April 11, 2014
More and more I hear the reply: “the Romanian position is the position of the European Union”, or “We cannot have a national position because we risk a conflict with the European Union“.
This idea of not having a major national project, because the Brussels guidelines are sufficient, is a myth in my opinion, built around a false self-sufficiency.
Having a national project for the country, while respecting the European construction, but completing it and bringing added value, is or should be a priority for Romania.
In order to understand the need and the importance of complementary actions to the European strategy for growth and development, I will present our neighbours’ and other EU countries, such as Hungary, Bulgaria, and Serbia, efforts in strengthening the political and economic relations with Arab states.
This vision can be used as a guiding principle for all non -EU areas that can bring new markets for Europe and Romania, that can increase trade, strengthen the network of economic and political partnerships and establish a dialogue with regional power poles in a world increasingly globalized and interdependent.
Just an example…
Thus, Bulgaria has built a close relationship with Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Hungary did the same.
The areas targeted by Arab investors are health, agriculture and mining, Central and Eastern Europe being intensely promoted by the Hungarian prime minister, who plans to enter the Middle East market with national products, to develop joint projects and to contribute with technology in the Arab world.
Recently, in early March, the Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevniev, said that Qatar planned to invest 20 billion dollars in the Bulgarian infrastructure by 2017, and that Bulgarian construction companies were prepared to participate in infrastructure projects planned for 2022, when Qatar will host the World Cup. The figures provided are sufficient to observe that a beneficial partnership for both economies is developing between Bulgaria and Qatar, one that isn’t contrary to the EU membership.
The Arab world had and will play an important role in the global economy and like other emerging markets, it should be taken into account in any strategy for growth. Moreover, we should consider that export is one of the relevant growth factors in this moment for Romania and Europe.
At the end of March, a delegation of Arab countries ambassadors in Bucharest visited Constanta in order to discuss the development of investment relationships. As representatives of the Arab states mentioned, there is openness for investing in our country. They claimed that Arab investors had available hundreds of millions of dollars ready to be brought in Romania, but they definitely needed a constructive dialogue on investments with government officials.
We can observe that Romania has such levers and must develop them. The entire Romanian society must see and understand that EU membership does not mean that we, Romanians, do not have to make any effort to have our own positions and partnerships. I mean strong, consistent, fair and constructive partnerships.
Partnerships that will ultimately revitalize EU’s relations with the rest of the world. That will hold EU at the international negotiating table in subject from international politics, foreign policy, security or economic areas (with great deficits in the last years).
The expansion of the relationship with China is a good start. But it will not be enough. There are so many prolific areas for developing Romania’s economic and commercial relations, that they can only be addressed through systemically organization.
For this systemic approach we need more than ever a Ministry of Foreign Trade and a foreign trade research institute – well funded, well articulated – that should present the opportunities the Romanian businessmen have and how they can capitalize them.
The Ministry of Foreign Trade, through a pragmatic and effective approach, will assist these businessmen in their efforts to reach the opportunities. Thus, we could provide a stable and consistent growth in exports, with all the advantages and development implications for the Romanian market.
Author : Adrian Marius Dobre