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INTERVIEW with Marian Nechifor, Transparent Design CEO, one of the biggest glass pane manufacturers in South-East Europe: We are going to open a new dealership in Brussels

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After they invested over five million euros in new technologies, obtaining ISO European certification, one of the biggest glass pane manufacturers in South-East Europe, Transparent Design, is preparing to extend its activity in the heart of the European Union. In the interview given after his return from the Conference on the industrial future of Europe, organized by the Permanent Representation of Romania to the EU, during the mandate of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Marian Nechifor, the company CEO, announced that he had decided to open an office in Brussels.

CaleaEuropeană: Today, CaleaEuropeana.ro is at the headquarters of one of the largest glass pane manufacturing companies in South-East Europe.  We have with us the CEO of this firm “Transparent Design”, Mr. Adrian Nechifor, who recently returned from Brussels where he attended a business event. Thank you for having us.

Marian Nechifor: During the previous week I have participated in a conference, in Brussels, on industrial policies for the next 10 years and after. I came back with the idea of promoting Transparent Design in Europe. We wish to further take part in such conferences with the occasion of the Romanian EU Council Presidency. It was a conference in which we made ourselves known to certain organizations, the CEOs of specific companies in Europe.

CaleaEuropeană: How are Romanian businessmen received? How did you integrate in that atmosphere and how relevant is what is happening here, in Bucharest, where you have this factory, for your European partners?

M.N.: They were successfully received. There is no difference when coming from South-East Europe. Regarding what is happening in Bucharest, the European Union should acknowldge it more. There are good things happening.  We are developing at a faster pace than them.

Massive investments in the increase of quality and capacity of production

CaleaEuropeană: How did you start? We can see at the back many modern machines. How did Transparent Design start and what is the level reached by now?

M.N.: In accordance with a Romanian proverb, not to put all your eggs in one basket, in the first years of business, having a company for automotive commerce and a business in public consultancy, I considered that a business in production can be more durable than a business in commerce. I have invested my soul in it. The first steps were taken in January 2006, by purchasing several second hand machines from EU. Unfortunately for us, the recession hit in 2008. It was pretty rough. I did not stop fighting, I very much believed in the business and in the year 2012-2013, when the business came around, I focused on extremely big investments which I have carried out and still do. And, during the course of this year, we have approximately 1 million euro at our disposal for increasing productivity, quality and, of course, for entering the European markets with our products.

CaleaEuropeană: You talked about big investments. What is the sum of all  investment made at Transparent Design?

M.N.: At the moment, the investments made for Transparent Design are around 5 million euros. We also have, for next year, an investment of approximately 1 million euro to increase production capacity and quality of our products.

CaleaEuropeană: Did you use European funds?

M.N.: I did not manage to use European funds because the moment I decided to apply for European funds, in Bucharest-Ilfov region, the last train had already gone. I had to borrow from several banks.

CaleaEuropeană: Do intend to use such funding solutions in the next years?

M.N.: I intend to use such funding solutions. However, I don’t know if for future projects there will be any European funds for Bucharest and for developed cities in Romania.

CaleaEuropeană: You were for the first time in Brussels, at this meeting with business people from the European Union. Will you continue to participate in this kind of meetings in order to connect with the European Union?

M.N.: Yes, I wish to participate in next events and I’ve already asked to be informed about upcoming conferences.

CaleaEuropeană: Thank you very much! We have with us the members of your team. I invite Mr. Adrian Badici, the executive director of the company. I’ve talked earlier with Mr. Nechifor about the sum of all investments here, about plans for development. Besides the fact that you indeed use new technology here and that you have  large scale production , what makes you different from other companies?

Adrian Bădici: Not only is it new, but it is also the best technology on the market, we use the best brands of machinery in the industry, all made in Europe, we offer European certification for our products. Our goal is to always supervise the quality of products delivered to our customers and, in general, to improve every aspect of production, the relationship with the client and the respect towards workers and employees of the company.

CaleaEuropeană: What are you producing here?

A.B.: In general, products made of plain glass, lamination, high quality enamelling, both ceramic and organic, cutting, milling,  the whole range of manufacturing available.

CaleaEuropeană: What kind of clients do you have? From the industry, household consumers? What are your products used for?

A.B.: We have clients from the industry and from households, all kinds. We’re working really hard to head towards industrial because things are more clear and the serial products can be better handled.

CaleaEuropeană: Thank you! We have with us the technical director, the one who manages the installation of the products, Mr. Bogdan Turcu.  What is your role? How do you involve yourself in their assembling?

Bogdan Turcu: We go to the respective locations. From taking measurements, together with the architects involved in this project, we put the finished products in action. We use the best materials, from hardware to adhesives, whatever the application of coloured glass on the walls needs. Architects are required for everything that means office buildings and assembling luxurious residential areas and we try to collaborate on design, to adjust to their demands and to give them the needed products and support for each project, meaning assembling teams, logistics for delivery.

CaleaEuropeană: Do you work only in Bucharest or do you also travel across the country and abroad?

B.T.:  We will go anywhere we are needed.

CaleaEuropeană: Can you give us some examples of places in Romania where you did this kind of work?

B.T.: We did work for offices in Iași, Constanța and residential areas in Constanța. We also have projects in the Danube Delta, a 5 star hotel. In Bucharest we have the Bluerose residential complex, the Renault offices, which use a new concept in Romania, Bridge 2, an ensemble of 3 office buildings, out of which 2 are finished and we are starting the third phase. We also work in residential areas in Pipera, which is developing luxurious buildings. 

Marian Nechifor: Moreover, we have worked in setting up many malls in different parts of the country, such as Satu Mare, Baia Mare, Sibiu and some in Bucharest: Vitan, Plaza Romania, Afi.

Western customers, impressed by the quality of the glass produced in Bucharest

CaleaEuropeană:  Do your clients sometimes come to see what kind of technology you are using, and how these things are produced?

M.N.: It happens sometimes and they are very impressed, but the most impressed are the ones coming from Europe. It seems they stopped at a development stage 20 years behind and they remain impressed when they enter our factory. They cannot believe their eyes.

CaleaEuropeană: Because we are talking about the way in which you promote your products, we have Mrs. Luana Liciu, marketing director of Transparent Design. I have talked with the CEO and with the directors of the company about production, how they get to clients, so most of the time, your role is to convince them that what is happening here is high quality and that it is worth working with you. What feedback do you receive from them?

Luana Liciu: We would say that a very good feedback; there are small issues which we can improve, but we are working on it every day.

CaleaEuropeană: Does it help, as marketing director, the fact that you use new technology and that you have an extremely well prepared staff?

L.L.: It is our strength, the machinery and the staff part. First of all, the deadlines are respected, and we have a delivery time shorter than the competition and, of course, the quality. This was our target from the beginning, the quality side, not the quantity, and then we focused on this and it worked, if I may say so, successfully, considering the clients’ feedback after receiving and installing the merchandise.

CaleaEuropeană: Do you plan to head towards the European markets? Because in Romania, I found out, you have many important clients, various areas, from malls to other type of buildings which are in need of your services. Do you intend to also test the European market also, have you entered other countries?

L.L.: Yes, we also had exports and in the following period we have to increase the amount of exported product especially because we have a very large production capacity and we don’t have to worry about quality. The most important thing when you are exporting is to maintain a high standard and not to have problems with the transport or other expenses and negative feedback.

M.N.: We intend to open an office in Brussels this year and hire a Belgian citizen who can represent us. We considered Belgium to be located well with regard to the surrounding countires and we hope to finalize the opening by the end of this year.

A third of the production will be exported to other EU member states

CaleaEuropeană: Until now, comparing overall Romanian exports to yours, about 80% from what Romania produces goes to the EU market. If we refer to export, what is your target for the next period?

M.N.: At the moment we have a very small percentage related to export, around 5% and 10%, but we intend to increase it around 30-40% because the majority of raw material is imported from Europe and we want to bring the products to them.

CaleaEuropeană: Thank you very much. With us, because we spoke of promotion,  is the director for Promotion of Transparent Design, Mrs. Alina Nechifor. Will you adapt the promoting strategy for the expansion in Brussels?

Alina Nechifor: At the moment, we are trying to do it online because it is a trend and our clients know us on the market as we are trying to do this promotion on the external market. We have a company with which we are collaborating.

CaleaEuropeană: In order to get into those markets you firstly have to make yourselves known. That would be the first challenge. Participating in trade fairs or business conferences in Europe can help you connect and, finally, to understand how things work. You were saying earlier that all the technology  you use is of European standards. Are there any certificates for this, what can you tell us?

A.N.: All the equipment in our factory is imported from the EU, same as the raw materials we use, we are ISO certified and all the products we use are backed by certifcates and this is why I don’t think it will be hard for us to go on the EU market which includes 28 countries and 500 million people; it is a big market for all of us and I hope we can make it.

A.N.: Of course, it is also about the range of products. Because the tendency now is to use bigger and bigger windows, we purchase machinery with which we process the windows until 5 m. Furthermore, in the enamelling line, we make ceramic varnished glass and, lastly, we will purchase the biggest printer which is used for making screen printing and prints on glass from 3m to 6m. It will the the biggest line of production in Romania or even in South-East Europe.

CaleaEuropeană: Can you tell us some numbers regarding the employees, the turnover, that will somehow make sense of the magnitude at which you work here?

M.N: The number of employees is around 60 people. The turnover has grown every year with a percentage of 20- 30%. We had a big growth in 2018 compared to 2017, with approximately 50% and we believe this year we’ll surpass the turnover of 2018 with approximately 30%.

CaleaEuropeană: We will stop here. Transparent Design is a company which has grown, unfortunately without European funds, but, who knows,  maybe the future will smile upon you in this area as well. A company like many others in Romania which offers and wishes to enter the 1400 billion euros European free market, compared to the 200 billion euros which Romania produces, having a very high potential. This can also happen in our industry which has plenty of successful initiatives. We will be back to see what will happen.

Alexandra Loy este redactor și specialistă în afaceri europene. Deține un doctorat în domeniul științe politice, dobândit în anul 2018, cu tema analizării impactului președinției României la Consiliul Uniunii Europene asupra sistemului național de coordonare a afacerilor europene. Alexandra este membru al comunității academice din cadrul Școlii Naționale de Studii Politice și Administrative.

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Head of Romanian EPP MEPs responds to S&D Group leader: Treat Romania differently. You cannot compare PSD’s attacks against the rule of law with EPP Government measures

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© European Parliament Media Center

The actions undertaken against the rule of law by the former Social-Democrat governments in Romania cannot be compared with recent measures announced by the centre-right government, member of EPP family, says MEP Rareș Bogdan, head of the Romanian delegation within the EPP Group in the European Parliament.

In an exclusive statement for CaleaEuropeană.ro, Bogdan responded to critics drawn by Iratxe Garcia, leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. In a Twitter post earlier on Monday, Garcia said EPP Romanian government should take note of Venice Commission, which prohibits changing the electoral law one year ahead of the elections.

The Spaniard MEP advised the Romanian Government against going the ”same path as Poland and Hungary” in ”undermining the rule of law”.

In his reaction, Rareș Bogdan mentioned that we would ask for a discussion with ”Mrs. Garcia to clarify that her statement was made without knowing the reality in Romania and the steps taken by the Orban government”.

“I think there is no bad will, but a simply less unfortunate information about the situation in Romania”, he replied.

”There is no term of comparison” between PSD and PNL, said Bogdan, ”although both parties are from Romania”.

”You cannot compare the continuous attack of PSD against Romania’s strategic partnerships with the EU and the US, against the rule of law (…) with the natural, logical and normal proposal of PNL, using constitutional tools, to introduce a two rounds vote for the local elections in June 2020. The purpose of our proposal is to enhance the representativeness and legitimacy of the elected local politician. By introducing a two rounds election we do not reduce, in any case, electoral rights”, explained the head of the Romanian delegation in the EPP Group.

Moreover, Rareș Bogdan asked that the situation in Romania to be treated ”differently”, considering Garcia’s comparison with the situations in Poland and Hungary.

“My request is that our colleagues in the European Parliament treat Romania as a different situation. Also, pay close attention to the statements of the leaders in Bucharest, led by President Klaus Iohannis and the right-wing Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, who have no connection with the statements made by Romanian officials at the head of the Government or Parliament in the period 2017-2019”, said Bogdan.

 

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Take part in the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign. EPP group urge the Member States to join forces and fight cancer together

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© EPP/ Facebook

EPP Group, the largest political family in the European Parliament, is launching a cancer awareness campaign, the disease that causes one of four deaths in Europe.

Through #EUCanBeatCancer campaign, the EPP group calls for better cooperation between research centers in Europe, more money for cancer research, but also fair and accessible care across Europe for citizens.

© EPP/ Facebook

How can you get involved in the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign

You can join the 1537 citizens already registered in the campaign through 4 simple steps:

  1. You subscribe using the email address HERE
  2. Follow the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  3. Use the Twibbon  in the profile picture
  4. Draw the Twibbon symbol and post it in order to show support

Everyone has their own story about cancer, even European politicians or leaders:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to the World Health Organization, one third of cancers are preventable and half of the deaths could be prevented.

Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in Romania and in many cases the disease is detected when it is already in an advanced stage.

According to the private health network, Regina Maria, in Romania, 80% of breast cancers are diagnosed in the advanced phase, a stage in which the treatment can not bring healing, but only prolong the survival.

Romania had the lowest rates  (0.2% of women aged 50-69 – 2015) in breast cancer screening.

 

Our multimedia platform – Calea Europeana – has joined the #EUCanBeatCancer campaign. During the campaign informative articles will be published and we will keep you updated with the measures taken at European level to beat cancer.

© CaleaEuropeana

 

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Citizens’ and Youth Agoras to be the cornerstone of the Conference on the Future of Europe, MEPs say

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© European Parliament

Citizen and Youth meetings should set the tone for EU reform, according to the resolution adopted on Wednesday by the European Parliament, were MEPs propose establishing several Citizens’ and Youth Agoras under the Future of Europe Conference that should be launched on Europe Day 2020.

Following a debate with Dubravka Šuica, Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography and Nikolina Brnjac, representing the Croatian Presidency of the Council, Parliament adopted a resolution setting out its vision for the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe with 494 votes for, 147 against and 49 abstentions.

MEPs want citizens to be at the core of broad discussions on how to tackle internal and external challenges that were not foreseen at the time of the Lisbon Treaty. People of all backgrounds, civil society representatives and stakeholders at European, national, regional and local level must be involved in setting the EU’s priorities in line with citizens’ concerns in a bottom-up, transparent, inclusive, participatory and well-balanced approach.

Parliament proposes establishing several Citizens’ Agoras (thematic fora of citizen representatives chosen randomly in line with proportionality and representativeness criteria), and at least two Youth Agoras, each comprising 200-300 citizens with a minimum of three per member state. Citizen representatives will discuss Agora conclusions at the Conference Plenary with MEPs and national parliament representatives, Council ministers, Commission Vice-Presidents and representatives of other EU institutions, bodies and social partners.

You can also read about Agora – Future of Europe concept launched in 2017 by CaleaEuropeană.ro and the EC Representation in Romania

In addition to high-level support from the presidents of the three main EU institutions, Parliament urges Council and Commission to commit to the possibility of treaty change. The adopted text also underlines that a permanent mechanism to engage citizens should be considered.

Parliament is the first among the three main EU institutions to adopt a position on the set-up and scope of the upcoming Conference. Negotiations with the Commission and the European Council should be concluded in time for the Conference to be launched on Europe Day 2020 (May 9) and run until summer 2022.

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