Romania-Italy Economic Forum: Energy Sector on the Meeting Agenda

The Romania-Italy Economic Forum, organised in mid-February by the Office for Commercial & Economic Promotion (BPCE) of the Romanian Embassy in Rome and the Agency for External Promotion and Internationalisation of Italian Companies (ICE), took place on the sidelines of the joint meeting of the Romanian and Italian governments, an important event that marks the consolidation of bilateral cooperation through the signing of a new Strategic Partnership Declaration. The meeting of the two governments comes 13 years after the previous joint government meeting was held in Bucharest.

The event was attended by government officials and representatives of the business environment from the two countries. More than 120 Italian companies took part in the forum sessions, already present on the Romanian market, or interested in the commercial and investment opportunities offered, being also attended by Romanian companies that have opened branches in Italy or are established by Romanian citizens residing in Italy.

The main areas of activity of the participating companies include energy, industrial production, construction, services and medical devices, banking, IT&C, HORECA, tourism, road and air transport, tax, and legal consultancy services. The Romanian energy sector was represented by Transelectrica, Transgaz, Romgaz, Nuclearelectrica, Electrica.

A Joint Declaration on the development of the Enhanced Strategic Partnership was signed at the level of Prime Ministers and several sectoral cooperation documents were signed at the level of Ministers, all of which are complex documents responding to the needs of state institutions and companies in the current geopolitical context.

“Italy is Romania’s second customer and second supplier,” Prime Minister of Italy Giorgia Meloni underlined. “To this we must add the fact that the Romanian community is the largest resident in Italy and offers an extremely important contribution,” she added.

The two governments signed in Rome a joint declaration strengthening the partnership, as well as seven other memoranda, technical agreements, and letters of intent, covering defence, start-ups, cybersecurity.

“We are both Latin people and for many of us Italy is a second home. There are many Romanian companies that have invested in Italy,” the head of the Romanian government Marcel Ciolacu recalled. “We want to use the transfer of know-how from Italy to increase the competitiveness of Romanian companies,” he added.

The nuclear energy, agro-industrial, infrastructure and steel sectors are among the areas discussed at the Farnesina Business Forum, where Italy and Romania can work and build more in a context of ‘extraordinary’ levels of bilateral relations, according to Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani. “Trade exchanges, the presence of Italian and Romanian companies, the organisation of joint ventures: this means developing a growth strategy for our economy, also taking into account the ecological transition, with a pragmatic vision,” said Antonio Tajani. During the event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania, Luminita Odobescu, the Minister of Transport of Romania, Sorin Grindeanu, the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Edmundo Cirielli, and the Minister of Economy of Romania, Stefan-Radu Oprea, also had interventions.

Among the most important projects, special attention was paid to the agreement between Ansaldo Nucleare and Romania’s Nuclearelectrica for the expansion of the Cernavoda nuclear power plant and – in terms of infrastructure – the bridge over the Danube in Braila, built by WeBuild.

“The organization of the third Intergovernmental Summit is a proof of the strategic and privileged nature of the bilateral relationship between Romania and Italy and reflects the extraordinary potential that we will develop together for the benefit of our countries and citizens. Romanians form a strong community in Italy and Italians are the largest community of entrepreneurs in Romania, which strengthens our special collaboration. Italy is among Romania’s most important economic partners, and the organisation of the Economic Forum focusing on areas such as IT&C, energy, manufacturing and mechanical industry, infrastructure, agri-food industry is another excellent opportunity to increase our economic cooperation,” Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu said.


Nuclearelectrica-SACE-Ansaldo Nucleare MoU

Nuclearelectrica has signed, in Rome, in the presence of the Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Tourism, Stefan-Radu Oprea, and the Minister of Business and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, a Memorandum of Understanding with SACE and Ansaldo Nucleare in order to advance the development and financing of Cernavodă NPP Unit 1 Refurbishment and Cernavoda NPP Units 3 and 4, two of Nuclearelectrica’s strategic projects with significant impact on energy security, decarbonisation targets and local and national socio-economic development.

In this context, Ansaldo Nucleare has expressed its interest in submitting a tender for the supply of engineering and project management services, the procurement, installation and commissioning of components and systems, mainly for the classical part of the plant, necessary to complete and commission both Unit 1 Refurbishment and Units 3 and 4 Project and has confirmed its interest in submitting a proposal for the provision of the above-mentioned services.

SACE has expressed its interest in supporting the financing of the two Nuclearelectrica projects with an amount of up to EUR 2 billion, in accordance with SACE procedures, under the conditions negotiated by the parties and with the related approvals by the relevant Italian authorities.

“The rehabilitation of Unit 1 of the Cernavodă nuclear power plant and the completion of Units 3 and 4 will lead, after 2031, to the generation of approximately 66% of Romania’s clean energy, with a significant impact on decarbonisation, by avoiding 15 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Given that nuclear energy is a 24/7 available source and a capacity factor of over 90%, Nuclearelectrica’s investment in nuclear expansion will bring great long-term benefits to Romania’s energy security, reliability and socio-economic development of the value chain, from increasing the supply chain of Romanian suppliers to creating jobs and a new generation of nuclear specialists. Our partnership with Ansaldo Nucleare represents a long-standing cooperation based on performance and professionalism that dates back to the beginning of the commissioning of Unit 1. We are therefore looking forward to continuing this partnership for the new units. We highly appreciate SACE’s accession to this Memorandum of Understanding and the level of confidence in Romania’s nuclear power generation facilities,” said Cosmin Ghita, CEO of Nuclearelectrica.

“We are extremely pleased with this agreement, which allows us to strengthen our collaboration with SNN, a long-standing partner with whom we have had a relationship of trust for over 40 years,” added Daniela Gentile, CEO of Ansaldo Nucleare. “Thanks to SACE we can put our expertise at the service of Romania’s growth and development, with benefits for the entire Italian energy supply chain.”

“We are pleased to be an active part of Italy’s support for the Romanian nuclear programme. Our intervention will support Ansaldo Nucleare and, with it, the entire Italian nuclear supply chain,” noted Filippo Giansante, SACE Chairman.

The Unit 1 Refurbishment project is in the second phase of implementation, which includes securing the financial resources to carry out the refurbishment project, preparing the execution of the activities identified and defined during Phase I and obtaining all necessary approvals and authorisations for the implementation of the project. To date, the project has progressed through contracts for engineering services, with a CAD 781 million contract signed with Candu Energy and Canadian Commercial Corporation to supply reactor tooling and components. The procedure for the Framework Agreement for project management services and technical assistance, required for the preparation and implementation of the Unit 1 Refurbishment Project at Cernavoda NPP is currently being finalised.

The Units 3 and 4 project is in its first phase, which includes the re-operationalisation of EnergoNuclear, the Project Company, contracting of technical and legal support services and contracting of engineering services to update the technical and nuclear safety documentation required to proceed with the project. EnergoNuclear was re-operationalised in September 2021, with the technically critical positions filled, and an Engineering Services Contract was signed with Candu Energy for the re-evaluation of the structures, incorporating design improvements from a nuclear safety perspective.

“According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) report, global nuclear power generation is expected to surpass the previous record set in 2021 by almost 3% per year on average. Furthermore, the study shows that the record electricity production from low greenhouse gas-emitting sources – which includes nuclear and renewables – will cover the entire increase in global demand over the next three years. Low-emission sources, which will reduce the role of fossil fuels in global electricity generation, are expected to account for almost half of global electricity generation by 2026, up from 39% in 2023. It is a great advantage for a state to have nuclear expertise and know-how, such as Romania, and advance clean, strategic energy projects able to meet both energy system and low emissions targets requirements, hence our commitment to on schedule and safe deployment of both Unit 1 Refurbishment and Units 3 and 4 Project,” Cosmin Ghita highlighted.


Transelectrica-Terna collaboration for energy infrastructure development and renewable energy integration

At the Romania-Italy Economic Forum, Transelectrica representatives explored opportunities for collaboration and exchange of experience with the Italian economic environment. Investment, maintenance, and system operation were the main areas of interest addressed in discussions with the Italian business community by Transelectrica’s management and technical experts responsible for the three areas.

Transelectrica’s management, represented by Catalin Dascal – Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Alexandru Vasilescu – member of the Supervisory Board, Stefanita Munteanu – Chairman of the Management Board and Florin Tataru – member of the Management Board, had a meeting with representatives of Terna – the Italian Transmission and System Operator. The topics of discussion were in the area of strengthening cooperation between the two transmission system operators’ members of ENTSO-E, with a focus on the exchange of experience in energy infrastructure development, interconnections and renewable energy integration.



In 2018, the value of bilateral trade was EUR 15.52 billion (up 6.2% compared to 2017), of which exports EUR 7.75 billion (up 10%) and imports EUR 7.77 billion (up 2.6%), accounting for 10.31% of Romania’s total trade. Italy ranks 2nd in the top partner countries for Romania, both in exports and imports.

At present, the number of companies with Italian capital registered in Romania has reached 47,365, of which more than 20,000 are active (21.2% share in total foreign companies), with a total invested capital (direct investment) of EUR 2.6 billion (5th place, 5.8% share).

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