The Gulf area - the new Eldorado for Romanian politicians

George Marinescu
English Section / 17 aprilie

The Gulf area - the new Eldorado for Romanian politicians

Versiunea în limba română

The Gulf area seems to have become a kind of Eldorado for the politicians of our country, or rather for the decision-makers who, in the last six years, have made several official visits to the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Qatar, hoping to attract petrodollars in infrastructure investments in our country.

The most recent official visit is taking place these days in Qatar, a country where Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu and some of the members of the Government (Sorin Grindeanu - Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Luminiţa Odobescu - Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ştefan-Radu Oprea - Minister of Economy , Entrepreneurship and Tourism, Florin Barbu - Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sebastian Burduja - Minister of Energy and Bogdan Ivan - Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitization), as well as with the president of ANCOM, the president of ANSVSA, the president of the Board of Directors of Hidroelectrica, and the director of the Port Constanţa, with the hope of attracting 15 billion euros in financing from the country's sovereign investment fund in the Gulf area.

The respective money would be used for the realization of five major infrastructure projects in Romania: the development of Constanţa Port, the Comarnic-Braşov highway, the modernization of the Predeal-Braşov railway section, the development of the Traian Vuia airport in Timisoara through the construction of a cargo terminal and the construction of a offshore wind farm with the support of Qatar Energy.

We remind you that, almost two years ago, during June 20-21, 2022, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă (the current president of the Senate) also traveled with some of the members of the Executive to the Gulf area, more precisely to the United Arab Emirates where he discussed with Abu Dhabi officials about the same topics: financing projects in the field of energy, port infrastructure, agriculture and IT.

According to the press release issued by the Government after the visit of former Prime Minister Ciucă, "the dialogue established the concrete benchmarks for solutions regarding the diversification of oil and gas supply resources, in the context of the tense situation in the Black Sea region and the European embargo against Russian supplies of oil and petroleum products; at the same time, investment opportunities in Romania in the field of renewable energy, both off-shore and on-shore, were also discussed".

Also in the United Arab Emirates, President Klaus Iohannis was on an official visit on March 19, 2023, who was also accompanied by the then members of the Government, among whom were the Minister of Energy - Virgil Popescu, the Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitization - Sebastian Burduja, as well as the Minister of Education - Ligia Deca.

According to the press release issued by the Presidential Administration, during last year's visit it was discussed about the implementation of innovative projects that fit into the energy transition and the digital transition in which our country is, as well as the transition to a green and sustainable economy.

Former Prime Minister Ludovic Orban was also in the Gulf area. In mid-December 2021, Ludovic Orban and some of the members of his Cabinet were in Dubai, on the occasion of the International Exhibition that was supposed to take place in 2020, but was postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On that occasion, according to a Government press release, Prime Minister Orban and officials from the United Arab Emirates discussed strengthening cooperation between the two states in all fields, especially economic and investment.

Before Ludovic Orban, the former social-democratic prime minister Viorica Dăncilă visited the United Arab Emirates on October 17-18, 2018. Also on an official visit, of course, during which he discussed the financing of projects of interest in the field of industrial and civil construction, in the field of technology transfer, in agriculture and food security, in the use of nuclear energy and green unconventional energy, in defense, health and IT, but also about the development of Port Constanţa. The respective visit took place in the context in which, from January 1 to June 30, 2019, our country was to hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.

We do not have a statistic about the actual results of all these official visits, but taking into account that in 2018 and in 2024 the development of the Port of Constanţa and investments in energy are also being discussed, and taking into account that the development of the Port of Constanţa was carried out in the last two years only through European funds and funds allocated from the state budget, it seems that most of the trips of Romanian officials in the Gulf area were made for nothing, more in the interest of tourism.