Openness Makes it easier to do business

Taking many eco- nomic commentators by surprise—cer- tainly those in the British tabloid press—one of the stellar European Union performers over the past 12 months has been Romania. With a fourth- quarter gross domestic product boost of 5.2% for 2013, the Eastern European country with its Black Sea coast and border with Ukraine posted an overall 3.5% rise for the year, with a further 2.3% anticipated for 2014.

“It’s the fastest-growing country in the EU,” says Guillermo Tolosa, the International Monetary Fund’s resident representative in Romania and Bulgaria. “It reflects a manufacturing export boom—principally car manufac- turing—and a very good year for agriculture. We had very good weather.”

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