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May - 2005



Issue of the month: Who is set to lose out most from European integration?


Jonathan Scheele, head of delegation, European Commission in Romania

Anyone who has not done their homework. Companies who have not informed themselves about what to do could find themselves out of business, because they won't be able to meet the constraints. This could be anyone in food preparation and food processing at all levels. Now food products are investigated at the borders, but after accession this will be done in slaughterhouses or factories. If factories do not meet food hygiene standards, the companies may not be able to sell their products in Romania. The law already requires it and this will be more rigidly applied. All slaughterhouses have to be certified. Only 50 are certified now, which is a small minority.

Leonard Orban, chief negotiator for European integration

There will be a negative effect on firms that have resisted and grown by using ways to avoid responsibilities that businesses need to assume. Our main objective is to teach enterprises how to prepare themselves for the accession, when they have to face competition from a market of 500 million consumers.

Dr Dan Peretianu, president of the Federative Chamber of Doctors

Those earning under 500 Euro a month will suffer. Also the biggest crooks will have trouble. I am not expecting that, after the integration, Romania can count on economic welfare, but a change in the mentality. I am hoping that corruption will disappear because it has harmed the country.

Adriana Iftime, president of the Construction Companies Union

I think that 70 per cent of the small and middle enterprises will suffer because of their low quality. Good companies will succeed after the integration, but impostors will suffer. At present credible firms have problems attracting workers, because they must compete with the black market. But it will be hard to break the habit of “the time is passing, the salaries are being paid”, a communist cliche for those who do not like strong and professional work. It will be a pain at a macro- and micro- economic level. But Romanians have to learn to be transparent.

Adrian Cioroianu, historian at the University of Bucharest

In the long term, everyone will win from integration. In the short term some Romanians are going to lose. For example, the security of a large number of agriculture producers will be put under a question mark by future European norms and regulations. Also a large number of firms will be strongly affected at the precise moment when Romania becomes part of European Union, because then the country will have to open her borders to foreign competition, most of which works well. Unfortunately, domestic Romanian firms will suffer.