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Romania: country overview

12 July 2012
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 29 May 2014

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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.


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Romanian flag

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

Map of Romania

Country overview

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.

Economy overview

Romania, which joined the EU 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 due to strong demand in EU export markets. Domestic consumption and investment fuelled 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 the business environment. As a result of the global financial crisis, Romania signed on to a $26 billion emergency assistance package from the IMF, the EU, and other international lenders. GDP contracted from 2009 to 2011. In March 2011, Romania and the IMF/EU/World Bank signed a 24-month precautionary stand-by agreement, worth $6.6 billion, to promote fiscal discipline, encourage progress on structural reforms, and strengthen financial sector stability. In September 2013, the Romanian authorities and the IMF/EU agreed to a follow-on stand-by agreement, worth $5.4 billion, to continue with reforms, although Bucharest announced that it does not intend to draw funds under the agreement.

Source: Europa, CIA World Factbook

Useful links

The Commission's Representation in Romania

European Parliament office in Romania

Romanian Government

Tourist information

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