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30 Years of Partnership between Romania and the World Bank

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I was delighted to participate in an important anniversary moment: 30 years of local partnership between Romania and the World Bank represent almost a life, but fortunately, this is the modern life for nowadays Romania, which can be defined today by democracy, rule of law and market economy. This celebration is both a retrospective moment, suitable for drawing conclusions, and a prospective one, oriented towards the future cooperation between Romania and the World Bank. Our message was about change, about responsibility, about the need for a performing economy. And the World Bank always has had a special position as provider of international expertise for Romania, considering all the reforms needed all this time.

In this context, it was my honour to deliver the message of the President of Romania:

“Madam Vice-President of the World Bank,

Mr. Prime Minister,

Distinguished members of the Romanian Parliament,

Mr. Governor of the National Bank of Romania,

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished World Bank Officials,

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear guests,

Today we are celebrating three decades of the World Bank’s presence in Romania. Since the beginning of this partnership, the World Bank has had a special position regarding the institutional consolidation and the economic convergence of our country with more advanced economies. The purpose has always been to develop Romania and to increase the quality of life for its citizens.

The cooperation with the World Bank started fifty years ago, when Romania also joined the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The transition to the market economy, along with access to resources and new opportunities led to the development of a competitive private sector and increased productivity in the economy.

Successive stages of reform and institutional change have also generated the restructuring of the public sector, as well as the improvement of social services and policies dedicated to vulnerable social groups.

Today, objectives such as ensuring equal opportunities and chances, or increasing competitiveness in the private sector, require adequate solutions to managing the effects of the pandemic and of the humanitarian crisis generated by the war in Ukraine.

Within the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the World Bank is already our partner on objectives such as increasing the quality of governance, the efficiency of fiscal policies, social protection, and the reform of public systems – pensions, education, health, and justice.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Romania has changed significantly in the last three decades, from all points of view. Today, as a result of a consistent path and a real attachment to Euro-Atlantic values, Romania is a credible member country in the European Union and NATO.

We benefit from a consolidated democracy and a functional market economy, and during challenging times, we have demonstrated significant resilience. Our business community is dynamic and innovative. Civil society is active and involved, and the public administration is much more open to change and structural reforms than years ago. Nevertheless, we still have a lot to address.

Despite the economic growth and favorable perspectives, we are facing a series of structural problems accumulated over the years and the deepening of regional development gaps.

In the current context of the accelerated inflation, the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine, economic and social vulnerabilities have also increased, which need efficient public policies.

The reform of large public systems should target both increasing quality and access to essential services, as well as returning to the principles of sustainability and predictability in public finances and for the business environment. In this regard, the EU funds must be the key priority for all central and local public authorities.

It is obvious that we can consolidate investors’ trust only by improving the institutional quality of our business environment. This means protecting property, reducing bureaucracy, and a more efficient public administration. This is the only way to support private investment and to stimulate the efficient actors, which always expect a fair relation between state and economy.

A global world shaped by technological progress is constantly creating conditions for the development of new industries. Preparing new skills for the future and increasing the appetite for innovation are essential for all citizens, especially for the young people. The educated Romania is what ensures everyone continuous chances to adapt to whatever the future may bring.

Dear guests,

The current context, with all security challenges and specific uncertainties, makes public policy decision difficult and reveals the need for strong institutions, able to support real reforms that lead to economic development and social justice.

As a country, we have been consistently supported by our international partners, of which the World Bank stands out significantly, through funding and specialized assistance. However, the governance and institutional constraints remain important challenges for our country’s development.

The international expertise certainly contributes to the increase of public authorities’ efficiency, but it cannot and should not replace the national efforts. We ourselves have the responsibility to capitalize on all these cooperation opportunities.

I thank the World Bank team for your involvement over the last three decades in Romania. I am certain that the coming years will strengthen our cooperation even further.

I congratulate you and wish you all the best!”.

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