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Romania

Romania

Population 19.9 million
GDP 9,981 US$
A4
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A4
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Synthesis

major macro economic indicators

  2013 2014 2015(f)  2016(f)
GDP growth (%) 3.5 3.0 3.7 4,2
Inflation (yearly average) (%) 3.2 1.4 -0.6 -0.6
Budget balance (% GDP) -2.2 -1.4 -1.5 -2.9
Current account balance (% GDP) -0.8 -0.4 -0.8 -1.9
Public debt (% GDP) 37.9 39.9 39.0 40.9

 

(f) Forecast

STRENGTHS

  • Large home market
  • Significant agricultural potential
  • Limited energy dependence (23%) thanks to oil and gas, coal and uranium
  • Large-scale renewable electricity production (37%)
  • Diversified industry with inexpensive labour
  • Leu stable against euro

WEAKNESSES

  • Population decline
  • Shortcomings in social development, difficult integration of Hungarian and Roma minorities
  • Sizeable informal economy (28%)
  • Poor agricultural productivity
  • Shortcomings in administration and justice, corruption
  • Poor transport infrastructures

RISK ASSESSMENT

 

Domestic demand driven by relaxed fiscal policy

Growth, under the impetus of internal demand, should increase again in 2016 to reach a high level, above its potential. Household consumption (70% of GDP), which has already benefited from doubled family allowances in mid-2015, will be boosted by rising wages induced by the strong employment and falling unemployment, increased public sector pay and the reduction in standard VAT from 24 to 20% as of January. Housing, as well as company investments, will benefit from increased confidence and, in terms of the latter, tax exemptions on reinvested profits and a guaranteed loan scheme for the SME sector. Public investment however, already suffering because of the inconsistent utilisation of European funds (67%), because of bureaucracy and failures at local level, could decline during the transition between two European funding programmes. The continued reduction in foreign currency debt by the economic players (over half of credit outstandings are in euros) should be offset by an increase in debts held in leus. But this increase will be moderate because local banks, 90% of which are subsidiaries of Austrian, French, Greek and Dutch banks, will continue to repay their debts owed to their parent companies, whilst building their domestic deposit bases. In addition, caution remains the order of the day due to the considerable volume of non-performing loans (14%) and the difficulty to call on collaterals. Exports (wood, cereals, oilseed, fertilizers, metals, medicines, machines and clothing) should not be impacted by the weaknesses in developing economies because most of these are shipped to European markets where demand is expected to slowly expand. Sales to Russia consist mainly of machines, together with vehicles and automotive parts, but only account for around 1% of GDP. Car sales (DACIA and Ford) and tyres (a quarter of exports) are not likely to feel the repercussions of the Volkswagen saga, even if sales of spare parts shipped to Germany accounted for 1% of GDP in 2014. The leu will continue to evolve in the wake of the euro, which will maintain competitiveness in Europe and benefit sales outside the Eurozone. However, as imports will be increasing at the same time at a very rapid rate thanks to internal demand, the contribution of the trade in goods will be negative. Services will again be the main beneficiaries of the vitality of activity, followed by industry. Agriculture (11% of GDP) should see a return to moderate growth following the dip in 2015 because of the drought. The insolvency rate among companies is likely to remain the highest in the region, particularly in construction, clothing, agri-business and hotel and catering. The drive against corruption and the informal economy is disrupting some businesses. 

 

 

Deterioration of public and external accounts

With the relaxing of fiscal policy, the public deficit is expected to increase, which will go together with a slight increase in debt. In addition to the cut in VAT, all public sector pay will increase by 10% (15% in education and 25% in hospitals) and the tax on dividends will be cut from 16 to 5%. Defence spending is going to increase significantly. The additional revenues arising from growth, the clampdown on tax evasion, linked with the informal economy, and the restructuring of public companies, often loss-making, will not make up for this. The current account deficit will also increase, in line with that for the trade in goods (4% of GDP in 2014), despite the increase in the surplus for services linked with tourism and road transport (4%). Remittances from workers abroad, as well as the deficit in revenues arising from the repatriation of dividends and the interest payments on external debt (64% of GDP, with one-third for the State) will continue at a low level. The current account deficit will easily be covered by FDI (just over 2% of GDP) and European funds (3%).

 

A technical transitional government

Weakened by his indictment for money laundering, misrepresentation and tax fraud by the National Anticorruption Directorate and faced with demonstrations following a tragic fire at a nightclub in Bucharest resulting in 57 deaths, Victor Ponta, head of the Social-Democrat government, with a big majority in parliament following the 2012 elections, resigned in November 2015. Klaus Iohannis, from the small German-speaking community, leader of the centre right National-Liberal Party and elected President in 2014, replaced him with Dacian Ciolos, a former European agriculture Commissioner. His government, consisting of people with backgrounds in European administration and civil society, won the support of all major political parties, which have committed to supporting him until the next elections in December 2016. His aim is to limit the deterioration of the public accounts, without undermining the budget course to which all the parties are committed.   

 

(Last update : January 2016 ) 

PAYMENT

 

The cheques and the promissory notes are the payment methods most commonly used for domestic and sometimes international transactions. The legal consecration is provided at Law no. 58/1934 regarding the bill of exchange and the promissory note modified and completed by the G.O. no. 11/1993, as well as the G.O.E. no. 39/2008.

The professionals choose to use the cheque /promissory note as a payment method of the equivalent value of purchased and received goods, works and services. The owner (beneficiary) of the cheque/promissory note must only give it to the bank and cash-in the amount written on that note.

Payment instruments also can be endorsed, if debtor does not have the possibility to pay.

An additional safety measure for the creditors is the request of cheque/promissory notes guaranteed by the administrator of the debtor company. In the case of execution of the promissory note that was not cleared, the creditor shall also take action against the administrator, who shall be liable for the debt with his/her own assets. The cheque, as well as the promissory note, is enforceable title and, if it is not cleared due to the absence of cash, the proceedings of forced execution may be started against the bad payer debtor based on them.

Cheques – moreover the promissory notes - allow creditors to exert substantial pressure on debtors since an unpaid cheque not only gives access to forced execution, but also constitutes a criminal offence.

 

Finally, bank transfers are becoming the most common payment method with the main Romanian banks, now linked to the SWIFT electronic network, which provides low-cost, flexible, and rapid processing of domestic and international payments.

 

DEBT COLLECTION

 

DIFFERENT TYPES OF LEGAL PROCEDURES FOR THE DEBT RECOVERY, ACCORDING TO THE ROMANIAN LEGISLATION

 

ORDINANCE PROCEDURE

 

The legislative consecration of this special procedure is provided at art. 1013-1024 NCPC. This procedure applies to the certain liquid and exigible debts with an amount exceeding RON 10.001, resulting from a civil contract, including the ones concluded between a professional and a contracting authority, excepting the debts registered in statement of affairs, within an insolvency procedure.

The dispositions of art. 1014 of the New Civil Procedure Code instate the obligation to run a preliminary procedure, obligation that is incumbent on the creditor, through the transmission of a summoning to the debtor through the bailiff or through a registered letter, with declarative content and confirmation receipt, by which the debtor will be summoned to pay the due amount within 15 days since receipt.

According to art. 1024 of the Civil Procedure Code, the ordinance is enforceable even if a request for cancellation is brought against it, and the interested party may raise an appeal against enforcement, according to the common law.

 

REDUCED VALUE CLAIMS

 

The legal consecration of this special procedure is provided at art. 1025-1032 NCPC. This procedure was created as an alternative to the common law proceedings and to the ordinance procedure for a quick resolution of the patrimony litigations, when the value of the object thereof does not exceed RON 10.000 and does not refer to the matters excepted by the law (art. 1025, par. 2 and 3 NCPC).
The procedure implies the use of some standard forms, approved by the Order of the Minister of Justice, i.e. the request form (art. 1028 par. 2 NCPC), the form for the completion and/or rectification of the request form (art. 1028 par. 4 NCPC) and the response form (art. 1029 par. 4 NCPC). The Romanian legislator mentions expressly that only documents can be means of evidence.
According to art. 1032 par. 1 “the decision of the Court is only submitted to appeal, within 30 days as of  the communication”; the solution corresponds to the one of the common law, except for the requests related to debts whose object is the payment of an amount of maximum RON 2000 (included) and which must be treated “firstly and lastly” by the court (art. 94 point 2 NCPC). By way of derogation from the common law however (art. 468 par. 5 NCPC), the exercise of the appeal does not suspend the enforcement procedure.

 

COMMON LAW PROCEDURE

 

The common law procedure resolves the patrimony litigations. The verification and settlement of the petition in Court detailed in the aforementioned procedure will also apply to this procedure.

The judge orders the communication of the request to the defendant, and the latter must submit a statement of defense within 25 days as of the communication of the petition. The plaintiff is bound to submit in his turn an answer to the statement of defense within 10 days since the communication, while the defendant will acknowledge the answer from the affair file. Within 3 days since the date of submission of the answer to the statement of defense, the court establishes the first trial date which will be within maximum 60 days, disposing the summoning of the parties. This process is a longer one, knowing that other evidence is also administered along with the documents – accounting expertise, parties’ cross-examination, the witness hearing. Following the debates, the court renders a legal decision. The ordinary remedy at law is the appeal within 30 days since the communication of the decision, to the upper court, and the extraordinary remedies at law are the appeal, the appeal for annulment and the revision. The appeal may be promoted for pecuniary requests with a value exceeding RON 500.001. The judicial stamp fee has a variable amount depending on the debt value.

 

THE ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURE

 

According to the civil procedure Code the enforcement procedure is a legal method to recover debts that have been established by enforceable titles such as decisions / sentences of the courts of law, notary contracts for goods or money, bank loans, payment instruments, etc.The enforcement procedure starts at the request of a creditor and is fulfilled by a bailiff.

 

INSOLVENCY/BANKRUPTCY PROCEDURE

 

Law number 85/2014 sets two mandatory conditions, which need to be cumulatively fulfilled in order for the creditors to be able to start the insolvency procedure against their debtors:

(i) the creditor has a certain, liquid and outstanding debt against the debtor for more than 60 days; 

(ii) the debt must exceed the amount of RON 40.000.

 

The procedure will begin with a petition filed in court (Tribunal) by the debtor himself or by creditor.

Law number 85/2014 sets two procedures to be undertaken by debtors who are not able to pay their debts: (i) the judicial reorganization procedure, aiming to rescue the debtor; (ii) the bankruptcy procedure aimed at liquidating debtor’s assets and paying all outstanding debts.

 

When the procedure is opened against a debtor, the creditors have to lodge their claims in due time. After lodging the claims, the judicial administrator/liquidator will conclude the panel of creditors – secured and unsecured. Unsecured creditors in the insolvency/bankruptcy procedure are those who do not have collateral security against the debtor's assets and who are not accompanied by liens privileges. The unsecured creditors generally did not recover their receivables, only in reorganization procedure they can recover their debts. The secured creditors have the legal possibility to recover their debts through the enforcement of those guarantees.

From the date of the procedure’s opening, all the judicial actions, extrajudicial actions or measures of enforcement procedure for the claims’ recovery on the debtor or his goods, will be suspended de jure.
Liability of the debtor’s management may be engaged in case the debtor’s administrators or auditors or other persons fraudulently determined the debtor’s insolvency.

 

Beginning with the date when court pronounces the bankruptcy of the debtor and the procedure is closed, according to Fiscal Code, the creditor has the possibility to reduce his loss by deducting income tax and VAT.

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