From October 30 until November 3, it was time for the annual visit to Romania within the framework of the Blue Deal project Economic Mechanism. The location for the proceedings in 2023 was the provincial city of Targu Mures, situated in the heart of Romania, and to Bucharest.
Various topics were on the agenda during the workshop at the office of the Romanian water authority in Targu Mures (RBA Mures). Initially, we were warmly welcomed by the director of RBA Mures and the economic director, Calin Sara. Apart from the attendees in Mures, a mix of colleagues from Mures, Cluj, and Bucharest, Romanian colleagues also joined via a video link. Among them was Liliana Michineci, the economic director of the NARW.
Focus on project with World Bank
One of the main focuses for the Romanians at present is their project with the World Bank. One of the recommendations from the most recent report stemming from this project is currently highly relevant. It suggests imposing a solidarity levy (around 13 euros) for purposes such as water barriers, among others.
Taxation and communication
From this perspective, the Romanian side expressed a keen interest in learning more about the approach of Dutch Water Authorities regarding taxation and related communications. Therefore, Philip Daelmans from the Dutch water authority Limburg delivered a presentation on Dutch taxation, which was very well received. Following this, Bas Dingenouts presented on communication within the Dutch water authority Scheldestromen. Communication in the broadest sense, specifically emphasising raising awareness among the population about the tasks of the water authority and justifying the expenditures incurred. This presentation was also positively received and offered several points to delve into further in subsequent sessions.
Apart from discussions on the project with the World Bank, the Romanian side also gave presentations on topics such as risk management and the impact of new tax rates on the revenues for Romanian water authorities. These discussions were interspersed with visits to RBA Mures locations (such as a purification plant, dam, etc.). On Friday, the workshop concluded in Bucharest during a meeting at the headquarters of NARW, where Liliana Michineci welcomed us, expressing her delight with the collaboration and reflecting on yet another successful work visit.
It was agreed to plan 2 new work visits in 2024, one in Leiden, the Netherlands, in May, and another in Timisoara, Romania, in October. Alongside the topics discussed in this work visit, numerous other subjects will be on the agenda, such as the use of benchmarks and KPIs to measure performance. Altogether, it was once again a successful visit, providing a solid foundation for the visits in 2024. Onwards to the next year!