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Economic signs good but Romanians want an end to corruption

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By Alasdair Sandford
Economic signs good but Romanians want an end to corruption

Romania’s economy has been undergoing something of a boom – although corruption is said to do significant damage, and there have been warnings that political uncertainty is now posing a new threat, following the largest protests since the end of communism.

Strong private consumption, fuelled by more money in people’s pockets and deflation, has helped contribute to solid annual growth – and the economy is expected to grow faster than most other places in south-eastern Europe.

The European Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have all significantly improved their forecasts for the country’s performance.

GDP is expected to grow at 3.5 percent this year, while unemployment has been coming down, to 6.7 percent in 2015.

Growth is expected to rise again next year to 4.1 percent, while it’s thought the number of people out of work will continue declining by a tenth of a percentage point each year – to 6.6 percent in 2016, 6.5 percent in 2017.

The chief executive of Dacia, which is part of Renault, has said he believes Romania’s growth needs to double its current level for it to catch up with the likes of the Czech Republic or Poland.

In a growing car industry the company delivered more than half a million vehicles worldwide last year.

Financial analysts’ confidence in the Romanian economy increased in September according to indicators.

However the big thorn in the country’s side remains corruption. Despite a significant crackdown by the authorities the country remains joint bottom in the EU, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2014.

More important than economic statistics for many Romanians, is the hope that the prospect of a new government will do away with a political system and class utterly discredited in their eyes.