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Romania’s West Region Is Enhancing Competitiveness and Developing a Smart Specialization Strategy, Assisted by the World Bank



world bank logoThe World Bank and the Agency for Regional Development – Region West, Romania today hosted a closing-project conference in Timișoara on “Advisory Services on Competitiveness Enhancement and Smart Specialization Policies in the West Region”.

About 50 participants attended, representing local entrepreneurs, companies involved in the preparation of the report, the local and national institutions and administration, and the local chamber of commerce.

Sorin Maxim, General Director of the Agency for Regional Development – Region West, delivered the opening remarks, together with Arabela Aprahamian, World Bank Senior Private Sector Development Specialist. Mr. Maxim also presented the Regional Development Plan 2014-2020.

The event in Timisoara focused on the West Region economy, with a special focus on those sectors with smart specialization potential. Mariana Iootty, World Bank Economist, and Delia Ionica, consultant, presented the findings of the Romania Western Region Competitiveness Enhancement and Smart Specialization report, as well as the conclusions and recommendations for policies and interventions in the West Region.

The aim of the Europe 2020 Strategy, launched in 2010, is to tackle structural weaknesses in Europe’s economies, while reducing regional disparities in income, wealth, and opportunities.  Since the late 1990s, Romania’s West Region has experienced rapid economic growth, which translated in rising real wages and improved productivity. The annual growth rate of output per worker amounted to 15 percent during the period 2000-2009. Entrepreneurial activity in the region is significant – the region has one of the highest concentrations of enterprises and exporters in the country. The region is ranked third in Romania regarding the number of firms per capita. In the West region, there are over 200 companies per 100,000 inhabitants. The region also has the third highest percentage of exporters in the country, at 15.7 percent.

According to the report, the physical, human, natural, and cultural endowments of the region can be leveraged to achieve more inclusive and sustainable growth. The West Region benefits from competitive strengths: relatively plentiful infrastructure, access to neighboring countries, skilled workforce, a tertiary education that is strong in natural sciences, mathematics, computer sciences, food and agriculture, medical and veterinary sciences, a largely pristine natural environment, and unexploited cultural and archeological assets.

The report notes that the region has an apparent comparative advantage in automotive, textiles, and information and communication technology (ICT), and a latent comparative advantage in agro-food and tourism.

Each industry cluster has constraints and specificities that will shape the future, according to the report, and might increase the smart specialization. The automotive sector should diversify towards higher value added activities and move up the international value chain. The textile sector should build skills and capacities allowing firms to design and produce their own brands. In the agro-food sector, the challenge is to better market the local produce and link to large distribution chains. In ICT the challenge is to expand the current set of activities, and overall productive capacity. In tourism, ownership at a high political level and institutional coordination are key to fully use the existing potential and endowments.

There are policy areas common to all the sectors that need to be enhanced in the future. The most important four relate to (i) education and training for management and industry-relevant curricula and skills, (ii) the road and rail infrastructure, (iii) access to finance, and (iv) enhancement of the institutional framework for innovation.

The report points out that EU structural funds and other sources can support cross-sectoral and sector-specific actions. National resources and private sector financing can enhance ownership and effectiveness of specific interventions deemed relevant for the West Region, in accordance with the objectives formulated by the EU Cohesion Policy: (i) strengthen research, technological development, and innovation, (ii) enhance competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises,  (iii) enhance institutional capacity and efficiency of public administration, (iv) protect the environment and promote resources efficiency, and (v) invest in education, skills, and lifelong learning.

In West Region Romania, economic development has been somewhat unbalanced, with significant territorial disparities and a high concentration of economic activity and exports.  Territorial disparities in wages, productivity, and exports indicate that the fruits of the strong growth of the past decade have not been distributed evenly. Furthermore, economic activity is concentrated in a few sectors that represent about half the region’s turnover and employment. This might lead to high volatility in value-added growth, and sharp drops in per capita gross domestic product and employment during a crisis. Finally, the export-driven growth model of this past decade is vulnerable to shocks in export markets.

This project is a reimbursable advisory service delivered by the World Bank, and co-financed by the Agency for Regional Development – Region West, from the European Regional Development Fund through the Technical Assistance Operational Program 2007-2013. The project is part of the World Bank strategy to offer technical assistance to Romania, to support economic growth, and support the socially excluded.

Source:  World Bank

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



© 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



© 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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EPP Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz: The Orban-Iohannis couple will represent the European approach Romania needs so much



© Sabin Malisevischi/EPP Group in the CoR- Flickr

The Orban-Iohannis couple will represent the European approach Romania is so much in need of, is the statement made by the Secretary General of the European People’s Party, Antonio López-Istúriz White, for the correspondent in Brussels.

This statement was made in the context of the interview given to, following the meeting of the EPP Secretary General with the Prime Minister of Romania, Ludovic Orban, on the third and last day of his visit to the institutions of the European Union.

See also EPP Secretary General Antonio López-Istúriz: Romania can no longer stay outside Schengen. This is an unacceptable situation that the EPP will fight to change and we will support whatever measures prime minister Orban takes in this sense

”Things are changing and I think it is good for Romania to have a government that really is in line with the European institutions. Here in the EPP are very happy about it, we know Ludovic Orban as well as president Klaus Iohannis and I think the couple is going to represent this European approach that Romania so much needs”, said Antonio López-Istúriz, referring to the period of social-democratic governance during which Romania’s image at European level was compromised.

Moreover, the EPP Secretary General appreciated that the Prime Minister’s visit to the EU institutions was ”a good occasion for a politician like Ludovic Orban, who I have known for several years, to build a profile here in Brussels”. He added that the Prime Minister has been received ”not only as a friend, but also as a trusted representative of Romania by commissioners, the president of the Commission…”.

In this context, López-Istúriz cited the words of David Sassoli, the president of the European Parliament, who said about the visit that ”Ludovic Orban and the new government bring new hope for the relations between Romania and the EU after, unfortunately, the bad episode of last year when the Romanian commissioner-designate did not pass the test which demonstrated that the government at that time was not in line with the EU reality”.

Prime Minister Ludovic Orban is on a work visit to the NATO and European Union institutions in Brussels from Tuesday to Thursday for meetings with the Presidents of the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as with NATO Secretary General.

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