Business News)
Read more here

Rumänska Dacia går om Volvo

Romania Posted on Wed, June 17, 2009 21:54:25

Både Volvo och Saab fortsätter ha problem på den europeiska bilmarknaden. De svenska märkena hade en klart sämre utveckling än marknaden som helhet i maj.
Rumänska Dacia, som ägs av Renault, fördubblade sin majförsäljning och gick bland annat om Volvo med god marginal. (enligt DI 16 Juni).

Dutch investors beleive in Romania

Romania Posted on Sun, June 14, 2009 10:18:03

Whether it be financial, retail, transport, utilities or services, Dutch investors think that Romania, unlike the already development-saturated Western European countries, has space for significant further investment in all sectors – despite all foreign investors’ bugbears of the unpredictability of the local legal and financial framework. Read more here.

The Romanian Business Newsletter

Romania Posted on Sun, June 14, 2009 09:35:45

The Romanian Consulting and Accounting Group Pallas issues a Business Newsletter that can be found here.