Romania, as well as other EU countries, is currently facing several economic challenges: high inflation, the energy market crisis, as well as macroeconomic imbalances (current account and budget deficit). The Foreign Investors Council (FIC) believes that the responses to aid recovery should not only be based on solving problems in the short term, but should also help prepare the economy of the future. Romania should establish and implement those strategic directions that strengthen economic growth and ensure the well-being of its citizens.
In 2016, the Foreign Investors Council (FIC) started an ambitious project called Va Urma, which advances an economic model that can lead Romania into becoming one of the top 10 economies in Europe by 2040. As early as 2016, the FIC identified that the acceleration of economic development requires the establishment of main directions based on demography and human capital, modern infrastructure and efficiency in both the public and private sectors. This year, we bring to the public’s attention the same project for our country, with a vision for the next 20 years, updated to take account of the latest events at global level. A key element of our programme is sustainable growth through which the development of Romanian society will be aligned with European objectives in terms of climate neutrality.
The objectives and recommendations of Va Urma overlap with and also complement some of the measures announced by the Romanian Government. They are intended to be pursued alongside the targets assumed through the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (NPRR). At the same time, they converge with recommendations for Romania from the European Union.
Achieving these objectives is conditional on a change in societal behaviour and requires a significant initial financial effort. The Va Urma economic model provides an estimate of the investment needed to achieve climate targets and ensure economic growth. The scenarios we have considered highlight the need for annual investments of between 161.3 and 170.8 billion lei.
Va Urma emphasises the multiple advantages of combining private (foreign and domestic) and public investments together with measures aiming to stimulate digitisation and innovation. The key elements of the programme comprise: improving institutional capacity and the efficiency of state-owned companies; protecting human capital by facilitating access to jobs, education and health; transforming the energy mix in the directions established by the Green Deal at European level and the development of energy infrastructure. For each of the four strategic pillars, Va Urma proposes a series of measures to boost economic growth and offset the adjustment effort through the Green Deal. Romania will mitigate regional disparities and stimulate investments, production and trade only if we make these four directions a national, long-term priority.
Va Urma represents a new opportunity for citizens, civil society, business and academia to engage in a constructive dialogue that results in a long-term country plan for Romania, supported by all decision-makers, through which the country will achieve strong, sustainable economic growth, as well as meeting EU climate targets. This is the right time to turn disadvantages into advantages: We believe that with the right policies, our economy can grow another 4.5 times over the next two decades.
On 7 September 2022, the FIC launched the 2022 edition of Va Urma with the participation of the Prime Minister of Romania, Nicolae Ciuca, together with members of the Government and Parliament, international institutions, and economic leaders. The presence at the reunion was at high-level representation: https://vaurma.ro/lansare-va-urma-2022.
The participation of the Prime Minister at the launching of the “Va Urma” project confirms the partnership and trust relationship between the Romanian Government and the Foreign Investors Council to support investments and the economy of the future. The event was a first step in setting country directions agreed and supported by the authorities, representative international institutions, and the business environment.
Among the long-term measures decided as a result of the joint debates we can mention:
- Defining a long-term strategy to attract foreign investors to Romania with a focus on high added value and competitive advantage sectors (human capital, natural resources).
- Promotion of foreign investments in Romania and domestic investments abroad by establishing an institutional mechanism under the coordination of the Prime Minister.
- Improving energy security by boosting the development of new production capacity and implementing new forms of state aid and financing mechanisms for the entire value chain to ensure liquidity to producers, distributors, suppliers and consumers.
- Improving waste management system (collection, recovery, recycling), following the extended consultation with all parties.
- Healthy Romania: redesigning the health system with focus on prevention, access to medical services and innovative medicines (encourage innovation and production in Romania), telemedicine, ambulatory care, patient digital file and development of the medical education system to a digitally enabled for all.
- Educated Romania for the preparation of the workforce of the future (access to education, reduction of school dropout, dual educational system, continuous training, scholarships).
- Public institutions and SOEs top management recruitment through transparent processes, assisted by specialized recruiters.
- Increasing the predictability of the legislative framework and improving regulatory measures (aligning strategies in different sectors together with their coordinated implementation).
- Digital literacy programs (students, local and central administration, private sector).
- Digitalization of the existing legislative framework and facilitating public-private digital interactions (ONRC, digitalization of ANAF, REVISAL).
At the same time, a number of other possible measures with immediate impact that would bring Romania closer to economic development were discussed during the event:
- Adopting and implementing a comprehensive and non-bureaucratic framework for cancer treatment;
- Facilitating the involvement of economic operators in dual and vocational education;
- Simplifying the authorization process in order to allow the efficient and quick implementation of projects;
- Finalizing and publishing the Economic Atlas – the platform containing the data needed for new investments in the regions of the country (available workforce, number of industrial parks, other economic operators present in the area);
- Ensuring the stability of the managers’ position of public institutions and state companies, by ensuring an objective evaluation based on KPIs.
- Increasing the efficiency of the Virtual Private Space (SPV) in order to reduce tax evasion;
- Implementation of energy efficiency measures at the national level;
- Digitalization of public administration by implementing digital citizenship, interoperability, and government cloud;
- Adoption and implementation of EU legislation on electronic identification (electronic signatures, eIDs, video identification, etc.).
- Increasing the speed of the approval process for bringing non-EU workers into Romania.
The FIC welcomes the involvement of all participants in this dialogue on building a positive economic and social future for Romania and invites all those who are interested to share their vision for Romania 2040 through the platform Va Urma: https://vaurma.ro.
The "Va Urma" project represents an economic development model for the next 20 years that includes several scenarios. It is based around a platform – involving the academic, political, business and civil society environments – designed to build together the most effective and sustainable directions and measures for Romania to reach its development potential. Join the community of those who are contributing to a more prosperous Romania with stronger public services and a higher quality of life for the next generations and discover the interactive side of our website that allows you to create your own vision for the future of our country: https://vaurma.ro/viziune.
Change the growth rates, the contribution of each sector to GDP and the investment directions and outline your own vision for the evolution of Romania's economy in the next 20 years. You can also share your vision on Facebook. We invite you to answer together the fundamental questions for the economy of the future: What will growth rates look like? What are the sectors that generate the greatest added value in Romania's economy? What are the directions in which the necessary investments can be made to stimulate the economy?
Our project is for those who want to build, those who have already developed and innovated things in their fields of activity or have ideas that they want to put into practice today, and those who understand that change needs time and dedication. It is for people who are not afraid of responsibility for society and for its development towards ambitious goals. Please send us your opinions or the proposals of the organisation you represent to https://vaurma.ro/#contact
You can access the full report at the following link: https://vaurma.ro/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Va-Urma-Report-2022.pdf
Presentation movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1so-qIuy2yE