LINKED TO EUROPE
Romania is fundamentally linked to Europe, therefore, at this point in time, the biggest threat to the country’s economy is first of all the economic slowdown in Europe. Then, the investment climate should not deteriorate and, given the significant decline in foreign direct investments during the first half of this year, that trend should quickly be reversed.
Being an EU member means being part of Europe. The EU will integrate further and the crisis has only helped that process. Without the crisis, many of the changes and reforms that are now being implemented in Europe would not have been made. I am referring to banking union and more political and fiscal integration. The euro is the cornerstone of that. So again, being part of Europe means full integration and eventually adoption of the euro.
THE EYES ON PREDICTABILITY
It remains important to comply with the IMF program and make sure that deadlines for reforms are being met. Romania is a sizeable and attractive market with a lot of potential. So it does attract investors who are looking at it. Investors want sustainable growth opportunities as well as a relatively stable and predictable business environment with a good judiciary as well as fiscal and legal framework. If surprises occur all the time and are hitting the ceiling, then investors will gradually move out and seek for alternative opportunities. It is important that people understand this. Because what has been built up over a long period of time can quickly be destroyed.
And we should also not forget that international investors also build their actions on the opinions in the international media. And this is very often a different perception than what people have in Romania. It is important that we all continue to educate, explain and present to the outside world the real picture of Romania with the real opportunities. We should not take this for granted and think that everybody will just understand. It does not work like that.
BANKS GOT MORE CONSERVATIVE IN THEIR APPROACH TO LENDING
I don’t think that banks have stopped lending at all and the latest H1 figures demonstrate that. But banks want more capital on their balance sheets and are more selective in their lending decisions.
THERE ARE NO WONDER RECIPES
I don’t believe in wonder recipes. Romania should and will integrate into Europe as it wanted to become an EU member and therefore, the only recipe is to live, acknowledge and comply to the rules of the EU. And the faster that process will go, the better it will be for Romania.