The recent financial and economic crisis has taught us a lot. Although agriculture is still important, the industry is the key for the future, and after the elections in May 2014, the European Union will seriously develop the concept of re-industrialization. How much does this matter for Romania? It matters, as it should, because we cannot depend only on agriculture. It is important to use this process as opportunity, not as a threat.
The European Commission wants to restart European industrialization, based on four major pillars: investment in innovation, better market conditions, access to capital and building abilities/skills. Unlike other statements on industrial policy included in the Lisbon Strategy, and “Horizon 2020”, the EU executive’s recent statement marks priority action lines, such as 'clean' technologies of production, sustainable buildings, clean vehicles, energy efficiency, and smart-grid energy.
Regarding energy and technology, Romania has the potential to become a regional leader and a strong voice in Brussels – the human talent is available, and its production capacity is already strong enough as well. We do have to keep in mind that any (re-)industrialization cannot be detached from the private sector, including both Romanian and foreign investors.
Investment opportunities have stimulated the last Summit with China in Bucharest. It proves our potential, and shows what we “can do” if we are serious, and careful not to disappoint investors interested in the long term. In addition, when trying to strengthen Romanian capital, it is important to realize that it needs a strong voice in Brussels. This is not just about investing: the funds for major European projects are allocated from here, and therefore it is a necessity to connect to these resources.
Those wanting to ride the wave of European re-industrialization should be well connected to both Brussels and Bucharest, and serious towards partners, both on the national and European level. Of course, the situation in Romania is not perfect, but we must understand that feeling sorry for ourselves is not helping in Brussels, on the contrary, the respect of business partners – from the EU institutions or the private sector – will decrease. In this context, government efforts to stimulate foreign investment, stabilizing the economic environment, and to encourage the development of energy and ICT industries should be supported by all parties in the political arena. It is in favour of the national interest. Energy independence and successful IT clusters are not unachievable goals, but we should approach it in a coordinated manner and ideally with effective public-private partnerships.
Dan LUCA / Brussels