- Business Meeting
- Public Holidays
A foreigner arriving in the country must first of all realize that Romania is the largest country in the region and proudly claims its Romanian and Dacian roots. Romanian society also adheres to traditional family and other values such as Orthodoxy. There is considerable disparity between individual groups in society, as well as regions, and there is also a strong tendency towards casteism. The state and the state apparatus, the police, still have a strong role. In Romania, they react very sensitively to references to the communist past.
How to reach business partners
A written request for a visit and confirmation (also in writing) pays off when arranging an appointment, both in dealings with state authorities and private companies. It is a good idea to supplement the written invitation with a personal telephone confirmation. Reminders and confirmation of the meeting by email also prove useful. We recommend urging business partners more often.
The specific form of addressing is not particularly different from Czech realities. In Romania (mainly in urban agglomerations and in localities where foreign capital already operates) English is widespread, possibly some Romance language. In some parts of Romania, also German. We recommend checking in which language to communicate.
Business conduct as such does not, in principle, show significant differences from domestic schemes. The actual time course of meetings tends to be relatively rational and without wasting time, this also applies to webinars. The problem may be more with the start time of the meeting (again also applies to webinars) as such. It may happen that there will be a slight shift in the meeting. The usual starting times for meetings are around nine o’clock in the morning. There are no significant regional differences, however, it is good to check whether the meeting will take place, for example, with a representative of a Hungarian or other minority. In Romania, it is customary to organize a program of meetings, seminars, conferences at the last minute. There’s no need to worry about it, everything will work out in the end. The time of Christmas and Easter holidays and summer vacations can be marked as not very suitable time of meeting, from the point of view of the layout of the year.
The meaning of time
In daily life, a quarter-hour delay is perfectly normal, while at government, state and business levels, time is observed. It is quite common for meetings to start 15-30 minutes late. In Romania, it is common for events and meetings to be confirmed, planned or adjusted at the last minute (even on the day of the event).
The normal working culture is not particularly different from Czech customs, although the southern character is of course manifested both in everyday life and in business life. Romania’s main problem lies in corporate culture, transparency of the business environment and corruption. If it is a purely Romanian large or larger company (i.e. not multinational), the Czech observer may be surprised by the high number of managers in these companies, at many hierarchical levels.
The specific solution was the home office. The need to organize working hours in this way resulted from hygiene measures in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, however, only time will tell how much this practice will become the norm or just temporary or a selective phenomenon.
International distances, dress and appearance
There are no significant differences compared to Central European standards regarding physical contact or distance during negotiations. The meeting starts with a handshake, friends kiss each other on the cheek. Handshakes follow the standard rules of etiquette. The distances between the negotiating parties are also customary, and the meeting procedures are also governed by well-established norms. Number of people or the composition (gender, age) of the delegation depends on the specific meeting. Business cards are standard. Small gifts are possible.
Romanians are very polite, men often kiss women’s hands. Men’s clothing for meetings is almost exclusively a modern suit (mostly dark and muted colors) with a shirt and tie. Women dress according to fashion and you can see costumes, dresses, sets and even miniskirts. Black is popular, red and other bright colors are often seen. Romanians pay great attention to their appearance and lifestyle. Negotiations in a domestic environment are not usual.
Verbal and non-verbal communication
It is common for conversation, especially on the street, to be loud, full of gestures and emotions, including specific voice modulation. Calling by first names associated with cursing is not unusual and is an expression of closer relationship and respect. Topics such as Romania and relations with the Czech Republic in general, the beauty of Romanian nature are particularly suitable for social conversation, and in many cases the conversation can also slip into the political or sports field. Careful in the field of religion.
In the course of business negotiations, a comparison of Romania and the Czech Republic can be mentioned with reference to the recent past (however, beware of the communist past!), a description of the visit to the Czech Republic or of Romania, or a citation of well-known products of Czech provenance. It is worth mentioning, for example, Plzeňské pivo, Staropramen (operating on the local market), Becherovka, Škoda cars or ground glass and chandeliers. Many Romanians are also familiar with other traditional Czech fields such as consumer goods, engineering, textiles, woodworking, energy and chemistry, and almost all of them highly appreciate Prague as an architectural gem. The Czech Republic is relatively very popular, it still has a good sound and Czech products are placed high in the quality hierarchy.
Interpreter : it is generally true that English (or another world language) is widespread in large agglomerations. There is a specific situation in services, especially in hospitality and accommodation services. Waiters, or the receptionist mostly speaks English or another world language. If the representative of the Czech company is able to act in Romanian alone or in cooperation with someone, everything is usually much faster, more cordial and open. Romanians will appreciate quality preparation, and if not knowledge of the Romanian language, then at least the effort to master its basics.
Basic Romanian phrases : “buna ziua” – good day, “buna seara” – good evening, greetings that can also be used when saying goodbye “la revedere” – goodbye, “mulţumesc” (mulcumesk) or also “mersi” (mersi) – thank you, “va rog” – please, “bine aţi venit” (bine ac venit) – freely – be welcome (i). Mastering these few sentences is taken as a sign of respect and is highly valued.
Taboo : It is not recommended to discuss religious issues or the communist past.
Communication with a potential customer does not fundamentally differ from Czech customs. Personal contact has priority, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was somewhat complicated, negotiations moved to cyberspace on various platforms. At this point, one can only speculate whether this is a forced temporary phenomenon or a permanent trend. Visit Aparentingblog for more information about Romania culture and traditions.
Faith, crime, travel advice
Romania is a country with a very strong tradition of Orthodox faith (Orthodox Romanian Church) and Roman and Greek Catholic churches, Protestant churches, there is a minority of Jews and Muslims.
Traveling by car requires increased attention in Romania, especially in the evening and at night. The quality of the roads is improving, but it is more about the main roads.
Crime in Romania does not exceed the crime rate in the Czech Republic. Regarding the illegal production and importation of psychotropic substances and poisons, Romanian laws are very strict. In this context, we draw attention to the much harsher and different interpretation of drug consumption and possession compared to customs in the Czech Republic.
Food and dining
Romanians are very hospitable. Typical Romanian dishes: Hot dishes: “mici” (mici = roughly a variant of cevapcici), “sarmale” (minced meat in vine or cabbage leaves), “mamaliga” (polenta or corn porridge), “gratar” (grilled meat or sausages) and sometimes there are fish. Cold dishes include vegetables and salads, sliced salami and cheeses, canapés and fruit. You can also find local products, including typical alcoholic drinks.
List of holidays and days off (in bold applies to 2022, it is floating days off, otherwise general holiday)
- January 1 and 2 – New Year
- January 24 – Day of the Unification of the Romanian Countries
- April 22 – Good Friday
- April 24 and 25 – Orthodox Easter
- May 1 – Labor Day
- June 1 – Children’s Day
- June 12 and 13 – Whitsundays
- August 15 — Assumption of the Virgin Mary
- November 30 — Saint Andrew, patron saint of Romania
- December 1 — Great Unification of Romania 2
- December 5 and 26 — Christmas
All religious holidays are celebrated very strongly, especially Christmas and Easter with all Orthodox differences (e.g. Christmas is from 25.12, Easter is usually in a different week, etc.).