Romania gained from joining the EU, despite huge opportunity costs. The 2014 SAR Annual Policy Analysis and Forecast Report addresses two major questions:
1. Has Romania gained or lost so far following its European Union accession?
2. What can be done to improve Romania’s performance within the European Union?
The report is a cooperative work of SAR experts and collaborators and includes the following topics:
• Economic forecast for 2014
• At a slow speed: Romania’s intra-Community trade
• Lessons learned from the management and planning of European funds
• The stakes in the battle for Pungesti
• Free labor migration within the EU: loses and gains for Romania
The answer to the first question can be found in the sections regarding intracommunity trade (S.2), the absorption of European funds (S.3) labor migration (S.5) and energy dependence (S.4). The first three chapters provide a clear answer: despite the poor administrative performance and Romania’s low level of competitiveness, there was a net gain since day one. A very weak recovery tendency can also be identified, thus public policies should focus on accelerating the trend. Generally speaking, Romania has encountered enormous opportunity costs, due to poor governance, but no direct costs.
The country gains significantly less than it could as a result of its EU membership, but it’s still making a profit.
1. In the first section of the report, the expert panel consulted by SAR predicts a modest economic growth for 2014 (estimated at 2.09%), lower than in 2013, maintaining inflation under control (2.73 %), and a slightly depreciating RON /EURO exchange rate (estimated at 4.58 RON /EURO).
2. The second section of SAR’s 2014 Annual Report examines Romania’s gains and losses resulting from its relation with the European Union in terms of intra-Community trade.
3. The third section of the report reviews the “lessons learned from the poor management and planning of European funds”. Despite the likelihood that administrative incompetence will prevent an optimal absorption, the potential relevance of EU funds remains very high and Romania only stands to gain.
4. The fourth section of SAR’s Annual Report evaluates the options for the problem of Romania’s “energy independence”, including the exploration of untapped shale gas resources in the context of EU’s energy policies and the recent challenges.
5. The fifth and last Section of SAR’s 2014 Annual Report evaluates who loses and who gains from labor migration within the EU within the broader context of recent anxiety in Great Britain and other Member States following the lifting of labor restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens. The section concludes that any potential restriction of free access to the European labor market will constitute a drawback for all Member States.