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Dana GRUIA DUFAUT: To be a credible voice in Europe, Romania must get rid of its inferiority complex, fight corruption, draft projects, develop partnerships

Date: 01/19/2017

Dana Gruia Dufaut, Managing Partner of the GRUIA DUFAUT Law Firm, granted an interview for the Romanian English daily "Nine O'Clock", with an analysis on the meaning of Romania's adhesion to the EU from the point of view of the business environment and the evolution of the lawyers' profession. What were the costs and benefits of the integration? What are the steps that Romania needs to take in order to become a credible voice in Europe? Answers to these questions, together with lots of other interesting opinions can be read in the interview published here http://bit.ly/2j8XRjQ

“Romania’s accession to the EU marked the end of an highly complex preparation stage, which began in 1995, when Romania submitted its application for membership, and which entailed – in terms of legislation, economy and administration – an effort to adopt EU rules and acquis.

Internally, this alignment effort has lead to profound social, political and economic changes. Romania has taken steps towards acknowledging and guaranteeing its citizens’ fundamental rights, property protection, and also created mechanisms for ensuring the development of a market economy. Another significant positive effect of Romania’s EU membership was the diversification of financial resources, as the State began accessing European funding. Externally, as a consequence of its tighter relations with the EU and NATO, Romania became more credible to investors and, on the other hand, secured its access to the largest trade market, with the highest GDP in terms of purchasing power.”(…)

“(…) as a consequence of Romanian leaders’ incapacity to create the instruments for the country to benefit from the resources it had been offered, EU alignment obligations entailed high costs, which lead to the full extinction of several economic sectors. Furthermore, the fact that corruption was tolerated and even encouraged at all levels caused a costly delay in all reform and modernization processes. As a consequence, even if Romania had the highest economic growth in the EU, Romanians’ standard of living has remained low…

All these costs, which had an “internal cause”, were aggravated by the economic crisis that struck the EU, especially since 2008. Thus, in its 10 years as a full member of the EU, Romania rather experienced a Europe marked by its own crisis.”
“(…) My arrival in Bucharest, in the early ’90s, as a lawyer specialised in business law, coincided with the radical transformation of the lawyer profession and the birth of a business law market. Thus, I had the chance to be one of the pioneers of this profession in Romania.

I have to recall the two laws which allowed the transformation of the lawyer profession: Decree no. 90/1990, which ended the supervision exercised by the Ministry of Justice over the lawyer profession and affirmed its independent status, and Law no. 51/1995, organizing the lawyer profession.

However, the major milestone in the development of the lawyer profession was the launch of the EU integration process, which meant that lawyers had to evolve in a new global legal framework and rapidly adopt the working methods of their Western colleagues. In Romania, the lawyer profession has developed much faster than the other legal professions; however, it was also exposed to European trends: a faster access to the profession, which lead to a significant increase in competition on this market, including as a consequence of the openness towards foreign lawyers. For example, in 2015 there were 62,073 lawyers in France, whereas statistics showed that Romania had approximately 23,000. This, considering that France had 18,885 lawyers in 1992, whereas Romania had only 2,900 lawyers in 1990. Last, but not least, the most profound change was brought by the economic crisis, which has not spared the Romanian legal market. The most visible change was actually in the way lawyers relate to their business. Lawyers were forced to act quickly, under pressure of internal factors relating in particular to their profession (increased competition) or external factors (demands of a less faithful clientele, lack of resources, the cultural advantage of the international law firms etc.). Thus, after a period of economic boom, the business lawyer profession oscillated between a defensive attitude (limitation of risks) and an offensive one (innovation in respect to offers and working methods, increased communication).” (…)

About GRUIA DUFAUT Law Firm
Present on the Romanian market since 1991, the GRUIA DUFAUT Law Firm in Bucharest reunites a highly qualified team of Romanian lawyers and legal experts, working in English, French and Romanian and accompanies both foreign and local investors in entering the Romanian market and subsequently in the legal development of their companies on the local market in its areas of expertise.

The Law Office also has a team of litigators, who represent and defend our clients’ interests before any national court of ordinary law and in national and international arbitration cases

Areas of expertise: M&A, Public Procurement & PPP, Corporate Law, Commercial Law, Energy, Real Estate Law, Competition & Distribution Law, Tax & Administrative Law, Labour Law, Intellectual Property, Litigation & Arbitration.

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