No matter how stupid and inept the government is, no matter how poorly the economy is faring and no matter how low the salaries in this country are, Romanians have always been able to solace themselves with the fact that at least we’re ahead of Bulgaria.
In just about every ranking of the 27 European Union member states, Romania has come in 26th, only just beating tiny (population 7 million) Bulgaria when it comes to poverty, salaries and corruption.
Yesterday I was watching Bloomberg Surveillance and saw the following ad:
The ad pitches how investment friendly Bulgaria is, noting that its credit rating is improving and that all corporations pay a flat tax of 10%. There’s a helpful website in two foreign languages (German and English) and the whole thing is beautifully laid out, with lots of information and details.
The Romanian government meanwhile, which has previously hosted websites with plagiarized content, has no official investment website (or media campaign).
There’s a good reason for that, as even Romanians are having difficulty doing business in this country:
Nine out of 10 chief executives in Romania are concerned about the increasing tax burden, while 86 percent fear the government’s response to the fiscal deficit, according to a survey.
The research by PwC, however, showed concerns levels over tax among the country’s CEOs are the second highest in Europe, after France.
Not only that, but Romania’s own labor minister stated that skilled workers are leaving this country in droves. And while things aren’t too bad just yet, only a month ago the Romanian Central Bank had to cut interest rates in order to stimulate the economy.
Of course the biggest problem is that the government doesn’t know its ass from its elbow, is largely composed of illiterate Communist dinosaurs and has had over 14 cabinet ministers replaced or resigned in less than two years, as I wrote about just a couple of days ago.
A few readers pointed out that I missed that the Cultural Minister had been replaced a fourth time, so thanks to all of you who caught my omission. And now just yesterday the Finance Minister resigned and it looks like we’ll have at least three more new ministers by next week.
On Monday, the EU published its first ever corruption report, along with some graphics. Here’s one that I edited from the section of the report about Romania.
Seeing that, do you think a foreigner would be tempted to invest in Romania? I don’t.
When Romania inevitably slides into last place, I’m sure the politicians and media will find it useful in continuing to perpetrate the myth that Romanians are always the victim of outside forces and never responsible for what goes wrong in this country.