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CORONAVIRUS - De toestand in Roemenië

The Coronavirus has been spreading fast around the world, Romania having been hit as well.

As of March 16 the local authorities have imposed unprecedented restrictions and actions aimed at containing the spread of the virus. After two months of strict containment measures, Romania has adopted a gradual relaxation strategy.

The Coronavirus and the containment measures have had a strong impact on the Romanian economy, where contraction of GDP is expected in 2020 due to declines in industrial output, household spending, corporate investments and international trade.

The Romanian Government has taken action to provide real support to the affected economic operators, as well as has taken measures to adopt an investment-led strategy in various economic sectors, such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture and IT.

A smooth economic recovery is expected as long as the outbreak of the coronavirus is contained.

Local authorities presents “Rebuilding Romania” plan supporting actions aimed at changing the country’s development model which currently is based on consumption to a development model based on investment and digitalization.

1. Algemene toestand

Volgens de officiële gegevens van de autoriteiten zijn er op 27 juli 45.902 gevallen van Covid-19-infecties in Roemenië bevestigd. Van de 45.902 positief geteste mensen zijn er 25.794 genezen verklaard en uit het ziekenhuis ontslagen. 2.206 mensen zijn gestorven die besmet waren met het coronavirus.

Er zijn 4.112 personen in de geïnstitutionaliseerde quarantaine in Roemenië bij wie wordt gecontroleerd of ze in contact zijn geweest met het coronavirus. Nog eens 1.900 mensen zijn thuis geïsoleerd en staan onder medisch toezicht.

Tot op heden (27 juli) zijn 1.110.534 tests op nationaal niveau verwerkt.

De autoriteiten herinneren de burgers eraan alleen de door officiële bronnen geverifieerde informatie in overweging te nemen en voor andere informatie en aanbevelingen te bellen via de TELVERDE-lijn (speciaal open voor het informeren van de burgers).

Autoriteiten benadrukken het belang van sociale afstand en beperking van interactie, om te voorkomen dat er een wijdverspreid intracommunautair bereik is.

Officiële bronnen - coronavirus in Roemenië:

Officiële Covid-19-pagina van de regering van Roemenië - https://stirioficiale.ro/informatii 
Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken - https://gov.ro/ro/info-coronavirus-covid-19 
Ministerie van noodsituaties - http://www.dsu.mai.gov.ro/ 
Roemeens Ministerie van Volksgezondheid - http://www.ms.ro/coronavirus-covid-19/ 
Roemeense grenspolitie - https://www.politiadefrontiera

2. Voorzorgsmaatregelen en 3. Exitstrategie

The local authorities extended the state of alert in Romania through August 16.

All restrictions currently imposed under the state of alert have also been extended.

Measures:

The wearing of face masks on public transport and public closed spaces remains mandatory.

Travel

The Government has relaxed the travel restrictions to countries where cases of coronavirus have registered reduction.

As of July 6 travelers arriving from EEA countries with per capita case growth equal to or less than Romania’s will be exempt from 14 days of isolation or institutionalised quarantine.

The list issued by the National Institute for Public Health from Romania can be viewed via https://www.cnscbt.ro/index.php/liste-zone-afectate-covid-19/1855-lista-statelor-exceptate-de-la-masura-de-carantina-6-07-2020/file

Retail business - food and hospitability

* Retail businesses operating inside the shopping centres are reopening, however the restaurants, coffee-shops, cinemas, game rooms that are inside such premises remain closed.  

* Terraces are allowed to reopen as long as they adhere to strict social distancing rules;

* Hotels, inns, coffee-shops or other public spaces are allowed to sell foods and beverages outdoor, while indoor services remain closed;

Child care - education

* Kindergartens, nurseries and after-school centres open their doors for the school holidays;

Events - meetings and other activities (where respecting strict rules of social distancing)

* Indoor events are allowed if less than 20 participants attend;

* Shows, concerts, public festivals or other cultural events in the open air gathering where no more than 500 spectators are allowed

* Museums / sport /fitness facilities / beaches / outdoor swimming pools are open;

* Leisure activities – individual sports played outdoors are allowed (for a maximum of 6 participants).

Meer info:

https://fiipregatit.ro/ghid/covid19-stare-de-alerta/ (enkel in het Roemeens)
https://www.suntsolidar.eu/stire/vrs/IDstire/751 (in het Engels)

4. Economie

a. Economische impact

In the first quarter of 2020 Romania's economy increased by 2.4% compared to the same period of 2019. The first quarter results have been only moderately impacted by the Coronavirus, the slowdown of the Romanian economy could be seen only starting the second half of March after the state of emergency have been instated.

The biggest impact in Romania is estimated to emerge in the second quarter of this year. The current anti-pandemic measures could lead to significant percentage contraction of the Romanian economy, with the main drags coming from industry and trade.

The main effects that entrepreneurs feel as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are: decrease in sales, temporary suspension of the activity, unemployment, restriction of the activity, delays in the payment of suppliers, closing some companies.

Tourism, transport and hospitality and restaurants are among sectors hit hard by the crisis caused by the new coronavirus. Production companies, especially the companies in the automotive industry – both producers and distributors, have been much affected as well.

There are economic sectors who have recorded growths as their activity have never stopped during the containment measures.

b. Handelsbelemmeringen

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c. Relancemaatregelen

The Government of Romania has adopted measures aimed at helping local companies deal with the effects of the new coronavirus epidemic:

* Extended guarantees for companies that take loans for investments and working capital:

- Emergency ordinance to increase the maximum total value of guarantees – the government increased the ceiling by RON 5 billion (EUR 1.04 bln) and could reach RON 15 billion. The government guarantees loans for investments and working capital for which the interest is 100% subsidized. The guarantee covers 90% of the loan value for loans up to RON 1 million, and 80% for loans over RON 1 million.

VAT of up to RON 9 billion (EUR 1.87 bln) will be reimbursed to allow companies to benefit from the working capital needed to operate.

* Covering the costs with technical unemployment for the companies that suspend their operations due to the coronavirus, from the Labor Ministry’s budget, through the Workforce Occupancy Agency.

- Government will pay 75% of the gross salary, as much as the monthly unemployment benefit, but not more than 75% of the (national) average salary.

The Romanian government launched the IMM Invest programme, a key component to support small and medium enterprises affected by the coronavirus crisis. Local SMEs can use the platform to submit financing applications within the Government-backed loan program.

The Government of Romania activated Euro 400 million of pre-arranged financial support from the World Bank to help prevent and respond to the Coronavirus pandemic. The financing covers a range of interventions to strengthen health services, minimize the losses to both the public and private sectors, and to safeguard lives and livelihoods overall.

The European Commission has approved a RON 16 billion (approximately €3.3 billion) Romanian scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 19 March 2020, as amended on 3 April 2020.  

ERBD approves new strategy for Romania with focus on infrastructure, productivity and financial sector

2 July 2020 - The Romanian government has recently presented “Rebuilding Romania” National Investment and Economic Relaunch Plan which targets transport infrastructure, energy infrastructure, healthcare infrastructure, education infrastructure, investments for local development, agriculture and irrigation infrastructure, environment investments and sports infrastructure.

Through this program more than 100 billion EUR will be allocated to change the country’s development model from consumption to a model based on investment and digitalization.

d. Economische vooruitzichten

According to the latest ‘World Economic Outlook', April 14, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has significantly downgraded the forecast on the Romanian economy this year, amid the novel Coronavirus pandemic. IMF says the Romanian economy should expect a 5% shrinkage this year, with a recovery in 2021, when it is estimated at 3.9%.

Consumer prices projections - 2.2 in 2020 and 1.5 in 2021, while the current account balance projection stands at -5.5 in 2020 and at -4.7 in 2021.

IMF is giving a concerning outlook on the unemployment rate this year in Romania, 10.1%, when it stood at only 3.9% last year. The unemployment is estimated to decline to 6% in 2021.

(April 16) The local government's estimation is much more optimistic forecasting a contraction of GDP by 1.9% in 2020 followed by a swift recovery as long as the outbreak of Coronavirus is contained.

EBRD forecast on May 12 - Romania's GDP will shrink by 4% in 2020 before recovering to 4% growth in 2021.

e. Opportuniteiten op korte termijn

Technology and business process outsourcing as the demand of support services is growing;
Software for networks – due to the unprecedented increase of traffic;
Online retail and logistics expansion – due to growth in online sales
Pharma industry – to reach record high levels

f. Opportuniteiten op lange termijn

Transport infrastructure – construction of motorways and expressways, repairment and modernisation
Healthcare infrastructure – constructions of regional hospitals and dozens of smaller nursing units
Education infrastructure – construction of schools, kindergartens
IT & telecommunications

-> Digital economy: software, productivity tools, online commerce

Agriculture and irrigation infrastructure
Energy, gas and water distribution – expansion of water supply and sewage networks
Environment

5. Nuttige Links

IMM Invest platform https://www.imminvest.ro/
World Bank – Romania https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/04/02/euro-400-mill...
European Commission – Romania https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_649
ERBD – Romania https://www.ebrd.com/news/2020/ebrd-approves-new-strategy-for-romania.html
Call for Saving Economy (Romanian language) http://www.ghenea.ro/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Apel-pentru-salvarea-eco...

6. Dossier Coronavirus

Het coronavirus heeft een wereldwijde impact, niet alleen op de gezondheid maar ook op de economie. Ook uw export kan hiervan gevolgen of zelfs hinder ondervinden.

FIT monitort de risico's dagelijks en ons buitenlands netwerk informeert u over alle implicaties voor Vlaamse exporteurs op hun internationale activiteiten.

In het dossier Coronavirus vindt u een aantal nuttige tips, adviezen en inzichten in de economische impact van de verspreiding van het virus op internationaal ondernemen.

Met vragen over internationaal ondernemen in tijden van Corona, kan u terecht bij exportadvies-corona@fitagency.be.

28 juli 2020