Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Romania, a Country in Need of Workers? The Bitter Taste of “Strawberry Jam”

Silasi, Grigore and Simina, Ovidiu Laurian (2007): Romania, a Country in Need of Workers? The Bitter Taste of “Strawberry Jam”. Published in: The Romanian Journal of European Studies No. No.5-6/2007 (2007): pp. 179-205.

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Abstract

The paper is a contribution at the scientific debate of migration and mobility issues in the context of an enlarged European Union (EU-27). We consider that Romania, a country with a labour market that faces distortions, will benefit from migration on short term, but will need to import labour force in order to maintain the development trend. Remittances, as result of Romanians emigration after 2002, helped the economic development of the country in the last years (remittances’ inflow doubled the FDI). As a response to the media debate regarding Romania’s emigration, we consider that the fear of mass migration from Romania following the year 2007 is not justified. While the European (and mostly British) media cries on the threat of Bulgarians and Romanians’ emigration, as following to the 2007 accession, the scientific reports say that the A8 countries’ migration benefits to economy of the EU15 countries. In the same time, the Romanian media and the Romanian entrepreneurs announce the ‘Chinese invasion’ and the lack of labour in construction, industry and even agriculture. We see labour as goods: the economic theory say that goods are moving with the prices, the highest price attracts (more) goods. Romania is not only a gateway for the East-West international migration (like Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece for the South-North direction), but a labour market in need of workers. While a big part of the labour force is already migrated, mostly to the SE Europe (some 2.5m workers are cited to be abroad, with both legal and illegal/irregular status), the Romanian companies could not find local workers to use them in order to benefit from the money inflow targeting Romania in the light of its new membership to the European Union (foreign investments and European post accession funds). Instead of increasing the salaries, the local employers rather prefer to ‘import’ workers from poorer countries (Moldavians, Chinese, Ukrainians, who still accept a lower wage as compared to the medium wage in Romania, but bigger enough as compared to those from their countries of origin).

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