–  Dear Mr. Karel Zděnovec , you have been in Romania some years ago. What can you tell for ‘Clubul presei transatlantice’ about that period? What are your conclusions about Romania and Romanian people?

Karel Zděnovec: – My stay in Romania was a very nice period of time. I like very much your country with his wild mountains and varied sceneries, the valley of the Danube in the border with Serbia and of course the delta, the Prahova Valley (not only the wine ) and the Bucegi mountains, the historical and the more modern-ones cities (in alphabetical order) like Brasov, Campulung, Cluj-Napoca, Curtea de Arges, Iasi, Piatra Neamt, Sibiu, Sebes, Timisoara, etc. But the most important for me was the Romanian people, the normal people! I have till now a lot of friends from many regions and I am very happy of that. Even if I have not enough time to see them, or to talk to them…in one word, I keep them in my heart! I think, that Romanian people is a very talented one, you have good cultural and language background, so, please, persevere in your efforts, not allow the young generation to switch to “consumer” society too much, which is by the way, I think, the main problem everywhere in the western civilization…

From the point of view of my professional stay (I was a Commercial Counsellor of the Czech republic to Romania) I can proudly say, that the Czech and Romanian businessmen have a lot in common and I found always a big interest to collaborate on both sides. The Czech products had at that time (and hope still have ) a good reputation. In the same way the Romanian industry and agriculture also inspired a vibrant interest from the Czech side.

–  How do you see the development of the economic / trade relationships between our countries? What opportunities can you consider for that? I know that you are not in Romania now…But now you know more about Romania. Perhaps you know that France is considered by the Romanian people as ‘the elder sister of Romania’.

6 Degustation of romanian wines - in RomaniaKarel Zděnovec: – Despite of the economic crisis which we are still facing, I think the relations are positive and developing well. Unhappily during the crisis there were a lot of firms who saw falling their good position on the market and were forced to close their branches and finally quit Romania. Now they are returning, with more caution, but in conclusion, returning.

There is of course a lot things to do, to improve, in our economic/trade relations. The main problem on both sides is the lack of funding and sometimes I can see still a lot of bureaucracy and unfortunately the omnipresent corruption.

The main opportunities are in the industrial cooperation (automotive, aircraft, transports…), the processing (tools, foundry, wood, nanotechnologies, etc.), in the field of consumer and agricultural technologies and products, in the services.

Brief the field is still very waste and can cover such a wide range, as we say in Czech republic (in a hyperbolic way) “from toilet paper to locomotives”.

Romania is mostly seen in a positive way from my French partners (despite of occasional “classical journalist affairs” with the tziganes in the French territory and some problems with the pickpocket bands in Paris, etc.) but if I compare both countries there is a lot of similitudes. And if I travel through the boulevards of Paris and Bucharest, it is obvious, that there were some kind of positive inspiration.

–  What about the European contemporary economic context? What are your opinions after your have seen ‘the both sides’ of Europe (Bucharest and Paris)?

Karel Zděnovec: – It should be for a long, long discussion, anyway, let me to simplify a little. The context is a very difficult one. South against North, globalization, real estate and derivates crisis, state debt crisis…I think we have to get used with the fact, that the european economic situation will face more and more frequent (and repeated) crises. Globally and above all, there is a crisis of competitiveness in the old continent. Even if we have countries with an interesting potential like Romania, Croatia, Serbia, etc. (and the Czech or Slovak republic, too) the main problem remains less or more the same for everybody – the lack of real growth stimulus. The good thing is we are trying to change it, but we need a lot of energy and above all a political consensus in many sensitive questions. For me one of the main problems is the high degree of corruption in many countries and the fiscal inequalities and paradises in Europe and in the world. I think we should be able to agree (globally, also with USA and the rest of the “rich” world) in some very strict measures against the money cleaning and the fiscal evasion. We have to be able to help our SME firms to develop in a independent and healthy way, to support the research, to built the corresponding infrastructure and to cut back the main flagrant inequalities in the social system.

10 Saint Germain en Laye4) What would you like to visit again in Romania? What have you visited? Could be TOURISM considered a great opportunity for Romania?

Oh, I would like to visit everything I did not have the time to visit before!!! And…to return everywhere where I was so happy during my stay. Ioan, you know it very well, I cannot mention 5, 10 or even 50 places I like in Romania, the regions are so different and rich in potential experiences for the tourist. Anyway, let’s try: I would like to visit the eye-popping Oltenia, the waste Banat and Crisana, the proud Maramures, the romantic and “far alone” Bucovina and Moldova, the mythic Transilvania, the cross of nations Muntenia and Dobrodgea :-) … Briefly, for the tourist, there is nearly a paradise (be careful, a lot of useless infrastructure can sometimes discourage lot of them…), but you have to keep in mind some important things: keep and protect your nature, do not let the people devastate it, create the rules and respect them, the average tourist is a client, pamper him! It is OK he came once, that is fine, but most important is he would come back every year…

–  You have been invited at the IV the edition of ‘The HESPERUS Days’. We plan to organize the X th edition of ‘The HESPERUS Days’ in 2014. Would you like to participate? To speak about ‘The New European Opportunities’ (concerning your Bucharest and Paris background) ?

Karel Zděnovec: – Of course, I would like. The only problem should be my charged agenda, we have to work a little bit on it :-) .

–  I have succeeded in visiting Prague at the end of 2010. I’d like to write a poetry book ‘to link Bucharest to Prague’. I dream to publish this book into Romanian, Czech and English and to launch this poetry book in Bucharest and Prague. Would you be open to suggest to me some possible contacts which could be interested to be involved in such a project? Of course, this would be a European promotion opportunity for them!

Karel Zděnovec: – Yes, I have to ask you for more details, in principle I consider it as a very “pan-european” project. May be we should discuss it with both embassies and to propose the project to some companies which are active at least in the Czech-Romanian relation…

– We have begun a new year. You have spent the Christmas and the New Year’s Eve with your family. What would be your message for the people ‘from the both sides of the Atlantic Ocean’ which will read this interview? What do you wish for them at the beginning of this new year?

Karel Zděnovec: – I apologize to have missed so much time to answer, anyway the message remains the same in January, February or March. It is a rather pathetic one, sorry, but it is my nature.

First, I wish to everybody good health and a lot of tolerance.

Last but not least, we, people (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew or atheist), we all have a lot of problems here or there…We live our lives sometimes so quickly, we are sometimes very stressed and by moments we think we cannot continue more…please do not forget, there is always someone who has more problems than you, who has very probably a lot of problems…and it is not necessarily his own fault. So, stay modest with the things you have and above all, stay human!

Interview made by  Ioan Iacob via Clubul Presei Transatlantice

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