Sebastian Popescu, Noerr: “One critical aspect for any R&D project is labour force, but investors are also looking at incentives”
“When we are trying to attract an R&D project or any investment in Romania, we should closely look at what the investors are analysing. One critical aspect for any R&D project is labour force, but investors are also looking at incentives.
From this perspective, there are two topics to be analysed: the fiscal incentives that you get and the predictability. In terms of predictability, Romania is not the best country in the region. However, in terms of actual financing that companies might get, Romania’s rating is good.
Romania has a budget of two billion Euro allocated for 2014-2023. Approximately one billion Euro was already consumed, so there is still money available and 15 percent of it could be directed to R&D projects,” Sebastian Popescu, Counsel & State Aid Expert, Noerr said during Automotive R&D Power Breakfast organized by Automotive Today.
One challenge for the companies when applying for an R&D project is the fact that the current scheme requires a minimum of one hundred employees and also keep them for 7-8 years. It is a paradox because having all this money available and the good intentions to develop the R&D, there are not many R&D projects on this scheme until now.
Over 130 projects were approved on the production scheme. On the other scheme, which is financing salary costs, only 40 projects were approved. There is a dramatic difference between the state aid that was allocated for production projects and the one for salary costs.
The funds worth 500 million Euro that are available should be consumed by the end 2023. After that, we will start a new scheme with a new budget. If you do not get this money until then, you will lose it. The authorities show willingness to support this kind of projects, but it is really important to have projects applying for these funds.
PNRR offers a lot of money and Romania can attract a lot of funds for its economy. However, my feeling is that schemes and instruments are not yet very well implemented. I think that the current state-aid scheme would work very well for financing R&D projects.”
Full recording of the conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zD9i9Hq6aQ