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Political volatility rears its ugly head

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Cristian Cojanu
The recent political turmoil in Bucharest has served as a stark reminder to investors that the region abounds in local political risks. Meanwhile, both the Prime Minister and the President reiterated the country's commitment to reforms. But with European elections in late May and a presidential vote in November, things may not go as planned. Fully aware of those threats, business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs have been working hard on making their businesses less vulnerable to the ups and downs of political whims.

Politics aside, this edition of our magazine showcases new success stories, interviews and expert opinions, focusing on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Romania.
On this note, Greg Konieczny, executive vice president of Templeton Emerging Markets Group and Fund Manager at Fondul Proprietatea, is upbeat and believes exports will continue to be one of the engines for economic growth in 2014. “We see opportunities in the services sectors, energy and the automotive sector. In addition, the Romanian economy should be driven by a higher rate of absorption of EU structural funds and an increase in construction,” he said.
Also, Gijs Klomp, managing director with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Romania, expects 2014 to be better than last year. But even so, Constantin Coman, country manager, Coface Romania, says his company expects a hike in the number of insolvency applications in 2014, especially among SMEs. This is also expected to trigger a further increase in the rate of nonperforming loans. Tackling another crucial aspect of the economy, Accace Romania’s Bogdan Badea warns that the lack of fiscal predictability represents one of the biggest threats for Romania in the long run.
Valeriu Nistor, Country Director, IBM Romania, spoke about his company’s global investment plans in cloud services, while Monica Cadogan of Vivre, reveals bold targets for her business this year.
You can find all these and many more interviews and opinions in this edition of Business Arena, so we warmly invite you to take a little time off your busy schedule and discover each and every one of them.       

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