Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate


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.

I'd sure like to meet one of the 7%

I’d sure like to meet one of the 7%

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.

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9 Responses »

  1. Am 32 de ani. am apucat sa prind 9 10 ani din comunism si nici nu stiti cat ma bucur.
    au trecut peste 20 de ani de la revolutie…am obsevat ambele ”sisteme” cu partile bune si rele..
    then comes this lousy guy called sam out of nowhere and starts preaching about the state of affairs we re in. invest in romania? in what ? a chocolate factory? a shoe factory? we had plenty of factories in communism.and they need commercials for that you donkey? what does he mean by investmnent? like rosia montana ? you think they saw an ad for romania and came here?
    when they re drilling their asses out for gold in africa, for oil in iraq u think they followed the smart commercials on tv? this guy has no idea what communism was yet he s using it every time to bellitle us..to stirr us up..to make us feel ashamed of our past…and all the kids fall for it.

    • If you were smart you would spit on and be ashamed of all of our comunist history and URSS background. 40-50 years of bowing to lies and savages. Yes, I am young, born in the year 1990, yet, everyday I can see the sadness and the mediocrty in the eyes of the civilians as we are still haunted by fear and illusion of being jacked by others instead of facing and fighting. I am sorry to tell you this, but Sam is right, we are drowning in a deeper hole because of our fears of not being criticised or acused, because we are all that. It is just that not one romanian has ever question our mistakes as people. We just take it for granted.

      • Well, I don’t think anybody should be ashamed of their past unless they personally have done something terribly wrong or morally reprehensible. There’s also little sense in getting too down on your own people, or any other people, as in being a racist or whatever. As for getting stirred up, you can take it or leave it – up to the reader. Most countries have problems, not just Romania but America too, more than most these days. Sam focuses a lot on Romania because he’s a foreign refugee travelling sort, and can sound like a bit of an a$$hole when he gets going on occasion. One thing I’ve found from personal experience is that a foreign person in any country can on certain occasions, staying there a sufficient time, understand a country (or a city for that matter) better than the locals. Sam thinks he is that guy, and it’s expected that not everybody likes a wiseass yankee johnny come lately.

  2. Despite all this Romania attracted more investors than any other country in this part of Europe and has one of the lowest unemployment in EU.

    • This investment is Probably due to the language skills (English) and cultural ties of Romanians to Western countries, rather than attractive infrastructure. If you were a Western investor, would you want to set up shop in a country using the Cyrillic alphabet, and where the population has little exposure to Western pop culture? Or put up with some hassles but easily find English/French/italian/Spanish speakers who can relate to the West for your local workforce?

  3. BTW, I think you should get involved in politics. You’d probably get a lot of votes…In a few years you’ll be up there with Raed Arafat!

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