With a population of 21 million, Romania is the European Union’s seventh largest consumer market and second biggest Central Eastern European country.
The Black Sea state offers a number of business – to – business opportunities and enjoys a high percentage of technically skilled professionals in a variety of niche sectors.
English is widely spoken and a political commitment to a market economy has led to large scale investment, with a €11 billion outlay in the first three quarters of 2012, up 17.9% according to the Romanian Statistics Institute.
During the 2000s growth peaked at 8.4% as entry into the European Union fuelled confidence and rapid development in the Romanian economy. However IMF policies imposed following a credit line in 2009 continue to represent a drag on the market.
In recent years IMF structural adjustment funds have caused political instability and led to austerity measures so radical that they have affected the former Eastern bloc country’s ability to spend EU funds – a key driver of growth.
Concerns have been raised in Brussels, during a recent visit to Bucharest President Barroso highlighted the Commission’s anxieties.
“Unless urgent action is taken, the absorption of EU funds will be seriously compromised. As the main driver of growth it’s crucial that there is a major push – irrespective of the upcoming election – to implement the critical measures to improve the absorption capacity”, said the EC chief.
Despite the economic brinkmanship Romania is on the road to recovery, GDP growth was 2.5% in 2011 and the EU member state is meeting its IMF obligations. Financing is cheap due to an investment upgrade and there is currently no further requirement for IMF loans.
If the self styled “Tiger of the East” can deal with paradoxical IMF policies and maintain economic and political stability it may just roar back to high growth – surpassing Turkey, Bulgaria and Venezuela in the process.
Enterprise Europe Network has 22 offices throughout Romania. Our teams of dedicated staff are on hand to help you explore market opportunities and find new partners in the Central Eastern European country.