Ludger Thol, Chairman of the German Business Club of Northern Transylvania, believes that Romania continues to be an attractive destination for German business people.
Transiylvania Today: Economic relations between Romania and Germany have remarkably developed during the past few years. Why do German investors keep coming to Romania?
Ludger Thol: German investors flock to Romania as it is the most interesting Eastern European – country to them. It is a large market, with over 20 million inhabitants. Due to its central position, Romania is ideally suited to serveas a hub for companies wishing to extend their business to other Eastern European countries. Romania – especially Transylvania – has the added advantage of having a culture quite similar to the German one. Many people, especially the youth, have a good command of German and English, allowing German companies to easily hire the right kind of employees.
Many German companies invest in the industrial, IT and energy sectors. What other business opportuni- ties are attractive to German companies?
As a matter of fact, all fields of activity are interesting. It would make little sense to highlight only a few of them, such as the obviously very popular IT sector. There are many other industries where one can be very successful, so I really would not want to draw a line or limit the possibilities.
In what way could Romanian authorities better sup- port you in your mission?
There is a lot of room for improvement. Authorities could start by offering better consultancy to companies that are interested to move to Romania. Of course, there are cases where this works very well and all is done with due diligence. However, this is only one of many aspects. Romania must improve its general business environment and its infrastructure, including motorways. It also needs to develop a system of professional schools and vocational training. If the current system is not going to be radically changed, Romania might very soon face serious problems. To avoid a shortage of qualified work force, Romania needs to implement the so-called dual system, as applied in Germany. Otherwise, companies wishing to set up shop in this country might not find the appropriate employees. This is a serious issue, and the Ministry of Education is well aware of it. We are glad to see that first steps are already taken into the right direction, to improve the cur- rent situation.
Your club, DWNT, has grown into the largest foreign business club in the greater Cluj area. How can the DWNT further foster German-Romanian economic relations?
Indeed, DWNT has grown quite considerably. At present, 134 companies have signed up for membership and more are coming aboard. Our task is to provide our members with a networking platform, assist them in their contacts with the authorities and keep them updated about changes in labour law, tax law and other relevant legislation.