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Editorial

Doing business in Romania

Contributed by PeliFilip

With a robust GDP growth of 3.6% in 2015 and a forecast of 4.2% for 2016, Romania is well on its way as one of the fastest-growing economies in the EU.

In doing so, Romania relies on more than its traditional advantages, such as being the largest market in south-eastern Europe and second largest in the CEE region, at the crossroads of the major routes linking Europe, the Middle East and the Commonwealth of Independent States trade routes, rich in natural resources, and having a well-skilled and relatively inexpensive work force.

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Legal market overview

Economic growth, coupled with its relative political stability, makes Romania an attractive proposition for international investors focused on the CEE market. Signs of the economy’s health include an active M&A market, a real estate boom and a thriving tech sector gobbling up talent – although capital markets work remains thin on the ground, particularly in the equity space. In addition, anti-corruption has been a key consideration, generating both direct legal work and an increased focus on firms promoting their compliance capabilities.

This has created a vibrant and ultra-competitive legal market. The volume of firms and a system of public procurements incentivising unrealistically low hourly rates has generated significant downward pressure on fees. Options for buyers of legal services include a range of well-known international firms, plus equally sophisticated local alternatives. Bucharest is the hub for almost all heavyweight legal work, with strong practices outside the capital a rarity despite the economic and social relevance of other cities such as Cluj-Napoca and Timișoara. Sorin Grindeanu became Prime Minister after the SDP’s victory in December 2016; the party’s leader Liviu Dragnea was not nominated due to his conviction earlier in the year for election fraud.

The Romanian currency is the leu (pluralised as lei), denoted throughout as RON (Romanian New Leu).

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