“It is fascinating to be an Austrian ambassador to Romania, having in mind all the different links, from economic ties to the role of the German language in this country”, Gerhard Reiweger, Ambassador of Austria to Romania, emphasizes. Taking particular pride in the fact that his country has a special position as a source of foreign direct investments in Romania, Ambassador Gerhard Reiwegerhas proper motivation to develop even stronger economic relations.
European Times: Can you share some key figures and success stories of Austrian investments in Romania?
Gerhard Reiweger: There are around 7,000 companies with Austrian capital in Romania, including big and small investments. We rank second by the volume of foreign direct investments. Austrian companies bring their experience to this country and – contrary to what many Romanians think – many of them reinvest their profitshere. Our economic presence here brings mutual benefits;it creates employment, contributes to the transfer of technology and know-how, and even is an element in the discussion about the reform of the system of vocational training in Romania. Together with our friends and partners from Germany and Switzerland we stand ready to advise the administration on how to set up a dual education system which has proved useful in our countries.
In addition to being a major player in economic cooperation, Austria is cooperating with Romania in many other fields through political, cultural and educational projects. Last year we had a particular focus on our historic and cultural ties as the city of Timisoara commemorated the beginning of “300 Years of Light” after the Banat had become a part of the Habsburg Empire.
European Times: You have mentioned the political level; what is Austria’s position on Romania’s entry into the Schengen Zone?
Gerhard Reiweger: The answer is simple: Austria,for quite some time, has been supporting Romania in taking the next step towards full membership in the Schengen system, which would be the opening of air and sea borders.
European Times: What is your personal message for our readers?
Gerhard Reiweger: Romania offers a lot of economic opportunities and is growing at a fast pace. Economic development in this country is supported by EU funds, which among others will help Romania to develop its transport infrastructure in order to fully realize its potential in industry and tourism. Romania is a fascinating country waiting to be discovered by business people and travellers alike.