On Friday, October 9, Romanians of DC hosted a special event in honor of H.E. Virgil Popescu, the Romanian Minister of Economy, Energy and Business Development. Earlier that day, Mr. Popescu, signed a historic agreement with his American counterpart, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, which will allow Romania to obtain U.S. expertise and technology and will provide access to funding for the building of nuclear reactors 3 and 4 and the refurbishment of reactor 1 at the Cernavodă Nuclear Power Plant. In addition to the construction and refurbishment projects at Cernavodă, the agreement also calls for cooperation in areas such as regulation, exchanges between research laboratories and universities, staff training, as well as research and development. The U.S. government has expressed its interest in exploring financial institutions which would support the funding of these projects.
As the U.S. Secretary of Energy noted, “This agreement underscores the importance of the strategic partnership between the United States and Romania and our mutual commitment to energy security in the region.”
The event hosted by Romanians of DC was an opportunity for local Romanian business leaders and other community members to meet Minister Popescu, learn more about the importance of the agreement and discuss the role the Romanian community in the United State can play in furthering the economic cooperation between the two countries. In his more formal remarks at the event, moderated by the Founder of Romanians of DC, Bogdan Banu, Mr. Popescu highlighted the unprecedented nature of this 8 billion dollars agreement which comes to enhance the existing strategic partnership which until now has been primarily developed in the areas of defense cooperation. Discussing the agreement, the Minister pointed out that this will ensure that the development of the energy sector in Romania will be done with its NATO partners, especially since in addition to the American side, the construction of the new reactors will also include Canadian and European participation. He noted that the agreement provides for cooperation in the development of small modular reactors in Romania. Mr. Popescu also touched about the plans of his Ministry in the medium and long term, the importance of the IT sector, and the growing importance of other areas of the Romanian Economy.
Mr. Bogdan Banu, when welcoming Minister Virgil Popescu, remarked the importance of this agreement which has no precedent in the bilateral relation and which will signal to the American business leaders and investors that Romania is not only a safe and trustworthy defense partner of the United States, but it is now a country the U.S. government also considers to be a strategic economic one. Mr. Banu thanked the Minister for his willingness to meet with the community, especially under the current circumstance, and noted that this act of normalcy is something we wish more officials would be willing to do.
Participants at the event asked Minister Popescu about the economic plans of the current government, especially as it relates to small and medium size businesses, about the economic priorities especially on the long term, and about the ways in which the community can more concretely contribute to enhancing the economic relationship between the two countries. The Q&A also covered areas related to renewable energy and recyclables, the administrative reform in Romania, the contribution of large Romanian multinational / international corporation in enhancing the country’s public standing, and the Ministry’s plans to encourage the expansion of Romanian business on international markets.
The event was organized mindful of the current pandemic and included only a small number of participants to allow for social distancing and ample spacing. Participants were encouraged to wear masks, which were provided along with sanitizing products.
We also want to thank the gracious hosts of the event, Radu and Camelia Roșu!