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Don’t trust the Romanian politicians!

Mayor of Craiova left, President of Suceava County Council right

As the year 2023 rolled around, anticipation was high for the European Forum of Economic Diplomacy, set to take place in Craiova, Romania on October 30th-31st. The event, organized in partnership with the European Federation of Bilateral Chambers of Commerce headquartered in Switzerland, promised to be the most important gathering of its kind in Southeast Europe. The impressive list of speakers included world-renowned personalities such as José Manuel Barrosso, Herman Van Rompuy, Tony Blair and Stephen Sackur, along with 300 other guests from all over Europe, ambassadors, and presidents of important European companies. However, what started as a promising partnership between the organizers and the Craiova City Hall took an unexpected turn. In December 2022, the European Federation of Bilateral Chambers of Commerce submitted the project to the Craiova City Hall, which expressed interest in organizing the event in January 2023. In fact, the Mayor of Craiova, Lia Olguta Vasilescu, even had a video call with the organizers, confirming her willingness to organize the forum and start signing contracts with the speakers and media partners. Therefore, everything was in place for Craiova to have the honor of hosting the event.

Despite all of this, just a few weeks later, the organizers received the shocking news that the mayor had….changed her mind and no longer wanted to host the event. There was no clear explanation from her, leaving the organizers distraught and in a vey difficult position. They had already signed contracts with the speakers, paid them in advance, as well as initiated media partnership contracts with the European press. Not to mention the embarrassment felt by the organizers towards the prestigious speakers of the event.

The sudden change of heart from the Craiova City Hall is not only a letdown, but it also reflects poorly on Romania as a whole. The European Forum of Diplomacy Economic promised to be a significant opportunity for the country to showcase its potential as a destination for business and investment. However, the mayor’s behavior is unprofessional and detrimental to the country’s image in the eyes of international partners.

It is unacceptable that the mayor, Lia Olguta Vasilescu, would make a commitment to organize such an important event and then back out without a clear explanation. This lack of communication and professionalism has left a bad taste in the mouths of everyone involved, including the speakers and media partners who were eagerly anticipating the forum. The Mayor’s sudden, and unprofessional change of heart, also highlights the importance of strong partnerships between governments, businesses, and organizations. Such partnerships are essential for driving economic growth and innovation. When one party fails to uphold their end of the bargain, it can have serious consequences for everyone involved. In this case, they Mayor’s decision has not only damaged the reputation of the organizers but also that of the Craiova City Hall and Romania as a whole.

Finally, it is worth noting that the Mayor’s behavior is particularly disappointing given the current economic climate. After the global COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and organizations are struggling to stay afloat, and economic growth is more critical than ever. The European Forum of Economic Diplomacy was a rare opportunity to bring together international speakers, investors, and experts to discuss ways to boost economic growth and recovery in the region. By canceling the event, the Mayor has missed an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the economic recovery of her country.

It is evident that the Mayor of Craiova mishandled this situation, and her actions have had negative consequences for the organizers and Romania as a whole. It is important for leaders to honor their commitments and communicate effectively to avoid such messes in the future. This unfortunate incident has, sadly, turned into a bitter lesson, emphasizing the importance of transparency and professionalism of Government officials. We can only hope that in the future, leaders will honor their commitments and communicate effectively to avoid similar situations.

It should be mentioned that a similar episode also happened in 2021, this time with the president of the Suceava County Council, Mr. Gheorghe Flutur. In that year, the World Forum of Economic Diplomacy was supposed to be organized in the beautiful land of Bucovina; the location was not chosen by chance, this land being the eastern border of the European Union and a strategic point in agricultural trade with Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, countries that expressed interest in joining the European Union. That event was postponed in the first phase, only to be canceled later at the express decision of Mr. Gheorghe Flutur, president of the Suceava County Council. After these two unpleasant episodes, my conclusion is that you should not trust Romanian politicians who can be described as unreliable and people who do not know how to respect their foreign partners.

By Ioana Constantin

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