The economic crisis has taken its toll on the investments of Greek-owned companies, but Greece will further strengthen its traditional partnership with Romania, Georgios Poukamissas, Ambassador of Greece to Romania, told BR.
Is Romania an attractive economy for Greek investments and, if so, why?
Romania has always been attractive to the Greeks since we share very strong historical, social and cultural ties and businessmen of Greek origin have been living and thriving here for centuries. After the political changes of 1990 Greek investors were among the first to arrive in the country looking forward to establishing solid and lasting business relationships that would be prosperous and positive for their business plans and for the country as well since they helped create a large number of jobs and gave the new Romanian “market economy” a helping hand.
I believe the basic reason for the Greek business familiarity with Romania, apart from our historic ties and the friendship between our peoples, is the geographical proximity of the two countries and the size of Romania’s potential.
How would you characterize the Romanian business environment?
It is without any doubt developing and constantly improving. Romania has been a member of the EU for the last three years and is making concrete efforts to adopt European operating standards, which all European partners generally agree with. I strongly believe that if the political leaders keep up their difficult but promising plans, the business environment will improve considerably within the next five years, multiplying the development opportunities and encouraging foreign investment.
What do you consider to be the opportunities and also the setbacks of the Romanian economy?
Among the setbacks I believe is the lack of a concrete, and integrated with the basic laws of the EU, legislation for foreign investments in connection with the excessive bureaucracy and the absence of modern infrastructure.
On the other hand, Romanian people and the whole of society are very friendly, cooperative and adaptive to the challenges of today’s needs with a sincere and ardent desire to be active in the European family and have a successful and strong presence in the world scene.
How do Greek businesspeople feel about the Romanian business environment and its recent developments? How did the elections affect the local environment and investment prospects of Greek investors?
Businesspeople in general, including of course the Greeks, don’t like the slow process of state bureaucracy and the lack of concrete laws that are self evident in all developed western countries. As for the last presidential elections of December, I believe the result helped further stabilize the political environment. This definitely helped create a solid base for Greek investors to increase their efforts and carry on with their businesses.
What are the most attractive Romanian industries to Greek businesspeople?
I believe the banking sector and of course telecommunications are very attractive – and with impressive results so far in the Romanian market. Furthermore, there is a very strong Greek presence in the food industry as well as in real estate and construction. I believe however that there are great opportunities in the near future on all business levels – possibly concerning the agro-alimentary sector as well as renewable energy.