Friday, 27 April 2012

Doing Business in Romania

Romania is situated in the south-eastern part of Europe and shares borders with Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, the Black Sea, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. It has a population of about 21,700,000, making it the seventh largest population of the European Union. This population is 89% Romanian, over 7% Hungarian and over 2% Romani. The overwhelming majority of the population identifies as Orthodox Christian although Romania itself is a secular State and has no official religion.  

Most visitors consider Romania one of the most friendliest and hospitable countries in Europe. Romanians are fun loving, warm, hospitable, and playful people, with an innate sense of humour and especially self-irony.

Romanian Language

Romanian is a Latin based language, very closed to the language of the ancient Roman Empire, even closer than Italian. A 31-letter Latin alphabet is used and Romanian is the only Romance language where definite articles are enclitic: that is, attached to the end of the noun (as in Scandinavian, Bulgarian and Macedonian), instead of in front, proclitic.
Some useful phrases to remember when visiting Romania include:

-                      "Bună ziua"
-                      (BOO-nuh zee-wah)
-                      Hello
-                      "Ce mai faci?"
-                      (cheh my FAHTCH)
-                      How are you?
-                      "Mulţumesc, bine"
-                      (mool-tzu-MESK BEE-nay)
-                      Fine, thank you.
-                      "Îmi pare bine"
-                      (OOHM pah-reh BEE-neh)
-                      Nice to meet you.
-                      "Mulţumesc mult"
-                      (mool-tzoo-MESK moolt)
-                      Thank you very much.
-                      “La revedere”
-                      (lah reh-veh-DEH-reh)
-                      Good bye.

It is also important to remember to address people in Romania by their Romanian honorific title: ‘Domnul’ for men, and ‘Doamna’ for women, followed by their surname. While friends may address each other using the honorific title followed by the first name, only close friends and family will use the first name without appending the honorific title. 

Hungarian, Romani, Ukrainian, German and Russian are the most spoken other languages in the country.

Recent Economic and Business History 

During the 2000s (decade), Romania enjoyed one of the highest economic growth rates in Europe and has been referred to as "the Tiger of Eastern Europe." This has been accompanied by a significant improvement in human development. The country has been successful in reducing internal poverty and establishing a functional democracy
The country made a number of government reforms in order to satisfy the conditions of EU membership, which it obtained in January 2007. Now the requirements of membership – including EU directives – make up one of the driving forces in Romania’s program of reform, modernization and investment in infrastructure. More significantly, these directives are accompanied by funding from the EU in the form of Structural Adjustment Funds and other programs to enable the new members to align their economies with the rest of the EU.
Romania has not yet entered the "Eurozone," but has set 2014 as the target year to adopt the euro. The current currency is the leu. 

Why do Business in Romania?

A marketplace of 22 million, 37 million acres of arable land, a vibrant oil and gas industry, breathtaking landscapes, an expanding economy, a well-educated workforce with more than 50,000 specialists in information technology, access to the Black Sea and Asia; these features of Romania have attracted investors from many different sectors worldwide. Other advantages to doing business in Romania include: one of the largest markets in Central and Eastern Europe (ranking 7th, with over 21 million inhabitants); EU unique market gateway (acess to approximately 500 million consumers); rich natural resources, including surface and underground waters and fertile agricultural land; high potential for tourism and NATO membership. 

Romanian Business Culture and Etiquette

Romanians are also very famous for their hospitality. Business meetings are, in the majority of cases, very warm and friendly. It is also very common to conduct business meetings over lunch. Work colleagues, after a hard day, especially in multinational companies, often socialise together in the evening at a local bar. It is quite uncommon for a Romanian to invite foreign business people to their homes or do business in a residential place.  
Business appointments are necessary and should be planned two to three weeks in advance within the traditional working hours of 9:00am to 17:00pm. Summer or other holiday periods (particularly Christmas and Easter) should be avoided.

Meeting schedules are not rigid in Romania. There may be an agenda, but it serves as a guideline for the discussion and can act as a springboard to other business. Remain flexible in your approach when doing business in Romania.

This post has, hopefully, taught you something about the intricacies of Romanian business culture. There is, however, a lot more to learn: a professional lifetime’s worth. At TJC Global, our interpreters are experts in Romanian practice as much as they are experts in the language. To find out how our services can assist you on your next business trip to Romania, visit TJC Oxford, or contact us.

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