A Romanian musician by Croisette, the Georgian Labor code and more…

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Memories from Cannes, MIPIM 2010, part 1

A Romanian musician on Croisette Boulevard…

  • It was Wednesday night when I was walking with my brother Grigoris and some good friends of ours on Croisette boulevard. Two years ago a Romanian colleague of mine noticed that almost all the musicians performing at Croisette are… Romanians (and usually from Brasov!) That night I was in my… talkative mood, so when I spotted a musician close to Dior shop, I headed to him. It proved out that the musician was in mood for talks too. “Buna seara, ce faceti, domnule?” I opened the discussion (despite my friend’s comment: “How are you so sure that he is Romanian?”) His warm reply initiated us to continue.
  • This is how we found out that he has been working there for the last 2 years. He has two jobs, in order to save some money: During day he works as gardener (or something similar) and in the night he is performing his music on the boulevard. The kind and polite gentleman explained to us how difficult life has been for him, especially now, during the crisis. “But you are here at the famous Croisette, the richest people of the world come over, what crisis are you talking about?” “Mister, the crisis is more visible here. There are people with lots of money, who used to be very generous with me or any other guy here. Nowadays they don’t give us not even one euro. The economic crisis is very deep and we really feel it”.
  • A peaceful gentleman, talking politely, structuring his opinion with arguments, looking straight to your eyes. A hard working man, who left his family back home, in order to create for them a better life, working 16 hours per day in France. You can not imagine how much I respected him… Comparing to the typical “smechers” of Bucharest, who will do everything in order to avoid real work, he is a small hero of life. And he gained my deep, honest appreciation.

Labor code and other reforms, made by… Georgia (!)

  • Our stand’s location was right across the one of Georgia. A country which was involved in a war just 19 months ago, but now it tries to stand on its feet and enter in the international business segment. How do they try this? A Georgian gentleman, local entrepreneur and representative of a big project there, was clear: “We have created a special industrial park close to our capital city, Tbilisi. You can invest there and build a new factory, having many advantages: 0% taxes to the State, the municipality and any other authority. Plus 0% social contributions of any kind. You just have to pay the salary of your employee. All these advantages will be at your disposal for 10 years, so you will really benefit a lot out of them”.
  • I was still skeptical, so he continued: “All utilities at your disposal. All authorizations as well. My country has 0 corruption, as it is indicated by all the international organizations which monitor all countries.And the best of all: Our labor code is just a 2 pages text, with 0 obligations for you. When you want to fire an employee, you just inform him that he has to go, without any more obligations from your side”. “Is it really the best way to attract investments in a country?” I asked Grigoris afterwards.
  • I know many Romanian businessmen who will generate “ideas” after reading the above text. But as my brother commented… “People fought hard and for many years in order to build a society, not a jungle without rules. All the rest are nice, but such a labor code…” If there is something that amazed me about Georgia, this was their “finger theater”. A small stage and instead of marionettes performing, the fingers of people, wearing… costumes (!) Soon I will upload the videos and you will be able to understand more.

Very few – very serious – very well informed

  • In 2008 hundreds of people were interested to know more about Romania. Most of them just knew its location at the European map and wanted feedback about investments. During 2009’s exhibition, the number of people was decreased by 75% but the level of seriousness rose. This year it was very clear. 45% less meeting reports comparing to 2009, but almost everyone was very serious. He knew what he wanted and the real situation of Romania today.

New investors: 0

  • I wrote 19 meeting reports, instead of 35 last year (and over 140 in 2008). But 14 were very “juicy”… meetings either with serious Romanians or foreigners. Everyone knew what he / she wanted. How many new investors did I meet? None! There was noone at all, except the option for me to consider as “new” a fund which is already present in the market but only this year they will proceed in acquiring some assets.

On Friday, March 26th:

More Memories from Cannes

“Words of wisdom”

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