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A dynamic emerging regional economy

Romanians have traditionally associated the West Region with notions of affluence, a level of development above the Romanian average, and a lifestyle bearing strong influences from the German and Central-European space. On the other hand, foreign investors have identified this region as a promising place to invest in, providing not only the substantial opportunities so characteristic of an emerging market, but also a modern and civilised business environment where they can be capitalised on. Thus, starting from a set of favourable circumstances and building on an impressive industrial tradition, the West Region has recorded a steady growth after the fall of the communist regime, at a faster rate than the Romanian average, managing to attract an impressive volume of foreign investments targeting a wide diversity of business sectors.

The economic dynamics of the West Region is the product of a whole group of factors, some of the most important being the higher-skilled workforce, the cosmopolitan mentality and multiculturalism characterizing an important segment of the region's population, the proximity to the western markets and the significant natural resources available here.

Having inherited the important industrial tradition of Banat, which was a pilot region for many innovative experiences in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the West Region had, even before 1989, a well developed and diverse industrial infrastructure. The opportunities and challenges that arose just after 1989, as well as the more recent ones, linked with the integration of Romanian in the EU, have been an essential stimulus for the diversification and consolidation of some regional economic structures characterised by competitiveness and a focus on the demands of the markets in Western Europe. Having found, on this emerging market, mentalities and attitudes similar to those on the mature Western European markets, foreign capital has played a major role in the structural change of the West Region. We should also mention that the industrial infrastructure of the West Region has also been supported by a high-performance educational and research infrastructure, centred around the "Politehnica" University of Timişoara, one of the leading technical universities in South-Eastern Europe. In addition to the good professional skills of the workforce in the West Region, trained in higher education in the 14 universities here (7 state universities and 7 private ones) and the wide network of technical education, the multilingualism of the region's population, fostered by multi-ethnicity and augmented by the good command of foreign languages, has been another factor supporting foreign investments in the West Region.

In this context, it is worth mentioning that in 12 high schools in the Region, students can choose from five languages when taking their graduation exam (German, Hungarian, Serbian, Slovakian, and Croatian), and there are university studies available in English and German. Moreover, after 1989, several high schools have their curriculum in internationally spoken languages such as English, French, and Spanish.

Proximity to various markets

The West Region's cultural proximity to Europe is undoubtedly also an expression of its fortunate geographic proximity. Lying roughly halfway between Vienna and Bucharest, as location in Europe, Timişoara, the "capital city" of the West Region, has lately become a place from which you can get fast flights to 20 destinations in Europe - also thanks to Traian Vuia Timisoara Airport, the largest regional airport within the Budapest-Bucharest-Belgrade triangle.

The traditional links with Central Europe, also expressed in the Region's location on the Pan-European transport corridors IV and VII, as well as the transport infrastructure undergoing vigorous processes of modernisation and adaptation to the European standards, form an advantage not only for the investors seeking to utilize the West Region's local resources, but also for those who want to use the West Region as a major logistical node for product assembly and export to Central European and other markets. In this sense, the West Region can be very attractive for investors looking for ways to cut the transport and assembly costs of the goods imported from the Asia-Pacific area and shipped to Central and Eastern Europe.

The development of the West Region has been influenced and is still supported by the significant natural resources of this area with its diverse geography, encompassing the highly fertile fields in the western part of the counties Timiş and Arad, the hills with their considerable mineral resources, as well as an important segment of the Southern and Western Carpathians, including one of the major natural parks in Europe, the Retezat National Park. Given this rich potential, we cannot speak, at this point, of a full utilization of the natural resources in the West Region.