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[Enjoy Transylvania!] Arad: 15 years of development, 15 years of economic growth!

“Almost all cars in Europe have a component “Made in Arad”! This is mainly due to the powerful automotive industry in the county. There are as many as 7 industrial parks in the city alone! One of the only functional free areas in Romania is in our county, offering substantial opportunities to non-EU companies”, said Mayor Gheorghe Falcă. Since his election in 2004, the number of employees in the city has almost doubled. Unemployment in Arad today is somewhat of a miracle: 0.5% in the city, 1.3% in the county. The private – public sector ratio in terms of number of jobs has reached a level of 6.2. If we exclude Bucharest from the statistics, Arad has the best ratio in the country. The prestigious Forbes Magazine nominated Arad as the 5th best business destination in Romania!

At the crossroads between Central and Eastern Europe, Arad is a landmark for development based on European funding. Since Romania joined the EU in 2007, the city and the county of Arad attracted no less than 1 billion euros in both the public and the private sector. It is the only city in Romania connected to the European network of highways and with a high-speed rail transport for people and goods. The largest rail intermodal terminal linking the ports of Constanța and Rotterdam is just 20 km away from the capital city of the county.

The evolution of Arad sped up in 2004, when the whole city turned into a huge construction site. With the strong belief that the organic growth and successful management of a city should be based on a long term strategy, and not just on “flashy” enterprises that would blind the constituents, the new local administration mathematically set out to rebuild the town infrastructure.

The reconstruction started with a solid foundation. The main roads of the city were completely rebuilt. The highway-type ring road is one of the achievements that the town’s administration is proud of. Trams just as modern as those in Munich or Vienna run on 38 km of upgraded lines. European funds have been contracted by the city administration to buy new trams ad electric buses.

6 new latest generation trams have been purchased, another 28 are planned. 20 existing trams will be modernised.

The sewage system was extended from 54% in 2004 to 96%. 110 km of new rainwater drain pipes were installed between 2004 and 2012.

Over 600 apartments were provided with thermal insulation and 8 new apartment buildings were erected in the social housing area, with a total of 310 apartments built for people that cannot afford to own a home.

The education institutions administered by the City Hall (nursery schools, primary and secondary schools, high-schools) have also undergone significant changes, following investments of over 22 million euros between 2004 and 2016. Arad is also greener after planting thousands of trees and laying natural grass carpets with automatic irrigation in most places. The people of Arad have also rediscovered the bicycle, an alternative, ecological and non-polluting means of transport, for which they have a total of 122 km of biking lanes, the longest network in the country.

In 2004 Arad was 19th in the economic indicator ranking, while today the economic growth has brought Arad to the third position:

1st place – Ilfov (due to the growth of Bucharest)
2nd place – Argeș (due to the Dacia car manufacturer)
3rd place – Arad

In 2004 Arad used to export 500 million euros worth of goods. In 2018, the city had a positive economic balance, with exports worth 3.3 billion euros and imports worth 2.9 billion euros.

National ranking of imports and exports for 2018 :
1. Bucharest – exports 10.482 bil. euros / imports 22.556 bil. euros
2. Timiș – exports 6.411 bil. euros / imports 5.548 bil. euros
3. Argeș – exports 5.775 bil. euros / imports 4.370 bil. euros
4. Arad – exports 3.331 bil. euros / imports 2.930 bil. euros
5. Brașov – exports 3.300 bil. euros / imports 2.963 bil. euros

Between 2004 and 2018 the following schools were renovated:
– nursery schools, 32 of the existing 39= 82%
– primary and secondary schools, 12 of the existing 17 = 71%
– high-schools, 17 of the existing 20 = 85%

In 2021, Arad will team up with Timișoara for the title of European Capital of Culture. By then it will be the first city in Romania to have 100% LED-based, ecological street lighting. The public lighting network was extended by adding 9,850 new posts until the end of 2018, following an investment that was made possible by the Swiss-Romanian cooperation programme.

(From the special edition of TB 86 – „ENJOY TRANSYLVANIA!” – May/June 2019)

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