Romania's Social Democrats Launch Re-Industrialization Plan to Stop the Brain Drain

Sep 22, 2016, 12:34 ET from Social Democratic Party of Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania, September 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Liviu Dragnea, leader of the Social Democratic Party of Romania (PSD), today launched the first phase of an economic plan aimed at generating at least 42,000 new jobs and raising employee incomes to a European standard.

Mr. Dragnea told a news conference he wanted every Romanian who works hard and contributes to the nation's development to join the middle class. "Romanians are entitled to the 'European dream' in their own country, so as not to work abroad," he said. It has been estimated that 2.5 million Romanian nationals currently work abroad, approximately half the size of the domestic work force.

The PSD, the largest party in Romania's parliament, relinquished office last year following street demonstrations in the aftermath of a devastating nightclub fire. Under its new leadership, the party is seeking a new mandate in elections scheduled for Dec. 11. The elections are expected to replace a caretaker "technocratic" government. Mr. Dragnea maintains that the current government's inexperience has resulted in freezing Romanian living standards, which had been rising quickly under the previous PSD government.

Terming the PSD the "party of the many", Mr. Dragnea called on Romanians to join him in elevating the nation's working class to the middle class and to secure a European-scale standard of living for all. He said this was a key to encouraging the return of the nation's expatriate workers. He said out-migration has affected some of the most vital sectors of society, pointing to the example of 13,000 more physicians needed in Romanian hospitals following the exodus to EU countries. He also cited Romania's automotive industry, which struggles to recruit skilled workers.

Linchpin of the re-industrialization plan is a EUR 10 billion (45 billion Romanian Leu) state investment fund, the Sovereign Fund for Development and Investment or SFDI (Fondul Suveran de Dezvoltare si Investitii, or FSDI), which is to be created from the assets owned by the state in 200 companies. The fund is expected to generate revenues of over 50 billion leu in the next four years, as dividends from those companies are reinvested, and private investments are attracted.

Mr. Dragnea said the SFDI will support large infrastructure projects, such as highways, hospitals, power facilities and railways that cannot be accessed from EU funds. Additionally, the Fund will capitalize large Romanian companies, set up new manufacturing companies as Greenfield projects in disadvantaged regions, which will create at least "42,000 new, well-paid jobs," he said. Romania used to have factories and strong industry in each of its 41 counties. Now, in most cities, these factories have closed and good paying jobs are scarce. The Social Democrats' program aims at rebuilding Romanian industry and opening new factories in these cities.

About the Social Democratic Party of Romania

⁠⁠⁠The PSD, in Romanian Partidul Social Democrat, was originally formed in 1992 as a party of the center-left and is currently the largest grouping in both lower and upper houses of the nation's parliament, while also controlling more than half of the mayoralties and over 65% of local and county councils, including the capital of Bucharest. The PSD paved the way for Romania's historic accession process into the EU in 2007, and today holds 16 of the country's 32 MEPs. Its 2012-15 government was considered one of Romania's best, leading the country's emergence from the economic crisis and achieving rapid growth, together with a sharp increase of people's living standards. Liviu Dragnea, the PSD's current president, was elected party leader in 2015 and has since led a series of reforms that have positioned the PSD to form Romania's next government. Mr. Dragnea is a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development.

For further information: Steluta Negoita, +40 730 650 545, in Bucharest or Zhenya Harrison, +44 (0)20 3397 2825 or in London

SOURCE Social Democratic Party of Romania