The new European environmental laws, infrastructure, environmental protection and human resources are to be taken into consideration by Austrian company Voest Alpine when taking a decision to build a steel-making plant in Romania, company president Wolfgang Eder said in Linz on May 14 after meeting visiting Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu.
The prime minister held talks with the managers of the Austrian company and visited the Linzbased production facility, one of Europe’s biggest steel-making plants.
Since Voest Alpine wishes to conduct a 5 million euro investment in Romania to build a new steel plant, Tariceanu stressed Romania is directly competing with two other countries – Bulgaria and Ukraine – to attract this investment.
"We are not, in this race, the only candidate to attract the investment, but there are at least another two countries, Bulgaria and Ukraine, and my task is to try to offer the best conditions to attract this project to Romania that should thus contribute to the development of the economy", the prime minister said, adding that previous discussions had been held on this matter at the level of the premier and of the SME Minister Ovidiu Silaghi and at the level of the Romanian Agency for Foreign Investments represented by vice president Monica Barbuletiu.
Tariceanu said the Romanian authorities should back the company with respect to the problems related to infrastructure, labour and laws.
The critical points, from the viewpoint of the Austrian company managers, include the possible change of the new European legislation on the environmental protection, but also the issues of infrastructure, logistics, human resources and environment in Romania.
"There is the question of the infrastructure in Romania, but there is also the problem of issuing environmental authorizations and the problem of the personnel", Voest Alpine company president Wolfgang Eder said, adding the talks he had with Prime Minister Tariceanu had led to finding suitable solutions related to the critical points.
Eder said a decision regarding the location of the investment will be made by the end of this summer at the latest and it will largely depend on the new environmental legislation of the European Union.
The Voest Alpine top executive stressed he is aware of the situation in Romania, since his company has achieved investments in the cities of Sibiu, Giurgiu, Arad and Buzau and the two countries are linked not only in the economic area, but also on a cultural level.
Voest Alpine made a greenfield investment worth 18 million euros in the Danube River port city of Giurgiu, to meet the increased demand in the Southeastern European market. From 2009, Voest Alpine will make in Giurgiu metal structures for the entire region.
Austria is the biggest foreign investor in Romania; authorized sources say Voest Alpine had held several rounds of talks as early as in autumn with the Bucharest authorities to find out what the advantages of such an investment in Romania might be. The Austrian company is considering several locations for its future steel-mill, to have direct access to river- or sea navigation.