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European Commission: Romanian SMEs should apply for financing through the Junker plan

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Romanian SMEs should apply for financing through the Junker plan, which will be focused on green economy and research and development (R&D) in the next five years, Istvan Jakab, a representative of the European Commission in Romania, said at Business Review’s Foreign Investors Summit.

The European Commission came up with the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) – known as the “Juncker plan” – to foster investment in the EU.

According to the EU executive branch, the total financing under the EFSI in Romania amounts to EUR 722 million in October 2019 and is set to trigger EUR 3 billion in additional investments.

“This sort of financing will continue in the next years, so the SMEs in Romania should get used to this sort of financing,” Istvan Jakab pointed out.

In terms of financing, there’s a negotiation for the new financial period, and the EU will set its priorities in the new budget.

The priorities mentioned by Ursula von der Leyen include the Juncker plan, which will continue because it is considered a sustainable plan.

“In the next five years it will be focused on green economy, R&D, that can help Europe to meet its targets in terms of climate change and all related fields,” Jakab said.

Some other measures will support investment in digital Europe and SMEs, according to the European Commision representative.

“Overall, in the next financial period all the financing available in the EU will be grouped in the INVEST EU fund, which will streamline more clearly the different financing sources available for companies, sectors, cohesion, agriculture,” he indicated.

He warned that Romania should focus to be more competitive in attracting foreign investment.

“I looked at the Foreign Investors Council (FIC) survey before the conference – one puzzling figure was the availability of adequate workforce. In march 2016, 77 percent of FIC survey said Romania was competitive. In 2019, 61 percent said it was not competitive. This is a huge change,” he said, arguing that many sectors are struggling to get skilled and even unskilled workforce.

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