Press Release About Glass Hall Meeting

Well it looks like at least one media outlet has now mentioned the meeting I attended two days ago.

Translation is mine:

What Foreign Businessmen Want from the Cluj-Napoca Administration

Foreigners who have businesses in Cluj announced development plans at the first official meeting of the Cluj Mayor’s Office and the Cluj International Club organization

Foreigners who own their own companies, company managers and social organizations [NGOs] met on Wednesday with city representatives. At the first official meeting with Mayor Sorin Apostu, it was stated how much they enjoy Cluj but also expressed their perplexity about the future of the city and the administration’s strategy.

Co-owners of the CSI Invest company stated that their company began construction of a new factory in Cluj this year at an estimated cost of 8 million euros. “We began six years ago with a single person working for us. Now we have more than 200 workers. We’re building this factory, we believe in Cluj and we are ready to invest,” said Kees Oosting. CSI Invest, part of a Dutch company of the same name, which works in the field of product installation and the transportation of durable goods, will build a new factory in Cluj on Muncii Boulevard and expects to double the number of employees in the next two years. The CSI representative stated that in the near future they will begin a project at a university in which Dutch and Cluj students will analyze the differences in business practices between the two countries.

Just as a side note, the guy actually did say all of this. It’s almost a word-for-word quote so maybe somebody besides me was taking notes!

Genpact, a provider of accounting and financial services, acquisitions and IT service and support for their clients, a firm that will soon reach 600 employees in Cluj, mentioned their downtown center. “Last year we opened our second center and this year we’re continuing to expand. Cluj was chosen because of the opportunities the city offers because of its universities, young population and their knowledge of foreign languages,” said the Genpact representative.

I guess the person taking notes forgot to write down the Genpact person’s name LOL

The company has two locations, one in the Iulius [Mall] Business Center and another on Constantin Brancusi Street. In March, [Cluj] City Hall, after conducting an analysis, announced that following the opening of their second office center, Genpact had reached a total of 500 employees.

Ah! Here’s how it went:

City Hall worker: How many employees do you have in Cluj?
Genpact Cluj: 500.
City Hall worker: Analysis complete!

“We need City Hall’s support,” stated Adam Ambrus, the representative in Romania for a group of Spanish investors. He is a partner, through his company called Nervia, with the local administration in a project to create a multipurpose meeting place which will be built near Expo Transilvania. This future project is in limbo because currently the land is zoned as a green space.

As I briefly mentioned 12 days ago, all cities in Romania (including Cluj) have what’s called Planul Urbanistic General (PUG) which is a rather comprehensive report on what exactly the city is going to do. The last one was written in 2005 and currently the mayor’s office is working on publishing a new one. Although Romania doesn’t have zoning laws that are equivalent to how American cities operate, the PUG functions as one. Therefore the land that these guys want to build an exhibition/meeting hall on is currently zoned as “green” or undeveloped and it would need to be changed in the future PUG, hence the appeal to the mayor by Mr. Ambrus.

Communication between representatives of the international community and the local administration is important, emphasized the Frenchman Pascal Fesneau, who has been in Cluj 12 years and is the director of the Energom company and a member of CIC’s board.

Foreign investors doing business in Cluj also expressed the lack of clarity concerning the administrations actions, for example what City Hall’s strategy is to attract investments and where there are available opportunities. “We have both a medium and long-term strategy which we are trying to improve,” said the mayor. The former industrial areas require efficient planning to be used for other purposes, acknowledged a representative of the administration during the discussion about development strategies.

This, by the way, was the eternally-grinning lady. I cannot even tell you how surreal it is to read statements originally given in English, translated into Romanian and then me re-translating them back into English.

“Investors will come to Cluj not just because of where the city is located, for the international airport or for the students but for all of this combined,” stated the mayor.

Let the unicorn dust flow like water!

The mayor extended an invitation to expatriates to contribute their expertise and ideas towards increasing the number of tourists [to the city] and to help Cluj-Napoca win the competition to be awarded the title of European Capital of Culture.

Club for Foreigners in Cluj

Approximately 100 people will meet as part of the CIC by the end of the year, the majority of whom are foreigners who do business in Cluj. Official partners of CIC include business, community and social organizations [and companies] like CSI, Genpact, Energom, Nervia and REIF. “Our club started in 2009 and our goal is to bring the international business community in Cluj together. We want to continue this dialogue. For us it is important to work with the administration,” said Cristian Dascalu, the founder of CIC. He also stated that members of the Dutch Business Club, already partners with the CIC, will be folded into the organization.

I have no idea who called the newspaper about this story but it is clearly another fine example of regurgitating a press release.