Romania: country overview12 July 2012
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 12 February 2013
Romania, which joined the European Union on 1 January 2007, began the transition from Communism in 1989 with a largely obsolete industrial base and a pattern of output unsuited to the country's needs.
Year of EU entry: 2007
Member of Schengen area:No
Political system: Republic
Capital city: Bucharest
Total area: 237 500 km²
Population: 21.5 million
Currency: Romanian leu
Listen to the official EU language: Romanian
Romania, in southeast Europe, is mountainous in the north while the main feature in the south is the vast Danube valley. The river forms a delta as it approaches the Black Sea, which is a wildlife reserve for countless native and migratory birds.
The Romanian parliament consists of two chambers, the Senat (Senate) and the Camera Deputaţilor (Chamber of Deputies). The members of both are chosen in elections held every four years.
Ethnically, the population is 90% Romanian and 7% Hungarian. The Romanian language, like a number of others in southern Europe, is directly descended from Latin, although Romania is separated from other Romance-language countries by Slav speakers. Romania has considerable natural resources – oil, natural gas, coal, iron, copper and bauxite. Metal-working, petrochemicals and mechanical engineering are the main industries.
Romanian speciality dishes include grilled meatballs, meat wrapped in cabbage leaves, pork stew with garlic and onions and doughnuts made with cream and cheese.
The spine-chilling tale of Dracula was inspired by the 15th jcentury Romanian Count Vlad Dracul whose son was famous in wartime for impaling captured enemies. Less notorious Romanians include the writer Eugene Ionesco, the gymnast Nadia Comăneci and the composer George Enescu.
Romania, which joined the European Union on 1 January 2007, began the transition from Communism in 1989 with a largely obsolete industrial base and a pattern of output unsuited to the country's needs. The country emerged in 2000 from a punishing three-year recession thanks to strong demand in EU export markets. Domestic consumption and investment fueled strong GDP growth, but led to large current account imbalances. Romania's macroeconomic gains have only recently started to spur creation of a middle class and to address Romania's widespread poverty. Corruption and red tape continue to permeate its business environment. Inflation rose in 2007-08, driven by strong consumer demand and high wage growth, rising energy costs, a nation-wide drought, and a relaxation of fiscal discipline. As a result of the global financial crisis, Romania's GDP fell more than 7% in 2009, prompting Bucharest to seek a $26 billion emergency assistance package from the IMF, the EU, and other international lenders. Drastic austerity measures, as part of Romania's IMF-led agreement, led to a 1.6% GDP contraction in 2010. The economy returned to positive growth in 2011 due to a strong export performance, but in a deflationary environment caused by bountiful crops and weak domestic demand. In March 2011, Romania and the IMF/EU/World Bank signed a 24-month precautionary stand-by agreement, worth $6.6 billion, to promote compliance with fiscal targets, progress on structural reforms, and financial sector stability. The Romanian authorities have announced that they do not intend to draw funds from the facility. Growth slowed to less than 1% in 2012.
Source: Europa, CIA World Factbook