Bucharest, 15 March 2010 Press release

The ERSTE Foundation and the Austrian Embassy in Bucharest

Presentation of Romanian NGOs to Austrian enterprises in Timişoara

Bucharest, 15 March 2010 – The ERSTE Foundation and the Austrian Ambassador to Romania have presented Access Initiative in the western Romanian city of Timişoara.This initiative, in support of Romania’s civil society, is to be repeated in other towns and regions across Romania.

To mark the meeting between the Austrian Business Club in the Romanian capital and the German-speaking Banat Business Club, the ERSTE Foundation and the Austrian Embassy in Bucharest invited directors and representatives of important enterprises to a presentation of six selected NGOs. The aim of the event was to familiarise Austrian investors with the activities of non-governmental organisations in south-western and western Romania as well as to win their support within the framework of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes of the enterprises in question.

The ERSTE Foundation, the main shareholder of Erste Group, whose Romanian subsidiary BCR (Banca Comerciala Romana) is the country’s largest bank, awards biannual prizes to civil society operators in Eastern and South-eastern Europe, organisations whose work particularly deserves public attention. The NGOs presenting their activities in Timişoara included Caritas Timişoara, Romani Criss and the Ruhama Foundation – two Roma NGOs, the Association for the Promotion of Romania’s Women, the Telephone Hotline for Children, and Sense International, which supports children with manifold disabilities. All are on the list of projects selected by the ERSTE Foundation.

Austria’s Ambassador to Romania, Dr. Martin Eichtinger, pointed out that Austria - which is the largest foreign investor in Romania - was highly interested in a partnership between governmental bodies, civil society and business, adding that Austrian companies were already engaged in a number of CSR projects.

Franz Karl Prüller and Dejan Petrovic of the ERSTE Foundation stressed the great importance of the Access Initiative, particularly during the economic crisis, which had caused great financial problems for a number of NGOs.

Contact for enquiries:
Austrian Embassy in Bucharest
Ambassador Dr. Martin Eichtinger
Tel.: +40 21 201 56 12
E-mail: bukarest.ob(at)bmeia.gv.at

The ERSTE Foundation, Communications
Maribel Königer, Tel.: +43 (0) 50 100 15 453
E-mail: maribel.koeniger(at)erstestiftung.org