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Multinationals deny allegations

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By Cristian Cojanu
Multinational companies have come under fire for allegedly supporting the recent anti-government protests in Romania, as populist, nationalist rhetoric has crept its way into domestic public discourse. However, many see such suggestions as an insult to both protesters and multinationals, but in this world of post-truth politics and "alternative facts", far-fetched ideas seem to catch on fast. In this context, one of the prominent business associations, AmCham Romania, has stepped up to deny the allegations launched in the media.
"On behalf of its members, US, Romanian, EU and international companies, AmCham Romania rejects the recent allegations reflected in the public media according to which multinational companies in Romania have supported the public protests, in response to the impact of the recent tax and legislative changes.
It is unhealthy for the Romanian society to disseminate such untrue statements," the statement read, and emphasized that people who work in multinationals and in local companies had voluntarily participated to the protests. AmCham’s statement added: “Through the volume of their investments, the size of the operations they run, the jobs that multinational companies offer, they ensure a better life for hundreds of thousands of Romanian families, have a high contribution to the GDP, generously support social causes and open access to the wide expertize gained in international markets, thus contributing to the overall progress of the Romanian economy.”
Previously, AmCham had expressed its “disappointment” with the way in which the government approved Emergency Ordinance 13/2017, which redefined and partially decriminalized abuse of office offenses. The government’s move triggered some of the biggest protests Romania had seen since the fall of communism. The government backed down under the pressure and annulled the ordinance, but public confidence in the government has been seriously dented. “The lack of transparency in adopting such legislation despite the opinions and recommendations issued by the relevant institutions undermines the confidence in the Government and sends a strong negative wave of mistrust and uncertainty, both internally and externally,” AmCham said in a statement at the time. It added: “It is extremely worrying for the business community and society as a whole, that legislative pieces with such moral, societal and economic implications with immediate and long term effects are adopted by the Government without observing the minimum requirements of transparency in decision-making.”
On a different subject, The Heritage Foundation has published its 2017 Index
of Economic Freedom, which saw Romania climbing 22 places and ranking 39th, with a score of 69.7 points from a maximum 100. The US-based think-tank said Romania had improved its economic freedom ranking, but it still needed to increase predictability of its regulatory system, while ensuring steady progress in improving the business environment. The 2017 edition of the index is based on data from the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016.
For more on the most recent develop­ments in business and economy, see this new edition of Business Arena, with the latest interviews and expert opinions.

The editorial is also available in our print edition.

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