In May and June this year, Romania’s competitiveness in Europe will most likely be the topic of countless conversations across the country. After all, on May 10th, the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 kicks off at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. And exactly one month later, on June 10th, the ‘Euro 2016’ opener in the Stade de France between France and Romania is scheduled.
Well, the song-contest is not exactly my cup of tea, while at the Euro 2016, I have no clue, whether Romania, Switzerland or Albania will qualify in group A together with France for the knock-out phase.
I only make one prediction: A disappointing outcome for Romania on stage in Sweden or on the pitch in France will lead to fierce discussions for days on each tv-channel in this country with clear demands to change the way, singers or players are selected in order to make Romania more competitive in Europe and romanians proud of their country.
While the performances of romanian musicians or footballers are usually in line with european average, the performance of the romanian economy isn’t. Would there be a ‘Euro 16’ in business, Romania wouldn’t even qualify.
In football, competitiveness is measured by goals, in the economy the equivalent of goals is the GDP per capita. That’s the GDP (the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy) divided by population and therefore a fair indicator to compare the competiveness of different countries.
This week, the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham Romania) presented the second edition of the ‘Romania Competitiveness Report’ which quantifies the impact of public policies on competitiveness, reporting on Romania’s performance compared to the European average.
Just one alarming figure out of this report: Romania’s GDP per capita of 7500 EUR is at 27% of the EU’s average of 27’300 EUR. This technical term in a simple example: to produce the same value in one hour as 1 average EU-worker, it needs 4 romanian muncitori. Or, the same value 1 romanian worker creates in an 8-hour shift is done by 1 average EU-employee in 2 hours.
Maybe, you see now where the problems of low salaries in Romania are really based. And you see the urgence for a discussion – followed by action – for a deep structural change of romania’s economy to become more competitive. And this change should start as quick as the public’s demand to ask for the resignation or firing the football-coach after a loosing match!
The full ‘2016 Romania Competiveness Report’ is available online in english or romanian language via amcham.ro