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EIB survey shows recovery underway following economic shock in Romania – (EIBIS) presented in an online event co-organised by NBR and EIB

Results of the annual EIB Investment Survey presented at joint National Bank of Romania (NBR) and European Investment Bank (EIB) policy response conference:


  • Covid-19 has been a massive economic shock but countered with an impressive policy response. The Romanian economy showed resilience and recovery is under way.

  • The policy response was crucial to support investment activity. EIB results show that 65% of Romanian firms have received financial support in response to Covid (EU average: 56%).

  • The challenge is to adapt to the new normal, deal with pre-existing gaps and avoid that an asymmetric recovery creates new dividing lines in Romania and across the EU.

  • Many Romanian firms are aware of the challenges and ongoing shifts – but to unlock investment, addressing bottlenecks (uncertainty, skills and finance) is key.

  • Support from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility presents a unique opportunity to foster investment and realize complementarities. It needs to be used well.

  • There is a role for the EIB to help finance investments to support transformation towards sustainable growth given the large toll the pandemic has taken, structural challenges, and the perceived financing needs.


The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the strong policy response helping to support investment are the key finding of new EIB research presented in Bucharest today.


The 2021 EIB Investment Survey (EIBIS) highlights the scale of the massive economic shock and the impressive policy response. The Romanian economy showed resilience and recovery is now under way with a firm policy response crucial to support investment activity and allow firms to transform. The EIB results show that 65% of Romanian firms have received financial support in response to Covid compared with 56% across the European Union.


Debora Revoltella, Director of the EIB’s Economics Department, presented the new 2021 results of the annual EIB Investment Survey (EIBIS), which, together with the EIB Investment Report, provide an overview of the cyclical and structural dynamics behind investment and investment financing in Europe.


EIB Vice-President, Christian Kettel Thomsen commented: “The survey, which is conducted across Europe including Romania, provides the European Investment Bank Group with a powerful policy tool to understand structural investment barriers, where the crises hit firms more and how we can we support the recovery, and help mitigate increasing divergences across households, firms, sectors and economies. Beside recovery, strengthening long-term sustainability should be our common target. As the EU’s climate bank, the EIB Group is the natural partner of Romania supporting the country’s shift towards a green and digital economy. Complementing traditional debt financing, alternative financing solutions, such as equity financing of start-up and scale-up firms, and technical assistance are also crucial instruments through which we help supporting investments and transition processes.”


The Governor of the Romanian National Bank Mugur Isarescu stated: “The EIB’s survey shows that Romanian firms have become more optimistic, with more firms expecting to increase investment rather than the other way around. It is good to hear this, yet we are also aware that Romania has more work to do in several aspects. This is the case for areas like innovation activity and access to finance. However, we are happy to see that a large percentage of Romanian firms have already invested or plan to invest to tackle the impact of climate change, putting Romania ahead of the EU average.”


The conference featured a broader debate on investment needs and priorities for Romania in times of Covid-19 and the transition towards a smart and green economy, the availability of financing sources for investments, in particular the use of EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, together with the new long-term budget. The discussion focused also on the firms’ readiness and adaptability to the new situation by implementing key digital technologies to support their resilience and competitiveness looking ahead. Beside the traditional debt financing, that offered the crucial liquidity during the pandemic cross-Europe, it has been highlighted the importance of equity finance in the recovery phase of corporations and longer-term financing of innovation and new-technology. Moreover, the positioning of the Romanian economy in the region has been discussed, including where Romania stands and what are the next steps in terms of greening of the economy and the role of the financial sector in this process.


The EIBIS for Romania shows that firms in Romania became more optimistic in 2021. While the new results show that in the last financial year, the share of firms investing had dropped as a result of the pandemic shock, now more firms expect to increase rather than decrease investment. This marks a positive shift. Asked about the short-term actions undertaken due to COVID-19, digitalisation stands out with more than two fifth of firms (45%) having taken action or made investment to become more digital. What is more, COVID-19 will undeniably have a long-term impact on investment needs and priorities, with 49% of firms expecting further digitalization. Uncertainty about the future remains the most cited long-term barrier to investment (80%), followed by the limited availability of skilled staff (73%).


Access to finance remain worrisome. More firms see it as an obstacle compared to EU peers and 12% can be considered external finance constrained. This is well above the EU average (5%) and corroborates a longstanding pattern.


As a result of Covid-19, but also related to the provided credit support, more than a quarter of Romanian firms have increased their debt position (28%; EU: 16%), while new equity has been mostly provided by the owners of the companies (13%; EU: 5%).


In such an environment, public investments will be key to boost economic recovery and catalyse private investment. Using the funds from Recovery and Resilience Facility, will be crucial looking ahead to master the transition towards a more digital and greener economy in Romania and across the EU. Moreover, companies will need fresh equity for better financial health and stronger base for further growth”  according to Debora Revoltella, Director of the EIB’s Economics Department.

Romanian firms feel the impact of climate change and the majority (72%) report that weather events have an impact on their business, well above the EU average (58%). Firms are starting to internalize the risks of the transition to net zero.


However, slightly more see transition to stricter climate standards as a risk rather than an opportunity for their business over the next 5 years (27% and 20% respectively).


This country overview presents selected findings based on interviews with 480 firms in Romania in March-July 2021. The country results are part of the EIB Group Survey on Investment (EIBIS), which has been administered since 2016. It is a unique, annual survey of some 13,500 firms and covers firms in all European Union Member States. The survey also includes a sample of firms in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Background information

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.