Romania

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ROMANIA

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS ROMANIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Romania

CAPITAL: Bucharest (Bucuresti)

FLAG: The national flag, adopted in 1965, is a tricolor of blue, yellow, and red vertical stripes.

ANTHEM: Trei culori (three Colors).

MONETARY UNIT: The leu (l) is a paper currency of 100 bani. There are coins of 25 bani and 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 lei, and notes of 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 lei. l1 = $0.00003 (or $1 = l28800) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; International Labor Day, 12 May; Liberation Day, 23 August; National Day, 1 December; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Situated in Eastern Europe, north of the Balkan Peninsula, Romania has a total area of 237,500 sq km (91,699 sq mi). Comparatively, the area occupied by Romania is slightly smaller than the state of Oregon. The dimensions of the country are 789 km (490 mi) ew and 475 km (295 mi) ns. It is bounded on the n and ne by Ukraine and Moldova, on the e by the Black Sea, on the s by Bulgaria, on the sw by Serbia, and on the w by Hungary, with a total boundary length of 2,733 km (1,698 mi), of which 225 km (140 mi) is coastline. Romania's capital city, Bucharest, is located in the south central part of the country.

TOPOGRAPHY

The backbone of Romania is formed by the Carpathian Mountains, which swing southeastward and then westward through the country. The southern limb of this arc-shaped system is known as the Transylvanian Alps, whose compact, rugged peaks rise to 2,543 m (8,343 ft) in Mt. Moldoveanu, Romania's highest. the eastern Carpathians have an average elevation of 1,000 m (3,300 ft) and exceed 1,900 m (6,200 ft) only in the highest ranges.

On the eastern and southern fringes of the Carpathian arc are the low plateaus and plains of Walachia, extending to the Prut River (Moldovan border) in the east and to the Danube (Bulgarian border) in the south. On the inside of the Carpathian arc is the Transylvanian Basin, a hilly region dissected by the wide, deep valleys of the Mures and Somes rivers.

The Dobruja, located between the lower Danube and the Black Sea, is an eroded plateau with average elevations of 400 to 600 m (1,3101,970 ft). Except for the low-lying, swampy Danube Delta in the north, the Black Sea coast of the Dobruja is steep, facing the sea with almost vertical cliffs.

Romania is susceptible to severe earthquakes. An earthquake that struck Romania on 4 March 1977 destroyed or severely damaged some 33,000 buildings and left more than 34,000 families homeless. The shock, measuring 7.2 on the open-ended Richter scale, was the most severe in Europe since a series of shocks in OctoberNovember 1940, also in Romania.

CLIMATE

Romania's climate is of the moderate humid continental type, exposed to predominant northerly cold winds in the winter and moderate westerly winds from the Atlantic in the summer. Average January temperatures range from -4°c to 0°c (2532°f). During the summer, the highest temperatures are recorded in the Danube Valley (24°c/75°f). Temperatures decrease toward the high elevations in the northwest and toward the southeast, where the Black Sea exerts a moderating influence. Precipitation decreases from west to east and from the mountains to the plains, with an annual average of between 100 and 125 cm (about 40 and 50 in) in the mountains and about 38 cm (15 in) in the delta.

FLORA AND FAUNA

Natural vegetation consists mainly of steppe like grasslands in the Moldavian and Walachian lowlands, with tall, deep-rooted grasses in the more humid sections and short, shallow-rooted grass in the drier parts. The Carpathian system is covered with forests, with deciduous trees at lower elevations and conifers at altitudes above 1,0701,220 m (3,5004,000 ft). Alpine meadows occupy the highest parts of the mountains.

Wild animals, including the black chamois, Carpathian deer, wolves, hares, marten, brown bear, lynx, boar, and fox, have sought refuge in the sparsely inhabited and forested Carpathians. Water birds flourish in the Danube Delta, and sturgeon abound in the waters of the lower Danube. Carp, bream, and pike populate the lakes; dace, barbel, and trout are found in rivers and streams.

As of 2002, there were at least 84 species of mammals, 257 species of birds, and over 3,400 species of plants throughout the country.

ENVIRONMENT

Rapid industrialization since World War II has caused widespread water and air pollution, particularly in Prahova County, an oil-refining region. The nation has 42 cu km of renewable water sources, with about 59% of the annual withdrawal used to support farming and 33% used for industrial purposes.

Air pollution is heaviest in the nation's cities, where industry produces hazardous levels of sulphur dioxide. In 1992, Romania had the world's 28th highest level of industrial carbon dioxide emissions, which totaled 122.1 million metric tons, a per capita level of 5.24 metric tons. However, by 2000 total of carbon dioxide emissions had dropped to 86.3 million metric tons.

Damage to the nation's soils from erosion and pollution has decreased agricultural production by 50% in some areas. Acid rain originating in Hungary is another environmental problem. Some water conservation programs were initiated in the mid-1980s, but the Environmental Protection Law of 1972 has not been strictly enforced.

Romania's forests and natural steppes have been encroached on by farmers. Radioactivity from the Chernobyl nuclear site, two floods, and two earthquakes have also contributed to the nation's environmental problems. Moreover, intensive exploitation of forests before, during, and immediately after World War II necessitated a reforestation program that, between 1950 and 1964, resulted in the replanting of 1,159,600 hectares (2,865,400 acres).

As of 2003, 4.7% of Romania's total land area was protected. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 15 types of mammals, 13 species of birds, 2 types of reptiles, 10 species of fish, 22 species of invertebrates, and 1 species of plant. The Romanian bullhead perch, Atlantic sturgeon, slender-billed curlew, and Mediterranean monk seals are among those listed as endangered.

POPULATION

The population of Romania in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 21,612,000, which placed it at number 50 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 14% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 16% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 95 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be -0.2%, a rate the government viewed as too low. To address the decline in population, the government established the Population Commission in 2004. The projected population for the year 2025 was 18,129,000. The population density was 91 per sq km (235 per sq mi).

The UN estimated that 53% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 0.09%. The capital city, Bucharest (Bucuresti), had a population of 1,853,000 in that year. Other major cities and their population estimates were Constanţa, 350,581; Iaşi, 348,000; Timişoara, 334,115; Cluj-Napoca, 332,00; Galati, 326,141; Braşov, 323,736; Craiova, 313,000; Ploiesţi, 253,623; and Brăila, 235,763.

MIGRATION

Population shifts numbering in the millions occurred as a result of the two world warsbecause of territorial changes, deportation and liquidation of Jews by the Nazis, flight before the Soviet military forces, deportations to the USSR, expulsion of the Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans), and departures following the Communist takeover and before stringent security measures halted the flow. About 117,950 Jews emigrated to Israel between 1948 and 1951; another 90,000 were permitted to emigrate during 195864. Some 120,000 ethnic Germans left Romania between 197888, and some 40,000 ethnic Hungarians fled in 1987 alone. In 1990, 80,346 people left, 78% to Germany, 9% to Hungary. Some 44,160 Romanians emigrated in 1991 and 31,152 in 1992. In 1992, 103,787 Romanians were given asylum in Germany, but in September of that year Germany returned 43,000 refugees, over half of whom were Gypsies. According to Migration News, in 2005 the Romanian government discouraged illegal migration by preventing some 14 million Romanians from leaving to travel to EU countries on the grounds that they had insufficient funds, or could not prove that they were merely visiting abroad. In addition, returning Romanians who overstay 90 days abroad have their passports confiscated. Between 19902000, remittances to Romania increased tenfold. In 2003 remittances were $7.3 million.

During the Kosovo crisis in 1999, Romania offered to accept 6,000 Kosovar refugees from Macedonia under the UNHCR/IOM Humanitarian Evacuation Programme. It only actually hosted about 100, until the end of July 1999 when all but one returned to Kosovo. By the end of 2004, there were a total of 2,237 persons of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Romania, 1,627 refugees, 210 asylum seekers primarily from Iraq, and 400 stateless Roma.

From 19912003, some 10,000 Romanians per year were permanent emigrants. In 2004, 3,730 Romanians applied for asylum in 10 countries, predominantly to Italy. In 2005, the net migration rate was an estimated -0.13 migrants per 1,000 population.

ETHNIC GROUPS

According to the 2002 census, Romanians constitute about 89.5% of the total population. Hungarians make up the largest minority group with about 6.6% of the total population. Roma account for about 2.5% of the population according to census figures; however, international groups estimate that the actual number of Roma may include up to 10% of the population. Despite government efforts for improvement, the Romani community continues to face discrimination and harassment. Lesser minority groups include Ukrainians (0.3%), Germans (0.3%), and Russians (0.2%). Others include Turks, Serbs, Croats, Jews, Poles, Bulgarians, Czechs, Greeks, Armenians, Tatars, and Slovaks.

LANGUAGES

Romanian is the official language. As a Romance language derived from the Latin spoken in the Eastern Roman Empire, Latin word elements make up 8590% of the modern Romanian vocabulary. In the 2,000 years of its development, the language was also influenced by contacts with Slavonic, Albanian, Hungarian, Greek, and Turkish. Of the loanwords, Slavonic elements are the most numerous. Earliest Romanian written texts still extant date from the 16th century. In addition to letters of the English alphabet, Romanian has the letters ă, î, â, ş, and ţ. Hungarian and German are spoken by a large percentage of the inhabitants of Transylvania.

RELIGIONS

According to the 2002 census, about 86.8% of the population were members of the Romanian Orthodox Church, one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches. Under Bulgarian influence, the Slavonic rite was maintained in the Romanian Church until the 17th century, when Romanian became the liturgical language. The Romanian Church enjoyed a large measure of autonomy in the Middle Ages and, after Romania achieved full independence from the Turks in 1878, was formally declared independent of the Patriarchate of Constantinople; it is now headed by its own patriarch. The Greek Catholic (Uniate) Church was formed in 1698 by the Transylvanian Orthodox, who acknowledged the jurisdiction of the Holy See. In October 1948, the new Communist regime compelled the Uniate Church to sever its ties with Rome and to merge with the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Roman Catholics account for about 4.7% of the population. the Greek Catholic Church is also represented as a recognized religion in the country. Protestant denominations make up about 7.5% of the population. Officially recognized Protestant denominations include the Reformed Church (which is the largest in the country), the Romanian Evangelical Church, the Unitarian Church (mostly Hungarian), Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Evangelical Augustinian Church. Islam and Judaism are also officially recognized religions; there are about 67,257 Muslims and 10,200 Jews. There are also small communities of Methodists, Presbyterians, Baha'is, God's Children (The Family), Hare Krishnas, Zen Buddhists, and Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), all of which are not officially recognized by the state.

The constitution provides for religious freedom, but the government retains a great deal of legal control over religious groups and activities. The Romanian Orthodox Church holds substantial influence in political and social venues. All religious groups must register with the government. Those that are granted official recognition are eligible for state support; the government officially recognizes 17 religions. Proselytizing is not illegal, but minority religions engaging in such activities have reported restrictions and harassment by local government officials. Some tension does exist between religious groups; particularly between the Romanian Orthodox and minority groups.

TRANSPORTATION

Romania is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. As of 2004, Romania's railroad network totaled 11,385 km (7,074 mi), of standard, broad and narrow gauge lines, of which 3,888 km (2,416 mi) were electrified. Standard gauge railways predominate at 10,898 km (6,779 mi), followed by narrow gauge at 427 km (266 mi), and broad gauge railways making up the remainder.

There were 198,755 km (123,625 mi) of roads at the end of 2002, of which 100,173 km (62,307 mi) were paved, including 113 km (70 mi) of expressways. In 2003, there were 3,087,628 passenger cars and 635,342 commercial vehicles in use.

Only the Danube and, to a lesser extent, the Prut rivers are suitable for inland navigation, which accounts for only about 1% of the total freight traffic. The main Danube ports include Galati, Brăila, and Giurgiu. At Giurgiu, on the main transportation line between Romania and Bulgaria, a road-and-rail bridge was completed in 1954, replacing the former Danube ferry to Ruse, Bulgaria. A major project, the Danube-Black Sea Canal, designed to bypass the shallow, silted arms of the Danube Delta, was started in 1949 but abandoned in 1953. It was revived in the early 1980s and opened in 1984. The canal is 64 km (40 mi) long and connects Cernavoda with Constanţa. Overall, Romania as of 2004, had 1,731 km (1,076 mi) of navigable inland waterways the Romanian merchant fleet consisted of 34 vessels of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 395,350 GRT in 2005, and was based in Constanţa, the nation's chief Black Sea port.

Romanian airports totaled an estimated 61 in 2004. As of 2005, a total of 25 had paved runways, and there was also one heliport. Otopeni International Airport, near Bucharest, was opened in 1970 and remains the nation's principal international air terminal. Baneasa Airport, also near Bucharest, handles local traffic. Other important airports include M. Kogalniceanu at Constanţa and Giarmata at Timişoara. Romanian Air Transport (Transporturile Aeriene Române-TAROM) and Romanian Air Lines (Liniile Aeriene Române-LAR) are the primary air carriers. In 2003, about 1.251 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.

HISTORY

Archaeological excavations show that the land now known as Romania has been inhabited for thousands of years. Agriculture was introduced in the 6th century bc, and by the 3rd century bc the Cucuteni civilization had produced polychrome pottery. the Dacians, of Thracian stock, had become a distinct people by the end of the 1st century bc. The kingdom of Dacia reached the highest stage of its development toward the end of the 1st century ad, in the reign of Decebalus (87106), but after four years of war, Dacia fell to the Roman Emperor Trajan in ad 106. the withdrawal of the Romans in ad 271 left the Romanians a partly Christianized Dacian-Roman people, speaking Latin and living in towns and villages built on the Roman pattern. In the following centuries, as Dacia was overrun by successive waves of invaders, the early Romanians are believed to have sought refuge in the mountains or to have migrated south of the Danube River. There the Dacian-Romanians, assimilating Slavic influences, became known by the 7th century as Vlachs (Walachians). The Vlachs apparently remained independent of their neighbors, but came under Mongol domination in the 13th century.

The establishment of the two principalities of Walachia and Moldavia in the late 13th and early 14th centuries opened one of the most important chapters in the history of Romania. Walachia came under Turkish suzerainty in 1476 and Moldavia in 1513; 13 years later, Transylvania, which had been under Hungarian control since 1003, also passed into Turkish hands. The tide of Ottoman domination began to ebb under Russian pressure in the second half of the 17th century; in 1699, under the Treaty of Karlowitz, Transylvania was taken by Austria (later Austria-Hungary), and in 1812, Russia obtained Bessarabia, a section of Moldavia, from the Turks. The Congress of Paris in 1856, which ended the Crimean War, guaranteed the autonomy of the principalities of Walachia and Moldavia and forced Russia to return the southernmost part of Bessarabia to Moldavia. The two principalities formed a union in 1859, with Alexandru Ioan Cuza as its first prince, but he was replaced in 1866 by Carol I of the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, under a new governing document that proclaimed Romania a constitutional monarchy. At the Congress of Berlin in 1878, Romania obtained full independence from Turkey but returned southern Bessarabia to Russia. Under the rule of Carol I, Romania developed into a modern political and economic unit.

As a result of the Balkan Wars in 191213, Romania gained southern Dobruja from Bulgaria. Carol I died in 1914 and was succeeded by Ferdinand I. In World War I, Romania joined the Allies and as a result acquired Bessarabia from Russia, Bukovina from Austria, and Transylvania from Hungary. the establishment of a greatly expanded Romania was confirmed in 191920 by the treaties of St. Germain, Trianon, and Neuilly. In the early postwar period, Ion Bratianu (son of a 19th-century premier) instituted agrarian and electoral reforms. Both Ferdinand and Bratianu died in 1927. A brief regency period under Iuliu Maniu, Peasant Party leader, was followed in 1930 by the return to Romania of Carol II, who, having earlier renounced his right of succession, now deposed his nine-year-old son, Michael (Mihai), and established a royal dictatorship.

As economic conditions deteriorated, Fascism and anti-Semitism became increasingly powerful, and Carol II sought to appease both Germany and the USSR, which by August 1939 had concluded their nonaggression agreement. In 1940, Romania ceded Bessarabia and northern Bukovina to the USSR, northern Transylvania to Hungary, and southern Dobruja to Bulgaria. In the same year, Carol II abdicated in favor of his son Michael, and German troops entered the country. Romania joined the Axis in war against the Allies in 1941. As Soviet forces drove into Romania in 1944, a coup overthrew the wartime regime of Gen. Ion Antonescu on 23 August, and Romania joined the Allies against Germany. A Communist-led coalition government under Premier Petru Groza was set up in March 1945. King Michael was forced to abdicate on 30 December 1947, and the Romanian People's Republic was proclaimed. The Paris Peace Treaty of 1947 fixed Romania's frontiers as of 1 January 1941, with the exception of the border with Hungary, which was restored as of 1 January 1938, so northern Transylvania was once again part of the Romanian state.

The Communist constitution of 1948 was superseded in 1952 by a constitution patterned more directly on that of the USSR. In international affairs, Romania followed a distinctly pro-Soviet line, becoming a member of CMEA and the Warsaw Pact. Internally, the regime nationalized the economy and pursued a policy of industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture. During the 1960s, however, and especially after the emergence of Nicolae Ceausescu as Communist Party and national leader, Romania followed a more independent course, increasing its trade with Western nations and avoiding a definite stand in the Sino-Soviet dispute. In 1967, Romania was the only Communist country that did not break diplomatic relations with Israel following the Six-Day War. In 1968, Romania denounced the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia and the USSR-Romania treaty of friendship and cooperation expired; a new accord was not signed until 1970. Further examples of Romania's independent foreign policy in the 1970s were the gradual improvement of relations with China, numerous bilateral agreements with the nations of Western Europe, and President Ceausescu's state visit in December 1973 to Washington, where he signed a joint declaration on economic, industrial, and technical cooperation with the United States. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Romania also became increasingly involved in the nonaligned movement. In 1982, Ceausescu called on the USSR to withdraw from Afghanistan.

In contrast to some other East European countries, there was relatively little political and cultural dissent in Romania during the first 30 years of Communist rule. In 1977, however, about 35,000 miners in the Jiu Valley, west of Bucharest, went on strike because of economic grievances. Afterwards, the Romanian Communist Party hierarchy was frequently reshuffled, ostensibly to improve economic management, with Ceausescu and several members of his family (particularly his wife, Elena) increasing their power.

In the early and mid-1980s, there were a number of work stoppages and strikes caused by food and energy shortages. In early 1987, Ceausescu indicated that Romania would not follow the reform trend initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev in the USSR.

The progress of perestroika (restructuring) in the Soviet Union, intensified by the wave of "velvet revolutions" which rolled across Eastern Europe in autumn 1989, only served to highlight the repressiveness of the Ceausescu regime, which had all but starved and frozen the country to death in its attempt to repay international indebtedness, which President Ceausescu said in April 1989 had been us$10 billion. The regime was also single-mindedly pushing ahead with the "systemization plan" begun in March 1988, which intended to force about half the country's peasants into urbanized "agro-industrial" complexes by bulldozing their villages.

The policy was especially offensive to the 2.5 million Hungarians in Romania's western regions, who understood the policy to be an attempt to further undercut their cultural autonomy. In mid-December 1989, abysmal economic conditions and ethnic tension led to spontaneous demonstrations in the western city of Timişoara. When the Securitate, Romania's secret police, attempted to deport Laszlo Toekes, a popular clergyman who had been a leading spokesperson for the local Hungarians, thousands of people took to the streets. Troops were summoned, and two days of rioting ensued, during which several thousand citizens were killed.

News of the riot, and of the government's handling of it, fanned further demonstrations around the country. Probably unwisely, President Ceausescu went ahead with a planned three-day visit to Iran. Upon his return, he convened a mass rally at which he attempted to portray his opponents as fascists. However, the rally turned into an antigovernment demonstration, in which the army sided with the demonstrators.

Ceausescu and his wife attempted to flee the country, but were apprehended, tried, and summarily executed, on 25 December 1989. Several days of fighting raged, as the Securitate and the army battled for power. A hastily assembled Council of National Salvation took power, repealing a number of Ceausescu's most hated policies and laws. The Council's president was Ion Iliescu, a former secretary of the Communist Party, who had been one of several signatories to a letter, which had accused Ceausescu of gross mismanagement of Romania's economy, made public in March 1989. The prime minister, Peter Roman, was also a prominent Communist.

Although the Council contained some non-Communists, the majority had been prominent officials in Ceausescu's regime, which prompted almost continuous public protests. Despite a continued government monopoly on media, political opposition groups managed to rally public support to demand the banning of the Communist Party, and the widening of the government. In February 1990, Iliescu agreed, replacing the 145-member Council of National Salvation with a 241-member Council of National Unity, which included members of opposition parties, national minorities, and former political prisoners; it also contained the full membership of the former Council, and Iliescu remained president.

Parliamentary elections were held in May 1990 against a background of continued civil unrest, especially in the Hungarian west. Although international observers considered the elections to have been generally fair, the National Salvation Frontnow a political partymade ruthless use of its media monopoly to take about two-thirds of the parliamentary seats from a divided, disorganized, and inexperienced opposition. Iliescu was elected president, with about 85% of the votes, in a contest in which there had been more than 94% voter turnout.

The conviction that ex-Communists had "stolen" the election brought continued demonstrations in Bucharest and elsewhere. In April 1990, in a move that was criticized internationally, the Iliescu government trucked in miners from the northern part of the country, urging them to beat up and disperse the demonstrators, ending what threatened to become a coup d'etat against Iliescu.

After the failure of those demonstrations, the opposition began to link up into parties, hoping to challenge Iliescu and his party in the next parliamentary elections, to be held in 1992. Popular discontent, however, continued to find more direct expression. Angry that the promises which had brought them to Bucharest in June had not been kept, the miners returned in September 1991, this time to link up with many of the opposition figures that they earlier had attacked, now to mount a mass attack on the government. Iliescu had no choice but to dismiss Prime Minister Roman, replacing him with Theodor Stolojan, an economist who managed to contain popular discontent until the general elections of September 1992, largely by delaying implementation of economic reforms. The parliamentary elections demonstrated a wide diffusion of political support. Iliescu's National Salvation Front won 28% of the seats, making it the largest party, but the Democratic Convention, an anti-Communist opposition coalition with a strong monarchist wing, took 20%, while former Prime Minister Roman's National Salvation Front, now opposed to Iliescu, took 10%. The remaining 42% of the seats were divided among five other parties.

The popular vote for president showed that Iliescu still had support, although it had dropped to just above 60% of the electorate. The success of his opponent, Emil Constantinescu, a former rector of Bucharest University, demonstrated the continuing hostility to Iliescu and the other ex-Communists who had managed to retain power.

Iliescu's dismissal of Stolojan, in November 1992, was widely seen as a recognition of that significant minority's opposition. Iliescu chose Nicolae Vacaroiu as prime minister, who had no earlier ties to the Ceausescu or Iliescu governments. However, the move was addressed as much to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the rest of the international financial community, which had emerged as Romania's chief source of support. Continued political instability and the fitful pace of privatization, combined with a strong nationalist bloc in the parliament which warned against "selling out" Romania to foreigners, all kept foreign investment quite low, a total of only about $785 million for all of 199094. As a consequence Romania has had to rely upon loans from Western sources, especially the IMF, piling up foreign debt at the rate of about $1 billion a year. In return for this infusion of cash the foreign donors have set stringent requirements of economic reform, which Romania is not finding easy to meet.

Romania's fitful progress toward democratization exacerbates the social pressures of its continued economic decline. Romanians began the post-Ceausescu period as among the poorest people in Europe, and their economy worsened for several years. Inflation for 1992 was 210%, and more than 300% for 1993, while unemployment was almost 10%. Most significantly, production fell for the first couple of years after the anti-Communist revolution. Beginning in 1994, however, Romania began slowly turning its economy around. In 1996, it even applied for membership in the European Union (EU)although it knew that admission before 2000 was doubtful.

In November 1996, presidential and parliamentary elections were held as the economy, while still fairly grim, continued to improve in several sectors. Popular opposition to the ex-Communist Iliescu had grown strong leading up to the elections, mainly due to broken promises of economic security and widespread corruption that saw the enrichment of a small clique of ex-Communist insiders amid general economic hardships across the country. Iliescu also failed to deliver on many privatization schemes, angering the middle-class merchants. In the election's first round on 3 November, the Democratic Convention Alliance of Opposition Groups, led by Emil Constantinescu, Iliescu's 1990 opponent, earned the highest percentage of votes (30%) followed by Iliescu's Party of Social Democracy (PDSR) and the Social Democratic Union (22%), and former prime minister Peter Roman's center-left party (13%). In the presidential election, neither Iliescu nor Constantinescu received a majority, so a runoff was held on 17 November, in which Constantinescu took 54% of the vote, becoming Romania's first true post-Communist leader. The West was thrilled with the victory, as Constantinescu was seen as significantly more pro-free market and pro-international investment than Iliescu. the new government immediately began imposing austerity measures, vowing to reduce the deficit significantly by the end of 1997. However, it was hobbled by disagreements among coalition members, and in March 1998, the prime minister, Victor Ciorbea, was replaced by Radu Vasile. The government's position was weakened even further in January 1999 when it backed down in the face of demands by striking coal miners in order to avert potential violence. In December 1999, in order to save face, and boost the popularity of the coalition for the upcoming elections, President Constantinescu forced Radu Vasile to resign and replaced him with Mugur Isarescu, the governor of the Romanian National Bank.

By the first half of 2000, the failure of the reformist government to bring about the promised economic recovery had led to widespread disenchantment. Inflation, unemployment, and debt remained serious problems, and Romania had also failed to achieve its major foreign policy objectivesadmission to NATO and the EU. Public discontent had led to a resurgence in the popularity by Iliescu's ex-Communists, who won a decisive victory in the June local elections. At midyear it was widely expected that the November general elections would bring a change in both the government and the presidency, and it was considered possible that Iliescu himself might stage a political comeback.

Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on 26 November 2000, which were won by Iliescu's PDSR. Iliescu became president after a second round of voting was held on 10 December, defeating extreme right-wing candidate Corneliu Vadim Tudor of the xenophobic Greater Romania Party (PRM). Tudor has been compared to France's Jean-Marie Le Pen, Russia's Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Austria's Jörg Haider, and the late Pym Fortuyn of the Netherlands. Voter turnout was around 60%, 20% lower than in 1996. Iliescu won 36.4% of the vote in the first round, to Tudor's 28.3%; in the second round, Iliescu took 66.8%, and Tudor won 33.2% of the vote.

In December 2001, under pressure from the EU, Romania repealed a provision of its penal code that discriminated against homosexuals. In November 2002, NATO formally invited Romania to join the organization, one of seven Eastern European nations to join in 2004.

Although between 2000 and 2004 Romania registered some of the highest economic growth rates in Europe, endemic corruption and internal problems within the ruling PDSR led to a surprise victory by the Truth and Justice Alliance in the November 2004 elections. Traian Basescu, a former sea captain who served as the minister of transportation from 1996 to 2000, and as the mayor of Bucharest from 2000 to 2004, won the presidential elections. Basescu, who ran for the Truth and Justice Alliance, garnered 51.23% of the votes in the second round, while his opponent, Adrian Nastase, the former prime minister of Romania and a member of PDSR got 48.77%. The Alliance formed by the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Democratic Party (PD), sustains a fragile parliamentary majority with the backing of the UDMR, the Humanist Party (PUR), and several ethnic minority groups.

Internal problems within the Alliance, the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq, and massive floods that covered most of Romania in the spring and summer of 2005 threatened to break the coalition apart. President Basescu and the new prime minister, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, agreed to put their differences aside in order to achieve one of the most important goals for Romaniathe accession to the EU.

In April 2005, the European parliament gave the green light to Romania and Bulgaria, with 497 votes in favor of the accession, 93 against, and 71 abstentions; both countries are expected to join in 2007. The EU specified however that Romania's accession could be delayed until 2008 if the reform of the judicial system failed and if the fight against corruption was not intensified.

GOVERNMENT

The Council for National Unity enacted a new constitution for Romania in November 1991, and the document carried many of the hallmarks of Soviet-era constitutions, granting rights in some articles and revoking them in others. In October 2003, the constitution was revised, following a national referendum. the legal system is generally based on Romania's old 1923 constitution, and on the constitution of France's Fifth Republic.

The present arrangement has a directly elected president who serves for a maximum of two five-year terms; he is head of state. The president, in consultation with the parliament, names the prime minister. The prime minister, in turn, chooses his governing body, which has to be approved by the parliament. the government, together with the president, represents the executive power in the country.

The legislature is made up of two houses, the Senate, with 137 seats (one senator for 160,000 inhabitants), and the Chamber of Deputies, with 332 seats (one deputy for 70,000 inhabitants); members of both bodies are directly elected on a proportional representation basis to serve four-year terms.

POLITICAL PARTIES

After the coup against Ceausescu, some 80 political parties appearedsome new; others, like the Liberals and the Peasant Party, revivals of prewar parties that the Communists had outlawed. the dominant party in the 1990 elections, however, proved to be the National Salvation Front (NSF), which took two-thirds of the seats in the National Assembly.

By 1992, the NSF had split over the issue of whether or not to support Iliescu. The main party renamed itself the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), while a pro-Iliescu wing became the Democratic National Salvation Front, and an anti-Iliescu wing, headed by ex-Prime Minister Roman, became the Front for National Salvation (FSN). The PDSR took 28% of the vote and the FSN, 10%.

The second-largest party in the 1992 elections was a coalition, called the Democratic Convention of Romania (DCR), which incorporated such parties as the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD), the Movement of Civic Alliance, the Party of Civic Alliance, Liberal Party '93, and the Social Democratic Party. There are also small ultranationalist parties, the Party of Romanian National Unity and the Greater Romania Party (PRM), and the Communists have been reborn as the Socialist Labor Party. Despite superficial political differences, all three parties are anti-Hungarian, anti-Gypsy, and anti-Semitic, as well as anti-democratic.

In the parliamentary elections held on 3 November 1996, the PDSR lost its majority standing, and the DCR won a strong majority. The DCR became the ruling party with 53 seats in the Senate and 122 in the Chamber of Deputies; the PSDR held 41 and 91, respectively; the Social Democratic Union, 23 and 53; Hungarian Democratic Union, 8 and 19; Greater Romania Party, 8 and 19; and National Union Party, 7 and 18. Victor Ciorbea, a trade union leader and former mayor of Bucharest, became prime minister, and Emil Constantinescu became president.

Parliamentary and presidential elections were held on 26 November 2000, which were won by the PDSR. The PDSR merged with the Romanian Social Democratic Party to form the Social Democratic Party (PSD), and with the Humanist Party of Romania, formed the Democratic Social Pole of Romania. this coalition won 155 of 346 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 65 of 143 seats in the Senate. The PRM took 84 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 37 in the Senate; the Democratic Party took 31 and 13 seats, respectively; the National Liberal Party won 30 and 13; the Hungarian Democratic Alliance (UDMR) won 27 and 12; and 19 ethnic parties were represented with 1 seat each in the Chamber of Deputies.

On 28 November 2004, the Truth and Justice Alliance, comprised of the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Democratic Party (PD), scored a surprise victory over the ruling PSD. the Alliance formed a fragile coalition with UDMR, the Humanist Party (which recently changed its name to the Conservative Party), and several ethnic minorities. The coalition holds only 169 of 332 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, and 71 of 137 seats in the Senate, while PSD won 110 and 45 respectively, and PRM 32 and 19. At that time there were also 19 deputies with no political affiliation.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Romania is divided into 41 counties (judete ), as well as the municipality of Bucharest, which has separate status. Below the counties, there are three other categories of local authority: approximately 2,800 communes (with populations up to 5,000), 280 orase (towns with populations of approximately 5,00020,000) and 86 municipalities. In the Ceausescu era the counties were administered by appointees of the central government, whose responsibility was solely to Bucharest. The Iliescu government attempted to reshape local government, but most sources agree that the result was to further remove authority from the countryside. Much of Romania is deeply rural, with almost no contact between localities or with the central government.

While more than 40% of the Romanian population lives in the rural countryside, attending to a highly fragmented agricultural system, almost 40% of the national wealth is concentrated in Bucharest. As a result, prominent figures from all of Romania's main provinces have pleaded for a more decentralized government system. To date, all 41 counties are led by a prefect who is appointed by the government. The prefects respond directly to the Ministry of Public Administration.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The 1992 law on reorganization of the judiciary established a four-tier legal system, including the reestablishment of appellate courts, which existed prior to Communist rule in 1952. the four tiers consist of courts of first instance, intermediate appellate level courts, a Supreme Court, and a Constitutional Court. the Constitutional Court, six of whose nine members are chosen by the parliament and three by the president, has judicial responsibility for judicial review of constitutional issues. the Constitutional Court judges are appointed for nine-year terms. The Supreme Court was reorganized under a separate 1993 law; its members are appointed by the president of Romania and exercise ultimate authority over all other courts in the country. The judges of the Supreme Court are appointed for a term of six years and may serve consecutive terms.

Under the law, the courts are independent of the executive branch. The constitution vests authority for selection and promotion of judges in the Ministry of Justice. Judges are appointed for life by the president upon recommendation from a panel of judges and prosecutors selected by parliament.

Alongside this ordinary court system is a three-tiered military court system, which handles cases involving military personnel.

ARMED FORCES

The Romanian armed forces have been reorganized in the wake of the revolution of 198990, which destroyed the Communist armed forces and security establishment. In 2005, the armed forces numbered 97,200 active personnel, supported by 104,000 reservists. There were 66,000 active personnel in the Army, 7,200 in the Navy, and 14,000 in the Air Force. The Army was equipped with 1,258 main battle tanks, four reconnaissance vehicles, 177 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 1,583 armored personnel carriers, and 1,238 artillery pieces. The Navy operated one frigate, six corvettes, 38 patrol/coastal vessels, 12 mine warfare, and 11 logistics/support vessels. The Air Force was equipped with 106 combat capable aircraft, including 25 fighters and 68 fighter ground attack aircraft, as well as 8 assault helicopters. Romania also had a paramilitary force of 79,900 members that consisted of 22,900 border guards and an estimated gendarmerie of 57,000. Romania participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and in peacekeeping or military missions in 10 other countries or regions. The defense budget in 2005 was $2.10 billion.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Romania, which became a member of the United Nations on 14 December 1955, participates in ECE and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the World Bank, the ILO, the FAO, UNESCO, UNIDO, and the WHO. Romania served on the UN Security Council from 200405. The Romanian government has supported UN missions and operations in Kosovo (est. 1999), Ethiopia and Eritrea (est. 2000), Liberia (est. 2003), Burundi (est. 2004), and Côte d'Ivoire (est. 2004), among others.

Romania is also a member of the WTO, G-9, G-77, the Council of Europe, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Zone, the EuroAtlantic Partnership Council, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the OSCE. Romania became a member of NATO in 2004. The country has observer status in the OAS and the Latin American Integration Association (LAIA). Romania is an applicant for membership in the European Union.

Romania is part of the Australia Group, the Zangger Committee, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group). In environmental cooperation, Romania is part of the Antarctic Treaty, the Basel Convention, Conventions on Biological Diversity and Air Pollution, Ramsar, CITES, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Before World War II, the economy was predominantly agricultural, with agriculture and forestry contributing 38.1% of the national income in 1938, and industry (including construction) 35.2%. As a result of the industrialization program of the Communist government, this ratio has changed greatly. In 1996, agriculture and forestry contributed 19% to national income; industry, 36%; construction, 7%; and services, 38%. Within industry, structural changes reflected the government's emphasis on the development of heavy industry, particularly machine-building, as opposed to consumer goods. The relative neglect of the agricultural sector, in addition to peasants' resistance to collectivization, resulted in agricultural difficulties, including shortages.

The basic organization of economic management in Romania was highly centralized, like its original Soviet model, with few of the modifications introduced elsewhere in Eastern Europe. During the late 1970s and in the 1980s, the continued emphasis on industrial expansion and consequent neglect of agriculture led to food shortages and rationing. Romania's economic problems in the 1980s were exacerbated by the government's program to reduce foreign debt: the debt was indeed reduced, from $10.5 billion in 1981 to $6.6 billion at the end of 1987, but at the cost of reduced industrial development. In addition, two extremely harsh winters (1985 and 1987) resulted in widespread power shortages and loss of production. In the 1990s, foreign debt has once again been on the rise; after reaching a low of $3.5 billion in 1992, it had risen to $10 billion in 1998.

The transition to a market economy also proved extremely painful. By 1992, grain production was only two-thirds of the 1989 level, GDP had fallen by 30%, industrial production had fallen 47% and inflation had reached 300%. Growth returned weakly in 1993, with GDP increasing 1%, but then gained some momentum, rising 3.9% in 1994, 6.9% in 1995 and 4% in 1996. In 1997, the government entered into an arrangement with the IMF for a standby agreement (SBA) supported by a credit line of $430 million, but the agreement was suspended because of the government's slowness in implementing agricultural reform. At the end of 1997, GDP had fallen -6.6% and inflation had soared to 151.4%. the effects of the Russian financial crisis in 1998, which came to a head in August, spread quickly to Romania, helping produce a further contraction of 7.3% of GDP for the year. Inflation, however, under new government restraints, moderated to 40.6%. Despite an austerity budget for 1999, inflation increased to 54.8% and the GDP contracted 3.2% for the year. In August 1999 the government entered into another SBA with the IMF, and in 2000 and 2001, GDP registered positive growth (1.6% and 4.1%, respectively), and decreasing inflation rates (40.7% and 37.5%, respectively). In October 2001 the government entered into its third SBA arrangement with the IMF, which was successfully completed in October 2003. In July 2004, a stand-by agreement was signed with the IMF. the agreement is to be completed in two years and is aimed at decreasing the account deficit and the inflation rate through a mix of monetary policies and structural reforms.

Romania's macroeconomic performance improved dramatically in the 21st century. Between 2001 and 2003, the GDP registered a 5% average growth; in 2004 the growth rate jumped to 8.3%second only to Latvia in Europe. Inflation has decreased steadily over this time period, to reach single digit values (at 9.6%) in 2004, and predicted to fall to 7.5% in 2005, and 5.0% in 2006. the unemployment rate has remained fairly stable, averaging around 6% between 1997 and 2004.

This growth of the economy can be attributed to several factors. First and foremost, household consumption has expanded radically, fueled by higher real wages and remittances sent from people working abroad. Investments are another factor that contributed to this growth, peaking in 2004 with the acquiring of Petrom (the national oil company) by the Austrian OMV. Exports improved annually at double digits, although strong internal demand translated into higher imports.

Today, Romania boasts a technologically advanced market economy, a diverse and dynamic economic base, agricultural self-sufficiency, and a strong will to sustain the present economic boom.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Romania's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $186.4 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $8,300. the annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 5.2%. the average inflation rate in 2005 was 8.9%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 13.1% of GDP, industry 33.7%, and services 53.2%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $124 million or about $6 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.2% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $601 million or about $28 per capita and accounted for approximately 1.1% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Romania totaled $40.32 billion or about $1,858 per capita based on a GDP of $57.0 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 2.2%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 36% of household consumption was spent on food, 9% on fuel, 3% on health care, and 20% on education. It was estimated that in 2002 about 28.9% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

Romania's labor force in 2005 was estimated at 9.31 million people. As of 2004, agriculture accounted for 31.6%, with 30.7% in industry, and 37.7% in the services sector. Unemployment was estimated at 6.5% in 2005. The Romanian economy is in the process of privatization. Private firms accounted for 64.5% of the workforce in 2001. However, the government was still prominent in the large industrial sector.

Labor legislation adopted in 1991 guarantees the right of private sector employees to associate freely, organize and join unions, bargain collectively, and carry out strikes. In 2005, there were about 18 nationwide trade confederations plus smaller independent unions. Unions are permitted to strike, but only after all attempts at arbitration have failed and a 48-hour advance notice is given to employers. However there have been complaints that the courts are biased towards ruling strikes illegal. Also, while the law protects the right to bargain collectively, contracts arising from collective bargaining have not been consistently enforced. However, at the branch and unit level, collective bargaining contracts covered around 80% of Romania's workforce in 2005.

Most employees work a five-day, 40-hour week with overtime pay rates for weekends, holidays and work over 40 hours. the minimum wage in 2005 was $105 per month, and while the government also subsidizes necessities such as housing and health care, this does not provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family. Children under the age of 16 years are not permitted to work, although 15-year-olds may be employed with parental consent. Minors are also banned from working under hazardous conditions. However, child labor remains a problem in Romania. Neither the government nor industry has the resources to enforce safety and health standards in the workplace.

AGRICULTURE

Although under Communism the emphasis had been on industrialization, Romania is still largely an agricultural country. Of the total land area, 43% was arable land in 2003. Agriculture engaged about 15% of the active population and accounted for 12% of GDP in 2003.

The government began forming collective farms in 1949 and had largely completed the collectivization process by 1962. By 1985, of a total of 15,020,178 hectares (37,115,460 acres) of agricultural land, 29.7% was in state farms, with another 60.8% in large cooperative farms. The socialized sector consisted of 3,745 collectives, 419 state farms, and 573 farming mechanization units by 1985. The Land Reform of 1991 returned 80% of agricultural land to private ownership. Of the 14.8 million acres of agricultural land in 1996, some 2.6 million private producers farmed 44.6%; 20,400 associations of private producers farmed 25%; 1,171 state farms operated 12.8%; and public land accounted for the remaining 17.6%. Average farm size for private producers that year was 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres); for associations, 180 hectares (445 acres); and for state farms, 1,620 hectares (4,003 acres). In 2003, Romania had 4,484,890 agricultural holdings, the highest in the European Union. That year, 64% of holdings were used for crops, 35% for animal farming, and 1% for agricultural services.

Grain growing has been the traditional agricultural pursuit, but the acreage has been reduced since World War II, and more area has been assigned to industrial and fodder crops. the 2004 production totals (in thousand tons) for major crops was wheat, 7,735; barley, 1,406; corn, 4,452; oats, 447; soybeans, 298; sunflower seeds, 1,558; sugar beets, 673; vegetables and melons, 4,573; potatoes, 4,230; and grapes, 1,230. In 2004, Romania produced an estimated 57 million liters of wine. That year, exports of agricultural products totaled $765.3 million and agricultural imports amounted to $2,145 million.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Romania has some 4.8 million hectares (11.9 million acres) of pastures. Animal production in Romania has developed somewhat more rapidly than crop production. The 1970 value of total livestock production, including the increase in herds and flocks as well as livestock products, was slightly more than double the level of 1938, and the 1974 value was 34% above that of 1970. In view of the initially low level of Romanian livestock production, development has been slow, however. The major reasons for the inadequate increases had been lack of economic incentives, insufficient fodder, and inadequate shelter. Since the overthrow of the Ceausescu regime in 1989, privatization of much of the grazing land has begun. In order to improve livestock raising, the government continues to stress agricultural modernization. Livestock productivity during 200204 was 10.8% higher than during 19992001.

The livestock numbers (in thousands) for 2005 were cattle, 2,950; hogs, 6,500; sheep, 7,430; and chickens, 87,500. After several years of livestock reduction, the hog and poultry inventories rose at the end of 1995, due to increases in the private sector. Sheep numbers have dropped because of exports. State farms were also forced to cut their flocks due to reduced grazing land and financial difficulties.

Production of livestock food products for 2005 consisted of 781,380 tons of meat, 5,720,000 tons of cow's milk, 344,000 tons of sheep's milk, 37,900 tons of cheese, 405,600 tons of eggs, and 7,154 tons of butter. In 2004, exports of meat amounted to $37.2 million.

FISHING

Romania lost an important fishing region and nearly all its caviar-producing lakes with the cession of Bessarabia to the USSR in 1940. But the Black Sea, the Danube and its floodlands, as well as other rivers, lakes, and ponds, are favorable to the development of the fishing industry, which expanded rapidly during the early 1970s. About 90% of the fish comes from the Danube floodlands and delta and 10% from the Black Sea. In 2003, the total catch was 19,092 tons, as compared with 95,473 tons in 1991 and 16,000 in 1960.

FORESTRY

In 2004, forests covered 6.5 million hectares (16 million acres), representing about 27% of the total area of Romania, with 68% of forests state-owned. The forests are found mainly in the Carpathian Mountains and in Transylvania, and are 70% hardwood (mostly beech and oak) and 30% softwood (mainly spruce and pine). Commercial forests account for 98% of the total forest area. About 40% of Romania's forests are damaged, and up to 25% are defoliated. Insects, air pollution, and fires are the main causes of tree damage. The amount of timber permitted to be cut is approved annually by the Romanian parliament, and was set at 18 million cu m (643 million cu ft) for 2005 (63% from state-owned forests). Roundwood production in 2004 was estimated at 17,500,000 cu m (618 million cu ft). Domestic lumber production is estimated at 5 million cu m (175 million cu ft) with more than half coming from small factories. Romania's furniture industry consists of about 2,400 furniture producers employing about 100,000 people, with exports of around 850 million in 2004. Forestry accounts for 3.5% of GDP and 9% of exports.

Between 1976 and 1985, 580,000 hectares (1,433,200 acres) were reforested. After the collapse of the Communist regime, domestic demand, exports, and reforestation plummeted. During 19902000, some 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) were annually reforested. Since trade liberalization in 1997, Romania's wood industry has expanded; there are nearly 7,000 small and medium sized firms.

MINING

Romania's production of metals, industrial minerals, and mineral fuels was mainly of regional importance. The country is a producer of aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, manganese, steel and ferroalloys.

Production of mined iron ore (gross weight) totaled 304,000 tons in 2003. Mined copper production (gross weight) totaled 21,317 metric tons in 2003. Bismuth (metal) output in 2003 was estimated at 40 metric tons in 2003, while gold mine output (metal content) in that year came to 400 kg. Silver mine production (metal content) totaled 18 metric tons in 2003. Among industrial minerals in 2003, Romania produced barite, bentonite, diatomite, feldspar, fluorspar, graphite, gypsum (394,000 tons), kaolin, lime (2.025 million tons), lime, nitrogen (content of ammonia), pyrites, salt, sand and gravel, caustic soda, soda ash, sulfur, and talc.

Metals and metalworking in the region were well documented by Roman times, when Romania and Bulgaria, respectively known as Dacia and Thrace, were important sources of base and precious metals. Gold and nonferrous metals mined in the region remained attractive investment opportunities.

ENERGY AND POWER

Although Romania is the largest producer of oil in Central and Eastern Europe, it is a net importer of oil. The country also dominates the downstream petroleum industry in Southeastern Europe.

As of 1 January 2005, Romania had proven oil reserves estimated at 956 million barrels. Although Romania's oil production averaged an estimated 114,000 barrels per day in 2004, domestic demand for that year averaged an estimated 277,000 barrels per day, making the country a net importer, that year averaging 163,000 barrels per day. Romania is also the region's largest producer of refined petroleum products. Of the 11 refineries located in Southeastern Europe, 10 are located in Romania.

Romania, as of 1 January 2005, had proven reserves of natural gas estimated at 3.6 trillion cu ft. In 2002, natural gas production totaled an estimated 470 billion cu ft, while demand that year came to an estimated 646 billion cu ft, thus requiring imports totaling an estimated 176 billion cu ft.

In 2002, Romania had recoverable coal reserves estimated at 1,606 million short tons. As with oil and natural gas, Romania's demand for coal outstripped production. In 2002, demand was estimated at 36.3 million short tons, while output in that same year came to an estimated 33.6 million short tons. Imports that year were estimated at 2.7 million short tons. Romania's coal production consists of low-quality brown coal (lignite), while imports consist of anthracite for use in thermal power plants.

Romania's electric power is mostly generated by conventional thermal fuel plants, followed by hydroelectric and a single nuclear power plant. In 2002, Romania's electric generating capacity came to 21.568 million kW, with conventional thermal fuel plants accounting for 14.741 million kW, hydroelectric plants 6.122 million kW, and nuclear power for 0.705 million kW. Production in 2002 totaled 52.367 billion kWh, of which 59.9% was from fossil fuels, 30.3% from hydropower, and the rest from the country's sole nuclear plant. Consumption of electricity in 2002 was 45.847 billion kWh.

Romania's Cernavoda nuclear plant has one operating reactor. However, a second reactor is to start generating commercial power in 2006.

INDUSTRY

Industrial development received about half of all investment during the 195180 period. As officially measured, the average annual growth rate in gross industrial production between 1950 and 1980 was 12.3%, one of the highest in Eastern Europe. In 1993, however, industrial production was at only 47% of the 1989 level. The next year, industrial production increased by 3.3%. In 1995, it increased by 9.4% in absolute volume and was 13% higher than the 1992 output. In 1996, industrial production increased by 9.9% with the largest increases coming in the processing industry (12.5%) and machine and electronics (27.3%). After the Russian collapse of 1997, however, the industrial growth rate for 1998 was -17%. Industrial production picked up after Romania began to recover from its recession in 2000, and in 2001, the industrial growth rate was 6.5%.

Although industry continues to be a large sector of the economy (38% of GDP in 2003), it is partially in need of modernization and restructuring. (Agriculture contributed 13% to the GDP in 2003, while services came in first with 49.1%.) Key industries in 2004 included textiles and footwear, light machinery and automobile assembly, construction materials, metallurgy, chemicals, food processing, and petroleum refining. While in 2001 all of Romania's car manufacturers produced 68,761 automobiles, by 2004, Dacia alone produced 94,720.

Romania has been fairly successful in privatizing its industrial basein 2005, less than 5% of the industrial assets were still in the hands of the state. While some privatizations have been plagued by corruption accusations, and while some of the newly privatized companies are not yet economically viable, the rest have benefited from switching leadership. Some of success stories include the privatization of Dacia (Romania's main car manufacturer), and of Petrom (the national oil company), which were acquired by Renault and OMV respectively; the privatization of the bank sector has also been hailed as an important step towards a functional market economyBCR and CEC, two of Romania's largest banks, are to be fully privatized by 2006.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The Romanian Academy, founded in 1866, has sections of mathematical sciences, physical sciences, chemical sciences, biological sciences, economical sciences, technical sciences, agricultural sciences and forestry, medical sciences, and science and technology of information. The Academy of Medical Sciences and the Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences were both founded in 1969. All three organizations are located in Bucharest, and in 1996, had 67 research institutes attached to them.

In 2002, total research and development (R&D) expenditures amounted to $555.266 million or 0.38% of GDP. Of that amount, 48.4% came from the government, while the business sector accounted for 41.6%. Foreign sources provided 7.1%, while higher education accounted for 3%. In that same year, there were 286 technicians and 910 scientists and engineers engaged in R&D per one million people. High technology exports in 2002 were valued at $390 million, or 3% of the country's manufactured exports. In 1996, Romania had 22 universities offering courses in basic and applied sciences. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 21% of university enrollment.

DOMESTIC TRADE

Wholesale and retail trade were entirely in the socialized sector before 1990. By 1993, however, 50% of retail trade had been privatized. Since 1996, the government has worked more diligently, yet slowly, to create a market economy by eliminating consumer subsidies, liberalizing the exchange rates, and initiating tighter monetary policies. Further privatization programs are also underway and the government is considering ways to promote and encourage foreign commercial investment.

Domestic trade of consumer goods has been limited to local markets. There are only a few professional distributors and independent retailers tend to be rather small. The chief seaport is at Constanţa. Cluj-Napoca, Timişoara, Iaşi, Craiova, and Braşov serve as regional industrial centers and railroad hubs. Oradea serves as a regional marketing and shipping center for livestock and agriculture. Arad is a regional commercial and industrial center in the west while Pitesti serves as a hub for the south-central region. Turgu-Mures serves as a regional industrial and agricultural center for central Romania.

Stores are open daily, except Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm. Food shop and retail department store hours are 7 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday and 7 am to 12 noon on Sundays. there are however shops, especially small privately owned neighborhood stores, that are open nonstop. Also, the number of retailers and products has increased dramatically in the past years. Big companies like Metro, Billa, Selgros, and Carrefour opened stores in most of Romania's big cities, offering an increasing array of products.

Offices generally open at 7 or 8 am and close at 3 or 4 pm. Exchange counters in banks transact public business from 8 am to 12 noon, but exchange offices at border crossings remain open 24 hours a day.

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 17,618.1 24,003.2 -6,385.1
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 4,288.3 4,697.2 -408.9
Germany 2,771.0 3,560.0 -789.0
France-Monaco 1,295.2 1,748.0 -452.8
United Kingdom 1,181.6 794.1 387.5
Turkey 902.0 923.7 -21.7
Netherlands 627.7 467.3 160.4
United States 619.1 554.1 65.0
Hungary 617.2 868.0 -250.8
Austria 567.2 847.1 -279.9
Greece 425.9 324.4 101.5
() data not available or not significant.

FOREIGN TRADE

Before 1990, foreign trade was a state monopoly carried out through export-import agencies under the administration of the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Since World War II, the orientation and structure of Romanian foreign trade have shifted. Before the war, cereals, oil, timber, livestock, and animal derivatives accounted for over 90% of total exports, while consumer goods (60%) and raw materials (20%) accounted for the bulk of the imports. Under the Communist industrialization program, structural changes were particularly striking in exports, with machinery and nonedible consumer goods emerging as important export items. Foreign trade was in surplus throughout the 1980s, but fell into deficit in the 1990s. Romania's increasing trade deficit after 1994 was due in large part to the depreciation of its currency, large energy imports (despite large domestic reserves), and the loss of two important export markets due to international sanctions: Iraq and the former Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). The low quality of Romania's export products has also contributed to its large trade deficits. Additionally, with 80% of all imports taking the form of raw materialsprincipally oil, natural gas, and mineralsthe country has little foreign exchange for the importation of equipment and technology of the type needed to modernize its sluggish industrial sector.

Exports in 2000 totaled $10.4 billion and imports $13.1 billion; the major export categories were apparel (22%); machinery and electric equipment (19%); metals and their manufactures (17%); mineral fuels (7.2%); chemicals and related exports (5.8%); and food products, beverages, and tobacco (2.6%). By 2004, the exports doubled to $21 billion (FOBFree on Board), while the imports grew to $28 billion (CIFCost, Freight, and Insurance). For 2005, the exports were expected to grow to $25 billion, and the imports to $31 billion. Major export groups in 2004 were manufactures (especially textiles and footwear), basic metals and articles, and mineral products; the major import groups included capital goods, food, fuel and energy.

Trade with the EU countries, especially Germany, has increased substantially in recent years, largely because of Romania's expanding need for advanced Western technology and equipment. In the first quarter of 2004, Romania's main export markets were Italy (with 22.8% of total exports), Germany (15.5%), France (8.5%), Turkey (6.8%), the United Kingdom (6.8%), Hungary (3.6%), Austria (3.3%), the Netherlands (3.2%), Greece (2.6%), and the United States (2.3%). Imports came mainly from Italy (16.9% of the total imports), Germany (13.8%), the Russian Federation (8.0%), France (7.0%), Turkey (4.3%), the United Kingdom (3.6%), Austria (3.4%), Ukraine (3.4%), China (3.2%), and Hungary (3.2%)

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Trade with Western countries has involved growing amounts of credits in recent years. As a result of a series of devaluations of the Romanian leu dating from February 1990, Western imports became increasingly costly while the quality of Romania's exports significantly declined. Romania's poor performance was additionally due to its reliance on the importation of raw materialssuch as oil, natural gas and mineralswhich accounted for as much as 80% of imports in 1995, leaving little exchange currency for equipment and technology.

Current account deficits have been financed in large measure by loans and grants from international financial institutions, but Romania has attempted to diversify its sources of external financing. Romania's external debt stood at $11.6 billion in 2001. the country's international risk ratings have made it difficult for Romania to borrow from the private international credit market.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2001 the purchasing power parity of Romania's exports was $11.5 billion while imports totaled $14.4 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $2.9 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2001 Romania had exports of goods totaling $11.4 billion and imports totaling $14.4 billion. The services credit totaled $1.99 billion and debit $2.20 billion. The exports of goods and services rose to $24.6 billion in 2004, while the imports grew to $29.2 billion; the trade deficit totaled $4.6 billion.

Current Account -3,311.0
   Balance on goods -4,537.0
      Imports -22,155.0
      Exports 17,618.0
   Balance on services 70.0
   Balance on income -705.0
   Current transfers 1,861.0
Capital Account 213.0
Financial Account 4,400.0
   Direct investment abroad -39.0
   Direct investment in Romania 1,844.0
   Portfolio investment assets 9.0
   Portfolio investment liabilities 569.0
   Financial derivatives
   Other investment assets 72.0
   Other investment liabilities 1,945.0
Net Errors and Omissions -289.0
Reserves and Related Items -1,013.0
() data not available or not significant.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

Romanian banks were nationalized in 1948. Established in 1880, the bank of issue is the National Bank of the Socialist Republic of Romania, which also extends short-term loans to state enterprises and supervises their financial activities. The Romanian Bank for Development (1990) finances investments of state enterprises and institutions and grants long-term credit. As investments increased in volume, this bank was required to intensify its control over the use of funds allocated for investment. The Romanian Bank for Foreign Trade conducts operations with foreign countries. Savings are deposited with the Loans and Savings Bank. In 1974, New York's Manufacturers Hanover Trust opened an office in Bucharest, the first such instance for a Western commercial bank in a communist nation.

Romania has generally been very cautious in its approach to banking reform. Since 1990, the financial sector has undergone a fundamental overhaul, although the pace of change has been slower than elsewhere in the region. The number of banks rose from five in December 1990 to 41 by the end of 2000including four branches of foreign banks, four branches of joint ventures based abroad, and 33 domestic banks. The foreign specialized banksfor development, agriculture, and foreign tradestill handle almost all of the business in these areas. the Romanian Commercial Bank is still the banker to most Romanian firms, while the Savings Bank retains a virtual monopoly on personal savings deposits. At decade's end, Romania's financial institutions, like the rest of its economy, remained in severe and protracted crisis. Despite repeated calls from the IMF to privatize, the seven state-owned banks still controlled 70% of all assets in Romania's banks. Moreover, these banks continued to be plagued by bad debt.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $2.1 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $9.3 billion. the discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 35%.

Romania set up its first postwar stock exchange in 1995, after the enabling legislation has been delayed for several years. the RASDAQ (Romanian Association of Securities Dealers Automatic Quotation), an over-the-counter securities market, opened in 1996. As of 2001, the total market capitalization of the RADAQ was $2.1 billion, up 98% from the previous year. As of 2004, a total of 4,030 companies were listed on the combined Bucharest Stock Exchange and RASDAQ exchanges, which had a combined market capitalization of $11.786 billion. In 2004, the BET Index rose 101% from the previous year to 4,364.7.

INSURANCE

During the Communist era, all commercial insurance was nationalized. Since 1991, casualty, automobile, and life insurance have been made available through private insurers with foreign partners. Private insurers are only legally permitted as joint-stock or limited liability companies. Policies available include life, automobile, maritime and transport, aircraft, fire, civil liability, credit and guarantee, and agricultural insurance, with third-party auto insurance compulsory. Foreign insurance companies and agencies are now allowed to set up representative offices within Romania, though they must have a joint venture with a local company; a foreign company can own any percentage but 100%. In 2003, the value of all direct insurance premiums written totaled $795 million, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $608 million. Romania's top nonlife insurer that year had direct written nonlife premiums of $139.5 million, while the nation's leading life insurer had gross written life insurance premiums of $79.2 million.

PUBLIC FINANCE

The annual budget is presented to the Grand National Assembly around December and becomes effective for the fiscal year on 1 January. The state budget, prepared by the Ministry of Finance, is a central part of the financial plan for the whole economy. the reduction of the growth rate of expenditures during the early 1980s was in keeping with an economic stabilization program designed to hold down domestic investment and consumption. As a result of fiscal reforms begun since the fall of the Ceausescu regime in December 1989, adherence to IMF fiscal targets, and an unanticipated inflation-fed revenue windfall during the first half, the central government unofficially recorded a relatively modest deficit for 1991. Privatization of industry was accomplished in 1992 with the transfer of 30% of the shares of about 6,000 state-owned businesses to five private ownership funds, in which each adult citizen received certificates of ownership. As of the first decade of the 21st century, the government's priorities included reigning in of its fiscal policy, continuing to develop its relationship with the IMF, and continuing the process of privatization.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Romania's central government took in revenues of approximately $29.9 billion and had expenditures of $31.3 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$1.4 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 21.1% of GDP. Total external debt was $29.47 billion.

Revenue and Grants 312,534 100.0%
    Tax revenue 137,200 43.9%
    Social contributions 128,918 41.2%
    Grants 1,345 0.4%
    Other revenue 45,071 14.4%
Expenditures 354,837 100.0%
    General public services 64,525 18.2%
    Defense 18,056 5.1%
    Public order and safety 25,239 7.1%
    Economic affairs 49,286 13.9%
    Environmental protection
    Housing and community amenities 6,626 1.9%
    Health 54,839 15.5%
    Recreational, culture, and religion 4,007 1.1%
    Education 20,862 5.9%
    Social protection 111,396 31.4%
() data not available or not significant.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2001, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues were l312,534 billion and expenditures were l354,837 billion. The value of revenues was us$9 million and expenditures us$11 million, based on a market exchange rate for 2001 of us$1 = l33,200.1 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 18.2%; defense, 5.1%; public order and safety, 7.1%; economic affairs, 13.9%; housing and community amenities, 1.9%; health, 15.5%; recreation, culture, and religion, 1.1%; education, 5.9%; and social protection, 31.4%.

TAXATION

Romania's taxation system in the 1990s was notable for its erratic and confusing nature, but with reforms in late 1999 there has been movement towards uniformity and simplicity. As of 2005, the standard corporate income tax rate in Romania was 16%. Profits from nightclubs, casinos, and discotheques were taxed at the standard corporate rate, with the stipulation that total tax could not be lower than 5% of qualifying gross revenue earnings. Capital gains are taxable at the normal corporate income tax rate of 16%, although a lower rate of 10% applies to the sale of corporate shares held in Romanian companies and the sale of Romanian real estate if the seller owned the real estate or shares for more than two years, and if the buyer is not related to the seller. Dividends, paid to either residents or resident companies by Romanian firms are subject to 10% withholding. Dividends paid to nonresident companies or individuals by Romanian firms are subject to a 15% withholding tax. Interest and royalties earned through nonresident companies are subject to withholding tax rates of 5% and 15%, respectively.

As part of the tax reform; Romania's top marginal rate for personal income tax was dropped from 60% to 40%. Personal income tax in 2003 was levied according to a progressive schedule with rates ranging from 18% (for taxable income above $67/month; as of 1 January 2003 the monthly personal deduction was about $57.35 up from $51 in 2002), to 40% plus $98/month (on increments of monthly income above $370), with intermediate rates of 23% plus $12; 28% plus $35; and 34% plus $62. the tax-exempt limit for a monthly pension payment was raised from $159 in 2002 to $182 in 2003. There are also property taxes.

The main indirect tax is Romania's value-added tax (VAT), with a standard rate of 19% as of 2005. Many basic services are exempt from VAT including banking and financial services. Other taxes include excise and stamp taxes.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Romania joined the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in December 1992 and signed an association agreement with the European Union early in 1993, which provided for Romania to adapt to EU economic-commercial standards over a 10-year period. Under an interim collaborative agreement effective 1 May 1993, a revised Romanian import tariff schedule was introduced with preferential tariffs for imports from European Union and EFTA member nations. Generally, customs duties range from 030%, with a weighted average of 11.7%. For imports of ores and fuels, the duties are zero or 310%. Duties are higher for cigarettes (8 ECUs plus 20%), spirits (100150%), wines (20%), beer (5570%), and coffee (80%). Tariff rates are on an ad valorem basis. there is also a value-added tax (VAT) of 19% levied on almost all goods.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Foreign investment was negligible before the overthrow of the Communist regime. A new 1991 foreign investment law was enacted in 1991. Incentives to foreign investors include tax holidays and reduction, full foreign ownership of an enterprise, and full conversion and repatriation of after-tax profits. However, the latter is a drawn-out process because of the central bank's shortage of hard currency.

In 1997, the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) reached $1.2 billion, and then rose to a record of over $2 billion in 1998. Affected by the Russian financial crisis of August 1998, FDI inflow fell to a little over $1 billion in 1999. Annual FDI inflow averaged about $1.1 billion from 2000 to 2002. the FDI inflow continued to grow, reaching $1.6 billion in 2003, and a whopping $5.1 billion in 2004.

France, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, the United States, and Italy have been the largest sources of FDI. The largest foreign operations are in the automobile, steel, oil and banking industries.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The economy of Romania before 1990 was centrally planned and, for the most part, under complete state control. the nationalized industries and other economic enterprises operated within the state economic plan and were governed by the directives issued by the pertinent ministries. Economic planning, conducted by the State Planning Commission, emulated the Soviet example.

Nationalization of industry, mining, transportation, banking, and insurance on 11 June 1948 was followed by one-year economic plans in 1949 and 1950. These were succeeded by the first five-year plan (195155), which laid the groundwork for rapid industrialization, with emphasis on heavy industry, primarily machine-building. The state's second five-year plan (195660) provided for an increase of industrialization by 6065%. Greater attention was given to consumer goods and to agriculture. A subsequent six-year plan (196065) envisaged an overall industrial increase of 110%, especially in producer goods. the five-year plan for 196670 realized an overall industrial increase of 73%. the five-year plans for 197175, 197680, and 198185 called for further industrial expansion and, according to official figures, during 196685 industrial production grew by 9.5% annually. The eighth five-year plan, for 198690, projected a 13.314.2% annual increase in Romania's net industrial production.

In the farming sector, the government has assiduously pursued a policy of collectivization. By virtue of the 22 March 1945 land reform, most farms over 50 hectares (123 acres)a total of about 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres)were confiscated without compensation. In 1949, the remaining large private farms were seized, and their 500,000 hectares (1,236,000 acres) organized into state farms. Various pressures, including coercion, were used to force peasants into joining. In April 1962, collectivization was announced as virtually completed, although there were farms, especially in remote areas, that were left in the hands of their rightful owners. Agricultural development in following years was comparatively neglected.

As of 1 January 1979, Romania began implementing the "new economic-financial mechanism," an attempt to introduce into the Romanian economy the principle of workers' self-management as previously developed elsewhere in Eastern Europe, notably in the former Yugoslavia and Hungary. Accordingly, autonomous production units were expected to plan for their own revenues and expenditures and manpower needs. These separate plans were, however, to be harmonized with the national economic plan, so that Romania's centralized system of goal and price setting was not significantly altered.

One of the major economic targets in the 1980s was the reduction of foreign debt, which was achieved but at the cost of drastic austerity measures and reduced industrial growth. After the fall of Communism, a major objective was the privatization of 6,200 state enterprises. The economy was to be completely restructured, with the emphasis on private ownership and adherence to the market for the allocation of resources. By late 1996, nearly all the country's agricultural land had been returned to private ownership, but only 65% of all eligible recipients had been officially given title. By 2002, Romania had privatized many major state-owned enterprises, with the help of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Union. The private sector in 2002 accounted for an estimated 65% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Economic growth declined in the late 1990s, but picked up in the early 2000s. Inflation, once a problem (it stood at 18% at the end of 2002), has been reduced to single figures in 2004, and is predicted to drop to 5% by 2006. In 2004, the foreign direct investment in Romania reached $5.1 billion (second only to the Czech Republic in Europe), while the GDP registered a whopping 8.3% increase (second only to Latvia in Europe). The economy is expected to grow at a rate of around 7% in the coming years.

Romania is seeking admission to the European Union, with accession envisaged for 2007. The accession could however be postponed until 2008 if Romania fails to implement the necessary reforms (one of the biggest problems that still needs to be addressed is corruption). The center-right government that was elected in 2004 is confident however that 2007 is a realistic target, and is working hard towards achieving that goal. In December 2004 Romania closed the pre-accession negotiation with the European Union, in October 2004 it received the "functionally market economy" status, and it is looking to continue its sustained economic growth in the years preceding the accession.

However, one of the biggest concerns that Romanian policy makers are having is the capacity of the country to respond to EU market pressures once it will be part of that organization. While some sectors have registered significant progress, others are still lagging and will probably suffer once the accession is completed. For example, Romania's main car manufacturer, Dacianow owned by Renault, has been very successful in acquiring an important share of the internal and external market with its new modelLogan; the information technology (IT) industry is one of the most vibrant in Europe (a study recently done by Brainbench found that Romania is in fourth place globally, in terms of its IT workforce numbers). The agriculture sector, on the other hand, suffers from fragmentation, lack of economic cohesion (economies of scale are hard to achieve on small parcels of land that are owned by people with different interests), and a lack of future perspective.

In 2005, the new center-right government has introduced a 16% flat tax on both wages and firm turnoverone of Europe's most liberal taxation systems. this fiscal reform is expected to strengthen the economic boom, increase foreign investment, bring to light the gray economy, and lower corruption.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

A social insurance system has been in place since 1912. Social security covers most wage earners, and a voluntary system is in place for persons wishing additional coverage. Old-age pensions are granted at age 65 for men and at 60 for women. those engaged in hazardous or arduous work are eligible for retirement earlier. The program is funded by contributions from employers and employees, with deficits covered by the government. Workers who do not meet the conditions of duration of employment at retirement age are provided with social assistance. Survivors' benefits are payable to the spouse, father and mother, and brothers and sisters who are dependents of the deceased, and to children up to age 16. Workers' compensation and unemployment insurance are also provided, as well as maternity benefits and family allowances.

All residents are entitled to medical care. Families with children under age 16 receive family allowances and a birth grant for each child. In addition to state social insurance, other schemes cover members of artisans' cooperatives, the clergy, and the professions.

The constitution guarantees equal pay for equal work, but women are still concentrated in low-paying professions. Few women are in senior management positions in the private sector. Women also face considerable employment discrimination in Romania's harsh economic climate and suffer from a higher rate of unemployment than do men. Violence against women, including rape, is a serious problem. It is difficult to bring rape cases to trial because the victim's testimony is not considered sufficient evidence; medical evidence and witnesses are required. Domestic abuse is widespread.

Ethnic Hungarians are the largest minority and are subject to discrimination. The Roma population continues to be harassed, and there are reports of anti-Semitic activity. Human rights are generally respected although there were continued reports of the mistreatment of detainees. The government has improved prison conditions and instituted vocational training, but prisons are still overcrowded.

HEALTH

As part of a broader social and economic transition, Romania's health care system underwent major reforms in the 1990s as it was transformed from a centralized, tax-based system to a pluralistic one based on contractual relationships between health care providers and insurance funds. Until the end of the decade, primary care was provided mainly through some 6,000 public-sector dispensaries throughout the country, with each patient assigned to a facility. Patients have subsequently been allowed to choose their own dispensary and general practitioner. As of 2004, there were an estimated 189 physicians, 402 nurses, and 23 dentists per 100,000 people. Total health care expenditure was estimated at 4.6% of GDP.

Increased mother and child care lowered the infant mortality rate from 143 per 1,000 live births in 1948 to 15.39 in 2005. The general health of the population has likewise improved, with several previously serious diseases eliminated or greatly reduced (e.g., diphtheria, tuberculosis), although proper sanitation was available to only 53% of the population and safe drinking water to 58%. Leading causes of death were cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases. Overall mortality was 12.3 per 1,000 people as of 2002. Average life expectancy in 2005 was 71.35 years. Romania's birth rate in 2002 was an estimated 10.8 per 1,000 people. About 48% of married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception. The total fertility rate was 1.3 children per woman during her childbearing years. Immunization rates for children up to one year old were: tuberculosis, 100%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 97%; polio, 97%; and measles, 97%.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 6,500 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 350 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

HOUSING

Inadequate housing has been a serious problem since World War II. Romanian housing suffered from the 1940 earthquake, war damage, neglect, and inadequate repair and maintenance after the war. An increase in the urban population caused by industrialization and emphasis on capital construction exacerbated the problem. Since 1965, the government has encouraged private construction by state support in the form of credits and expertise. However, an uncertain economy means that maintenance for existing properties has been somewhat poor.

In 1999, the total housing stock was at about 7.88 million units. At the 2002 census, there were 8,107,114 dwellings serving 21.6 million people. About 56.8% of all dwellings were single-family detached houses of two or three rooms. About 97% of all units are under private ownership. About 47% of all residential buildings were built in the period 194570.

EDUCATION

Education is compulsory for students between the ages of 6 and 16. The general course of study includes four years of primary school followed by four years of lower secondary school. Students may attend art or trade schools after their primary education is complete. At the upper secondary level, students may choose between schools offering general studies, vocational programs, or technical studies. Upper secondary programs generally last from three to four years. The academic year runs from October to June.

In 2001, about 75% of children between the ages of three and six were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 89% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 81% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 89.4% of all students complete their primary education. the student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 18:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 14:1.

Admission to an advanced institution depends on a variety of factors, including the student's social background. Over half the students receive government assistance. Yearly quotas are established by the Ministry of Education according to manpower needs. Students in some fields must first complete six months of practical work in industry or agriculture.

In 1959, the Romanian Victor Babes University (founded 1919) and the János Bolyai University (1945) for Hungarian minority students, both in Cluj-Napoca, were merged into the Babes-Bolyai University in order to strengthen "socialist patriotism." there are six other universitiesin Bucharest (founded in 1864), Braşov (1971), Craiova (1966), Galati (1948), Iaşi (1860), and Timişoara (1962).

Like the other formerly Communist countries, Romania has emphasized polytechnic education in recent years. This "link of education with life" in the early grades means studying practical subjects; however, beginning in the upper grades there are work programs, often directly in enterprises, in workshops, or on collective farms, depending on the locality.

In 2003, about 35% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 97.3%. As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 3.5% of GDP.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The National Library in Bucharest holds over 8.7 million items. The Romanian Academy Library in Bucharest is also a national library. It holds about 10 million items, mainly on the history and culture of the Romanian people. The next largest public libraries are the university libraries at Bucharest (1.4 million volumes), Iaşi (3 million), and Cluj-Napoca (3.6 million).

Romania has some 400 museums. Bucharest is home to many of the most important museums, including the National History Museum of Romania, the National Museum of Art, and the newer Historical Museum of Bucharest (founded in 1984) and Cotroceni National Museum (1991), featuring Romanian fine art, architecture, and decorative art. Also in the capital are the Cecilia and Frederick Storck Museum, highlighting the works of Karl Storck, a great Romanian sculptor, and his family, also prominent artists; the Curteo Veche Museum, featuring archaeological exhibits and housed in a 15th-century palace; and the Museum of Romanian Literature.

MEDIA

In 2003, there were an estimated 199 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 465,000 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 324 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

In 2004, Romanian Public Television controlled four national stations. Radio Romania operates one domestic and one external service. There are several privately owned commercial stations in both television and radio. As of 1998, there were 40 AM and 202 FM radio broadcasting stations. A 1995 report indicated there were 48 television stations. In 2003, there were an estimated 358 radios and 697 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 172.5 of every 1,000 people are cable subscribers. Also in 2003, there were 96.6 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 184 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 65 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

The leading daily newspapers (with 2002 circulation figures) are Evenimentul Zilei (Events of the Day, 200,000); Adevarul de Cluj (Truth of Cluj, 200,000); Romania Libera (Free Romania, 100,000); Adevarul (Truth, 85,000); and Libertatea (Liberty, 75,000).

Though the constitution provides for freedom of expression and prohibits censorship, it is illegal to "defame" the country. Journalists are prosecuted under this law and sentenced to prison terms.

ORGANIZATIONS

Economic organizations concerned with Romania's internal and external economic activities include the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 1992 the Council for National Minority Affairs was formed for the discussion of minority issues. the organization helps the government formulate policies favorable to the minorities of the country. The body is headed by the Secretary General of the government. Representatives from 16 officially recognized minority groups and 12 government ministries make up the organization.

There are also many cooperatives in key sectors of the economy. Many Romanian farmers belong to the private Farmers' Federation. There are about 4,000 farming cooperatives and 41 district unions. A large cooperative located in the manufacturing and consumers sectors of the economy is the Central Union of Commerce and Credit Cooperative. There are over 2,500 production and 850 credit cooperatives. Another important cooperative is the Central Union of Handicraft Cooperatives. The National Union of the Consumers' Cooperatives is based in Bucharest. There is also an active Association for the Protection of Consumers.

The Romanian Academy was founded in 1866 to promote public interest, education, and research in scientific fields. Several professional associations also promote research and public education in specific fields, such as the Romanian Medical Association.

Serving a very specific cultural niche, the Transylvania Society of Dracula, based in Bucharest, promotes the study of the Bram Stoker novel, Dracula, and the life of Prince Vlad Dracula, on whom the book is loosely based.

National youth organizations include the Free Youth Association of Bucharest, the League of Students, National Union of Independent Students of Romania, Junior Chamber, Romanian Council of Churches-Youth Unit, the National Scout Organization of Romania, and YMCA/YWCA. There are several sports associations representing a variety of pastimes, such as tennis, skating, track and field, baseball and softball, and badminton.

Civitas Foundation for the Civil Society, established in 1992, sponsors community development and social programs promoting an open, democratic society. Other social action groups include the League for the Defense of Human Rights in Romania and the Women's Association of Romania. There are national chapters of the Red Cross Society, UNICEF, and Habitat for Humanity.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

The Carpathian Mountains, the Black Sea coast, and the Danube region were developed to attract large numbers of tourists. Major attractions include many old cities and towns (Braşov, Constanţa, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Suceava, Timişoara, and others) and more than 120 health resorts and spas. The monasteries in Bukovina are famous for their exterior frescoes. Castle Dracula, the castle of Prince Vlad of Walachia, has been a tourist attraction since the 1970s.

Popular sports are football (soccer), skiing, hiking, swimming, canoeing, wrestling, handball, and gymnastics. Between 1965 and 1984, Romanian athletes won 176 Olympic medals (48 gold, 52 silver, and 76 bronze). Romania was the only Socialist country to send athletes to the 1984 games in Los Angeles; all the others, following the USSR's lead, boycotted these games.

A valid passport is required to enter Romania of all foreign nationals except those of the countries of the European Union who only need an identity card. Citizens of the United States, Canada and most European countries do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

In 2003, tourist arrivals numbered 5,594,828, of whom 96% came from Europe. Tourism expenditure receipts totaled $523 million. There were 97,320 hotel rooms with 201,636 beds and an occupancy rate of 34%. The average length of stay was 3.5 nights.

In 2004, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Bucharest at $228. Other areas were significantly lower at $152 per day.

FAMOUS ROMANIANS

Perhaps the most famous historical figure in what is now Romania was Vlad (1431?76), a prince of Walachia who resisted the Turkish invasion and was called Tepes ("the impaler") and Dracula ("son of the devil") because of his practice of impaling his enemies on stakes; he was made into a vampire by Bram Stoker in his novel Dracula. the first leader of Communist Romania was Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (190165), who held the office of premier from 1952 to 1955 and of president of the State Council from 1961 until his death. Nicolae Ceausescu (191889) was general secretary of the Communist Party between 1965 and 1989 and head of state from 1967 to 1989; his wife, Elena (191989), was a member of the Permanent Bureau of the Executive Committee of the Communist Party.

Ion Heliade-Radulescu (180272) founded the Bucharest Conservatory and the National Theater and became first president of the Romanian Academy. Mihail Kogalniceanu (181791), a leading statesman in the early Romanian monarchy, inaugurated modern Romanian historiography. Vasile Alecsandri (182190) was a leader of the traditionalist school of writers, which sought its inspiration in the Romanian past rather than in imitations of foreign writers. Mihail Eminescu (185089) is regarded as an outstanding poet, famous for romantic lyricism. His friend Ion Creanga (183787) drew from folklore and wrote with a gaiety and gusto recalling Rabelais. The nation's greatest playwright was Ion Luca Caragiale (18521912), who excelled in social comedy; an internationally famous Romanian-born playwright, Eugène Ionesco (191294), settled in Paris in 1938. Mihail Sadoveanu (18801961) was an important novelist in the period between the two world wars. Romanian-born Elie Wiesel (b.1928), in the United States from 1956, is a writer on Jewish subjects, especially the Holocaust, and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Romanian-born Mircea Eliade (190786) was a scholar in comparative religion and comparative mythology, in the United States from 1948. Romanian-born Tristan Tzara (18961963), a literary and artistic critic who settled in Paris, was one of the founders of Dadaism. Nicolae Grigorescu (18381907) and Ion Andreescu (185082) were leading painters, as was Theodor Aman (183191), a modern artist and founder of the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest. Saul Steinberg (19141999) was a cartoonist and illustrator, best known for his work for the New Yorker magazine; he emigrated to the United States in 1942. Sculpture was greatly advanced by Constantin Brâncusi (18761957). Perhaps the greatest names Romania has given to the musical world are those of the violinist and composer Georges Enescu (18811955), known for his Romanian Rhapsodies, and the pianist Dinu Lipatti (191750). A prominent tennis player is Ilie Nastase (194694); gymnast Nadia Comaneci (b.1961) won three gold medals at the 1976 Olympics and two gold medals at the 1980 games.

DEPENDENCIES

Romania has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Achim, Viorel. The Roma in Romanian History. New York: Central European University Press, 2004.

Carey, Henry F. (ed.). Romania since 1989: Politics, Economics, and Society. Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2004.

Frucht, Richard (ed.). Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2005.

Gallagher, Tom. Modern Romania: The End of Communism, the Failure of Democratic Reform, and the theft of a Nation. New York: New York University Press, 2005.

Gross, Peter. Mass Media in Revolution and National Development: The Romanian Laboratory. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1996.

International Smoking Statistics: A Collection of Historical Data from 30 Economically Developed Countries. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Kellogg, Frederick. The Road to Romanian Independence. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 1995.

McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Sanborne, Mark. Romania. 2nd ed. New York: Facts On File, 2004.

Treptow, Kurt W. Historical Dictionary of Romania. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 1996.

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ROMANIA

ROMANIA , country in East-Central and South-East Europe, in the Carpatho-Danubian region, north of the Balkan Peninsula, partly on the littoral of the Black Sea. The territory comprising Romania was known as Dacia in antiquity; Jewish tombstones, other inscriptions with Jewish and Palmyrean names written in Greek or Latin from the Roman period (1st–3rd centuries c.e.) and a coin from the period of Bar Kochba's revolt with an inscription in Hebrew were discovered in the counties of Transylvania and Oltenia. Jewish and Palmyrean names are also present in some Greek inscriptions discovered in the county of Dobrogea, known in antiquity as the Roman province Moesia Inferior. Early Christian missionary activity in Dacia and the Hellenistic towns of Moesia may have been due to the existence of Jewish groups there. Later, the Carpatho-Danubian territory was mentioned in some Hebrew sources from the 10th to 12th centuries. A Jewish presence is attested in the 14th century in the port towns of the Southern Bessarabia county on the Black Sea. In the 15th century, there were Karaite communities in the same towns, one of them, Akkerman (in Romanian: Cetatea Albă; in Russian: Belgorod Dnestrovskij) called in Hebrew Ha-Ir ha-Levanah ("the white city"). The Karaite Jews continued to live there until the middle of the 18th century. Occasional temporary presence of Ashkenazi Jewish merchants in Moldavia (called in Romanian: Moldova, principality located in the North-East, between the Oriental Carpathians and the Dniester and the Black Sea, founded at the beginning of the 14th century) occurred in the second half of the 15th century and in the beginning of the 16th century. In the second half of the 16th century, some Sephardi Jews from the Ottoman Empire visited Wallachia (called in Romanian: Ţara Românească, the second Romanian principality, located in the South, between the Southern Carpathians and the Danube, founded at the beginning of the 14th century) as exporters of cattle to the Ottoman Empire, dealers of wine, importers of textiles, and moneylenders. Some of them settled in Bucharest, the capital of Wallachia. Jewish creditors from Constantinople loaned money to candidates to the thrones of the principalities: they needed the money to pay the amount demanded by the Turkish sultan to obtain the princely function, since the principalities had become vassals to the Ottoman Empire in the first half of the 15th century. Some of those Jewish creditors accompanied the new princes to the principalities to make sure that they would repay their debt. Other Sephardi Jews from Turkey and from Italian states served as physicians or diplomats at princes' courts. In 1594–1595 the princes Mihai Viteazul (Michael the Brave) of Wallachia and Aron Tiranul (Aron the Tyran) of Moldavia killed their Jewish and Muslim creditors to avoid paying their debts to them.

As Moldavia was on the trade routes between Poland-Lithuania and the Ottoman Empire many Jewish merchants traveled through it. Some settled there. In the 16th century there were Jewish communities in several Moldavian towns. More intensive waves of Jewish immigration resulted from the Chmielnicki massacres (1648–49). Beginning in the 17th century Moldavian princes granted special charters to Jews; known is a charter given to Jews from Jassy in 1666. The Great Synagogue of Jassy was built about 1670.

In the last decades of the 18th century, more Jews from Galicia began to settle in Moldavia as a result of demographic changes, the partition of Poland, Austrian emperor Joseph ii's toleration edicts, and the economic growth of the Romanian principalities after the Kücük-Kainargi Russian-Turkish peace treaty (1774). It was the beginning of a new wave of immigration. Many of them were Ḥasidim. These Jewish craftsmen and merchants obtained special charters. They helped to reestablish war-ravaged towns or to enlarge others. Some of them settled at crossroads and founded commercial centers, the so-called burgs; in this activity they were encouraged by landowners. Many Jews were occupied in buying and selling agricultural products from neighboring villages to towns, and bringing and selling industrial products to peasants. The burgs were founded as a part of the economic development toward a commercial economy and the urbanization process. After the settlement of the Jews, landowners gave them charters including advantages, such as exemption from taxes, land for prayer houses, ritual baths, and cemeteries. When two counties of Moldavia were annexed by their neighbors (Bukovina by Austria in 1775 and Bessarabia by Russia in 1812), some Jews from these counties preferred to move to Romanian Moldavia, where they were not harassed by the authorities and had both family and business connections. Among the Jews occupied in commerce (in towns, but especially in burgs), there were also many craftsmen, such as furriers, tailors, boot makers, tinsmiths, and watchmakers; they settled mainly in the towns. There were also Jewish exporters of agricultural products and importers of industrial and luxury products, and Jewish moneylenders, who later on became bankers. In villages, Jews leased inns and brandy distilleries. The process of urbanization and the immigration of Jews continued in the first half of the 19th century. Many immigrants also arrived from Russia, partly as a result of the forced conscription in the period of Czar Nicholas i. The number of Jews grew in Moldavia as did the number of the so-called "Jewish burgs"; later part of them became insignificant. Jewish immigration into Wallachia was from Moldavia only (a re-emigration) and some Sephardi Jewish immigration from the Ottoman Empire as a result of the political and economic changes in the Balkan part of that empire.

Among the rabbis and Torah scholars present in Moldavia and Wallachia in the period from the 17th to the beginning of the 19th centuries may be mentioned Solomon ibn Aroyo, a kabbalist and also a physicist (Jassy, at the beginning of the 17th century); Nathan Hanover (Jassy, second half of the 17th century); Haim Thierer (present in some towns of Moldavia, second half of the 18th century); Eliezer Papo (Bucharest and Silistra, beginning of the 19th century).

From early on commercial competition was one of the main reasons for anti-Jewish hatred in Romania. In 1579 the sovereign of Moldavia, Petru Schiopul (Peter the Lame), ordered the banishment of the Jews on the grounds that they were ruining the merchants. In the Danube harbors it was the Greek and Bulgarian merchants who incited riots against the Jews, especially during Easter. Anti-Jewish excesses in the neighboring countries often extended to the Romanian principalities. In 1652 and 1653 Cossacks invaded Moldavia, attacking many Jews from Jassy. In 1714, there was a small pogrom in Bucharest and the synagogue (built of stones) was destroyed on the order of the sovereign of Wallachia, Stefan Cantacuzino. Greek Orthodox Christianity also preached intolerance toward Jews and shaped the first code of law: the Church laws of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1640, of Byzantine inspiration. Both proclaimed the Jews as heretics and forbade any relations with them. The state and the Church encouraged the conversion of Jews to Orthodox Christianity and offered economic and social advantages to the converts. With the exception of physicians, Jews were not accepted as witnesses in trials. In the codes of 1746 and 1780 the Jews are scarcely mentioned. On the other hand, the first books of anti-Jewish incitement of a religious character appeared around this time: Alcatuirea aurita a lui Samuil rabbi jidovul (The Golden Order of Rabbi Samuel the Jew) and "A Challenge to Jews" (Jassy, 1803). The image of the Jew in Romanian folklore includes satanic aspects: the Jews were satanized under the influence of the church. In the course of the rebellion against the Turks (1821), Greek volunteers crossed Moldavia on their way to the Danube, plundering and slaying Jews as they went (in Jassy, Herta (now Gertsa), Odobesti, Vaslui, Roman, etc.).

The judicial status of the Jews in the principalities was of an ethnical-religious guild (in Romanian: breasla, called breasla jidovilor in Moldavia, and breasla ovreiasca in Wallachia). There were guilds set up according to nationality and religion (e.g., Armenians, Catholic-Kiprovitchian Bulgarians, Jews) and others organized according profession (which included Moldavian or Wallachian Christian-Orthodox craftsmen or merchants from towns). The system was based on the Ottoman system of "isnafs" (in Turkish: isnaf). The guild took care of tax collection proportionate to the number of persons organized in it; the Jews (i.e., the Jewish Guild) were obliged to pay a poll-tax for the right to settle. This system, known from 1666 in Jassy (the right to settle was granted by the sovereign through a gold-charter, in Romanian: hrisov) may have existed some decades previously in Moldavia. The head of the guild was the "senior" (in Romanian: staroste; in Hebrew: rosh medinah). The "senior" was responsible for tax collection. The system was based on that existing in Poland: the Ashkenazi Jews, of Polish origin, maintained their tradition. The "senior" was exempted from payment and had some advantages, granted by the sovereign through a special charter. Later the abuses began: the "seniors" were elected from among members of the same family. In the 1830s the tax paid in Moldavia was called – in Romanian – the crupca (also a system of Polish origin; in Polish: korowka). The sovereigns preferred to put the rabbi in charge of collecting the tax, with him exempted from paying. Later (last decades of the 18th century) his administrative function was called in Turkish hakhambashe and he was named ḥakham-bashi (the rabbi, who was the chief of the Jewish guild). Every rabbi, however, had to pay bribes (officially) to be recognized in his function. In Moldavia, the rabbis were from the same family: descendents of Rabbi Naphtali ha-Kohen of Posen, whose son, Bezalel was appointed as rabbi of Jassy community in 1719. In Wallachia the "senior" maintained his administrative and fiscal function, but consulted the rabbi of Jassy for halakhic problems and became his representative in Bucharest. The collective tax, set by the guild in agreement with the tax-collector, was paid from the tax on kosher meat, taxes on religious ceremonies, and contributions from every family head. The expenses of the institutions (talmud torah, hekdesh, cemetery) were covered by the remainder. The rabbi's salary was set according to the number of slaughtered cattle, of religious ceremonies, and of boys learning in the talmud torah.

The situation changed once again at the end of the 18th–first decades of the 19th centuries. Owing to the competition among the rabbis for this function and to the fact that many Jews considered the ḥakham bashi as insufficiently learned in Torah, his prestige was low, and learned rabbis were considered by the Jews as their real spiritual leaders. The growing number of immigrants from Galicia and Russia at the beginning of the 19th century opposed the ḥakham bashi, since such an institution was unknown to them and many of them were followers of Ḥasidism and led by ẓaddikim. As they were foreign subjects they asked their consuls to intercede, and in 1819 the prince of Moldavia decided that the ḥakham bashi should have jurisdiction only over "native" Jews. The Ḥasidim did not buy meat slaughtered by a non-Ḥasidic slaughterer, because his knife was not polished. So, they bought meat from "illegal" slaughterers and did not pay the tax on kosher meat. The collective tax paid by the Jewish guild to the state was smaller. Finally, after agreements with the representatives of the immigrant Jews (Ḥasidim), because of permanent strife among the diverse groups of Jews and their complaints to the authorities, the latter decided in 1834 to abolish the ḥakham bashi system and institution in Moldavia. In Wallachia, although the ḥakham bashi institution was not abolished, it remained inactive. Jewish communal life and organization were changed. The Ottoman system was changed to the Russian system. The Jewish guild became the Jewish community, called "the Jewish nation" (in Romanian: natia ovreeasca). Since the fiscal system could not be changed radically, the method of collective taxation on kosher meat remained in use but was carried out by representatives of the government for a relatively short period. After around a decade it was changed, proving impractical: only the wealthy Jews bought meat, while the poor consumed mainly vegetables. The functions of the community devolved on to the various prayer houses and the artisans' guilds and sometimes on the ḥevra kaddisha or the Jewish hospital.

(For the early history of the other regions which later made up Romania see *Bessarabia, *Bukovina, and *Transylvania).

Emerging Romania

The Russian-Turkish peace treaty of Adrianopol (1829) canceled the interdiction of the export of some Moldavian and Wallachian agricultural products from the Ottoman Empire and decreed freedom of commerce. Between 1829 and 1834 Moldavia and Wallachia were occupied by Russia. A nearly similar constitution (the so-called Organic Law) was prepared for both principalities during that period and promulgated in 1832. The constitution was similar to the one already existing in Wallachia and Moldavia. From 1832 to 1856 the two principalities were protectorates of Russia. The Organic Law of Moldavia (together with additions promulgated between 1834 and 1856) also dealt with the position of the Jews. Their communal organization was on the Russian model (kahal). Jews were forbidden to own property in the villages. Additions to the laws promulgated in 1839 and 1843 gave the authorities the right to determine which Jews were useful to the country, the others being declared vagrants and expelled. However, the Organic Law of Moldavia stipulated that Jewish children could attend public schools if they dressed like the Christian children. Jews were exempted from military service. The number of Jews increased owing to emigration from Galicia and Russia. The number of Jewish burgs in Moldavia also grew. In Bucharest (Wallachia) the community was fragmented. In the early 1840s the Sephardi Jews of Bucharest left the community and founded their own community with their own traditions. The Ashkenazi Jews of Bucharest who were Austrian and Prussian subjects also left the community and founded a community supported by the Austrian and Prussian consuls, in order not to pay taxes. The "native" and Polish (Russian) Jewish subjects remained as the Ashkenazi community. Later on, these two Ashkenazi communities reunited.

In the 1848 revolutions of Moldavia and Wallachia, directed against the Russian protectorate and against absolutism and serfdom, the revolutionaries appealed to the Jews to participate. They distinguished, however, between useful and non-useful Jews (the latter being nominated for expulsion) and proposed the "emancipation of the Israelites and transformation into useful citizens," proclaiming their civic equality. Some Jews took part in the 1848 revolution of Wallachia (see Davicion *Bally), but the majority of Jews did not participate in the revolutions. However, under the influence of revolution, some "progressive" Jews revolted against the leadership of the Ashkenazi community and took over for a short period. The revolutions were suppressed (in Moldavia immediately by the sovereign, in Wallachia after three months by the Russian and Ottoman armies).

Independent Romania

The peace treaty of Paris (1856), which concluded the Crimean War and granted the principalities a certain autonomy under the suzerainty of the seven European powers, proclaimed inter alia that in the two Danubian principalities all the inhabitants, irrespective of religion, should enjoy religious and civil liberties (the right to own property and to trade) and might occupy political posts. Only those who had foreign citizenship were excluded from political rights. The leaders of the Moldavian and Wallachian Jews addressed themselves both to the Romanian authorities and to the great powers, asking for the abolition of the discriminations against them. However, the opposition of Russia and of the Romanian political leaders hindered this: the special assembly decided that only Christians would obtain citizenship. The two principalities united in 1859; Bucharest became the capital of the new state (United Principalities, and from 1862 Romania); Alexandru Ioan Cuza, who was a member of the 1848 revolutionaries' group and not antisemitic, became their sovereign. The number of Jews was then 130,000 (3% of the total population). In 1864 native Jews were granted suffrage in the local councils ("little naturalization"); but Jews who were foreign subjects still could not acquire landed property. Political rights were granted to non-Christians but only parliament could vote on the naturalization of individual Jews – but not a single Jew was naturalized.

In 1866 Alexandru Ioan Cuza was ousted by anti-liberal forces. A new sovereign, Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was elected and a new constitution adopted. Under the pressure of demonstrations organized by the police (during which the Choir Temple in Bucharest was demolished and the Jewish quarter plundered), the seventh article of the constitution, restricting citizenship to the Christian population, was adopted. Even the visit to Bucharest of Adolphe Crémieux, president of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, who delivered a speech in the Romanian parliament, had no effect. In the spring of 1867 the minister of interior, Ion Bratianu, started to expel Jews from the villages and banish noncitizens from the country. In the summer of the same year Sir Moses Montefiore arrived in Bucharest and demanded that Prince Carol put a stop to the persecutions. But these continued in spite of the promises given. Hundreds of families, harassed by humiliating regulations (e.g., a prohibition on building sukkot), were forced to leave the villages. Local officials regarded such persecution as an effective method of extorting bribes. Neither the repeated interventions of Great Britain and France nor the condemnatory resolutions in the parliaments of Holland and Germany had any effect. The Romanian government reiterated that the Jewish problem was an internal one, and the great powers limited themselves to protests.

At the Congress of Berlin (1878), which finalized Romanian independence, the great powers made the grant of civil rights to the Jews a condition of that independence in spite of opposition by the Romanian delegates. The Romanian representatives threatened the delegates of the Jewish world organizations, as well as the representatives of the Jews of Romania, by hinting at a worsening of their situation. Indeed, after the Congress of Berlin other antisemitic measures were introduced, and there was incitement in the press and public demonstrations organized by the authorities on the Russian model, in order to prove to the great powers that the people were against Jewish emancipation. Their aim was also to create an antisemitic atmosphere on the eve of the session of parliament which was to decide on the modification of the article in the 1866 constitution concerning Jewish naturalization. Prince Carol, opening parliament, declared that the Jews had a harmful influence on economic life and especially on the peasants. After stormy debates parliament modified the article of the constitution which made citizenship conditional on Christianity, but stated that the naturalization of Jews would be carried out individually, by vote of both chambers of parliament. During the following 38 years 2,000 Jews in all were naturalized by this oppressive procedure; of those, 883 were voted in en bloc, having taken part in the 1877 war against Turkey.

This caused the great powers to refuse for a time to recognize independent Romania. However, they finally followed the example of Germany, which took the first step after having received pecuniary compensation from the Romanian government through the redemption of railway shares belonging to Silesian Junkers and members of the German imperial court – at six times their quoted value. The situation of the Jews continued to grow worse. Up to then they had been considered Romanian subjects but now they were declared to be foreigners. The Romanian government persuaded Austria and Germany to withdraw their citizenship from Jews living in Romania. The Jews were forbidden to be lawyers, teachers in public schools, chemists, stockbrokers, or to sell commodities which were a government monopoly (tobacco, salt, alcohol). They were not accepted as railway officials, in state hospitals, or as officers. Jewish pupils were later expelled from the public schools (1893). Meanwhile political intimidation continued. In 1885 some of the Jewish leaders and journalists who had participated in the struggle for emancipation, among them Moses Gaster and Elias Schwarzfeld, were expelled from Romania. Both major political parties in Romania – the Liberals and the Conservatives – were antisemitic, with only slight differences. In 1910 the first specifically antisemitic party, the National Democratic Party, was founded, under the leadership of the university professors A.C. Cuza and Nicolae Iorga.

Ḥasidism, Haskalah, Religious Reform

The majority of the Jews of Moldavia were Ḥasidim. Most of them followed the admor of Ruzhin, Rabbi Israel *Ruzhin Friedmann. Others, especially those of Russian origin, were Ḥasidim of the Chabad movement. In 1809, Rabbi *Abraham Joshua Heshel of Opatow settled in Jassy, having been invited by the local leader and moneylender Rabbi Michel ben Daniel; he left the town in 1813. The next year another Ḥasidic rabbi, Joseph David Ha-Kohen from Zwolew (1750–1828) settled in Jassy. In 1834, at the suggestion of the admor Rabbi Israel of Ruzhin, the Ḥasidic Rabbi Joseph Landau was invited to Jassy, where he became the town's rabbi until his death (1853). Owing to the large number of appeals to the rabbinical tribunal, another Ḥasidic rabbi, Aharon Moses *Taubes, was invited to Jassy and settled there; he died in Jassy in 1852. In 1852 the admor Menahem Nahum Friedman settled in Stefanesti and founded the Ḥasidic dynasty and "court" of Stefanesti. In 1866, the admor Isaac ben Shalom Friedman settled in Buhusi and founded the Ḥasidic dynasty and "court" of the same name, which became the central Ḥasidic court in Romania. Later, admorim from the same family founded other Ḥasidic dynasties and "courts" in Romania, such as Pascani, Adjud, and Focsani. Other admorim and Ḥasidic rabbis from the Gutman, Halpern, Derbaremdige, Landman, Zilberfarb, Wahrman, Teumim, Drimer, Frenkel, and Sulitzer-Moscovici families also settled in Romania in the 19th–first half of the 20th centuries.

The presence of maskilim, many of them having emigrated from Galicia, is also attested from the 1830s. Later they became more active and began to organize. One of them was Michel Alter Finkelstein of Jassy, fighter for cultural integration, modernization, and changing of Jewish East-European manner of dress. An important maskil from Bucharest was Judah ben Mordechai (Julius) *Barasch, a physicist and also a writer in the Hebrew, German, and Romanian languages. The first Jewish school functioning with a Haskalah movement curriculum was founded in Bucharest in 1851, in the Jewish community holding Austrian and Prussian citizenship, with Julius Barasch as its principal; in 1852 in Bucharest (in the community of "native" and Polish Jews) Naftaly K. Popper became a Hebrew teacher; in Jassy (1853) Benjamin Schwarzfeld became the principal. A "Society for Israelite Culture" was founded in 1862 in Bucharest, functioning for only one year. At the end of the 1850s and in the 1860s some maskil Hebrew writers were active in Moldavia: Matitiahu Simha Rabener (editor of the Hebrew review Zimrat Ha'aretz; Mordechai Streslisker (Marvad Sat); Hillel Kahane; Hirsh Mendel Pineles (Ha-Shalash) and others.

Some maskilim adopted the idea of also reforming religious worship. They advanced their proposals in the 1850s in Bucharest. After a conflict with *Malbim, the rabbi of Bucharest from 1858, they succeeded in influencing the Romanian government to expel him, maintaining that he was against progress (1864). However the majority of the Jews were Orthodox and remained loyal to him. In 1866, the reformists opened the "Choral Temple" in Bucharest; its first preacher was Antoine Levy. In the same period the Choral Temple "Beth Ya'aqov" was opened in Jassy, founded by the baron Jacob Neuschatz. In 1889 the Sephardi reform temple (Cahal Grande) was founded in Bucharest. However the trend was only of moderate reform: most of the reform rabbis were graduates of the Breslau seminary. This trend continued after World War i in the period of the first chief rabbi, Dr. Jacob Isaac *Niemirower.

At the end of the 19th century, the currents of radical Haskalah, Jewish socialism, and Jewish nationalism also appeared in Romania. Activists for Jewish nationalism were Karpel Lippe, a Hebrew writer; Samuel Pineles; Menahem-Mendel Braunstein (Mibashan), also a Hebrew writer, who later immigrated to Palestine; and Israel Teller. At the end of December–beginning of January 1882, a conference of Ishuv Eretz Israel organizations in Romania took place in the town of Focsani.

Internal Organization

Because of conflicts between Ḥasidim and maskilim, and also due to the integrationist trend, Jewish communities ceased to exist or became inactive at the beginning of the 1870s. A new form of organization became necessary. The first general Jewish representative body, after the dissolution of the Jews' Guild and the internal strife in the communities, was the Brotherhood of Zion society, the forerunner of the B'nai B'rith, created in 1872 under the influence of Benjamin Franklin Peixotto, the first American diplomat in Romania. He thus succeeded in shaping a cadre of leaders for the Jewish institutions, but did not see any solution for the masses but emigration. For that purpose he initiated a conference of world Jewish organizations which convened in Brussels (Oct. 29–30, 1872). Under the influence of assimilationist circles, emigration – considered to be unpatriotic – was rejected as a solution of the Jewish problem. The conference suggested to the Jews of Romania that they should fight to acquire political equality. After some years, however, a mass movement started for immigration to Ereẓ Israel.

The political organization founded in 1890, under the name The General Association of Native Israelites, tended to assimilation and strident patriotism, claiming citizenship only for those Jews who had served in the army. Under pressure by a group of Jewish socialists it extended its demands, claiming political rights for all Jews born in the country. In 1897 antisemitic students attacked members of the congress of the association and caused riots in Bucharest. The association ceased its activity, and an attempt at reorganization in 1903 failed. Under the pressure of increasing persecution accompanied by an internal economic crisis, in 1900 a mass emigration of Jews began; they traveled on foot as far as Hamburg

and from there went to the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. Up to World War i about 70,000 Jews left Romania. From 266,652 (4.5% of the total population) in 1899 the Jewish population declined to 239,967 (3.3%) in 1912. The 1907 revolt of the peasants, who at first vented their wrath on the Jews, also contributed to this tendency to emigrate; Jewish houses and shops were pillaged in many villages and cities of Moldavia, 2,280 families being affected. At the same time the persecution of the Jews increased. Their expulsion from the villages assumed such proportions that in some counties of Moldavia (Dorohoi, Jassy, Bacau) none remained except veterans of the 1877 war.

In 1910 the political organization called Uniunea Evreilor Pamanteni (The Union of Native Jews), uep, was founded to combat anti-Jewish measures and to achieve emancipation. Its first head was Adolphe Stern, former secretary of B.F. Peixotto. The uep tended toward integration in Romanian society. It operated by intercession with politicians, through petitions to parliament, and by printed propaganda against antisemitism. In a single case it was successful through direct intercession with King Carol i, who held up the passage of a bill discriminating against Jewish craftsmen (1912).

At the end of the 19th century there began the organization of Jewish communities, together with the creation of a Jewish school system as a result of the expulsion of Jews from the public schools (1893). The impoverishment of the Jewish population also created a need for social assistance which could not be provided by the various existing associations. To achieve the legalization of the communities, several congresses of their representatives were organized (April 1896 in Galati, 1902 in Jassy, and 1905 in Focsani), but they could not agree on the proper nature of a community. Some claimed that it should have an exclusively religious character; others wanted a lay organization dealing only with social welfare, hospitals, and schools. The different Jewish institutions (synagogues, religious associations, hospitals) endeavored to preserve their autonomy. There was a struggle for the tax on meat, too, each demanding this income for itself. At the same time assimilationist groups of students and intellectuals launched a drive against the community, which they defined as an isolationist instrument; in this move they were joined by antisemites who called the community a "state within a state," a Jewish conspiracy aiming to establish supremacy over the Romanians. Some proposed putting the communities under the Ministry of the Interior. An attempt in 1897 to introduce into parliament a bill on the Jewish communities, its purpose being defined by the proposer as "to defend the Jewish population against its ignorant religious fanatics," failed because of the opposition of the liberal government of the day. Later the principle of autonomy prevailed at Jewish community congresses, owing to the influence of the Zionists, especially Rabbis J. [Jacob] Nacht and J. Niemirover. Protests were lodged against the interference of the local authorities (mayors, chief commissioners of police, etc.) as well as against the oath more judaico. The principle of autonomy finally triumphed, owing to the young Zionists who penetrated the local communities, especially in the country.

The Struggle for Naturalization

Following World War i Romania enlarged her territory with the provinces of Bukovina, Bessarabia, and Transylvania. In each of these the Jews were already citizens, either of long standing like those who had lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or more recent like those from Bessarabia who achieved equality only in 1917. Indeed, the naturalization of the Jews of Romania was under way in accordance with the separate peace treaty concluded with Germany in the spring of 1918. In August 1918 the Romanian parliament passed an act concerning naturalization with many very complicated procedures, the latter being, moreover, sabotaged when they had to be applied by the local authorities. After the defeat of Germany, Prime Minister Ionel Bratianu realized that at the peace conference the naturalization of the Jews would be brought up again, so he tried to resolve the problem in good time by issuing a decree of naturalization on Dec. 28, 1918, proclaiming individual naturalization on the lines adopted after the Congress of Berlin. The decision had to be made by the law courts instead of parliament, on the basis of certain certificates which were very difficult to obtain. Though threatened by the government the Jewish leaders rejected the law, and, following their warning, the Jewish population abstained from putting in applications to the court. Their demand was for citizenship to be granted en bloc by one procedure – after a declaration by every candidate at his municipality that he was born in the country and held no foreign citizenship, the municipality would have to make out the certificate of citizenship.

Although the Romanian government continued to assert that the Jewish problem was an internal one, of national sovereignty, when the delegation led by Ionel Bratianu appeared at the peace conference in Paris (May 1919) Georges Clemenceau reminded him that after the Congress of Berlin Romania had not implemented the provisions concerning the political rights of the Jews. This time the great powers decided to include guarantees in the peace treaty. A Jewish delegation from Romania, composed of uep, Zionist and Jewish socialist representatives, arrived in Paris. They joined the Jewish delegations participating in the peace conference and claimed that the peace treaty should lay down the kind of obligatory laws concerning naturalization which Romania should pass. To prevent the conference's imposition of naturalization of Jews, Ionel Bratianu wired to Bucharest the text of a law (promulgated as a decree on May 22, 1919), according to which citizenship could now be obtained by a declaration of intent in writing to the law court, the latter being obliged to make out a certificate of confirmation which conferred the exercise of political rights. Those who did not possess foreign citizenship, those who satisfied the requirements of the enlistment law, and those who had served in the war were declared citizens, together with their families.

The peace conference did not, however, fail to include in the treaty the obligation of Romania to legislate the political emancipation of the Jews, which no other measure should abrogate. Bratianu resigned in protest, and only after an ultimatum sent by the peace conference did the new Romanian government led by Alexandru Vaida-Voevod sign the peace treaty. In Bukovina 40,000 Jews were threatened with remaining stateless, on the pretext of their being refugees who had only recently entered the country. A professor of the faculty of law at Jassy published a study in 1921 asserting that this naturalization was anti-constitutional. In 1923 there began a new struggle for the enactment of naturalization in the new constitution. Adolphe Stern, the president of the uep, was elected as a deputy to parliament and had to fight the law proposed by the Bratianu government which in effect canceled most of the naturalizations already acquired. After hard bargaining, not without renewed threats on the part of the government, the naturalization of the Jews was introduced into the constitution on March 29, 1923, thus also confirming the naturalization of those from the newly annexed territories who would otherwise have been threatened with expulsion. Nevertheless there was a great difference between the laws and the way in which they were implemented. In a regulation published two months after the passing of the constitution, many procedural restrictions on the Jews living in the new provinces were introduced. In practice, the civil service, the magistracy, university chairs, and officers' corps remained closed to Jews. uep became the Union of Romanian Jews (Uniunea Evreilor Români – uer) and Wilhelm *Filderman became its president.

Increasing Antisemitism

Growing social and political tensions in Romania in the 1920s and 1930s led to a constant increase in antisemitism and in the violence which accompanied it. Antisemitic excesses and demonstrations expressed both popular and student antisemitism and cruelty; they also served to divert social unrest to the Jews and show Western public opinion that intervention on their behalf was bound to miscarry. In December 1922 Christian students at the four universities proclaimed numerus clausus as their program; riots followed at the universities and against the Jewish population. As was later revealed in parliament, the student movements were organized and financed by the Ministry of the Interior. The leader of the student movements was Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, the secretary of the League of National Christian Defense which was headed by A.C. Cuza. The students formed terrorist groups on the Fascist model and committed several murders. In 1926 the Jewish student Falic was murdered at Chernovtsy. The assassin was acquitted. In 1927 Codreanu broke away from A.C. Cuza and founded the Archangel Michael League, which in 1929 became the Iron Guard, a paramilitary organization with an extreme antisemitic program.

On Dec. 9, 1927, the students of Codreanu's League carried out a pogrom in Oradea Mare (Transylvania), where they were holding a congress, for which they received a subsidy from the Ministry of the Interior: they were conveyed there in special trains put at their disposal free of charge by the government. Five synagogues were wrecked and the Torah scrolls burned in the public squares. After that the riots spread all over the country: in Cluj eight prayer houses were plundered, and on their way home the participants in the congress continued their excesses against the Jews in the cities of Huedin, Targu-Ocna, and Jassy. At the end of 1933 the liberal prime minister I.G. Duca, one of the opponents of King Carol's dictatorial tendencies, dissolved the Iron Guard and after three weeks was assassinated by its men. The guard was reformed under the slogan, "Everything for the Country." Codreanu's ties with the Nazis in Germany dated from that time. Carol ii later aided other political bodies with an antisemitic program in an attempt to curb the Iron Guard. From 1935 Al. Vaida-Voevod led the Romanian Front, and made use in his speeches of such slogans as the blood libel, the parasitism of the Jews, their defrauding the country, their international solidarity, and the Judaization of the press and national literature.

After Hitler came to power in Germany (1933), the large Romanian parties also adopted antisemitic programs. In 1935 the new National Christian Party announced that its program included "the Romanization of the staff of firms and the protection of national labor through preference for [our] ethnic element" – that is to say, the removal of Jews from private firms. Gheorghe Bratianu, leading a dissident liberal party, demanded "nationalization of the cities, proportional representation in public and private posts, in schools and universities, and revocation of Jewish citizenship." In July 1934 the "Law for Employment of Romanian Workers in [Private] Firms" was enacted, and in fact established a numerus clausus. The Ministry of Industry and Trade sent all firms special questionnaires which included a clause on "ethnic origin." In 1935 the board of Christian Lawyers' Association, founded that year by members of the bar from Ilfov (Bucharest) gave an impetus to antisemitic professional associations. The movement spread all over the country. Its program was the numerus nullus, i.e., revoking the licenses of Jewish lawyers who were already members of the bar and not accepting new registrations. At the universities students of the Iron Guard forcibly prevented their Jewish colleagues from attending lectures and the academic authorities supported the numerus clausus program, introducing entrance examinations; in 1935–36 this led to a perceptible decrease in the number of Jewish students, in certain faculties reaching the numerus nullus. In other professional corporations no Jews were elected to the board; they were prevented by force from participating in the elections. The great Romanian banks began to reject requests for credits from Jewish banks as well as from Jewish industrial and commercial firms, and the Jewish enterprises were burdened by heavy taxes, imposed with the aim of ruining them. Jewish firms were not granted import quotas for raw materials and goods. Meanwhile Germany financed a series of publications and newspapers aimed at fastening an alliance between the two countries and removing Jews from all branches of the professions and the economy. Many a Jewish merchant and industrialist was compelled to sell his firm at a loss when it became unprofitable under these oppressive measures.

Jewish Political Life

Despite the attempts of the older assimilationist and established Jewish groups, the inclination of Romanian Jewry – thanks largely to the trends among Jews of the newly annexed provinces and to the impact of Zionism – was toward a clear-cut Jewish stance in politics. In 1919 the Union of Romanian Jews, led by W. Filderman, recommended that the Jews vote for those Romanian parties which would be favorable to them. As none of the parties formulated an attitude toward the Jewish problem, the Union decided that the Jews should withhold their votes. In the 1920 elections the Union joined the Zionists to form a list which conducted its election campaign under the symbol of the menorah. As the elections were rigged, not a single candidate succeeded in entering parliament. The Union managed to send Adolphe Stern to parliament in 1922 through joining with the Peasants' Party. From 1923 the Zionists pressed for a policy of a national minority

status for the Jews. Their proposal was not accepted by the Union.

In 1926 the first National Jewish deputies and senators were elected from Bukovina, Transylvania, and Bessarabia. As a consequence of these successes the National Jewish Club, in which representatives of the Zionist parties also participated, was founded in Bucharest. Such clubs were established in all the cities of the Old Kingdom. In 1928 four National Jewish deputies were returned to parliament (two from Transylvania, one from Bukovina, and one from Bessarabia). They formed a Jewish parliamentary club. In 1930 the Jewish Party (Partidul Evreesc) was established in the Old Kingdom and on May 4, 1931, it held its general congress. Adolphe Stern joined this party. In the elections to parliament, a month later, the Jewish Party gained five seats, and in the 1932 elections it again obtained five. The situation of the Jewish parliamentarians was far from easy, because they were not only interrupted during their speeches but were often physically attacked by the deputies of the antisemitic parties. After 1933 there were no more Jewish members of parliament, except for J. Niemirower, who in his capacity of chief rabbi was officially a senator.

In 1913, the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Bucharest was founded as a modern association open to all the Ashkenazi Jews in the capital. Similar communities were founded in other towns of the Old Kingdom. In 1921 the Union of the Jewish Communities of the Old Kingdom was founded. Yet the undefined legal status of the Jewish communities in Romania tempted local authorities to meddle more and more in their affairs. A rabbi from Bucharest, Hayyim Schor, proclaimed himself chief rabbi. He demanded recognition of a separate Orthodox community everywhere in Romania, and was willing to be satisfied with the status of a private association for the Jewish community, thus abandoning the demand for its recognition as a public body. The Union and the Zionists opposed him. On May 19, 1921, the congress of Jews from the Old Kingdom met in Bucharest and elected Dr. Jacob Itzhak Niemirower as chief rabbi. In 1922 Jewish representatives demanded that two communities be recognized: the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi (and for Transylvania an Orthodox community too, as was traditional there). Only in 1928 did parliament pass the Law of Religions applying the provisions of the constitution, which recognized Judaism as one of the eight historical religions and the community as a juridical person in public law. On the basis of this law all the property of the religious institutions was transferred to the ownership of the communities. In January 1929 the minister of religions limited the application of this law, instructing that communities become juridical persons only after the approval of their statutes by the ministry; he also permitted communities of "diverse rites," and not only the Ashkenazi or Sephardi, and in Transylvania the Orthodox type, thus accepting the program of Rabbi Schor. Mayors and police commissioners thought that this gave them a legal cover to dissolve the elected boards of the communities and to appoint others to their liking, although the Ministry of Religions issued a circular prohibiting interference by local authorities. Only in 1932 did the communities gain general recognition as juridical persons in public law. In 1936, the unions of Jewish communities from all the provinces of Romania (also the Orthodox and Sephardi unions of communities) founded a representative organization for all the Jews of Romania: the Federation of the Unions of Jewish Communities of Greater Romania.

The certificates of Jewish schools were not recognized and their pupils had to pass state examinations, paying a fee (which was a charge on community budgets as they covered this fee for the poor) until 1925, when the certificates of Jewish schools were recognized if the language of tuition was Romanian. (Although Romania had signed the Minorities Treaty in Paris, it had never implemented it.) All Jewish schools were maintained by the communities; in Bessarabia, Tarbut maintained Hebrew schools. The Ministry of Education contributed only a token subvention. The Jews of annexed Transylvania used the Hungarian language in the Zionist press, even under Romanian rule, those of Bukovina German, while in Bessarabia the language of the Jewish press was Yiddish. Each province kept its traditions, autonomous structure, and cultural life, within the framework of the all-Romanian Federation of Jewish Communities. Culturally, the deeply rooted Jewish life of Bessarabia, with its Hebrew teachers, writers, and journalists, had a great influence, especially in the Old Kingdom.

In 1924 there were 796,056 Jews in enlarged Romania (5% of the total population): 230,000 in the Old Kingdom, 238,000 in Bessarabia, 128,056 in Bukovina, and 200,000 in Transylvania. In 1930 their number was 756,930 (4.2% of the total population): 263,192 in the Old Kingdom, 206,958 in Bessarabia, 92,988 in Bukovina, and 193,000 in Transylvania.

Social Structure

The Jewish population of Old Romania was for the most part an urban one. According to the 1899 census, 79.73% of the Jews lived in cities, forming 32.10% of the whole urban population of the country. Only 20.27% lived in villages, forming 1.1% of the whole rural population. This phenomenon was a result of the ban on Jews dwelling in a rural area. In the Moldavia province, where the Jews were most heavily concentrated, they formed a majority in several towns. In Falticeni they were 57% of the total population; in Dorohoi, 53.6%; in Botosani, 51.8%; in Jassy, 50.8%. In several smaller towns of that region their proportion was greater: in Gertsa, 66.2%; in Mihaileni, 65.6%; in Harlau, 59.6%; in Panciu, 52.4%. The Romanian population was 84.06% farmers, the Jews constituting the middle class. According to 1904 statistics, 21.1% of the total number of merchants were Jews, but in some cities of Moldavia they were a definite majority, such as in Jassy, 75.3%; Botosani, 75.2%; Dorohoi, 72.9%; Tecuci, 65.9%, etc. Jews represented 20.07% of all artisans, and in several branches they were a majority: 81.3% of engravers, 76% of tinsmiths; 75.9% of watchmakers; 74.6% of bookbinders; 64.9% of hatmakers; 64.3% of upholsterers, etc. Industry was not advanced in Romania before World War i. There were 625 industrial firms altogether, 19.5% of them owned by Jews. Jews were 5.3% of the officials and workers in these industrial enterprises. In several branches of industry there were Jewish factory owners: 52.8% of the glass industry; 32.4% of the wood and furniture industry; 32.4% of the clothing industry; 26.5% of the textile industry. Of the liberal professions only medicine was permitted to Jews. They constituted 38% of the total number of doctors. The occupational distribution of the Jews was as follows; agriculture, 2.5%; industry and crafts, 42.5%; trade and banking, 37.9%; liberal professions, 3.2%; various occupations, 13.7%.

There are no detailed statistics of the period between the two world wars. The provinces of Bessarabia, Transylvania, and Bukovina were annexed to Old Romania, increasing the Jewish population threefold. In every province their occupational structure was different as the result of historical development. In the two annexed provinces, Transylvania and Bukovina, the Jews had enjoyed civil rights from the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and were also represented in the liberal professions. On the other hand, their situation in Bessarabia in czarist times was worse than in Old Romania – a fact which also influenced their occupational structure. The few known figures refer to Greater Romania, with all the annexed territories. The only census taken in Bessarabia was in 1930, and according to those figures the occupational distribution of the Jewish population was as follows: industry and crafts, 24.8%; trade and banking, 51.5%; liberal professions, 2.9%; miscellaneous, 8.2%. It should be noted that Jewish bankers (such as the bank of "Marmorosh-Blank") invested money in the developing industry of Greater Romania. Some industrial enterprises, comprising several factories such as the sugar, metal, and textile works, etc., were owned by Jews. In the late 1930s, under the influence of Nazi Germany in Romania, the whole occupational structure of the Jews collapsed because of persecution on the economic level, which preceded political persecution and murder.

Cultural Life

Since most Romanian Jews were of Polish or Russian extraction, their religious and cultural traditions were similar to those of the Jews of Eastern Europe. Their rabbis and teachers, as well as their religious trends came from there. The spoken language of the Ashkenazi Jewish population was Yiddish; Judeo-Spanish was used by Sephardi Jews; Romanian became more widely used among them only in the second half of the 19th century, at the time when the first Romanian universities were established (Jassy in 1860 and Bucharest in 1864). In that period, too, the development of modern Romanian literature began. In 1857 Julius Barasch published the first newspaper in Romanian and French – Israelitul Român – whose function was to fight for equal civil rights for Romanian Jewry. In 1854 another two newspapers – Timpul (Di Tsayt; Bucharest) and Gazeta Româno-Evreească (Jassy) – appeared in Romanian and Yiddish, but all three papers ceased publication before the end of a year. Other such attempts met the same fate. Only in 1879 did the weekly Fraternitatea begin to appear, lasting until 1885, when it ceased publication upon the expulsion from Romania of its chief editors, Isaac Auerbach and Elias Schwarzfeld, for their stand against persecutions. This paper, which represented the assimilationist trend, was opposed to the incipient pre-Zionist movement which sponsored the establishment of the colonies of Zikhron Ya'akov and Rosh Pinnah in Ereẓ Israel. Then two papers in Romanian also appeared, supporting aliyah: Apărătorul, which was published in Bucharest from 1881 to 1884 with A.S. Gold as editor, and the weekly Stindardul, which was published in Focsani from 1882 to 1883. The Yiddish paper Ha-Yo'eẓ which appeared in Bucharest from 1874 to 1896 also supported aliyah. Eleazar Rokeah, an emissary from Erez Israel, published as special organs of the pre-Zionist movement the Hebrew paper Emek Yizre'el in Jassy (1882), and the Yiddish Di Hofnung in Piatra-Neamt (1882), and Der Emigrant in Galati (1882). Of the Jewish press in Romania the weekly Egalitatea, edited by Moses Schwarzfeld, survived for half a century. The weekly Curierul Israelit, edited by M. Schweig, began to appear in 1906 and continued up to 1948, becoming the mouthpiece of the Uniunea Evreilor Români (Union of Romanian Jews) after World War i. In the time of Herzl several Zionist papers appeared in Romania but did not last long. In 1913 the monthly Hatikva in Romanian was issued in Galati under the editorship of Leon Gold who gathered round him the outstanding Jewish authors in Romanian. Apart from original articles they also published translations of a high literary standard from modern Hebrew poetry and classical Yiddish literature. After World War i, from 1919 to 1923, there was published in Bucharest a daily newspaper in Romanian with a Zionist national tendency, Mântuirea, edited by A.L. Zissu, with Abraham Feller as chief editor. This paper stood for the idea of a Jewish political party and sharply attacked the tendencies of assimilationist circles. The weekly Renasterea Noastră (1923–42, 1944–48), edited by Samuel I. Stern, continued in this direction subsequently. The Zionist Federation published the weekly Ştiri din Lumea Evreească, edited by I. Ludo and later by Theoder Loewenstein. Between the two world wars the Zionist students' association published the monthly Hasmonaea. The number of Jewish journalists grew between the two wars, some of them even becoming chief editors of the great democratic papers. They included Constantin Graur, B. Branisteanu, Em. Fagure, G. Milian (Bucharest); A. Hefter (Jassy), and S. Schaferman-Pastoresu (Braila). After they had acquired a knowledge of Romanian, several Jewish scholars at the end of the 19th century became distinguished in the field of philology and folklore: Lazar Saineanu (Sainéan), compiler of the first practical dictionary of Romanian (1896); M. Gaster, who did research on early Romanian folklore; Hayman Tiktin, author of a scientific grammar of Romanian in two volumes (1893–94). This tradition continued down to later times. I.A. Candrea also compiled a Romanian dictionary (1931), as did J. Byk and Al. Graur after World War ii. A number of these scholars also devoted time to research on the history of Romanian Jewry. The pioneer in this field was J. Psantir, whose two Yiddish volumes contained Hebrew headings: Divrei ha-Yamim le-Arẓot Rumanye (Jassy, 1871) and Korot ha-Yehudim be-Rumanye (Lemberg, 1877). A society for research into the history of Romanian Jewry was established in 1886 and named for Julius Barasch. Among its active members were J. Psantir, M. Gaster, Lazar Saineanu, Isac David Bally, Elias Schwarzfeld, Moses Schwarzfeld, and others. In the three publications of their bulletin they published source material, memoirs, and bibliographical notes, as well as some combined research and monographs of Jewish communities. Although the society ceased activities after four years the scholars continued their researches. Part of their works appeared in the 19 volumes of the annual Anuarul pentru Israeliţi and in the weekly Egalitatea published by M. Schwarzfeld. Frequently, the articles are apologetic or polemic, their authors being interested in demonstrating the length of the Jewish presence in Romania as an element justifying Emancipation. Between the two world wars Meir A. Halevy published several monographs on the history of the Jews of Romania. The Templul Coral ("Choir Synagogue") then erected in Bucharest a museum, library, and archives for the history of Romanian Jewry. In some bulletins of these institutions and in the annual Sinai (1926–32), edited by Meir A. Halevy, there also appeared researches on the history of Romanian Jewry.

The Jewish theater also developed in Romania. The first Judeo-Spanish play written by Moshe Kofinu was presented in Giurgiu and published in Bucharest in 1862. The Yiddish theater was founded in Jassy in 1876, by Avrum Goldfaden, writer, producer and actor.

Holocaust Period

German penetration into the Romanian economy increased as the Nazis moved eastward with the Anschluss of Austria (1938), the annexation of Czechoslovakia (1939), and the occupation of western Poland at the outbreak of World War ii. A considerable number of Romanian politicians agreed to serve German interests in exchange for directorships in German-Romanian enterprises, and German trade agreements with Romania always demanded the removal of Jews in the branch involved. In this way, Jews were expelled from wood commerce and industry.

In the summer of 1940 Romania succumbed to German and Soviet pressure (after the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty) and transferred Bessarabia and part of Bukovina to the Soviet Union. Following the Hitler-Mussolini agreement, in September 1940 northern Transylvania was transferred to Hungary, and southern Dobrudja to Bulgaria. On June 30, 1940, 52 Jews were murdered in Dorohoi by a retreating Romanian regiment. Hoping to ensure its borders after the concessions, Romania, which had not been invaded by the German army, became a satellite of Nazi Germany. The first result of this move was the cancellation of Romanian citizenship for Jews, a measure taken by the government, which included members of the Iron Guard, under German pressure in August 1940. On September 6, when King Carol abdicated, Ion Antonescu, who had been minister of defense in the Goga government, came to power. His government included ministers from the ranks of the Iron Guard, and Romania was declared a National-Legionary State (the members of the Iron Guard styled themselves "legionnaires"). There followed a period of antisemitic terrorism that lasted for five months. It began with the confiscation of Jewish-owned shops, together with the posting of signs "Jewish shop" and picketing by the green-shirted "legionary police." The reign of terror reached its height when Jewish industrial and commercial enterprises were handed over to the members of the "Legion" under pressure from the Iron Guard. The owners of the enterprises were arrested and tortured by the "legionary police" until they agreed to sign certificates of transfer. Bands of "legionnaires" entered Jewish homes and "confiscated" any sums of money they found. This resulted in a mortal blow to the Romanian economy and chaos that frightened even the German diplomats. Antonescu tried on several occasions to arrest the wave of terrorism, during which a number of Romanian statesmen opposed to the Iron Guard were killed.

On Jan. 21, 1941, the Iron Guard revolted against Antonescu and attempted to seize power and carry out its antisemitic

program in full. While part of the "Legion" was fighting the Romanian army for control of government offices and strategic points in the city, the rest carried out a pogrom on Bucharest Jews, aided by local hooligans. Jewish homes were looted, shops burned, and many synagogues desecrated, including two that were razed to the ground (the Great Sephardi Synagogue and the old bet ha-midrash). Some of the leaders of the Bucharest community were imprisoned in the community council building, worshipers were ejected from synagogues, the Palestine Office of the Zionist Organization was attacked and its director murdered, and wealthy Bucharest Jews were arrested, according to a previously prepared list. Those arrested were taken to centers of the Iron Guard movement: some were then taken into the forests near Bucharest and shot; others were murdered and their bodies hung on meat hooks in the municipal slaughterhouse, bearing the legend "kosher meat." The pogrom claimed at least 125 Jewish lives. There were no acts of violence in the provinces because the army was in firm control and fully supported Antonescu. This was also Hitler's reason for supporting Antonescu. Romania held an important role in the war contemplated against the Soviet Union, not only as a supply and jumping-off base, but as an active partner in the war.

A period of relative calm followed the Bucharest pogrom and permitted Romanian Jews to gather strength after the shock of the violence. Antonescu, however, was thereafter under constant German pressure, for when their revolt failed, members of the Iron Guard found refuge in Germany, where they constituted a permanent threat to his position, as he now lacked his own party to serve as a counterbalance. In January 1941 Manfred von Killinger, a veteran Nazi known for his antisemitic activities, was appointed German ambassador to Romania. In April he was joined by Gustav Richter, an adviser on Jewish affairs who was attached to Adolf Eichmann's department. Richter's special task was to bring Romanian anti-Jewish legislation into line with its counterpart in Germany.

During the War

On June 22, 1941, when war broke out with the Soviet Union, the Romanian and German armies were scattered along the banks of the Prut River in order to penetrate into Bukovina and Bessarabia. Romania, under the government of Marshal Antonescu, was an ally of Germany and fought with the Nazi army in the war against the Soviet Union. The declared purpose of Romania's involvement in the war was to retrieve the Romanian territories (Bukovina and Bessarabia). One week after the war started, on June 29 and 30, 1941, the large Jewish community in Jassy was shattered by a pogrom unprecedented in all of Europe. Over 14,000 Jews lost their lives during the massacres in the city, massacres initiated and supervised by the army and the local police. In addition, many perished in the subhuman conditions of the death trains that transported Jews who had been arrested.

The Jewish population of Bessarabia (approximately 200,000) and Bukovina (93,000) was considered hostile, foreign, and destined for "elimination" in the program of "cleansing the land" conceived by Antonescu. This intensely antisemitic propaganda campaign, conducted on all levels of the state hierarchy and especially in the army, portrayed this population – and, by extension, all Jews – as the embodiment of the "Bolshevik danger." The Jews in the reacquired territories were held responsible for mistreating, humiliating, and even killing many Romanian soldiers during the retreat in the summer of 1940.

A completely different fate, though no better, befell the Jews in Transylvania (approximately 200,000, including those in Banat). In northern Transylvania, under Hungarian rule, the Jews shared the fate of Hungary's Jews during the war, most of them being deported and exterminated at Auschwitz. Of the 200,000 Transylvanian Jews, 160,000 (mostly Orthodox) were in the northern part. Until close to the end of the war, the fate of the Jews in southern Transylvania, which was still part of Romania, was similar to that in the other Romanian regions – Moldavia and Wallachia, known as the Regat.

The armies' combined advance through Bessarabia, Bukovina, and the Dorohoi district was accompanied by massacres of the local Jewish population. At the beginning of August 1941 the Romanians began to send deportees from Bukovina and Bessarabia over the Dniester River into a German-occupied area of the U.S.S.R. (later to be known as Transnistria). The Germans refused to accept the deportees, shooting some and returning the rest. Some of these Jews drowned in the river and others were shot by the Romanian gendarmerie on the western bank; of the 25,000 persons who crossed the Dniester near Sampol, only 16,500 were returned by the Germans. Some of these survivors were killed by the Romanians, and some died of weakness and starvation on the way to camps in Bukovina and Bessarabia. Half of the 320,000 Jews living in Bessarabia, Bukovina, and the Dorohoi district (which was in Old Romania) were murdered during the first few months of Romania's involvement in the war, i.e., up to Sept. 1, 1941.

After this period the Jews were concentrated in ghettos (if they lived in cities), in special camps (if they lived in the countryside, or townlets such as Secureni, Yedintsy, Vertyuzhani, etc.). German killing squads or Romanian gendarmes, copying the Germans, habitually entered the ghettos and camps, removing Jews and murdering them. Jews living in villages and townlets in Old Romania (Moldavia, Wallachia, and southern Transylvania) were concentrated into the nearest large town. The Jews of northern Moldavia, which bordered on the battle area, were sent to the west of Romania: men under 60 were sent to the Targu-Jiu camp and the women, children, and aged were sent to towns where the local Jewish population was ordered to care for the deportees (who owned nothing more than the clothing on their backs). The homes and property of these deportees were looted by the local population immediately after they were deported.

On Sept. 16, 1941, those in camps in Bessarabia began to be deported to the region between the Dniester and the Bug rivers called Transnistria, from which the Germans had withdrawn, handing control over to the Romanians under the Tighina agreement (Aug. 30, 1941). The deportations included 118,847 Jews from Bessarabia, Bukovina, and the Dorohoi district. At the intervention of the Union of Jewish Communities in Romania, an order was given to stop the deportations on October 14; they continued however until November 15, leaving all the Jews of Bessarabia and Bukovina (with the exception of 20,000 from Chernovtsy) and 2,316 of the 14,847 Jews from the Dorohoi district concentrated in Transnistria. In two months of deportations 22,000 Jews died: some because they could walk no further, some from disease, but the majority were murdered by the gendarmerie that accompanied them on their journey. All money and valuables were confiscated by representatives of the Romanian National Bank. The Jews then remaining in Old Romania and in southern Transylvania were compelled into forced labor and were subjected to various special taxes. The prohibition against Jews working in certain professions and the "Rumanization of the economy" continued and caused the worsening of the economic situation of the Jewish population.

According to the statistical table on the potential victims of the "Final Solution" introduced at the Wannsee Conference, 342,000 Romanian Jews were destined for this end. The German embassy in Bucharest conducted an intensive propaganda campaign through its journal, Bukarester Tageblatt, which announced "an overall European solution to the Jewish problem" and the deportation of Jews from Romania. On July 22, 1942, Richter obtained Vice Premier Mihai Antonescu's agreement to begin the deportation of Jews to the Belzec extermination camp in September. From November 1942, however, it was obvious that the Romanian authorities were delaying this plan. Eventually they abandoned it entirely, owing to pressure both from Allied forces and the Romanian opposition, which was summoned especially by W. *Filderman, the most respected leader of the Romanian Jews. Pressure was also exerted by diplomats from neutral countries, as well as by the papal nuncio, Andreas Cassulo. Nevertheless, Eichmann's Bucharest office, working through the local authorities, succeeded in contriving the deportation of 7,000 Jews from Chernovtsy and Dorohoi and groups from other parts of Romania to Transnistria because they were "suspected of Communism" (they were of Bessarabian origin and had asked to return to the Soviet Union in 1940), had "broken forced-labor laws," etc.

At the beginning of December 1942 the Romanian government informed the Jewish leadership of a change in its policy toward Jews. Defeat at Stalingrad (where the Romanians had lost 18 divisions) was already anticipated. In 1942–43 the Romanian government began tentatively to consider signing a separate peace treaty with the Allies. Although a plan for large-scale emigration failed because of German opposition and lack of facilities, both small and large boats left Romania carrying "illegal" immigrants to Palestine, some of whom were refugees from Bukovina, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. Between 1939 and August 1944 (when Romania withdrew from the war) 13 boats left Romania, carrying 13,000 refugees, and even this limited activity was about to cease, as a result of German pressure exerted through diplomatic missions in Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Two of the boats sank: the Struma (on Feb. 23, 1944 with 769 passengers) and the Mefkure (on Aug. 5, 1944 with 394 passengers).

Despite German efforts, the Romanian government refused to deport its Jews to the "east." At the beginning of 1943, however, there was a return to the traditional economic pressures against the Jews in order to reduce the Jewish population. This was achieved by forbidding Jews to work in the civilian economy and through the most severe measure of all, forced labor (from which the wealthy managed to obtain an exemption by paying a considerable sum). In addition, various taxes were imposed on the Jewish population in the form of cash, clothing, shoes, or hospital equipment. These measures, particularly the taxes to be remitted in cash – of which the largest was a levy of 4 billion lei (about $27,000,000) imposed in March 1943 – severely pressed Romanian Jewry. The tax collection was made by the "Jewish Center." W. Filderman, chairman of the Council of the Union of Jewish Communities, who opposed the tax and proved that it could never be paid, was deported to Transnistria for two months.

At the end of 1943, as the Red Army drew nearer to Romania, the local Jewish leadership succeeded in obtaining the gradual return of those deported to Transnistria. The Germans tried several times to stop the return and even succeeded in bringing about the arrest of the leadership of the clandestine Zionist pioneering movements in January and February 1944; however, these leaders were released through the intervention of the International Red Cross and the Swiss ambassador in Bucharest, who contended that they were indispensable for organizing the emigration of those returning from Transnistria and refugees who had found temporary shelter in Romania. In March 1944 contacts were made in Ankara between Ira Hirschmann, representative of the U.S. War Refugee Board, and the Romanian ambassador, A. Cretzianu, at which Hirschmann demanded the return of all those deported to Transnistria and the cessation of the persecution of Jews. At the time, the Red Army was defeating the Germans in Transnistria, and there was a danger that the retreating Germans might slaughter the remaining Jews. Salvation came at the last moment, when Antonescu warned the Germans to avoid killing Jews while retreating. Concurrently, negotiations over Romania's withdrawal from the war were being held in Cairo and Stockholm, and thus Antonescu was eager to show goodwill toward the Jews for the sake of his own future. In the spring Soviet forces also conquered part of Old Romania (Moldavia), and they made an all-out attack on August 20. On August 23 King Michael arrested Antonescu and his chief ministers and declared a cease-fire. The Germans could no longer control Romania, for they were dependent on the support of the Romanian army, which had been withdrawn. Eichmann, who had been sent to western Romania to organize the liquidation of Jews in the region, did not reach Romania.

The question of the number of Romanian Jews and of those in the territories under Romania's control who were murdered during the Holocaust is a complex issue, requiring more research. An International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania concluded in 2004 that between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews were murdered or died during the Holocaust in Romania and the territories under its control. The Israeli historian Jean Ancel, author of essential studies on the topic, disagreed with this evaluation, and based on his extensive research, estimated that the number is considerably higher, at least 420,000 Jewish victims. These statistics of the Report include more than 45,000 Jews – probably closer to 60,000 – who were killed in Bessarabia and Bukovina by Romanian and German troops in 1941. At least 105,000 – other findings state as many as 120,000 – of the deported Romanian Jews died as a result of the expulsions to Transnistria. At least 130,000 indigenous Jews – or according to other statistics as many as 180,000 – were liquidated in Transnistria (especially in Odessa and the districts of Golta and Berezovka). Sometimes Romanian officials worked with German help, but more often they required no outside guidance. Nazi Germany was also responsible for killing Romanian Jews in Bessarabia, Bukovina, and mass killings in Ukraine and later in Transnistria. The Romanian authorities were accomplices in varying degrees to these murders. The documents do record numerous instances of Romanians – both civilian and military – rescuing Jews. But these initiatives were isolated cases, and in the final analysis were exceptions to the general rule. Of the 150,000 Jews of Northern Transylvania, 135,000 were killed in Nazi concentration camps after being deported by the Hungarian gendarmerie; no Romanian authority was involved in this operation.

Jewish Resistance

preparatory steps

As soon as Hitler assumed power in Germany (1933), Jewish leaders in Bucharest decided not to remain passive. In November the congress of the Jewish Party in Romania decided to join the anti-Nazi boycott movement, disregarding the protest raised by the Romanian press and antisemitic groups, but the Union of the Romanian Jews (uer) did not participate in the campaign. The necessity for a united political, as well as economic, struggle soon became obvious. On Jan. 29, 1936, the Central Council of Jews in Romania, composed of representatives of both Jewish trends – the uer and the Jewish Party – was established for "the defense of all Jewish rights and liberties against the organizations and newspapers that openly proclaimed the introduction of the racial regime." At the end of the year the Council succeeded in averting a bill proposed in the parliament by the antisemitic circles suggesting that citizenship be revoked from the Jews. During the same period the Romanian government attempted to suppress the state subvention for Jewish religious needs, as well as the exemption from taxes accorded to Jewish community institutions. The Council could not obtain the maintenance of the subvention, and it was finally reduced to one-sixth of its allotment.

When Goga's antisemitic government came to power, the Council began a struggle against it, gaining support and attention outside Romania. Filderman, president of the Council, left at once for Paris, where he mobilized the world Jewish organizations with headquarters in France and England and informed local political circles and the League of Nations of events in Romania. At the same time the Jews in Romania began an expanded economic boycott, refraining from commercial transactions, withdrawing their deposits from the banks, and delaying tax payments. The outcome was "large-scale paralysis of the economic life," as the German minister of foreign affairs stated in his circular of March 9, 1938. Thus the dismissal of the Goga government after only 40 days was motivated not only by external pressure, but by the effects of the Jewish economic boycott.

the union of the jewish communities

Following the downfall of the Goga government, King Carol's royal dictatorship abolished all the political parties in Romania, including the Jewish Party and the Union of Romanian Jews. The single body of the Jews in Romania was the Union of the Jewish Communities, whose board was composed of the leaders of both Jewish currents. The Union assumed the task of fighting against the increasing number of anti-Jewish measures promulgated by the Romanian authorities under pressure from local antisemitic circles and the German government. In some cases its interventions were successful; for example, it achieved the nullification of the prohibition against collecting contributions to Zionist funds, and, as a result of its protests, the restrictions against the Jewish physicians and the Jewish industrial schools were abrogated. In the summer of 1940, after Romania ceded Bukovina and Bessarabia to the Soviet Union, the Romanian police tried to eject Jewish refugees from those two provinces. The Union's board succeeded in moving the Ministry of the Interior to annul the measure. When the interdiction of ritual slaughter was decreed, the board obtained an authorization for ritual slaughtering of poultry. The cancellation of the prohibition against Jews peddling in certain cities was also achieved. When the antisemitic newspapers incited against the leaders of the Union, the police began to search their homes.

Ion Antonescu's government, with the participation of the Iron Guard, closed several synagogues (those with less than 400 worshipers in cities and 200 in villages) and transferred the property to Christian churches. The disposition was canceled after three days, however, as a result of an audience between the Union's president, Filderman, and Antonescu; simultaneously the minister of religion, who ordered the measure, was forced to resign. These acts took place during the first period of the new regime, dominated by the Iron Guard, when trespasses were committed against the Jews daily. The Union's board constantly informed Antonescu and the diverse ministries of these acts, pointing out their illegality and arbitrariness. The argument that constantly recurred in the memoranda presented by the Union's board was that the confiscation of Jewish shops and industrial companies caused the disorganization of the country's economic life. Antonescu used the information provided by the board to support his stand against the trespasses. The Iron Guard responded with a terror campaign against the Jewish leaders; some were arrested and tortured by the "legionary police," others were murdered during the revolt against Antonescu.

The Zionist leadership negotiated with Antonescu about organizing the emigration of Romanian Jews (see Zionism in Romania). The minister of finance proposed that the emigration be financed by Romanian assets, which had been frozen in the United States, because Romania had joined the Axis. The transaction had to be accomplished through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (jdc), whose representative in Romania was also the president of the Union. In every city the Jewish community had to register those who wanted to emigrate and were able to pay the amount demanded by the government. The Union's board utilized this agreement as a leverage for achieving certain concessions, especially after Romania joined Germany in the war against the Soviet Union (June 1941). For example, when the evacuation of Jews from villages and towns began, the Union secured the government's agreement not to send these Jews to concentration camps (as had previously been ordered), but rather to lodge them in the big cities, where they were to be cared for by the local Jewish communities. Another achievement (on Aug. 14, 1941) was the liberation of the rabbis, leaders of communities, and teachers employed in Jewish schools, who had been arrested after the outbreak of war with the U.S.S.R., from the Targu-Jiu concentration camp. The Union raised the argument that the plans concerning the release of the Romanian properties in the United States were dependent upon those local leaders. On Aug. 2, 1941, the board achieved the cancellation of the order that Jews wear the yellow badge and other measures, including the creation of ghettos in the cities and mobilizing women for forced labor, in which Jewish men were already engaged. Richter insisted on the reintroduction of repressive measures, and on September 3 the order to wear the yellow badge was re-endorsed. This time, in addition to intervention by the Union's leaders, Chief Rabbi Alexander Safran appealed to the head of the Christian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Nicodem, and on September 8 Antonescu annulled the order. Nevertheless, the yellow badge was maintained in a number of Moldavian cities, as well as in Chernovtsy (Cernauti), the capital of Bukovina, where the German influence was strong.

During this period, when Romania suffered great losses on the front and Germany called for an increase in Romanian participation, the Union's board employed the argument that Romania, being an ally of the Third Reich, and thus a sovereign state, did not have to accept anti-Jewish laws that were applied only to German satellite countries. Hungary and Italy, allies that did not apply such measures at that time, were presented as examples. It is known from von Killinger's reports that Antonescu raised these objections in his dealings with the Nazi government.

After Jews began to be deported from Bessarabia and Bukovina to Transnistria, the board delegated Chief Rabbi Safran to intervene with the queen mother, Patriarch Nicodem, and the archbishop of Bukovina and induce them to intercede with Antonescu to halt the deportations and permit aid to those who had already been transported over the Dniester. Until a decision could be achieved through their intervention, and against the opposition of von Killinger, the 17,000 Jews who remained in Chernovtsy were not deported. However, the steps taken, with permission to provide assistance to those who had already been deported to Transnistria were sabotaged by difficulties raised by lower authorities. The Union also endeavored to gain the support of the U.S. ambassador, who interceded with the Romanian government. Nevertheless, when the ambassadors of Brazil, Switzerland, and Portugal proposed to the U.S. ambassador the initiation of an international protest against the Romanian anti-Jewish excesses, the latter reported to Washington that he did not possess enough exact information. Later on, however, in another report (Nov. 4, 1941), he described in detail the massacres committed in Bessarabia and in Bukovina and the cruelties that were committed during the deportations to Transnistria. The description was based on the information received from the Union. (It was only at the end of 1941 that Romania broke off relations with the United States, under German pressure.) The antisemitic press – financed and inspired by the German embassy – including the German-language Bukarester Tageblatt, then intensified the incitement against the Jewish leaders and their constant interventions against anti-Jewish measures.

At the end of 1941 the Union of the Communities was dissolved under pressure from Richter, and the Centrala evreilor (Central Board of the Jews) was set up at his suggestion in January 1942. Its leaders were appointed by Radu Lecca, who was responsible for Jewish affairs in the Romanian government, but they were actually subordinate to Richter. Nearly all of the new leaders were unknown to the Jewish public, with the exception of A. Willman, who shortly before his appointment had published a number of pamphlets proposing a kind of neo-territorialist plan to be accomplished with the aid of Nazi Germany. From the outset, the Jewish population expressed its distrust of the new organ. The former leaders of the Jewish institutions formed a clandestine Jewish Council with Chief Rabbi Alexander Safran as its president. The Council leaders handed memoranda personally to, or interceded individually with, Antonescu or his ministers, who went on to deal with them because the government did not trust the Central Board either.

In the spring of 1942 changes were made in the framework of the Central Board. Willman and some of his followers were removed and replaced by others appointed from among the leadership of the Zionist movement and the Union of the Romanian Jews (uer). Thus the Central Board was prevented from taking any harmful initiatives against the Jewish population. In the summer the Zionist Organization was dissolved at the request of the Germans, and this was a sign that the Germans disagreed with the Romanian policy, which aided Jewish emigration. In order to avoid the Nazi plan of deportation to Belzec, the queen mother was convinced by Safran to intercede with Ion Antonescu. Others were also requested to intercede on behalf of the Jews, such as the papal nuncio, Andreas Cassulo; the Swiss ambassador, René de Weck; and even Antonescu's personal physician. The nuncio's efforts were supported by the Swedish and Turkish ambassadors, and by the delegates of the International Red Cross. At the same time the Jewish Council achieved the annulment of the order to deport to Transnistria 12,000 Jews accused of having committed crimes or breaches of discipline.

the struggle to repatriate deported jews

After overcoming the danger of deportation to the extermination camps in Poland, the Jewish leaders began to request the return of those who had survived the deportations to Transnistria. The dealings with the Romanian government began in November 1942 over the question of a ransom to be paid by Zionist groups outside Romania. Eichmann's unceasing interventions prevented a clear-cut decision until, on April 23, Antonescu – under German pressure – issued the order that not a single deportee should return. The Jewish leaders then initiated the struggle for a "step by step" resolution to the problem, asserting that a series of categories had been deported arbitrarily, without previous investigation. The Romanian government ordered a detailed registration of categories. At the beginning of 1943 an official commission was appointed to classify the deportees. In July Antonescu authorized the return of certain cases (aged persons, widows, World War i invalids, former officers of the Romanian army, etc.). Implementation of the order, however, encountered difficulties raised by the governor of Transnistria, who was under the influence of German advisers. Only at the beginning of December did the deportees begin to return, according to categories: yet it was a struggle against time, as meanwhile the front had reached Transnistria.

From the beginning of 1944 the clandestine Zionist Executive dealt separately with Antonescu on the question of emigration. Its efforts had an influence on the general situation, as the Romanian authorities made the return of the deportees conditional upon their immediate emigration.

the committee of assistance

Whole strata of Romanian Jewry were pauperized because of the anti-Jewish economic measures. The former committee of the jdc continued its activity clandestinely under the control of the Union of the Jewish Communities and afterward of the Jewish Council. In October 1943 it was officially recognized within the framework of the "Jewish Central Board" as the Autonomous Committee of Assistance. Assistance was thus provided to the Jews evacuated from towns and villages who could not be maintained by the local communities. The most important accomplishment, however, was the aid in the form of money, medicines, utensils for craftsmen, coal, oil heaters, window glass, clothing, etc. transmitted to Transnistria. In order to cover the budget, money and clothing were collected in the regions not affected by deportations. These means, however, were far from adequate. Only owing to the important amounts acquired from the jdc, the Jewish Agency, and other world Jewish organizations was the Autonomous Committee of Assistance able to continue its activity.

In addition to all the official difficulties raised by the Romanian central authorities (the compulsory transfer of money through the National Bank at an unfavorable exchange rate, and the obligation of paying customs for the objects sent), the transports were frequently plundered on the way or confiscated by the local authorities in Transnistria. The assistance, however, was in itself an element of resistance. The mere fact that the deportees knew that they had not been abandoned, at least by their fellow Jews, contributed to the maintenance of their morale. The aid in its various forms saved thousands of lives. Through clandestine correspondence, carried by non-Jewish messengers, reports were received concerning the situation of the refugees. This means of providing information was insufficient, however, and the Autonomous Committee of Assistance therefore wanted to review the situation directly on the spot.

As early as January 1942 authorization was obtained from the Ministry of the Interior for a delegation of the committee to go to Transnistria; nevertheless, due to the opposition of the governor of Transnistria, the representatives could not get there until Dec. 31, 1942. The governor received them in audience at Odessa and tried to intimidate them by means of threat, telling them that their behavior would determine whether or not they would return to Romania. He gave them permission to visit only three of the camps in which deported Jews were concentrated. The delegates of the committee responded by requesting a regional conference with representatives of all the camps. During the railway journey to Mogilev, the delegates visited the Zhmerinka camp and received information about the surrounding camps. Upon their arrival at Mogilev (Jan. 8–9, 1943), a regional conference took place with the participation of about 70 delegates. Before the conference opened, the prefect and the commander of the gendarmes warned the delegates not to complain about their situation, adding the threat that complaints might endanger the further receipt of aid. However, the delegates clandestinely submitted a written report concerning the real situation to the representatives of the committee. From Mogilev the delegation left for Balta, where it did not receive a license for a regional conference, but each delegate from the ghettos or camps of the area was authorized to report individually about the situation. Back in Bucharest, after this two-week tour in Transnistria, the delegates presented their report, which was also sent to Jewish organizations abroad.

In December 1943 representatives of the Autonomous Committee of Assistance again left for Transnistria to organize the return of the deportees, taking with them wagons of clothing. One group of representatives left for the north, to Mogilev and its surroundings; another for the south, to Tiraspol. The central administration of Transnistria did not display any goodwill, but the local authorities provided wagons for the transport. On Feb. 15, 1944, two delegations started out to aid the return of the orphans. On March 17, 1944, another two delegations set out for Transnistria, but they could not reach their destination as the area had already become a front area, the northern part occupied by the Red Army.

The delegates installed themselves in Tighina (Bessarabia), whence they made contact with Tiraspol on the eastern bank of the Dniester River and succeeded in saving almost all those concentrated there. The Germans still had the time to organize a last massacre, murdering 1,000 Jews who were in detention in the Tiraspol jail. When Transnistria and Bessarabia were reconquered by the Soviets, the deportees who followed the armies were the last to succeed in returning to Romania, for afterward, at the end of June 1944, the Soviets closed the frontier. It was reopened only in May 1945 for a last group of 7,000 deportees, after prolonged dealings in Bucharest between the Jewish leaders and General Vinogradov, the head of the Soviet armistice commission.

[Theodor Lavi /

Lucian-Zeev Herscovici and

Leon Volovici (2nd ed.)]

The Early Post-Holocaust Years

When Romania broke with Nazi Germany and entered the war on the side of the Allies (Aug. 23, 1944), Romanian Jewry had been considerably decreased as a result of the Holocaust and it was about to decrease even further through emigration. The struggle for Jewish independence in Palestine influenced Romanian Jews, and the goal of aliyah, which had been deep-seated in the community in the past, became a powerful force. The decisive factor in the life of Romanian Jews after World War ii, however, was the political regime in Romania, which exercised its authority over the community life of Romanian Jewry, determined the structure of its organization, and limited its aspirations. Government control was prevalent during the first period – from Aug. 23, 1944, until the abolition of the monarchy (Dec. 30, 1947) – and even more so in succeeding periods, through all the internal changes that altered the regime in Romania.

The Communist Period

For a few years after the abolition of the monarchy, Romania closely followed the line dictated from Moscow. This situation continued until the end of the 1950s, when the first signs of an independent Romanian policy began to appear. Until 1965 the pattern of this policy gradually solidified, and from then, with the personal changes after the death of the general secretary Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Romania entered with a more independent policy. All the changes in government and policy also left their on Jewish community life. The situation of Romanian Jewry always had a special character. Even in the days of complete dependence on Moscow, when the tools and institutions of national Jewish identity were destroyed and expression of Jewish aspirations was repressed, Romanian Jewry was not compelled to be as alienated from its national and religious identity as were the Jews of the Soviet Union. At the end of the 1960s the Jewish community in Romania found itself in an intermediate position. Its activities displayed indications of free community life as well as the limitations imposed by the government. Variations in the government's policy also reflected the connection between the status of Romanian Jewry and the official attitude of Romania toward Israel. This mutual influence was expressed in all the areas of Jewish life and especially through the central issue of the right to leave the country and settle in Israel.

population

The characterizing factor of the demography of Romanian Jewry during this period was the constant decrease in the community's size. The only source on the size of the Romanian Jewish community at the end of World War ii is a registration (the results of which were published in 1947) that was carried out on the initiative of the World Jewish Congress. According to the registration, there were 428,312 Jews in Romania at the time. This number was the balance after the losses caused by the Holocaust, the annexation of Bessarabia and North Bukovina by the U.S.S.R., and the migration to Palestine during the war. The professional composition of the community at that time (1945) was as follows: 49,000 artisans, 35,000 employees, 34,000 merchants and industrialists, and 9,500 in the free professions. Ten years later the Jewish population had been reduced to about a third. According to the census taken on Feb. 21, 1956, there were 144,236 Jews in Romania, of whom 34,263 spoke Yiddish. But these figures are probably lower than the true numbers, as it is known that in the above-mentioned census members of minority groups were not allowed to identify freely with their national group. The drastic reduction in the size of the Romanian Jewish community was largely a result of mass emigration, especially during the years 1944–47. The means of emigration were dictated by the conditions of the war and its aftermath. At the end of the war thousands of Jews, terrified by the Holocaust, fled Romania through its western border, which was still open, and reached the West by their own means. In addition to this spontaneous migration, 14 refugee boats left Romanian ports carrying 24,000 "illegal" immigrants to Palestine. A portion of Romanian Jewry, including thousands who left Romania of their own volition immediately after the war, was also among those who boarded refugee boats to Palestine in other European ports. From the establishment of the State of Israel (1948) until the end of the 1960s, over 200,000 Romanian Jews settled in the new state. In addition, it should be noted that not all the Jews who emigrated from Romania went to Israel; about 80,000 others were scattered throughout other countries. At the end of the 1960s the Romanian Jewish community numbered no more than 100,000.

the liquidation of jewish organizations

On Aug. 23, 1944, when Romania joined the Allies, the Zionist movement came up from underground to operate legally and openly through all its currents and institutions. The same was true of the Jewish Party, which was reorganized as the representative body of Romanian Jewry and headed by the Zionist leader A.L. Zissu. In 1945 an extension of the Communist Party was established among the Jewish population under the name the Jewish Democratic Committee (Comitetul Democrat Evreesc). For about four years the Zionist movement maintained regular activities in the fields of organization, education, training farms, and Zionist funds, as well as through international ties. In 1948 there were 100,000 members in the movement and 4,000 in He-Halutz, with 95 branches and 12 training farms. The Zionist Organization in Romania participated in the world Zionist Congress in Basle in 1946. A general representation of Romanian Jewry (including delegates from the Jewish Democratic Committee) was present at the Montreux conference (1948) of the World Jewish Congress. These were the last regular contacts of Romanian Jewry with Jewish organizations abroad; afterward the ties were severed for an extended period.

The more the Communist Party strengthened its power, the more Zionist activity in Romania turned from "permitted" to "tolerated," until it was finally outlawed completely. The instrument of this process was the Jewish Democratic Committee, which never succeeded in striking roots among the Jewish population, in spite of the support it received from the authorities. The cue to abolish Zionist activities was given in the decision of the central committee of the Communist Party on June 10–11, 1948, in the midst of Israel's War of Independence. The decision stated that "the party must take a standon every question concerning the Jews of Romania and fight vigorously against reactionary nationalist Jewish currents." As early as the summer of 1948 the liquidation of Zionist training farms was begun, and the process was completed in the spring of 1949. In November 1948 the activities of the Zionist funds were forbidden. On Nov. 29, 1948, a violent attack on the branch of the Zionist Organization in Bucharest was organized by the Jewish Communists. On Dec. 12, 1948, the party decision was again publicized, including a clear denunciation of Zionism, "which, in all its manifestations, is a reactionary nationalist movement of the Jewish bourgeoisie, supported by American imperialism, that attempts to isolate the masses of Jewish workers from the people among whom they live." This statement was published in the wake of a bitter press campaign against Zionism during November and December 1948.

The persecution of the Zionist movement was also expressed by the imprisonment of sheliḥim from Ereẓ Israel. On Dec. 23, 1948, a general consultation of Zionists was held and resulted in the decision to dissolve "voluntarily" the Zionist organizations. Following this decision, the Zionist parties began to halt their activities, with the exception of Mapam, the youth movements, and He-Halutz. The World Jewish Congress also ceased to operate in Romania. Those organizations that did not close down at the time continued to operate formally until the spring of the following year. On March 3, 1949, however, the Ministry of Interior issued an order to liquidate all remnants of the Zionist movement, including youth movements and training farms. With this order the Jewish community in Romania was given over completely to the dominance of the government alone – at first by means of the Jewish Democratic Committee, until it too was gradually dissolved. In April 1949 the youth movement of the Jewish Democratic Committee was disbanded just as the Communist Party Youth (utm) was organized, and the committee itself was disbanded in March 1953, together with all other national minorities' organizations in Romania. In 1949–50 the activity of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Romania was discontinued by order of the government. The hostile attitude toward the Zionist movement was also expressed in Romania's attitude toward Israel, which gradually hardened and led to the frequent imprisonment of previously active Zionists. The periods of time when emigration was ceased (April 1952 until 1956) were led by violent anti-Zionist campaigns. Zionist organizations were banned as of 1949. Yet the new Communist regime brought about a radical change: a significant number of Jews became prominent in the political and administrative hierarchy of the new regime, among them the long-time Communist militant Ana *Pauker.

There were ups and downs, however, especially in the area of propaganda, until the situation in general began to improve at the beginning of 1967.

community life

With the liquidation of the Zionist Movement and the dissolution of the Jewish Democratic Committee, the religious communities (kehillot) were the only organized bodies left in Romanian Jewry. The legal foundations for their activities were laid down even before other Jewish frameworks were destroyed. In 1945 the "Regulations on Nationalities" were passed and declared the formal equality of members of all national minority groups before the law. Regulations of the activities of the recognized religions, including Judaism, were set down in the Aug. 4, 1948, order of the presidium of the Grand National Assembly (which also served as the presidency of the state). The regulations of the Federation of Communities of the Mosaic Religion, which were approved by the Assembly's presidium on June 1, 1949, were based upon this order. Dr. Moshe Rosen became chief rabbi in 1948. He was instrumental in organizing massive Jewish emigration from Romania as well as in establishing a satisfactory community life even within the Communist regime and the threat of fast diminution of Jewish communities.

The Federation's scope of activity was limited to the area of religious worship alone. In the first years of the Communist regime and its complete dependence upon Moscow, Jewish Communists infiltrated into the Federation, but afterward their participation in Jewish religious bodies decreased, although it did not cease altogether. The Federation of Communities was responsible for maintaining synagogues and cemeteries and supplying religious objects, unleavened bread for Passover, kosher food, and the like. It was not authorized to deal in matters of Jewish education, however, although it did have the right (according to a decision of the department of religions on Nov. 13, 1948) to set up seminaries for training rabbis, and for a few years it maintained a yeshivah in Arad (Transylvania). According to the registration of 1960, there were 153 communities throughout Romania that maintained 841 synagogues and battei midrash (56 of which were no longer in use), 67 ritual baths, 86 slaughterhouses, and one factory for unleavened bread (in Cluj). From 1956 the Federation also published a tri-language biweekly (in Romanian, Yiddish, and Hebrew) entitled Revista Cultului Mozaic din R.P.R. ("Journal of (Romanian) Religious Jewry"). From 1964 the chief rabbi Rosen officiated as the chairman of the Federation and was also a member of the National Assembly. Thus the Federation became the general Jewish representative in the country.

education

With the renewal of Jewish life after the war, Jewish education also began to operate again. In 1946 the total number of Jewish schools was 190 with 41,000 students. In 1948 five yeshivot, 50 talmud torah schools, 10 Bet Jacob schools, one elementary school of Tarbut, five dormitories for students, 14 dormitories for apprentices, the agricultural training institute (Cultura AgricolD), three vocational schools in Bucharest, and three vocational schools in provincial cities (Huṣi, Sibiu, Radauti) were supported by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. A substantial number of educational institutions were maintained by the various Jewish communities without outside support. The network of Jewish education was destroyed in the autumn of 1948, when all schools in Romania were nationalized. At that time a small number of schools in which the language of instruction was Yiddish were established (in Bucharest and in Jassy) and remained open until the 1960/61 school year. After the nationalization Jewish education remained in the hands of melammedim, whose activities were tolerated by the authorities. In 1960 there were 54 talmud torah schools, in addition to the yeshivah that was established in Arad in 1956. By the end of the 1960s the number of educational institutions had very considerably decreased.

culture

At the beginning of the period under discussion, the language of Jewish writers and poets, including those who wrote about Jewish subjects, was Romanian. During the first years after World War ii the Jewish press was fairly large. The most important newspaper was Mântuirea, which began to reappear after Romania joined the Allies and continued to be published until the Zionist movement ceased to exist. In 1945 the press of the pro-Communist "Jewish Democratic Committee" began to appear, and its major newspaper was Unirea, in Bucharest, which lasted until 1953. As long as Zionist activity was permitted, the Zionist publishing house Bikkurim and the He-Halutz publishing house, as well as the Yavneh Company for the distribution of books on Jewish history and Hebrew literature, continued to operate. In Jewish contributions to Romanian literature, art, and music, the influence of the memories of the Jewish milieu was sometimes felt. The writers and poets A. Toma, Maria Banus, Veronica Porumbacu, Barbu Lazareanu, and others belonged to this group. Among the writers who wrote in Yiddish were Jacob Groper, Alfred Margul Sperber, and Ludovic Brukstein. The most outstanding Jewish artists were Josif Iser, M.H. Maxy, and Jules Perachim. Well-known Jewish musicians were Matei Socor, Alfred Mendelsohn, and Max Eisikovits. The only Jewish cultural institution was the Jewish theater in Bucharest. It was established as a state institution in 1948. The Jewish theater in Jassy, which was established at the same time, closed down in 1968. During the 20 years of its existence, the theater produced 107 plays including works by A. Goldfaden, Shalom Aleichem, Yiddish playwrights, and others. In 1968 the Bucharest Jewish theater performed on tour in Israel.

Israel-Romania Relations to the End of the 1960s

In September 1948 the first Israel representative to Romania, the painter Reuven Rubin, arrived in Bucharest, but neither he nor his successors succeeded in substantially developing the relations between the two countries for a number of years. Until 1965 the relations were regular but cool, especially because of the attitude of the Soviet Union toward Israel, which was strictly followed by Romanian foreign policy. Every so often the relations between the two countries were shaken by crises that were felt on the level of diplomatic representation (the extended absence of a minister at the head of the mission) or were expressed by the expulsion of Israel diplomats. Cultural ties were not developed during the period, and trade also remained static at a modest level (in the climax year, the mutual trade balance between Israel and Romania reached $4.5 million). These relations improved considerably, however, as Romania grew more independent of the U.S.S.R. in international affairs. From February 1966 a Romanian minister again headed the Romanian mission in Israel. In March 1967 a high-level Romanian economic delegation visited Israel for the first time, and afterward an Israel economic delegation, headed by the finance minister, went to Bucharest; full trade agreements were signed. In 1968 the trade balance between the two countries reached $20,000,000, and subsequently trade increased. Cultural relations also expanded (Israeli musicians, choirs, etc. visited Romania and the countries exchanged art exhibitions), as did tourism from each country to the other. The Six-Day War (1967) served as a decisive test in the relations between Israel and Romania. On June 10, 1967, a consultation of all East European nations, including Yugoslavia, was held in Moscow and resulted in a denunciation of Israel's "aggression." The participating states also decided to sever diplomatic relations with the State of Israel. Romania, however, refused to sign the denunciation and also refused to carry out the conference's decisions. She did not sever diplomatic relations with Israel and refrained from taking part in the anti-Israel Soviet propaganda campaign. Romania repeatedly expressed her stand that the Arab-Israel dispute must be settled by political means, taking into consideration the just rights of both sides. In August 1969 Romania and Israel elevated their diplomatic missions to the rank of embassies.

[Eliezer Palmor]

Contemporary Period

The official census published in June 1977 gave the Jewish population as only 25,600; despite the fact that according to the statistics given by the Federation of Jewish Communities, which based itself on a registry of those in need of the community's services, the number was approximately 45,000, and its files did not include those Jews who had no connection with the communities. If these Jews are included, it would bring the total Jewish population to approximately 70,000. The Jewish community of Romania is an aging one; 25.51% of all Jews in Romania belong to the age category 41–60 and 46.2% to the age category 60–80. The majority of the Jews of Romania are professionals.

The institutions of the community, both local and central, have continued to function. The Federation of Jewish Communities, on which all the communities throughout Romania are represented, was recognized by the authorities and headed by Chief Rabbi Dr. Moshe Rosen who was a member of the Romanian Parliament.

Romania continued to be until the late 1980s the only country within the Soviet sphere of influence whose Jewish community maintained contact with international Jewish organizations and with communities outside Romania; close ties existed with the World Jewish Congress, the Joint Distribution Committee and others, as well as with Jewish communities throughout the world. Representatives of Romanian Jewry participated in the conference of the European branch of the World Jewish Congress which took place in Madrid (Dec. 4–6, 1976), and a delegation of the Federation of Communities, headed by Rabbi Rosen, participated in the Synagogue Federation Conference held in Jerusalem in February 1978. The Jewish State Theater in Bucharest continued to produce plays in Yiddish despite the dwindling of the potential audience. Several books in Yiddish have also been published.

In an earthquake which struck Bucharest on May 4, 1977, the Choral Temple and Malbim synagogue were damaged. During his official visit to Romania on Aug. 1, 1977 (see below), Prime Minister Menahem Begin participated in the Sabbath services in the Choral Temple and addressed the large congregation.

religion and culture

Synagogues throughout the country (about 150) continued to function. In addition to the chief rabbi, there were two other rabbis, Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Marilus in Bucharest and Dr. Ernest Neumann in Timisoara. Kosher meat was provided by ritual slaughterers who visited the various communities weekly.

In the latter part of December 1977 the Museum for the History of the Jews in Romania was opened in Bucharest, along with a center for documentation and research. In the same year the centenary of the founding of the Jewish theater in Romania was celebrated by a gala performance at which Tevye der Milchiger by Shalom Aleichem, The Dybbuk by Anski, and Lessing's Nathan the Wise were presented. A history of the Yiddish theater in Romania by Israil Bercovici was published in Yiddish and in Romanian (1976, 1981).

In September 1981 Romania was the site of the convention of the European Rabbinical Conference, the first time a major Jewish gathering had been held in an East European country since World War ii. The chief rabbis of England, France, Italy, and Holland were among the participants. The 25th anniversary of the publication of Revista Cultului Mozaic was celebrated in September 1981. The state publishing house has published a bibliographical work on the Jewish press in Romania, Yiddishe Presse in Rumenye by Wolf Vladimir Tamburu. An annual in Yiddish, Bukarester Shriftn, including Yiddish literature and studies on the history of Romanian Jews, was published between 1978 and 1988.

Research in the history of the Jews of Romania has been undertaken by a group of Jewish historians. Their activities center on the Federation of Communities' biweekly and deal especially with the role of the Jews in Romanian history. They also conduct research in municipal archives and the Jewish archives of the Federation. Several significant historical papers and collections of documents were published, edited by experienced historians (Itzik Şvarţ-Kara, Lya Benjamin, Victor Eskenasy).

relations with israel

Political relations between Israel and Romania were strengthened with statesmen exchanging visits, and particularly visits by Israelis. Romania consistently campaigned for a political settlement of the Near East conflict, for the implementation of the November 1967 Security Council resolution, and for a solution that will guarantee the territorial integrity and independence of all states in the region and lead to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied after the Six-Day War. Romania also underscored the need to solve the problem of the Palestinian Arabs in conformity with their national interests. The fact that the Romanian government adopted a policy quite different from that of the U.S.S.R. and the other East European governments and did not brand Israel as an "aggressor" permitted Romania and Israel to maintain normal relations.

In August 1977 Prime Minister Begin paid an official visit to Romania. He held wide-ranging talks with his counterpart Manea Manescu, with Foreign Minister Macovescu, and held two lengthy political talks with the President of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu. The Begin-Ceausescu meeting played an important role in the decision of the president of Egypt to visit Jerusalem in November 1977, and Romania was the only East European country which expressed open support for the Israeli-Egyptian peace initiative. Two unscheduled meetings were held between the Romanian President and Moshe Dayan, Israeli foreign minister, in April 1978. Economic and trade agreements and an agreement for technical and agricultural cooperation was signed by both countries. The latter agreement, which was renewed in February 1977, is designed particularly to train experts in various agriculture-related fields or to supplement their knowledge. In 1980 Israeli exports to Romania amounted to $35 million, while Israel imported from Romania goods worth $48.5 million.

Post-Communist Period

The central development in Romanian life and especially in the life of the ever-dwindling Jewish community was the overthrow of the Communist regime and the attempts at introducing democracy into the country along Western lines. The change of rule did not bring in its wake any real changes in the life of the few Jews left in the country. Until his death in May 1994, the dominating figure in Jewish life continued to be Chief Rabbi Moses Rosen. The remnants of the Romanian Jewish community welcomed the overthrow of Ceausescu and the community journal published a special issue expressing joy at the change.

In the new spirit of freedom Rabbi Rosen was the object of personal attacks by antisemitic groups, which accused him of close cooperation with the communist regime. Two antisemitic newspapers waged this campaign, which the chief rabbi saw as an attack on the entire community. Romania Mare ("Great Romania") and Europa, weeklies publishing virulent antisemitic material, aimed their barbs personally at Rabbi Rosen. In order to quash the harsh complaints about active antisemitism, President Ion Iliescu invested effort, internally and externally, to placate Chief Rabbi Rosen. In 1993 he took the rabbi with him to the opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, dc, and before that participated in a memorial service for Holocaust victims held in the Bucharest Choral Synagogue, where Iliescu spoke and condemned antisemitism.

Upon the immigration to Israel of Rabbi Pinhas Wasserman of Dorohoi (1989), the home for the aged and the kasher restaurant there were closed. Otherwise, all the institutions, restaurants, and homes for the aged were still in operation – 10 restaurants and four homes (two in Bucharest, and two smaller ones in Arad and Timisoara). Needy Jews receive packages of food and clothing. All this activity is financed by the jdc, fighting a rearguard action to maintain the few remaining Romanian Jews. The situation of the elderly has worsened considerably as their pension's value has eroded to nothing because of inflation, and without the Joint's help they would be starving.

Despite the declining number of Jews, the communities run smoothly and without assistance from the Federation, whose central place has been taken under the prevailing circumstances by the Joint. In addition to the Bucharest community, there are organized communities in the Transylvania region, in Cluj, Oradea, Arad, Timisoara. and in eastern Romania in Piatre-Neamt, Botosani, Jassy, Braila, Galati, Constanta, Ploesti, Brasov, Sighet, Satu-Mare, and a number of small communities. 10 kasher canteens were still operated by the communities and kasher meat was provided by three ritual slaughterers.

Romania lost its special status regarding relations with Israel, since it was no longer the only Eastern bloc country to have diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. Relations continued to be normal and friendly, with efforts at increasing bilateral trade. From the late 1990s Jewish life throughout Romania continued to revolve around the synagogues and the kasher restaurants, operated by the Federation of Romanian Jewish Communities and funded by the Joint Distribution Committee.

Since the establishment of the State of Israel some 300,000 Romanian Jews have emigrated there. The more the number of Jews in Romania shrinks, the more difficult it is to obtain reliable current Jewish population figures. The Federation of Communities, whose numbers are used by the Joint, estimate that there is a total of 15,000 Jews, 8,000 of whom are in Bucharest, the capital. Timisoara (in Transylvania) and Jassy each has a community of some 900 people; all the others are scattered among a Romanian populace of 22 million people. The official 1992 government yearbook, citing statistical data from a kind of census, states that there are 9,000 Jews. It may be that not all Jews were counted or admitted to being Jewish, particularly those in mixed marriages. Even though the total number of Jews is small, emigration to Israel continues.

The death of Rabbi Moses Rosen in May 1994 significantly affected the remaining Jews of Romania. The passing at age 83 of the man who for over 40 years had served as chief rabbi and head of the federation of Romanian Jewish communities signified the end of an era which included the collapse of the Communist regime in the country.

The feeling of stagnation which followed the death of the Rabbi Rosen prompted the representatives in Romania of the ajdc, which essentially administers to Jewish life there, to find a new chief rabbi quickly. Among the five candidates, all from Israel, they chose in May 1995 the Romanian-born professor Yehezkel Marek, a lecturer in literature at Bar-Ilan University. After his return to Israel in 1999, Menahem Hacohen became chief rabbi.

Rabbi Rosen's death also put an end to the concentrated centrality of the Federation of communities and allowed for greater freedom to the individual communities. The Federation was no longer headed by the rabbi but by Prof. Nicolae Cajal, a well-known scholar and member of Romanian Academy. After his death in 2004, Dr. Aurel Veiner, an economist, was elected as president of the community.

The community biweekly was revamped and changed its names to Realitatea evreiască ("Jewish Reality"). Yiddish is no longer used, and the paper now appears in Romanian, English, and one page in Hebrew, for a total of 12 pages presenting information on the Jewish world with emphasis on Jewish culture and many quotations from Israeli newspapers translated into Romanian. The editor is Dorel Dorian, while the veteran editor, Chaim Riemer, who immigrated to Israel some years ago and then returned to Romania as an emissary of the Joint, was appointed "Honorary Director" and writes the Hebrew page. The Hasefer publishing house, sponsored by the Jewish Federation, is dedicated to topics connected to Judaism, Jewish culture and history, as well as to the study of the Holocaust.

In recent years antisemitism in Romania has been on a back burner, mainly in intellectual circles and, with few exceptions, is not accompanied by violent acts. Its most prominent spokesman was Corneliu Vadim Tudor, editor of the weekly Romania Mare. Especially during the 1990s, the journal and the political party of the same name incited against the Jews, against Israel, and also against the democratic forces in post-Ceausescu Romania. The Romanian president Ion Iliescu worked to block any rising antisemitism, especially when considering America's decision regarding the granting of economic concessions as a most favored nation. The Jewish community's attitude, as expressed by Cajal, differs from that held in the past by Rabbi Rosen. Cajal did not declare a general, vocal war on antisemitism, but focuses on providing information to convince the Romanians of the great contribution the Jews made to the Romanian people and to the country. The main important universities (Bucharest, Cluj, Iaşi, Craiova) set up special departments and centers for the study of Judaism, Jewish history, and for teaching Hebrew. However, public discourse was constantly fed by numerous antisemitic publications, which placed a special emphasis on denying crimes committed by the Antonescu regime against the Jewish population. An international commission of historians to study the Holocaust in Romania was set up in 2003 and chaired by Elie Wiesel. The conclusions of the Report issued by the commission were accepted by President Ion Iliescu as well as by his successor, Traian Băsescu. A National Institute for the Study of Holocaust in Romania was inaugurated on October 10, 2005, as one of the first significant implementations of the commission's recommendations. Several expressions of Holocaust commemoration were officially initiated in Romania, especially on October 9, established as official date for commemorating the Holocaust (on which date in 1941 the deportations to Transnistria began).

[Naftali Kraus /

Lucian-Zeev Herscovici and

Leon Volovici (2nd ed.)]

bibliography:

S. Baron, The Jews in Roumania (1930); J. Berkowitz, La Question des Israélites en Roumanie (1923); I. Cohen, The Jews in Romania (1938); W. Filderman, Adevarul asupra problemei evreesti din Romania (1925); M.A. Halevy, in: Anuarul evreilor din Romania (1937); A. Ruppin, Die Juden in Rumaenien (1908); E. Schwarzfeld, in: ajyb, 3 (1901/02), 25–87; idem, in rej, 13 (1886), 127ff.; idem, Impopularea re-impopularea si intemeierea targurilor si targusoarelor in Moldova (1914); M. Schwarzfeld, Ochire asupra istoriei evreilor in Romania (1887); idem, Momente din istoria evreilor in Romania (1889); idem, Excursiuni critice asupra istoriei evreilor in Romania (1888); idem, in: Annuar pentru Israeliţi, 10 (1887/88); 18 (1896); pk Romanyah (1970), 141–209, 219–224 (first pagin.), introduction and comprehensive bibl.; T. Lavi, in: Yad Vashem Studies, 4 (1960), 261–315; 5 (1963), 405–18; idem, Yahadut Romanyah be-Ma'avak al Hazzalatah (1965); M. Carp, Cartea Neagra, 1 (1946); I. Hirschmann, Caution to the Winds (1962). add. bibliography: E. Aczél, Publicaţiile periodice evreieşti din România, vol. 1 (2004); J. Ancel, Toledot ha-Sho'ah: Romanyah, 2 vols. (2002); L. Benjamin, Evreii din România în texte istoriografice (2002); I. Bercovici, Pirkei Romanyah (Tel Aviv, 1975); S. Bickel, Yahadut Romanyah: Historyah, Bikkoret Sifrutit, Zikhronot (Tel Aviv, 1978); N. Cajal and H. Kuller (eds.), Contribuţia evreilor din România la cultură şi civilizaţie (1996); W. Filderman, Memoirs and Diaries, ed. J. Ancel (2004/05); C. Iancu, Jews in Romania, 1866–1919 (1996); idem, Les juifs en Roumanie, 1919–1938 (1996); E. Mendelsohn, The Jews of East Central Europe between the World Wars (1983); A. Stern, Din viaţa unui evreu-român, vols. 1–3 (2001); L. Rotman and R. Vago (eds.), Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Romanyah, vols. 1–4 (1996–2003); L. Volovici, Nationalist Ideology & Antisemitism: The Case of Romanian Intellectuals in the 1930s (1991).

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Romania

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Romania
Region: Europe
Population: 22,411,121
Language(s): Romanian, Hungarian, German
Literacy Rate: 97%
Academic Year: October-June
Number of Primary Schools: 6,188
Compulsory Schooling: 8 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 3.6%
Foreign Students in National Universities: 14,181
Libraries: 3,246
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 1,405,308
  Secondary: 2,212,090
  Higher: 411,687
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 103%
  Secondary: 78%
  Higher: 22%
Teachers: Primary: 71,829
  Secondary: 175,958
  Higher: 26,310
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 20:1
  Secondary: 12:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 103%
  Secondary: 78%
  Higher: 24%

History & Background


Romania, located in southeastern Europe, is about the size of Pennsylvania and New York combined. The terrain of Romania mainly consists of rolling, fertile plains with hills in the eastern region of the central Danube River basin and with the Carpathian mountain ranges running north and west in the center of the country. Romania is bordered on the north and northeast by the Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, on the northwest by Hungary, on the south and southwest by Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, and on the east by the Black Sea. The country occupies an area of 237,499 square kilometers (91,699 sq. mi.).

As of the year 2000, the estimated population of Romania was 22.5 million and was decreasing at a rate of 2.7 percent. Its largest city and capital, Bucharest, had an estimated population of 2.02 million. Although much of the population is rural and agricultural, there are six cities with populations of 300,000 or more (Constanta, Iasi, Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Galati, and Brosav).

Its people are overwhelmingly Romanian (89 percent) which, unlike Slavs and Hungarians, are traced to Latin speaking Romans. However, there are a large number of ethnic and minority groups that make up a small portion of Romania's population. Hungarians make up about seven percent of the population and the remainder comprises Germans, Ukranians, Croats, Serbs, Russians, Turks, and gypsies. Hungarians and gypsies are their primary minority groups. The official language is Romanian, but some of its population speaks Hungarian and German. The religious population of Romania is almost entirely Christian. More than 85 percent of its population is Orthodox; about five percent is Roman Catholic; another five percent is Reformed Protestant, Baptist, or Pentecostal; and a very small number are Greek Catholic or Jewish.

Forty-two percent of the Romanian workforce (about 9 million) is in agriculture; 38 percent is in industry and commerce; and the remaining workforce is in tourism and other occupations. Agriculture (e.g., corn, wheat, potatoes, and livestock) is about 16 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Romania, industry (e.g., textiles, mining, machine building, and chemicals) makes up about 40 percent of the GDP; and services (e.g., tourism) makes up about 43 percent of the GDP. Romania's natural resources include oil, natural gas, timber, coal, salt, and iron ore. Its chief exports are textiles, fuels, metals, wood products, chemicals, and light manufactures. The GDP of the economy of Romania has been growing at rates as high as seven percent in the 1990s (in 1998). Its highly literate workforce (98 percent literacy) and its economic base in agriculture, energy, and tourism gives Romania great economic potential in the future (United States Department of State 2000).

Romania's history and politics has driven the intellectual development of their people. Throughout Romania's history the country has been on what has been called a "path of a series of migrations and conquests" (United States Department of State 2000). In 200 B.C. the area of Romania was settled by the Dacians, who were a Thracian tribe. In the second century A.D., Dacia (early Romania) was incorporated into the Roman Empire, but was abandoned by the Romans almost two centuries later. Remnants of early education, including Latin inscriptions, have been found from this time period. Romania was considered to be lost for a number of years, but reemerged in the middle ages as part of Moldova and Wallachia. There were church related schools beginning in 1000 A.D. The oldest known school in Romania was started in the monastery at Cenadul Vechi in the eleventh century.

Due to the influence of Rome in these early principalities, much of the instruction at this time was in Latin and continued to be so from the eleventh through sixteenth centuries. The first schools to teach in the Romanian language are rooted back to the sixteenth century. Like most schools of the time, these were church-related. In the seventeenth century, more schools were founded in the cities of Sighet, Tirgoviste, Jina, Lancram, Hateg, and Turda. Schools of Greek education were later founded in Bucharest and Tirgoviste. The first university was also founded in Moldavia in 1640 where philosophy and literature were the foundations of its curriculum.

It is important to note that a portion of Romania (e.g., Transylvania, Nasaud, and Tara Birsei) was influenced by other empires such as the Austrio-Hungarian Empire and the Germans. This becomes important in Romanian history as Hungarians and Germans later become national minorities and education in their languages is suppressed by latter day Romanians.

Up until the 1700s, churches still dominated schools, but there began to be some schools under the administration of local communities. In the 1700s and 1800s, the majority of schools were tied to localities and varied in organization and curriculum. But starting in the late 1700s and into the 1800s, some of the schools were budgeted by communities, and local laws began to form and administer education systems. Teachers and professors became a profession separate from the clergy. Schools of music, medicine, and engineering were founded and there began to be some sense of equality in education where women and men were treated equally. Private schools also began to open that were not related to churches.

The Moldovian and Wallachian principalities, however, were badly managed under the Ottoman Empire and were eventually unified under a native prince, Alexander Ioan Cuza, in 1859. In 1864, the new Legislative Assembly provided Romania with a compulsory education system that included free primary education for the first four years, a system of secondary education for seven years, and three years of higher education. Romania is considered to be one of the first countries to provide compulsory education.

Romania became independent under the 1878 Treaty of Berlin after the War of 1877. Romania later crowned its first king in 1881. In this early period of Romania, numerous educational laws and regulations were handed down that set out the education system of Romania. Some of these laws provided for the selection and training of teachers, the extension of compulsory education, the exclusion of peasant children from secondary schools, and extensions in the curricula of secondary and higher education. Graduates of Romanian higher education before 1990 had to go through a period of compulsory employment after their studies (Reisz 1994). Through a propaganda program, higher education in Romania was considered elitist and came to be associated with institutions that produced doctors, teachers, engineers, economists, and lawyers.

Although Romania was located between the Hungarian, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian Empires, it garnered much of its educational, cultural, and administrative models from its complex history and from the west. In particular, influence came from trade relations with the French (United States Department of State 2000). Romania was an ally of the west in World War I and was granted more territory after the war in such areas as Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Buckovina. In 1918, the addition of Transylvania established the national state of Romania. Because Transylvania was a portion of the Austrio-Hungarian empire, Transylvania's education and culture were heavily influenced by the Hungarians. Schools in Transylvania, before its annexation by Romania, only permitted instruction in Hungarian. As a result, there were far more Hungarians than Romanians who were enrolled in secondary schools. This became an important foundation in Romanian educational history, because Romanians under communism required Hungarians to be taught in the Romanian language. The University of Cluj, for instance, began to offer instruction in Romanian for the first time.

Pre-World War II, Romania exhibited many of the qualities of a dictatorship although it had a constitutional monarchy. Much of the political thought pre-World War II was anticommunist, pronationalist, and held anti-foreign and anti-Jewish influence on its economy. Educational laws primarily sought to unify the new nation into a single education system. The education system became more egalitarian by the provision of free compulsory primary education and free books for those who could not afford them. Like Romanian politics, education was nationalist in its ideology.

During World War II, Romania, under the direction of General Antonescu, sided with the Axis powers and invaded the Soviet Union to retain some of its territories. In 1944, a coup was staged by King Michael that deposed the Antonescu dictatorship and placed the armies of Romania on the side of the Allied powers. Romanian armies, then, fought the Germans, the Transylvanians, the Hungarians, and the Czechs (United States Department of State 2000). As socialism began in Romania, so did the establishment of Marxist and Leninist thought into its education system.

After the Peace Treaty signings in Paris in 1947, Romania came under the influence of the Soviet Union and communism. The Romanian educational curriculum became socialist as well with the teachings of materialism, scientific socialism, and Marxist historical philosophy. The Bessarabian and the Northern Buckovian territories came under soviet annexation whereas the northern portion of Transylvania was returned from Hungary to Romania. The Soviets pressed for inclusion of Romania's Communist Party into the government and political opponents were eliminated. King Michael went into exile in 1947. This early phase of communist rule was dominated by the Soviet Union and the Hungarian minority in Romania (Gallagher 1995).

Under communism, the education system became state-controlled and intimately influenced by the communist revolution in Eastern Europe. Religious and private schools immediately came under state control. For example, the first constitution of the Romanian Peoples Republic (April 1948) had attempted to abolish confessional general schools and the Educational Reform of 1948 abolished all private schools as well as religious teachings in the curriculum (Shafir 1985). This new education law transferred all private schools to state control and all church school property was taken by the state without compensation.

In the 1950s, the Romanian Communist Party was considered by a majority of Romanians to be a gang taking orders from the Russians, which were in turn directed by the Hungarians (Gallagher 1995). Thus, a very important part of Romanian education was a suppression of the Hungarian minority in Romania. This was done in part by an educational philosophy that "Romanianized" all minorities through the educational process. Because of the past Romanian encounters with Hungary, reforms in education after the 1960s made it very difficult, if not impossible, to learn or teach in the Hungarian language. Hungarian schools were merged with Romanian schools and beginning in 1956 this effort was stepped up (Gallagher 1995). One of the most important events in this regard was when, in 1959, the Hungarian Bolyai University was merged with its Romanian counterpart, the Babes University. Technical classes that were formerly taught in Hungarian were now taught in Romanian. In fact, it was nearly impossible to study applied sciences or engineering in the Hungarian language. Those courses that were taught in Hungarian were generally of an ideological nature. The ultimate result of this merger was a real blow to Hungarian language education. The number of Hungarian undergraduates dropped from 10.75 percent in 1957 to 5.7 percent in 1974 (Romania: Language, Education, and Cultural Heritage, 2001).

In the 1950s and into the 1960s, Romania began a nationalist communist regime that distanced itself from the Soviet Union both economically and socially. This new regime was influenced by the leadership of Gheorghiu-Dej and emphasized Romanian national values, history, and patriotism. As to education, this meant the building of a Romanian intelligentsia that promoted state-controlled education and communist thought. In addition, the vision of totalitarian Romania was an educational emphasis on preparing young people for industrial tasks (Gallagher 1995). Higher education in Romania was still elitist, but it did increase in the 1950s (Reisz 1994). Another important part of this movement in Romanian history was an abandonment of Russian and Soviet interpretations of Romanian history in the 1960s (Gallagher 1995).

After the death of Gheorghiu-Dej, the Romanian Communist Party was controlled by Nicolae Ceausescu. Ceausescu became head of state in 1967. Education under Ceausescu became much more communist and nationalist. Romania under Ceausescu from 1967 until the revolution in 1989, was a time of foreign policy that was independent from Russia. In 2000 the U.S. Department of State said that Romania's independence from Russia led to some respect by Western democracies that allowed Ceausescu's rule to become increasingly tyrannical in the 1970s. As the anticommunist revolution increased political inertia in the late 1980s, Ceausescu's policies, including education, became more and more nationalist and more and more geared toward the needs of the economy. There were severe cuts in the diversity of higher educational programs in the mid-1970s that led to 74 percent of students being enrolled in engineering and agricultural schools by 1988 (Reisz 1994). In addition, numerous reforms were undertaken to continue the domination of the Romanian language in education.

In 1989, the Ceausescu regime fell along with other communist dominated governments in Eastern Europe. Ceausescu and his wife were executed on Christmas Day in 1989 and the government was taken over by the National Salvation Front (NSF), which claimed that it had restored freedom and democracy. Elections were held in 1990 and Ion Iliescu, the NSF leader, won the vote and two-thirds of the seats in parliament. The NSF then began what was termed as "cautious free market reforms" (U.S. Department of State 2000). However, much of the country was impatient with the slow reform and blamed it on the intelligentsia and other communist devotees. As a result, protesters and miners who were angry with the progress led to an angry and brutal treatment of these Ceausescu-era intellectuals. The miners returned to Bucharest in 1991 and demanded higher wages. As a result of this unsettling political environment, the FSN split into two parties shortly after the parliament drafted a new democratic constitution in 1991 and after that constitution was approved by referendum in December of that same year.

Along with the fall of came a slow, but progressive set of reforms in Romanian society. The reforms in education included the slow decentralization of the education system, the increase in number of private schools in Romania, and the increased pressure by Hungarians to restore education in the Hungarian language. Progress has been hampered by the lack of resources, the slow progress of changing textbooks from communist to reform, and the remaining communist intelligentsia in Romania that dominated education and political life under communism (Gallagher 1995).


Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Although Romania was one of the first countries with a compulsory education system, under socialism, education was centralized, Marxist-based, and free. The centralization of education allowed for teaching communist party ethics and was, a very important role of government. At the local level, the education section of the local communist party administered education. The local communist party Executive Committees of the County People's Councils housed these education sections (Braham 1972). These People's Councils, as well as the education sections, usually acted in accordance with general guidelines or instructions that were issued by the Party and by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education was the central government body charged with implementing education policy.

After the revolution in 1989, the Ministry of Education became the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) and the Constitution in Romania changed as the state moved from socialism to a progressively market oriented economy. Under the new Constitution of 1991, Romania provides a right to education regardless of social background, sex, political and religious affiliation, and any other restrictions that might injure any human right (The Educational System in Romania 2001). Therefore, one can see the change in constitutional emphasis in the language surrounding political and human rights equality issues. The prereform constitution also mentioned a right to education and equality of education for minorities. However, the constitution used separation of church and state language to prohibit religious education.


Three Important Historical Foundations of Romanian Education: There are three very important legal and historical foundations of Romanian education today. The first Romanianization of education came through communist party education or "party teaching." The second Romanianization of education began in the 1950s where minority ideas were suppressed (e.g., the rooting out of Hungarian language education). The third important influence was the emphasis of Romanian education on industrial education at the expense of agricultural and other disciplines.


The Intelligentsia: Party Education Under Communism: With the increased nationalism in Romania in the 1960s, the Romanian Communist Party (RCP) saw a need in the early 1970s for more "revolutionary consciousness." In the 1960s, cooption was used to bring intellectuals into the party. These intellectuals consisted of 46 percent of engineers and 50 percent of all teachers (Shafir 1985). As a result of this, there was a fear by Ceausescu of a "red" versus "expert" split in the country. This fear of a "narrow professionalism" among party members led to a minicultural revolution in 1971. The cultural revolution was used to bring the political minorities into the party that had wished to push beyond party limits on free speech. Thus, in 1971, the Stephen Gheorghiu Academy for Social and Political Education was reorganized to provide "party higher education" in order to produce individuals with satisfactory professional qualifications and correct ideological values. This reorganization led to two divisions of party education: one in charge of scientific management and the other in charge of party and mass organization.

In addition, in 1972, the RCP adopted a code of communist ethics. Party education was necessary for establishing the intelligentsia that comprised government offices and positions in education. "Party teaching," was used to improve the level of RCP members and to create a loyal intelligentsia that would influence political and social life in the state. Party higher education under the Academy was up to four years long and was regarded as a major step toward their party careers. As a result of this, the totalitarian vision from the party was an emphasis on science and industrial education that prepared young people for industrial jobs (Gallagher 1995).

In the 1980s, as democratic movements began to assert themselves in Eastern Europe, party education became more important in Romania. In 1982, the Political Education Committee (PEC) recognized the poor efforts of party education and trained a group of propagandists that visited each county and spent four days a month training and educating local propagandists. These locals did "party teaching." Party members were often forced to attend sessions or classes after work or school. One significant problem with the failure to "party teach" was that a plurality (47 percent) of all members had not yet completed high school. By 1983, over 200,000 party members had graduated from party schools (Shafir 1985).


Suppression of Minorities in Education: Romanianization was the primary policy beginning in the second communist wave of the 1950s. Assimilation, and even elimination, of ethnic and political minorities was a policy that had a great impact on Romanian education in the Ceausescu years and in the reform years after his reign. Shafir notes that three primary policies aided in the suppression of minorities in education. First, education was used to assimilate Romanian ethics into Transylvania and to disperse non-Romanian ethics out of the region. Second, there was a policy and history of shrinkage of the number of schools providing education in minority languages (e.g., Hungarian and German). Third, there was a promotion of Romanian as the national language in early nationalist and communist politics.

For example, from the 1970s to the 1980s, minimum numbers of 25 students in primary schools and 36 students in secondary schools were required before a class could be open to minority language instruction (Shafir 1985). This rule did not apply to Romanian language classes. In universities, minority language teaching was regulated by a provision that university study groups for minority languages could only be established if there was a minimum of 15 students. However, students were distributed among groups so that group numbers rarely reached 14 students.

In addition, the Educational Reform of 1973 was geared to transform the education system by making it two-thirds technical and one-third humanities in order to keep up with industrialization. However, as of 1985, this policy had not been applied to Hungarian language instruction. Because technical courses were only taught in the Romanian language, this further isolated Hungarian students in Romania from educational development (Romania: Language, Education, and Cultural History 2001). In 1974, only 1.4 percent of technical instruction was in Hungarian. From 1974 to 1985, only one out of four technical schools taught in minority languages and technical textbooks were rarely translated out of the Romanian language (Shafir 1985). Thus, Hungarian and German parents tried to register their children in Romanian language schools. This led to complaints by some party members, so Ceausescu had these applicants rejected when they applied to technical schools.

The educational foundation under communist and totalitarian Romania was a Romanianization of minority languages in education. In addition, non-Romanians were filtered away from training that would achieve for them the more important industrial jobs in Romanian society. With educational reform after the 1989 revolution, politically active Hungarians demanded steps toward inclusion in the education system. One very important demand was the reconstitution of Bolyai University (Gallagher 1995). The merger of Bolyai with the Romanian Babes University had eroded Hungarian language teaching in higher education and this became a major issue among education reforms in the 1990s.


Emphasis on Industrial Education: In the late 1960s Romania began to emphasize industrial and technical education. This, to some, came at the expense of training in the social sciences, arts, and humanities. This became a real issue for reform in the post-Ceausescu era and had a great effect on the education levels of rural students.

Much of the Romanian workforce in 1981 commuted from rural areas to fill industrial jobs in the cities (Shafir 1985). Most of these workers, however, were very poorly educated and unskilled laborers. Seventy percent of these workers were said to have only four years of elementary education. The migration of these undertrained workers to the city led to a real problem with fewer (and also poorly trained) workers in rural areas for agricultural jobs. As of 1982, there were lower levels of education for agricultural workers and agricultural jobs were low in income and low in prestige. Only children who did not pass entrance exams to other schools would attend agricultural schools; half of those who graduated from agricultural schools went to work in rural villages; and only 15 percent of these would be in agricultural jobs two to three years later.

Reform under Ceausescu attempted to remedy the rural and agricultural drain. One reform was to require most students who graduated the eighth grade in rural schools to attend high school (especially the vocational and agricultural variety) in their own areas. This was done to slow rural migration and the harm to the agricultural sector of the economy. A second reform was a decree that retired citizens and school children must help with agricultural work during the peak agricultural season. During peak farming months children aged 10 and above would work the fields and schools would close (if need arose) in order to weed the fields (Shafir 1985).

Therefore, Romanianization in party education, minority education, and industrial education had its effects on the education system. Party education became formal for members and it was an important socializing force for the creation of an intelligentsia that would become teachers and professors under Ceausescu. Party education also emphasized the necessity for scientific and industrial advancement that forced changes in the curricula of Romanian schools. This emphasis on industrial economy also led to serious problems with education in the agricultural sectors of society. Education in Romania had a very firm and important effect on assimilating minorities into a centralized Romanian culture. This was done, in part, by reforms that harmed the ability of minorities to study in their own languages.


Educational SystemOverview

In discussing Romanian education, it is quite important to provide an overview of education before the democratic revolution in 1989. The political reforms in 1989 greatly shaped the education system today.


Education Before 1989: Education in socialist Romania was a key component of socialist society and was centrally controlled. Every student from nursery school to graduate school was taught in a socialist environment controlled by the state and attendance was compulsory up through secondary school (Rabitte 2001). The centralized education system provided one notable successliteracy rates were estimated at 98 percent during communist rule (U.S. Department of State 2000).

The Ministry of Education (MOE) set the curriculum and the curriculum was heavily influenced by communist doctrine. The Ministry also planned the number of students who would be accepted at institutions. Students were generally free to apply to the school that they chose, but acceptance was regulated by the state. The number of pupils to be accepted at schools of each level was planned during the summer by the MOE for the school year beginning in September (Rabitte 2001). The MOE and the state declared that all schools had the same quality of education, but it was clear that technical schools were the emphasis of the state. Agricultural and rural schools had fewer resources and were not sought after like technical schools, which included the sciences and engineering.

Education reforms in the 1970s provided a heavy emphasis on technical schools at a ratio of two-thirds technical schools to one-third humanity schools. This was, in part, due to Ceausescu's belief that study of the humanities was a waste of state resources and that intellectuals were not productive members of society like those trained in industry. The emphasis on technical education is exemplified by the different tracks of curricula available to students entering high school. Technical schools, at the high school level, were divided into three types and students were selected for these on the basis of entrance exam scores. The best students were placed into physics and math curricula, middle grade students were placed into electronics, and the lower level students were trained in mechanics (Rabitte 2001). Each high school student was also compelled to complete a one-month internship or apprenticeship per trimester.

Despite the technical emphasis of education, Rabitte (2001) notes that the curriculum was well balancedeven by Western standards. Students balanced their technical training with courses in Romanian literature and language, two additional foreign languages, history, sports, geography, biology, and drawing. It is not surprising that international estimates of literacy rates were reported so high. Schools taught the English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian languages. However, Russian was not taught in schools because of Ceausescu's severance of ties with the Soviet Union during the late 1960s.

Religious and private schooling was nonexistent in communist Romania and so the state curriculum was geared toward communist indoctrination. Courses were taught on the politics and economics of capitalism and socialism. The MOE selected the educational curriculum and books. Teaching methods focused on memorization of material for state exams. Very little emphasis was placed on critical thinking (Rabitte 2001).


Reform: Education After 1989: With the 1989 democratic revolution that brought down communism, the Romanian education system began the process of reform. Education reform was adopted, but implementation of that reform was a slow process. Shortly after the revolution, libraries were emptied of their communist writings and these were burned in the streets. This, of course, left the system with a need for newer, reform oriented booksa process that would take some time. In fact, Rabitte (2001) tells us that it took until 1992 for democratic reform textbooks to begin to show up in schools. Market reforms allowed several new publishing houses to open up and print books for the new national curriculum.

A great number of the qualified teachers in Romania during the immediate postrevolution were members of the communist intelligentsia and/or the communist party. Therefore, the implementation problem that existed in the postrevolution continued in a number of schools because new curricula had not been swiftly adopted and communist ideas remained among the teachers. One interesting reform allowed students the opportunity to dismiss teachers and professors that were not changing with society. In addition, all teachers who were active members of the communist party were forced to retire from teaching (Rabitte 2001).

One of the immediate reforms of education was to rid the country of socialist ideology classes. Religious education and other private schools began to emerge from socialism. Included in this was a growth of private universities. However, many of these schools were quite expensive for locals and the curricula were considered by some to be "fly by night." Many who graduated found that their degrees were not valuable in the market. As reform continued, there were improvements in the private universities and many became nationally accredited. Rabitte (2001) suggests that these institutions have improved greatly and have sunk much of their profits into internal, capital improvements.

State run universities and their curricula also came under reform. Reisz (1994) argues that the initial reform of universities in the 1990s was an expansion of academic freedom. These included a development of new disciplines by academics along with the fall of barriers to international information (e.g., by the Internet). In particular, reform toward a more open society included a new emphasis on business, and the arts and humanities in education. However, the new government in 1991 continued to promote the industrialization of Romania and technical education remained important. This meant deemphasizing fields such as health and education to fund industrial priorities. These implementation problems are of particular concern to rural areas that are underfunded and without good facilities and textbooks. Raisz (1994) argues that the early reform experiment of "absolute freedom" in curricular affairs was considered to be unsuccessful. Therefore, he suggests that academics in Romania have been held back by the Ministry of National Education and that this signals a return to more central control over education in Romania.

The Romanian curriculum also changed from an emphasis on memorization to an emphasis on critical thinking. International experts aided Romania with this transition in urban areas. However, this transition has been slower in the rural areas where teachers still follow the old teaching techniques. In higher education, Rabitte (2001) suggests that many university courses follow the American model of curriculum and testing. There was also a new emphasis on international education and international exchanges of both faculty and students.

Despite reform efforts since the 1989 revolution, many problems persist including what has been termed as "chaotic growth" (Smith 1995). Student enrollments increased from 164,505 in 1988-1989 to 256,690 in 1992-1993; the number of faculties tripled; and private universities grew to 73 by 1995. Along with this growth came a serious shortage of teachers. The number of teaching positions grew from 14,485 to 31,249 from 1989 to 1993. However, although the positions grew by 116 percent, the number of positions filled only grew by 64 percent. This becomes even more significant with the growth of student hours to 36-hour attendance weeks that are above other western schools.

Resources for education after the revolution improved overall and there was adoption of new curricula that was more democratic in focus. However, adoption does not mean implementation. The education system has been slow to change because efforts and budget priorities have focused on the construction of a market economy, a change in politics, and a continued emphasis on industrialization, technology, and business.

In 1990 Romania put forth objectives for educational reform. Wilson Barrett (1995-96) discusses the reform mission put forth in 1990 by Romania as a series of reforms that were in line with other national reforms (constitutional, political, economic, and social). The following objectives had priority. One was decentralization of educational administration by delegating responsibilities to inspectors and school principals; by increasing university autonomy and the accountability of education through a system of public responsibility for efficiency; and by creating boards to facilitate the participation of local officials, parents, trade, and industry. Other very important priorities included: modernization of education finance, reorganization of teacher training, restructuring of vocational and secondary technical schools, modification of curricula including books, and the abolition of the state monopoly over textbooks. Along with granting more autonomy, Romania also prioritized higher education reform to include academic evaluation, accreditation, and new financing systems. Finally, new government institutions were set up to implement education reform. These included the Department of Reform, Management, and Human Resources (under the Ministry of Education); the establishment of teacher centers in each county; regional managers of reform at the local level; a network of pilot schools organized by the Institute for Educational Services; the National Council for Educational Reform; and the National Council for Evaluation and Accreditation.

In a 1992 article, Dr. Gheorghe Stefan, the Minister of Education and Science recognized that early education reform in Romania necessitated building the "bones" of educational-legal foundations and that the "flesh" would be added later. Education reform in Romania is rather new and it will take time for reform goals to be adequately implemented in Romanian society. There have been great changes that have occurred very quickly in Romanian political and economic life. Education reform has been no different and in the future there will be typical implementation problems that occur when a country experiences societal upheaval.


School Technology: School technology has been a real problem in the pre- and post-reform eras of education. In a 1992 multiple case study of technology in schools, Diamandi wrote about a case study of a school in Bucharest, Romania. In his introduction, Diamandi argues that Romanian education was still dominated by the informative rather than formative style of educating. Technology was one way of providing formative education in schools.

With the enormous growth of students and a lack of resources, Romania has had problems affording and introducing computing into the classroom. In 1984, Romania introduced computer use into the education system. This occurred once national production of personal computers began in Romania. The first introduction of computers to the classroom consisted of: 1) the introduction of elementary computing within mathematics that included informatics and BASIC programming; 2) familiarizing the younger generation with new technologies through computer camps and special informatics classes (Again, BASIC was the primary language); and 3) research and financial support from government agencies to develop educational software and use of computers with pupils (Diamandi 1992). The central problem with these initiatives was the computer technology was not widely sold to the public and PC technology was quite expensive. Therefore, small school budgets and lack of a national program to introduce technology led to a very poor record of technology in schools.

To correct this, in 1985 the Ministry of Education endowed a number of secondary schools with Sinclair-Spectrum compatible computers. This endowment led to the production of other Sinclair-Spectrum compatible systems and spurred a market in Romania. However, Diamandi (1992) points out that these systems were inadequate because of shortcomings such as a nonstandard operating mode, small internal memory capacity, and external data storage via tape.

Because of these issues, computer use was hard to integrate into the curriculum in the late 1980s in part because of poor hardware and because of the overuse of older languages such as BASIC.

The state of technology in 1992 was also problematic. Technology was integrated in the schools in a "top-down" fashion from secondary schools down to primary and elementary schools. These latter schools were not the priority schools and they did not obtain adequate technology (Diamandi 1992). Even at the secondary level, computing technology was a priority in the "Informatics Secondary Schools" and those that emphasized math. Another problem at all school levels is that technology was integrated into the curricula by local teachers that were poorly trained in computer use and instruction. Finally, there were problems in obtaining software for computing. Despite this, however, Diamandi argues that the computer skills of young people have made remarkable progress.

Some changes by the Institute for Computers (ITC) have been to project the requirements for producing hardware and software in Romania. In addition, since 1984, the ITC has fostered research on technology in schools that includes the testing of computers used in the schools and developing applications for the classroom. They have also researched and created courses for computing. Finally, there has been ongoing research that is based in schools with respect to integration of computing into the classroom.

In the late 1990s, the Ministry of National Education brought forth a new commitment to technology in Romanian schools in its creation of the Program for the Implementing of Information and Communications Technologies in Pre-University Education (Information and Communication Technology in Romanian Education System 2001). The core emphases of this program are to integrate technology into a national curriculum, train teachers in information and communication technology, provide computer technology to schools, and create partnerships with business and other organizations (e.g., NGOs and charities).


Education Rights: Every Romanian citizen is afforded a right to an education and that right extends to social class, sex, political affiliation, religion, and any other possible injury to human rights (The Education System in Romania 2001). Education is compulsory for eight years and access to education at all levels is open and free to citizens. The state also provides financial support to pupils that obtain very good grades and/or that prove special abilities in their field.

Education is provided in the Romanian language at all levels. However, given the past educational policies aimed at Hungarians, Romania provides the right for national minorities to be educated in their native tongue. Romanian education now consists of both public and private alternatives.

The education structure consists of preschool education (three levels of small, intermediate, and big); primer education grades (grades 1-4); secondary education with two levels (secondary school: grades 5-8; high school: grades 9-12); intermediary education (post-high school); and higher education (graduate and postgraduate).


Preprimary & Primary Education

The early stages of schooling in Romania include preschool education and primer education (The Educational System in Romania 2001). Preschool education usually includes children between the ages of three and seven. There are three levels of students, which are small, intermediate, and big. Education is developed in kindergarten with a normal, prolonged, and intermediate program. Education at this level is not compulsory and is typically positively correlated with income and social class (Romanian Educational System 2000). The last year of preprimary school is the "school preparatory group," which is used to prepare students for primary education.

Data from the National Institute for Education indicate that just below 65 percent of three to six-year olds attended preprimary schools in 1998/1999. This has increased by about two percent compared to 1997/1998, but is still a large decrease from the 80 percent figure in 1989/1990 (Romanian Educational System 2000). Of those students who are not enrolled, most are poor, minority, have parents with low education levels, and live in areas where there are few museums and other supplementary educational opportunities. This presents a real problem that such students will be underprepared for school and that they will remain in poverty.

Preprimary education is not compulsory, classes are coed, and classes are organized according to age based on a national syllabus. There are, however, no nationally approved textbooks and education at this level generally varies by locality. Locals have more freedom to put together educational programs at this level.


Compulsory Education: Compulsory education traditionally consists of four years of primary education and four years of lower secondary education or middle school (Romanian Educational System 2000). Students typically enter primary school at the age of seven, but may enter at age six if they are mentally capable. Students may leave secondary education at the age of 16 if they are not able to complete the educational requirements. In 1999, an education law changed the duration of compulsory education from eight to nine years.

Educational reforms in Romania have focused on changing the curriculum and books for compulsory education in grades one through eight as well as in high school through grades 12. As of 1999/2000, primary school education adopted alternative texts, but grades 4 through 12 had not. (Romanian Educational System 2000.) Assessment procedures have also begun in primary education. Teachers continuously assess primary school students throughout the curriculum. Regular school examinations are given and focus on the basic subjects of the curriculum. No examination is given at the end of the four-year primary cycle as it is at the higher levels of education.


Secondary Education

Secondary education in Romania is made up of secondary schools, which house students from the fifth through the eighth form, and high schools that educate students from the ninth form through the twelfth form. In each level of education, students graduate or pass with the passing of an "ability" or "leaving" examination. The first form of secondary school is lower secondary school and it is compulsory. Upper secondary school is not compulsory.


Lower Secondary School: The secondary school is typically found in schools that run through the eighth form or the twelfth form (The Educational System in Romania 2001). The ability examination for secondary schools is formed from a methodology produced by the Ministry of Education. Students are assessed regularly in their classrooms by examination. At the end of the eighth grade, students are given an ability exam. Students are tested in Romanian language and literature, mathematics, Romanian history, and Romanian geography. Students that do not pass the ability exam do not continue their studies in high school, but they can be given a grades certificate upon request. Eighth form graduates or vocational school graduates who earn an ability certificate can sign up to continue their education in high school.

Participation rates among the lower secondary age group (11 to 14 years old) have increased substantially (Romanian Educational System 2000). After a decline from 86.1 percent in 1992/93 to 84.6 percent in 1994/95, participation rates increased to 94.3 percent in 1996/97. The participation rate slipped a little in 1998/99, but still remained very high at 92.75 percent.

Dropping out of compulsory education is viewed to be a problem in Romania and the government has taken some action to promote student entry and reentry into school. The dropout rate in the 1990s ranged from 0.6 percent to 1 percent. High dropout rates were typically associated with truancy, excessive absences, and failure to be promoted to the next grade. Dropout rates were higher in rural areas than in urban areas and were even higher among some particularly disadvantaged or less affluent rural areas. Starting with the school year 1998/1999 actions were taken by the Ministry of Education to reduce the dropout rate of students in compulsory education. These actions included a program to make sure that students had the skills to obtain the next grade level and a World Bank sponsored program that focused on improving rural education.


High School: Entry into high school requires passing an admissions exam. High school education is offered from the ninth to twelfth forms during day school or from the ninth through thirteenth forms in night school or distance education (The Educational System in Romania 2001). There is an age limit of 16 for students who enter day school, but the night high school is open to any student who graduates the eighth form. Restrictions are tighter for "normal schools" and theological seminaries that require an age limit of 16, a test average of seven points or higher on the ability exam, and a record of good behavior. Romanians who have studied abroad can take the high school admissions exam after they pass the "difference exams" offered and established by the Ministry of National Education.

There are three primary options for upper secondary schooling (Romanian Educational System 2000). The first is an academic option that consists of lyceu (four- or five-year high schools). The second option is scoala professionala or vocational school, that consists of two-, three, or four-year options. Finally, there are scoala de ucenici, or apprentice schools, that have one-, two-, or three-year programs. These schools are all typically taught in Romanian, but national minorities may form schools that teach in their own language (e.g., German or Hungarian).

Public secondary school tuition is free and so are the textbooks (Romanian Educational System, 2000). As of 1999, there were almost 1,300 high schools, of which most were public. There has been an increase in recent years in the number of private schools since the fall of communist Romania.

High school curricula are generally focused in three areas, but this may vary by the type of upper secondary school. These orientations are 1) theoretical training (e.g., hard sciences and humanities); 2) technological training (e.g., technical, services, and natural resources and environment); and 3) aptitude based (e.g., sports, artistic, military, and theological) (Romanian Educational System 2000).

Upper secondary school is based primarily on examination, but access to education at this level is an important consideration of government. Access is considered fairly tough for rural students. In the 1998/1999 school year, "of the total number of 1,315 upper secondary institutions, 84.5 percent were located in urban areas, and about 93.7 percent of the total number of pupils were enrolled in these institutions" (Romanian Educational System 2000).

The education participation rates in upper secondary schools of the average 15- to 19-years-old, are about 65 percent. One of the reasons for such low participation rates is the presence of admission exams. An additional reason may be the lack of such schools in rural areas.


Upper Secondary Admission Exam: Admission exams are required for entry into high school and also determine the type of high school a student can enter (The Educational System in Romania 2001). It's a written exam and covers Romanian language and literature (for all applicants), maternal language and literature (for national minority applicants), and mathematics (for all applicants). Those who wish to enter bilingual or special schools such as sports, marine studies, forestry, technical drawing for decorating, normal schools, and orthodox seminaries must pass special tests. These special tests are taken before the general admissions exams. If rejected by a low score on a special test, a student may still take the admissions exam to enter other high schools.

Upon passing the admissions exam or special exams, students may attend a wide variety of high schools. Two important types of high schools are theoretical high schools with concentrations on the sciences or humanities, and industrial schools, which prepare students in engineering and other industrial work. Other high schools include agricultural, forestry, economics, informatics, metallurgical, normal, arts, sports, military, the High School of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and orthodox theological seminaries (The Educational System in Romania 2001).

In order to graduate from high school, a student must pass a series of "leaving" exams. These typically consist of five exams of which three are written and two are colloquies (The Educational System in Romania 2001). In all high schools, a student must pass the written exam and colloquy in Romanian language and literature. After graduation, a student can apply for work according to their education or can continue their education at the post-high school or higher educational level.

Post-high school education is more specialized and is organized by the Ministry of National Education (The Educational System in Romania 2001). These schools are created by the initiative of the Ministry or upon the request of companies or other institutions. Admission to post-high schools consists of an admission exam, which can be taken whether a student is a high school graduate or not. The only exception is admission to medical school, which requires passage of the high school leaving exam. Post-high school is typically one to three years in length and is completed by passing a leaving exam. Passing of the exam earns the student the right to obtain a skills certificate. The exam can usually be taken two more times within three years of the last courses.

Postsecondary schools are divided into two types: post-high schools and foreman schools. Each type provides advanced training for an educated, vocational workforce. Foreman schools are more like "on the job" training for jobs in industry and technology (Romanian Education System 2000). The post-high schools provide more specialized training in technological work as well as nontechnological careers. Post-high school provides education in technics and services such as environmental and resource jobs, assistants in administration, and personnel for banks.


Special Education: Special education exists for children with deficiencies and disabilities in order to prepare and integrate them into society. There is a special education network that exists at all levels of schools including preprimary, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, and postsecondary schools (Romanian Education System 2000).

The program's goal is for public school attendance of every child with learning or development problems along with "making available the necessary psychopedagogical and specialized assistance." The program is aimed at integrating children into society. The program works to make communities aware of special education students so that they can be placed. In the 1999/2000 school year, eight counties were included in the integration program and in 2000/2001 the program was to be operational throughout Romania. The Ministry of National Education is cooperating in this program with UNICEF.


Higher Education


Since the revolution in 1989, scholars report that higher education has grown dramatically in both enrollments and numbers of institutions (Eismon et al. 1999). Enrollments have particularly grown in the fields of the social sciences. This is due, in part, to an ideological shift in education from technical, scientific, and industrial education since the fall of socialism. Part of the growth of institutions has been found in an exponential increase in the number of private colleges and universities. With this increase in demand for education, Eismon and his colleagues report that there have been difficulties with finding resources for higher education. In addition, the growth of private education, coupled with a lack of qualified teachers, has led to concerns about the quality of these institutions. Therefore, there have been a number of reforms instituted by the Ministry of Education and other national councils for higher education.

As of 1998/1999, there were 58 private higher education institutions and 54 state universities operating in Romania. As to participation, Romania ranked poorly in Europe being "last but two in Europe in 1994/1995, with only 1,483 students per 100,000 inhabitants" (Romanian Education System 2000). In 2000, Romania registered a rate of 1,990 students per 100,000.


Structure: Higher education is organized into universities, colleges, academies, faculties, conservatories, and other postsecondary vocational institutes. Higher education is primarily structured into graduate education and postgraduate education (The Educational System in Romania 2001).


Graduate Education: Graduate education is broken into types: short and long duration. Short duration education is found in colleges and generally takes from two to three years. Colleges are usually organized in parallel to the long duration form and their mission is to prepare executive specialists for business careers and others. Long duration graduate education is found in universities, institutes, academies, conservatories, and faculties. This education is generally four to six years in length and prepares students for employment as higher executives and specialists.

Graduate classes are generally offered in the day, evening, and by distance learning. Students who wish to study in a public or private institution of this sort must take an admission exam and have a high school leaving certificate (The Educational System in Romania 2001). This exam consists of several written exams on a variety of subjects and will often fit the specialization of the institution. Graduate education studies are generally completed with a "license" exam, which includes a series of written exams and a paper or project.


Postgraduate Education: Postgraduate education is designed to provide training in more specialized fields and is typically done through further education studies, postgraduate, postgraduate academic studies, and specialization studies and courses (The Educational System in Romania 2001). Access to postgraduate training is typically through an admission exam for further education, postgraduate, and postgraduate academic studies. Further education studies is typically one to three years in duration and after graduating, students obtain a "master" or "magister" diploma. Students may take several masters simultaneously or successively. A student may be granted a scholarship for only one master studies.

The postgraduate (PG) is the highest form of scientific professional education in Romania. The duration of PG is typically four years for day courses and about six years if studying through distance learning. The postgraduate education is coordinated by two graduate school advisors. These advisors can both be from Romania or one may be from a foreign county. The Ministry of National Education approves foreign coordinators and approves any decisions for the study to be in a foreign language.

PG programs typically begin with two years (four years distance) of preparation for gathering material, data, and other studies. The thesis preparation is generally another two to four years depending upon whether or not the student is studying by distance.

Students enter the PG on an admission exam and most students who qualify can obtain a variety of scholarships for study including Praiseworthy, Study, and Social Support. Social support scholarships are typically awarded to students who are orphans or who have financial or medical deficiencies. The other scholarships are based on testing and on the basis of prizes won in international competition.


Postsecondary Vocational Institutes: Students who fail to gain entrance to a public university or who cannot afford entry into private universities typically attend postsecondary vocational institutes (Eismon et al. 1999). Postsecondary training typically ranges from one to three years in duration. By 1993, Eismon and his colleagues report that over 420 vocational institutes existed in Romaniaup from 161 in 1990-1991. These institutes are typically attached to secondary schools and train students in teaching, technical training, tourism, and business administration.


Growth of Higher Education after Reform: Higher education has grown dramatically since the fall of Romanian communism in 1989. Higher education participation rates have doubled and about 20 percent of college aged students are enrolled in public or private institutions (Eismon et al. 1999). The 1993 enrollment statistics for vocational students were 37,000, which was an increase from only 18,000 students in 1990-1991. However, Eismon and his colleagues also report that the number of entering students is declining as opportunities for university spots grow. In public higher education, enrollments grew from 164,507 in 1989-1990 to over 240,000 in 1992-1993. The number of institutions grew in this same period from 44 to 56.

There have also been great shifts in enrollments based on field of study. Because higher education used to be focused primarily on technical and scientific training, reform has brought an increase in study in new fields. Enrollments have shifted away from science and engineering toward business, law, and the social sciences (Eismon et al. 1999). From 1980-1990 to 1992-1993, Eismon and colleagues reported a drop in engineering enrollment from 65 percent to 38 percent. On the other hand, study in the arts tripled from one percent to three percent, sciences, social sciences, and humanities increased from 10 percent to 25 percent, and economics increased from 9 percent to 20 percent in the same time period.

With these changes in enrollments, there has been a severe problem with resource allocation and with staffing. Although the overall student to faculty ratio changed very little, the shift of enrollments to other disciplines led to real staffing problems. For example, as economics and business enrollments doubled, the number of staff members in the field remained constant (Eismon et al. 1999).


Reform of Higher Education in Postcommunism: Early reforms in higher education after 1989 included changes to public universities. Public universities amended their charters, declared themselves politically autonomous, adopted participatory governance in administration, and purged the Ceausescuappointees (Eismon et al. 1999). Admissions constraints were lifted at most universities and the strong attachment to the central state was minimized. Finally, a very large number of private universities formed and began graduating students.

With the enormous growth of higher education, there have been problems with a dearth of instructional resources, a lack of full-time staff, and diversity in educational training. In response to these and other problems, there were reforms in the early 1990s and the Ministry of National Education adopted a strategy of higher education reform in 1994. This strategy, according to Eismon (1999) and his colleagues is now being implemented in the country. This strategy consisted of the establishment in 1994 of the National Council on Higher Education Financing that sought to find ways to diversify the financing of higher education (Eismon et al. 1999). A portion of the finance strategy was to improve efficiency by cutting instruction hours from 36 to 22-24 hours per week for undergraduates and from 24 to 12 hours for graduate students. As to budget reforms, in 1999 Romania began to move from financing its schools based on the amount of university inputs (staff, physical plant, administration) to a more competitive system based on students (Romanian Educational System 2000).

There were also severe staffing problems in public and private higher educational institutions. Staff shortages led to high employment opportunities, but many jobs were filled by young faculty without doctoral degrees. In most universities and colleges, there were heavy teaching loads that discouraged faculty research and development. Some of the reforms made in this area include an increase in the number of faculty that may supervise doctoral degrees (an increase of seven times from 1990 to 1992), the development of a differentiated higher education system by changing academic employment (e.g., promotion and tenure, changing faculty responsibilities), and changes in salary structure.

Diversity in higher educational opportunity was (and will likely continue to be) a real problem in Romania due in large part to the educational policies during the Ceausescu era. In prereform Romania, most of the higher educational opportunities were in technical fields and in the sciences. In postsecondary vocational education problems included unclear educational missions, overspecialized programs in technical fields, and poor articulation of their programs (Eismon et al. 1999). Among the problems in the PGs and other institutes is a shortage of professors. This has made it difficult to diversify the studiees in higher education. Among the government reforms in this area are: 1) encouraging the development of short and long-cycle courses; 2) the phaseout of many overspecialized undergraduate programs; 3) allowing multiple specialization in certificate and degree programs; and 4) establishing masters programs as a prerequisite to doctoral studies. These reforms, however, are thought to be contingent on the role of the state in allowing institutions more room to manage themselves and on reform in financing higher education. The growth of private universities as alternatives is also a hope of some scholars for diversity in the subject areas that are taught in higher education in Romania.

Finally, study abroad opportunities have increased as well in postreform Romania. Romanians living abroad and foreigners have access to all levels of education in Romania. Foreign applicants are regulated and handled by the International Relations Department of the Ministry of Education (The Educational System in Romania 2001). Students wishing admission are usually tested in a written or oral fashion and they start their studies by learning the Romanian language. Study abroad opportunities are numerous for Romanian citizens and are encouraged with scholarship support. These opportunities have increased with the advent of the European Union (EU) in such programs as ERASMUS, which offers opportunities for student and teacher mobility among European universities. In addition, the LINGUA program offers opportunities to study foreign languages within the EU. Finally, there is the TEMPUS program that is a trans-European program of cooperation in higher education. TEMPUS is designed to promote exchanges to promote economic and social reconstruction in Central and Eastern European countries (a program called PHARE) and to promote similar reconstruction in the new independent states of the former USSR (a program called TACIS).


Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

The Ministry of National Education (MoNE) is the chief national administrative agency for the Romanian education system. The MoNE is made up of seven general departments and 31 departments that have the general goals of controlling and coordinating the national education system, making educational policy, coordinating financial and human resources policy in education, and social protection through education (Ministry of National Education 2001). The primary departments include the Minister's Office, the General Secretariat, the State Secretariat for Pre-University Education, the State Secretariat for Higher Education, the State Secretariat for National Minorities, other Consultative Bodies Supporting the MoNE, and other Consultative Bodies Subordinated to the MoNE.

The Minister's Office has the primary responsibilities of administrative control and international relations on the education front. It has a mission of cooperating with other international states, of promoting the image of Romanian education internationally, and of achieving the recognition of diplomas and education awards in international settings.

The General Secretariat handles the primary administrative duties of public relations, record keeping, and information technology. There are three subordinate departments that fulfill each of these duties.

The State Secretariat of Pre-University Education has the responsibilities of primary and lower secondary education, upper secondary education, private and alternative schools at this level, and teaching equipment. Its functions include approving the national curriculum, approving national assessment, organizing and implementing the functions of these educational units, the duties of special education, administration of the school calendar, and approving textbooks and teacher equipment. Reporting to this department is the Human Resources General Department that administers the school network, sets up schools at this level, evaluates the schools on national standards, ensures staff and teacher mobility, and has responsibility for adult and continuing education.

The State Secretariat for Higher Education administers university education and administers the financial operations of the education system. Each of these responsibilities is housed in a separate department and the Secretariat also includes departments for the World Bank Higher Education Reform Project and the PHARE Reform Education Department. The General Department of Finance provides documentation for the budget bill for education and executes the budget. The Department of Higher Education and Scientific Research administers the higher education system in Romania, coordinates admission to higher education facilities, and promotes scientific research at the university level.

The State Secretariat for National Minorities has the function of ensuring education in the mother tongue of national minorities. This is an important reform in response to Romania's history of suppressing the education of minorities. Reporting to the Secretariat, are specific departments for the Hungarian and German minorities in Romania. In addition, the Secretariat houses the General Department of the Patrimony, which has the responsibilities of school physical plants and libraries.

There are also other legal institutions that include consultative bodies that support the MoNE and consultative bodies that report to the MoNE. Those that support the MoNE include a variety of National Councils with such issue agendas as research, reform of higher education, libraries, and lifelong learning. Those bodies reporting to the MoNE include a variety of councils and centers dedicated to numerous educational functions.


Nonformal Education

Evening schooling and distance learning, are offered in Romania as expanded educational opportunities. Evening schooling is offered in high school as well as in higher education. Although, with the reform era, there has been a decrease in enrollments. The percentage of evening students enrolled in higher education decreased from 36 percent to 19 percent from 1989 to 1992 (Eismon et al. 1999). This may, in part, be due to the fact that so many educational opportunities have opened in day schooling.

With distance learning it takes a few years longer to obtain a degree than it does attending day classes. However, distance learning has improved access to higher education for many Romanians and has provided opportunities for retraining of managers, engineers, teachers, physicians, and other professionals (Eismon et al. 1999). Distance learning enrollments in higher education have remained steady or slightly increased from six percent to seven percent from 1989 to 1992.


Teaching Profession

There has been a shortage of teachers at all levels in the Romanian education system. One of the reasons is the purging of educators after the revolution in 1989. However, other reasons are more practical, including the aging of the profession (Romanian Educational System 2000) lower salaries for teachers (Eismon et al. 1999), and the dramatic increase in enrollments (Smith 1995). Eismon and his colleagues (1999) mention that the teaching and medical sectors, which are public employees, are becoming less attractive because of the movement of individuals into business and the social sciences. Smith (1995) reports statistics showing that the number of teaching positions grew by 116 percent from 1989 to 1993.

At the university level, Eismon and his colleagues (1999) write that there have been severe shortages of professors and that the state has undertaken considerable reform efforts to staff higher education. These measures include placing more faculty in position to direct dissertations, a decrease in the research requirements of young faculty, and decreasing the qualifications for teaching from doctorates to masters degrees. In the interim, chronic staff shortages have led to the recruitment of many young faculty without doctorate degrees and these individuals are teaching large numbers of courses with little opportunity to do research. A number of reforms have been instituted that would make teaching at the university level more attractive. These reforms include attaching significance to rank between contract and tenured faculty, designing a credit system to relate rank and salary for staff, and developing a two-track promotion system for those who wish to teach and those who wish to teach and research.

One measure aimed at enhancing access to higher education is the transformation of pedagogical high schools into teacher training university colleges (Romanian Educational System 2000). One hope for this change is to attract more individuals into the teaching profession as well as decreasing the increased enrollment in other institutions. Of the primary education reforms that are often listed by education advocates, "reorganization of teacher training systems" is common (Barrett 1995-96).

Teachers and professor are also in position in the late 1990s to obtain additional training in computers and communication technology. The Ministry of National Education has instituted a number of reforms for this purpose and these include classes and seminars to train teachers in new computing skills and in designing curricula for the integration of computing into the classroom.


Summary

The Romanian education system, like its political system, has undergone enormous changes. Many of these changes include great advancements in human rights, which include the broadening of education to all levels of society. In particular, higher education enrollments have exploded, there has been a diversity of degrees sought, and there has been an explosion in private education and religious education at all levels. Also of importance is the real reform in allowing national minorities more access to education, including in the language of their mother tongue. Like prereform Romania, the literacy rate in the country is still a very high 98 percent.

However, despite these changes, reforms have also brought serious problems. Many of the reforms have been implemented too slowly. Although the law has changed, people have not. For example, the purging of Ceausescu era teachers has led to a real shortage in educators. Those who are left are older and young people are turning towards the professions of business rather than government employment, which pays less. The communist intelligentsia led to human rights violations, but it also gave great prominence to the education profession that may be losing ground in reform-minded Romania. Textbooks were also slow to change from the communist philosophy to newer market and democratic based textbooks. In addition, the explosion in higher education enrollments is also a problem in governing and accrediting the private institutions that have formed to meet the demand.

Finally, the disparity between urban and rural education is still evident and educational leaders have sought to reform this aspect of education as well. For example, one serious problem is the lack of educational advancement for those in poverty or in rural areas. For example, preprimary education generally is based on class and income and excludes the poor, minorities, and children from families with low education levels. This presents a problem for upward mobility and may necessitate reforms similar to the American "Head Start" program. There are also few supplementary educational facilities such as libraries and museums in impoverished areas.

Romania has undergone great changes and its education system is not an exception. It is, in fact, too soon to tell where reform will take the country in the realm of education. However, the structure of reform law is in place; the Ministry of National Education has dedicated time and resources to the problems in the country; and the formation of world partnerships will help this transition. The future of Romanian education looks quite bright, but the process is bound to be slow and the achievements will take time.


Bibliography

Barrett, Wilson. "Romania." European Education: A Journal of Translations 27 (Winter 1995/1996): 70-71.

Braham, Randolph L. Education in Romania: A Decade of Change. Washington, DC: United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1972.

Diamandi, Ion. "An Information Technology School Project in Romania." In Technology Enriched Schools: Nine Case Studies with Reflections. ed. Betty Collis and Gerrit Carleer, 77-86. Eugene, Oregon: International Society for Technology in Education, 1992.

"The Educational System in Romania." January, 2001. Available from http://www.un.int.

Eismon, Thomas Owen, Ioan Mihailescu, Lazar Vlasceanu, Catalin Zamfir, John Sheehan and Charles H. Davis. "Higher Education Reform in Romania." European Education 31 (Summer 1999): 39-62.

Gallagher, Tom. Romania After Ceausescu. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press, 1995.

"Information and Communication Technology in Romanian Education System." March 2001. Available from http://www.edu.ro.

Rabitte, Sonya. "Education: Overview." January, 2001. Available from http://www.russia.cz.

Reisz, Robert D. "Curricular Patterns Before and After the Romanian Revolution." European Journal of Education 29 (3) 1994): 281-290.

"Romanian Educational System." June, 2000. Available from http://www.edu.ro.

"Romania: Language, Education, and Cultural History." February 2001. Available from http://lcweb2.loc.gov/.

Seton-Watson, R. W. History of the Romanians. Hawder, CT: Archon Books, 1963.

Shafir, Michael. Romania: Politics, Economics, and Society. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1985.

Smith, Kevin. "A Romanian Renaissance." The London Times. Higher Education Supplement 1178 (June 2, 1995): 10.

Stefan, Gheorhe. "Educational Strategy, Reform and Law in Romania." Journal of Education Finance 17 (Winter 1992): 64-69.

United States Department of State. "Background Notes: Romania." July 2000. Available from http://www.state.gov.


Roger E. Hartley

views updated

ROMANIA

Compiled from the December 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Romania


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 237,499 sq. km. (91,699 sq. mi.); somewhat smaller than New York and Pennsylvania combined.

Cities: Capital—Bucharest (pop. 2.02 million). Other cities—Constanta (344,000), Iasi (350,000), Timisoara (327,000), Cluj-Napoca (334,000), Galati (331,000), Brasov (316,000).

Terrain: Consists mainly of rolling, fertile plains; hilly in the eastern regions of the middle Danube basin; and major mountain ranges running north and west in the center of the country, which collectively are known as the Carpathians.

Climate: Moderate.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Romanian(s).

Population: 21.7 million (March 2004).

Annual population growth rate: −0.3

Ethnic groups: Romanians 89%, Hungarians 7.1%, Germans 0.5%, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, Russians, Turks, and Roma 2.5%.

Religions: Orthodox 86.8%, Roman Catholic 5%, Reformed Protestant, Baptist, and Pentecostal 5%, Greek Catholic (Uniate) less than 1%, Jewish less than 0.1%.

Languages: Romanian (official). Other languages—Hungarian, German.

Education: Years compulsory—10. Attendance—98%. Literacy—98%.

Health: Infant mortality rate—18.7/1000 (2001); 18.6/1,000 (2002). Life expectancy—men 67.61 yrs., women 74.9 yrs.

Work force: 9 million (2001); 8.8 million (March 2004—40.7% of total population). Agriculture—2.39 million (March 2004); Industry and commerce—2.99 million (March 2004); Services—2.8 million (March 2004).

Government

Type: Republic.

Constitution: December 8, 1991, amended by referendum October 18-19, 2003.

Branches: Executive—president (head of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers. Legislative—bicameral Parliament. Judicial—Constitutional Court, High Court of Cassation and Justice, and lower courts.

Administrative subdivisions: 41 counties plus the city of Bucharest.

Political parties: Political parties represented in the Parliament are the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the National Liberal Party (PNL); the Democratic Party (PD); the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR); the Greater Romania Party (PRM). Other political parties include National Democratic Christian Peasant Party (PNTCD), the Romanian Humanist Party (PUR), the Party of the Romanian National Unity (PUNR), as well as political organizations of minorities.

Suffrage: Universal from age 18.

Defense: 2.4% of GDP.

Economy

GDP: $34.0 billion (1999); $36.7 billion (2000); $45.76 billion (2002); $56.9 billion (2003).

Annual GDP growth rate: −3.2% (1999); 1.8 (2000); 5.3% (2001); 4.9% (2002); 4.9% (2003); 6.6% (first half of 2004).

Per Capita GDP: $1,585 (1999); $1,645 (2000); $1,772.90 (2001); $2,120 (2002); $2,623 (2003).

Natural resources: Oil, timber, natural gas, coal, salt, iron ore.

Agriculture: Percent of GDP—11.4% (2000); 13.2% (2001); 11.3% (2002); 11.7% (2003). Products—corn, wheat, potatoes, oilseeds, vegetables, livestock, fish, and forestry.

Industry: Percent of GDP—27.6% (2000); 28.2% (2001); 28.3% (2002); 28.4% (2003). Types—machine building, mining, construction materials, metal production and processing, chemicals, food processing, textiles, clothing. Industrial output increased by 3.2% from 2002 to 2003.

Services: Percent of GDP—60.9% (2000); 44% (2001); 44.7% (2002); 43.7 (2003).

Construction: Percent of GDP—4.9% (2001); 5.6% (2002; 5.7% (2003)).

Trade: Exports—$10.4 billion (2000); $11.46 billion (2001); $13.87 billion (2002); $17.61 billion (2003); $14.96 billion (first eight months of 2004). Types—textiles, chemicals, light manufactures, wood products, fuels, processed metals. Major markets—Italy, Germany, France, U.K., U.S. (3.5%), Turkey. Exports to the U.S.: $490.7 million (2001); $535.3 million (2002); $689.4 million (2003); $389.2 million (first eight months of 2004). Imports—$15.5 billion (2001); $17.96 billion (2002); $24 billion (2003); $19.95 billion (first eight months of 2004). Types—fuel, coking coal, iron ore, machinery and equipment, and mineral products. Major suppliers—Italy, Germany, Russia, France, Turkey, Hungary, Austria, U.K., China and U.S. (2.3% in 2003). Imports from the U.S.: $357.1 million (2001); $597.8 million (2002); $616.3 million (2003); $565.4 million (first eight months of 2004).

Exchange rate: 33,500 lei=US$1 (December 2002); 33,016 lei=US$1 (June 2003); 32,595 lei=US$1 (December 2003); 32,076 lei=US$1 (October 2004).


GEOGRAPHY

Extending inland halfway across the Balkan Peninsula and covering a large elliptical area of 237,499 square kilometers (91,699 sq. mi.), Romania occupies the greater part of the lower basin of the Danube River system and the hilly eastern regions of the middle Danube basin. It lies on either side of the mountain systems collectively known as the Carpathians, which form the natural barrier between the two Danube basins.

Romania's location gives it a continental climate, particularly in Moldavia and Wallachia (geographic areas respectively east of the Carpathians and south of the Transylvanian Alps) and to a lesser extent in centrally located Transylvania, where the climate is more moderate. A long and at times severe winter (December-March), a hot summer (April-July), and a prolonged autumn (August-November) are the principal seasons, with a rapid transition from spring to summer. In Bucharest, the daily minimum temperature in January averages −7ºC (20ºF), and the daily maximum temperature in July averages 29ºC (85ºF).


PEOPLE

About 89% of the people are ethnic Romanians, a group that—in contrast to its Slav or Hungarian neighbors—traces itself to Latin-speaking Romans, who in the second and third centuries A.D. conquered and settled among the ancient Dacians, a Thracian people. As a result, the Romanian language, although containing elements of Slavic, Turkish, and other languages, is a romance language related to French and Italian.

Hungarians and Roma are the principal minorities, with a declining German population and smaller numbers of Serbs, Croats, Ukrainians, Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Great Russians, and others. Minority populations are greatest in Transylvania and the Banat, areas in the north and west, which belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until World War I. Even before union with Romania, ethnic Romanians comprised the overall majority in Transylvania. However, ethnic Hungarians and Germans were the dominant urban population until relatively recently, and ethnic Hungarians still are the majority in a few districts.

Before World War II, minorities represented more than 28% of the total population. During the war that percentage was halved, largely by the loss of the border areas of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina (to the former Soviet Union—now Moldova and a portion of south-west Ukraine) and southern Dobrudja (to Bulgaria), as well as by the postwar flight or deportation of ethnic Germans. In the last several decades, more than two-thirds of the remaining ethnic Germans in Romania emigrated to Germany.

Romanian troops during World War II participated in the destruction of the Jewish communities of Bessarabia and Transnistria (both now comprising the independent Republic of Moldova) and Bukovina (now part of Ukraine). Although subjected to harsh persecution, including government-sanctioned pogroms and killings, most Jews from the territory now comprising Romania survived the Holocaust. Mass emigration, mostly to Israel, has reduced the surviving Jewish community from over 300,000 to less than 10,000.

Religious affiliation tends to follow ethnic lines, with most ethnic Romanians identifying with the Romanian Orthodox Church. Also ethnically Romanian is the Greek Catholic or Uniate church, reunified with the Orthodox Church by fiat in 1948, and restored after the 1989 revolution. The 2002 census indicates that less than 1% of the population is Greek Catholic, as opposed to about 10% prior to 1948. Roman Catholics, largely ethnic Hungarians and Germans, constitute about 5% of the population; Calvinists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Lutherans make up another 5%. There are smaller numbers of Unitarians, Muslims, and other religions.

Romania's rich cultural traditions have been nourished by many sources, some of which predate the Roman occupation. The traditional folk arts, including dance, music, wood-carving, ceramics, weaving and embroidery of costumes and household decorations still flourish in many parts of the country. Despite strong Austrian, German, and especially French influence, many of Romania's great artists, such as the painter Nicolae Grigorescu, the poet Mihai Eminescu, the composer George Enescu, and the sculptor Constantin Brancusi, drew their inspiration from Romanian folk traditions.

The country's many Orthodox monasteries, as well as the Transylvanian Catholic and Evangelical Churches, some of which date back to the 13th century, are repositories of artistic treasures. The famous painted monasteries of Bukovina make an

important contribution to European architecture. Poetry and the theater play an important role in contemporary Romanian life. Classic Romanian plays, such as those of Ion Luca Caragiale, as well as works by modern or avant-garde Romanian and international playwrights, find sophisticated and enthusiastic audiences in the many theaters of the capital and of the smaller cities.


HISTORY

Since about 200 B.C., when it was settled by the Dacians, a Thracian tribe, Romania has been in the path of a series of migrations and conquests. Under the emperor Trajan early in the second century A.D., Dacia was incorporated into the Roman Empire, but was abandoned by a declining Rome less than two centuries later. Romania disappeared from recorded history for hundreds of years, to reemerge in the medieval period as the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Heavily taxed and badly administered under the Ottoman Empire, the two Principalities were unified under a single native prince in 1859, and had their full independence ratified in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. A German prince, Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was crowned first King of Romania in 1881.

The new state, squeezed between the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, looked to the West, particularly France, for its cultural, educational, and administrative models. Romania was an ally of the Entente and the U.S. in World War I, and was granted substantial territories with Romanian populations, notably Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina, after the war.

Most of Romania's pre-World War II governments maintained the forms, but not always the substance, of a liberal constitutional monarchy. The fascist Iron Guard movement, exploiting a quasi-mystical nationalism, fear of communism, and resentment of alleged foreign and Jewish domination of the economy, was a key destabilizing factor, which led to the creation of a royal dictatorship in 1938 under King Carol II. In 1940, the authoritarian General Antonescu took control. Romania entered World War II on the side of the Axis Powers in June 1941, invading the Soviet Union to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina, which had been annexed in 1940.

In August 1944, a coup led by King Michael, with support from opposition politicians and the army, deposed the Antonescu dictatorship and put Romania's battered armies on the side of the Allies. Romania incurred additional heavy casualties fighting alongside the Soviet Union against the Germans in Transylvania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

A peace treaty, signed in Paris on February 10, 1947, confirmed the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, but restored the part of northern Transylvania granted to Hungary in 1940 by Hitler. The treaty also required massive war reparations by Romania to the Soviet Union, whose occupying forces left in 1958.

The Soviets pressed for inclusion of Romania's heretofore negligible Communist Party in the post-war government, while non-communist political leaders were steadily eliminated from political life. King Michael abdicated under pressure in December 1947, when the Romanian People's Republic was declared, and went into exile.

By the late 1950s, Romania's communist government began to assert some independence from the Soviet Union. Nicolae Ceausescu became head of the Communist Party in 1965 and head of state in 1967. Ceausescu's denunciation of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and a brief relaxation in internal repression helped give him a positive image both at home and in the West. Seduced by Ceausescu's "independent" foreign policy, Western leaders were slow to turn against a regime that, by the late 1970s, had become increasingly harsh, arbitrary, and capricious. Rapid economic growth fueled by foreign credits gradually gave way to economic autarchy accompanied by wrenching austerity and severe political repression.

After the collapse of communism in the rest of Eastern Europe in the late summer and fall of 1989, a mid-December protest in Timisoara against the forced relocation of an ethnic Hungarian pastor grew into a country-wide protest against the Ceausescu regime, sweeping the dictator from power. Ceausescu and his wife were executed on December 25, 1989, after a cursory military trial. About 1,500 people were killed in confused street fighting. An impromptu governing coalition, the National Salvation Front (FSN), installed itself and proclaimed the restoration of democracy and freedom. The Communist Party was dissolved and its assets transferred to the state. Ceausescu's most unpopular measures, such as bans on private commercial entities and independent political activity, were repealed.

Ion Iliescu, a former Communist Party official demoted by Ceausescu in the 1970s, emerged as the leader of the NSF. Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on May 20, 1990. Running against representatives of the pre-war National Peasants' Party and National Liberal Party, Iliescu won 85% of the vote. The NSF captured two-thirds of the seats in Parliament, and named a university professor, Petre Roman, as Prime Minister. The new government began cautious free market reforms such as opening the economy to consumer imports and establishing the independence of the National Bank. Romania has made great progress in institutionalizing democratic principles, civil liberties, and respect for human rights since the revolution. Nevertheless, the legacy of 44 years of communist rule cannot quickly be eliminated. Membership in the Romanian Communist Party was usually the prerequisite for higher education, foreign travel, or a good job, while the extensive internal security apparatus subverted normal social and political relations. To the few active dissidents, who suffered gravely under Ceausescu and his predecessors, many of those who came forward as politicians after the revolution seemed tainted by association with the previous regime.

Over 200 new political parties sprang up after 1989, gravitating around personalities rather than programs. All major parties espoused democracy and market reforms, but the governing National Salvation Front proposed slower, more cautious economic reforms. In contrast, the opposition's main parties, the National Liberal Party (PNL), and the National Peasant-Christian Democrat Party (PNTCD) favored quick, sweeping reforms, immediate privatization, and reducing the role of the ex-communist elite.

In the 1990 general elections, the FSN and its candidate for presidency, Ion Iliescu, won with a large majority of the votes (66.31% and 85.07%, respectively). The strongest parties in opposition were the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), with 7.23%, and the PNL, with 6.41%.

Unhappy at the continued political and economic influence of members of the Ceausescu-era elite, anti-communist protesters camped in University Square in April 1990. When miners from the Jiu Valley descended on Bucharest two months later and brutally dispersed the remaining "hooligans," President Iliescu expressed public thanks, thus convincing many that the government had sponsored the miners' actions. The miners also attacked the headquarters and houses of opposition leaders. The Roman government fell in late September 1991, when the miners returned to Bucharest to demand higher salaries and better living conditions. Theodor Stolojan was appointed to head an interim government until new elections could be held.

Parliament drafted a new democratic constitution, approved by popular referendum in December 1991. The FSN split into two groups, led by Ion Iliescu (FDSN) and Petre Roman (FSN) in March 1992; Roman's party subsequently adopted the name Democratic Party (PD). National elections in September 1992 returned President Iliescu by a clear majority, and gave his party, the FDSN, a plurality. With parliamentary support from the nationalist PUNR and PRM parties, and the ex-communist PSM party, a technocratic government was formed in November 1992 under Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, an economist. The FDSN became the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR) in July 1993. The Vacaroiu government ruled in coalition with three smaller parties, all of which abandoned the coalition by the time of the November 1996 elections.

The 1992 elections revealed a continuing political cleavage between major urban centers and the countryside. Rural voters, who were grateful for the restoration of most agricultural land to farmers but fearful of change, strongly favored President Ion Iliescu and the FDSN, while the urban electorate favored the CDR (a coalition made up by several parties—among which the PNTCD and the PNL were the strongest—and civic organizations) and quicker reform. Iliescu easily won reelection over a field of five other candidates. The FDSN won a plurality in both chambers of Parliament. With the CDR, the second-largest parliamentary group, reluctant to take part in a national unity coalition, the FDSN (now PDSR) formed a government under Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, with parliamentary support from the PUNR, PRM, and PSM. PRM and PSM left the government in October and December 1995, respectively.

The 1996 local elections demonstrated a major shift in the political orientation of the Romanian electorate. Opposition parties swept Bucharest and many of the larger cities. This trend continued in the national elections that same year, where the opposition dominated the cities and made steep inroads into rural areas theretofore dominated by President Iliescu and the PDSR, which lost many voters in their traditional strongholds outside Transylvania. The campaign of the opposition hammered away on the twin themes of the need to squelch corruption and to launch economic reform. The message resonated with the electorate, which swept Emil Constantinescu and parties allied to him to power in free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections. The coalition government formed in December 1996 took the historic step of inviting the UDMR and its Hungarian ethnic backers into government.

The coalition government retained power for four years despite constant internal frictions and three prime ministers, the last being the Governor of the National Bank, Mugur Isarescu. In elections in November 2000, the electorate punished the coalition parties for their corruption and failure to improve the standard of living. The PDSR (renamed PSD—Social Democratic Party at June 16, 2001 Congress) came back into power, albeit as a minority government. In the concurrent presidential elections, former President Ion Iliescu decisively defeated the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM) leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor. Tudor's party, however, gained the second largest number of seats in parliament.


GOVERNMENT

Romania's 1991 constitution proclaims Romania a democracy and market economy, in which human dignity, civic rights and freedoms, the unhindered development of human personality, justice, and political pluralism are supreme and guaranteed values. The constitution directs the state to implement free trade, protect the principle of competition, and provide a favorable framework for production. The constitution provides for a President, a Parliament, a Constitutional Court and a separate system of lower courts that includes a Supreme Court.

The two-chamber Parliament, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, is the law-making authority. Deputies and senators are elected for 4-year terms by universal suffrage. Elected officials at all levels of government, with the exception of the President and mayors, are selected on the basis of party lists, with parliamentary seats, city and county council representation, all allocated in proportion to party choices made by the electorate.

The president is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two 4-year terms. He is the Chief of State, charged with safeguarding the constitution, foreign affairs, and the proper functioning of public authorities. He is supreme commander of the armed forces and chairman of the Supreme Defense Council. According to the constitution, he acts as mediator among the power centers within the state, as well as between the state and society. The president nominates the prime minister, who in turn appoints the government, which must be confirmed by a vote of confidence from Parliament.

The Constitutional Court adjudicates the constitutionality of challenged laws and decrees. The court consists of nine judges, appointed for non-concurrent terms of 9 years. Three judges are appointed by the Chamber of Deputies, three by the Senate, and three by the president of Romania.

The Romanian legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code. The judiciary is to be independent, and judges appointed by the president are not removable. The president and other judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice are appointed for terms of 6 years and may serve consecutive terms. Proceedings are public, except in special circumstances provided for by law.

The Ministry of Justice represents "the general interests of society" and defends the legal order as well as citizens' rights and freedoms. The ministry is to discharge its powers through independent, impartial public prosecutors.

For territorial and administrative purposes, Romania is divided into 41 counties and the city of Bucharest. Each county is governed by an elected county council. Local councils and elected mayors are the public administration authorities in villages and towns. The county council is the public administration authority that coordinates the activities of all village and town councils in a county.

The central government appoints a prefect for each county and the Bucharest municipality. The prefect is the representative of the central government at the local level and directs any public services of the ministries and other central agencies at the county level. A prefect may block the action of a local authority if he deems it unlawful or unconstitutional. The matter is then decided by an administrative court.

Under legislation in force since January 1999, local councils have control over spending of their allocations from the central government budget, as well as authority to raise additional revenue locally.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 1/26/05

President: Traian BASESCU
Prime Minister: Calin Popescu TARICEANU
Dep. Prime Min. for Business & Small & Medium Enterprises: George COPOS
Dep. Prime Min. for Culture, Education, & European Integration: Bela MARKO
Dep. Prime Min. for Economic Activities: Adrean VIDEANU
Min. of Administration & Interior: Vasile BLAGA
Min. of Agriculture, Forests, & Rural Development: Gheorghe FLUTOR
Min. of Communication & Information Technology: Szolt NAGY
Min. of Culture: Mona MUSCA
Min. of Defense: Teodor ATANASIU
Min. of Economy & Trade: Codrut SERES
Min. of Education, Youth, & Research: Mircea MIRCLEA
Min. of Environment & Water Resources: Sulfina BARBU
Min. of European Integration: Ene DINGA
Min. of Finance: Ionut POPESCU
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Mihai Razvan UNGUREANU
Min. of Government Coordination: Mihai VOICU
Min. of Health: Mircea CINTEZA
Min. of Justice: Monica MACOVEI
Min. of Labor, Social Solidarity, & Family: Gheorghe BARBU
Min. of Transport, Construction, & Tourism: Gheorghe DOBRE
Min. Del. & EU Chief Negotiator: Ludovic ORBAN
Min. Del. for Coordination of Control Activities: Min. Del. for Implementation of International Funds: Christian DAVID
Min. Del. for Parliament: Bogdan OLTEANU
Min. Del. for Public Administration: Lazlo BORBELY
Min. Del. for Trade: Iuliu WINCLER
Gov., Romanian National Bank: Mugur ISARESCU
Ambassador to the US: Sorin Dumitru DUCARU
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Mihnea MOTOC

Romania maintains an embassy in the United States at 1607 23rd St., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-232-3694, fax: 202-232-4748).


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Adrian Nastase, serving as Prime Minister for the Social Democratic (PSD) government that came into power in 2000, early concluded an agreement with the ethnic Hungarian party (UDMR) that gave the PSD a de facto majority in parliament. In return, the UDMR obtained some of its longstanding goals of greater use of the Hungarian language in cities and counties where Hungarians were a majority or sizable minority; increased use of Hungarian in schools, including the reestablishment of some high schools as all-Hungarian language schools; and restitution of many Hungarian church properties.

The government also introduced new protections for Roma, including the establishment of an ethnic Roma advisor in prefect offices. The Government of Romania also tackled the thorny issue of restitution of property, both private and communal. Legislation has been passed that should eventually result in the return of all church property seized in the communist era. A law on the restitution of property that belonged to ethnic groups also was adopted. Still unresolved is the return of Greco-Catholic churches, which were given to the Romanian Orthodox Church by the communist regime. The Nastase government also made some progress on several rule of law and human rights issues. Steps taken in law enforcement include an anti-corruption office; judicial reform efforts; a political party financing law; a human trafficking law. On human rights, the Government of Romania repealed communist-era legislation criminalizing homosexual acts and banned xenophobic and racist groups and their activities. In October 2003 citizens voted in favor of major amendments to the Constitution in a nationwide referendum to bring Romania's organic law into compliance with European Union standards. Romania continued to make progress in consolidating democratic institutions. The press is free and outspoken, although there have been some recent incidents of violence against journalists. Independent radio networks have proliferated, and several private television networks now operate nationwide. In addition, a large number of local private television networks have emerged. However, financial pressures sometimes lead to self-censorship. Some broadcast and print media are reluctant to criticize a government that wields significant influence via its power to levy and collect taxes and through its role as a leading purchaser of advertising space. In September 2003, the two largest mainstream political parties – the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Democratic Party (PD) – forged an alliance at a national and local level. This led Romania closer to an electoral system dominated by two large political blocs: the governing center-left PSD and the opposition center-right PNL-PD alliance. PNLPD candidates gained key victories in June 2004 mayor and county/municipal council elections, but the alliance's overall electoral standing was roughly the same as that of the PSD. The UDMR, PRM, and the Romanian Humanist Party (PUR) continued to receive significant minority support.

Romania held Parliamentary and the first round of Presidential elections on November 28, 2004. In the December 12 presidential run-off election, Bucharest Mayor Traian Basescu, representing the center-right PNLPD alliance, delivered a surprise defeat to the PSD-PUR candidate, Prime Minister Adrian Nastase. The Romanian Parliament remains closely divided with both the PNL-PD alliance and the PSD-PUR alliance engaging in intense negotiations to forge a parliamentary majority. Although the extreme nationalist PRM won fewer seats than in the 2000 elections, it remains a significant political player. Parliament voted on a new center-right government led by Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu of the PNL-PD alliance on December 28.


ECONOMY

Romania is a country of considerable potential: rich agricultural lands; diverse energy sources (coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear); a substantial, if aging, industrial base encompassing almost the full range of manufacturing activities; an educated, well-trained work force; and opportunities for expanded development in tourism on the Black Sea and in the mountains.

The Romanian Government borrowed heavily from the West in the 1970s to build a substantial state-owned industrial base. Following the 1979 oil price shock and a debt rescheduling in 1981, Ceausescu decreed that Romania would no longer be subject to foreign creditors. By the end of 1989, Romania had paid off a foreign debt of about $10.5 billion through an unprecedented effort that wreaked havoc on the economy and living standards. Vital imports were slashed and food and fuel strictly rationed, while the government exported everything it could to earn hard currency. With investment slashed, Romania's infrastructure fell behind that of even its historically poorer Balkan neighbors.

Since the fall of the Ceausescu regime in 1989, successive governments have sought to build a Western-style market economy. The pace of restructuring has been slow, but by 1994 the legal basis for a market economy was largely in place. After the 1996 elections, the coalition government attempted to eliminate consumer subsidies, float prices, liberalize exchange rates, and put in place a tight monetary policy. The Parliament enacted laws permitting foreign entities incorporated in Romania to purchase land. Foreign capital investment in Romania has been increasing, but remains significantly less in per capita terms than in most other transition economy countries in East and Central Europe.

In November 2001, the government negotiated an 18-month standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a total amount of $431 million. The IMF board approved Romania's completion of the standby agreement in October 2003, Romania's first successfully concluded agreement since the 1989 revolution. The IMF acknowledged that sound macro-economic policies and progress in structural reform contributed to continuing disinflation and economic growth, and credited the government with implementing prudent budgetary measures toward reaching IMF directed targets. High tax arrears, largely on the part of state owned firms, hinder government programming. However, significant levels of public and private sector corruption also impede economic growth and undercut public trust in new democratic institutions.

The IMF Executive Board approved in July 2004 a 24-month Stand-By Precautionary Arrangement for an amount equivalent to $367 million. The new program aims at strengthening the external current account balance, further reducing inflation, sustaining continued GDP growth, and preparing the economy for EU accession. The current program emphasizes continued prudent macroeconomic policies and progress with wide-ranging structural reforms. Key stabilization policies include a reduction in the general government budget deficit, a strengthening of the finances of state-owned enterprises through energy price adjustments and wage restraint, and measures to contain credit growth. Prioritization of expenditure will help finance investment in infrastructure. With the passage of a number of new and amended laws, the authorities have started an overhaul of the judicial system, which will contribute to improving the business climate, strengthening the judicial system's independence, and improve the capacity to address the problem of corruption. In September 2004, the IMF completed the first review under the standby agreement. The review confirmed that macroeconomic developments were in line with the program.

Privatization of industry was first pursued with the transfer in 1992 of 30% of the shares of some 6,000 state-owned enterprises to five private ownership funds, in which each adult citizen received certificates of ownership. The remaining 70% ownership of the enterprises was transferred to a state ownership fund. With the assistance of the World Bank, European Union (EU), and IMF, Romania succeeded in privatizing most major state-owned enterprises. In 2003, the privatization authority (APAPS) sold 17 companies nominated by the World Bank's Private Structural Adjustment Loan (PSAL) I, with a combined capital of $242.7 million. Additionally, APAPS sold in 2003 seven companies included in the PSAL II. Their combined capital amounted to $13.6 million. Among the most important privatizations of 2003 were: 25% of the Banca Comerciala Romana stock went to EBRD and IFC; truck-manufacturer Roman Brasov to Malaysia's Pesaka Astana; steel-works Siderurgica Hunedoara and steel pipe producer Petrotub Roman to India's LNM Holdings. Apart from the profitable BCR, almost all other large companies sold in 2003 were virtually bankrupt and the quasi-free privatization has relieved the state finances of a burden, in parallel with a chance offered to the companies' technology restructuring.

In July 2004, the GOR signed with Austria's OMV a contract for selling Romania's national oil company PETROM. The transaction is expected to be completed, (i.e. the payment of the price for the purchased shares and the share capital increase to the company) during the fourth quarter of 2004. Despite delays in privatizing certain companies, the overall balance of the economy has shifted decisively. Even in 2002, the private sector produced about 69% of GDP, accounted for approximately 55% of assets, and employed approximately 55% of the work force. The private sector accounted for 69.1% of Romania's GDP in 2003, of which were 68.7% in services, 79.0% in industry, 93.2% in construction and 98.7% in agriculture. 74% of banking capital is now in private hands; this will rise over 90% after the BCR privatization is completed. By 2004, Romania's private sector employed over 70% of Romania's total workforce.

The consolidated budget deficit has dropped significantly from earlier levels. In 1999, the budget deficit represented 4.0% of GDP; 3.7% in 2000; 3.5% in 2001; 2.6% in 2002; 2.4% in 2003; and 0.2% at the end of the first eight months of 2004. Domestic arrears—resulting mostly from state-owned enterprises not paying pension and health insurance contributions and utility bills—rose to around 40% of GDP in 2002, but after some large scale debt forgiveness, currently stand at about 28% of GDP. Public sector expenditures have been more tightly controlled and limited.

The return of collectivized farmland to its cultivators, one of the first initiatives of the post-December 1989 revolution government, resulted in a short-term decrease in agricultural production. Some four million small parcels representing 80% of the arable surface were returned to original owners or their heirs. Many of the recipients were elderly or city dwellers, and the slow progress of granting formal land titles was an obstacle to leasing or selling land to active farmers.

Unemployment was officially 6.1% of the active labor force at the end of August 2004, although this figure does not capture high levels of underemployment or temporary emigration.

In the early 1990s, inflation was one of Romania's most serious economic problems. Retail price inflation, which monthly averaged 12.1% in 1993 (the equivalent of 256% annually), declined to 28% annually in 1995. However, inflation picked up again in 1996 and 1997 due to excessive government spending in late 1996, and price and exchange rate liberalization in early 1997. Inflation in 1999 hovered around 54%, but dropped in 2000 to 40.7%, and 33.7% by the end of 2001. After a diminished 2002 inflation rate of 17.8%, the inflation rate further dropped to 14.1% in 2003. The inflation rate for the first nine months of 2004 was 6.6%. The government target for 2004 is 9%.

Financial and technical assistance continue to flow in from the U.S., European Union, other industrial nations, and international financial institutions facilitating Romania's reintegration into the world economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (IBRD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) all have programs and resident representatives in Romania. Romania's foreign direct investment (FDI) is domestically tracked by the National Trade Registry, which in 2003 pegged FDI at $10.36 billion, of which an estimated 6.8% was U.S. direct investment (1.2% of 2003 GDP). U.S. direct investment was 7.8% in 2001 and 8.9% in 2002 (2.4% of 2002 GDP). Estimates for June 2004 indicate that Romania had attracted over $11.1 billion in foreign direct investment, of which $834.8 million (approximately 7.5%) was U.S. direct investment. As of the end of August 2004, Romania had attracted $11.8 billion in foreign direct investment, of which $874.8 million (7.4%) was U.S. direct investment.

Romania was the largest U.S. trading partner in Eastern Europe until Ceausescu's 1988 renunciation of Most Favored Nation (MFN or non-discriminatory) trading status resulted in high U.S. tariffs on Romanian products. Congress approved restoration of MFN status effective November 8, 1993, as part of a new Bilateral Trade Agreement. Tariffs on most Romanian products dropped to zero in February 1994, with the inclusion of Romania in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Major Romanian exports to the U.S. include shoes, clothing, steel, and chemicals. Romania signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 1992 and a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1993, codifying Romania's access to European markets and creating the basic framework for further economic integration. At its Helsinki Summit in December 1999, the European Union invited Romania to formally begin accession negotiations. Romania's targeted date for EU accession is 2007. As of October 2004, Romania had closed 26 of 30 EU accession chapters. Moreover, in an October 2004 report, the EU Commission granted Romania the designation of "functioning market economy status," a prerequisite to becoming a member of the EU.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since December 1989, Romania has actively pursued a policy of strengthening relations with the West in general, more specifically with the U.S. and the European Union. Romania was a helpful partner to the allied forces during the first Gulf War, particularly during its service as president of the UN Security Council. Romania has been active in peace-keeping operations in Afghanistan, UNAVEM in Angola, IFOR/SFOR in Bosnia, KFOR in Kosovo, and in Albania. Romania also offered important logistical support to allied military operations in Iraq in 2003 and, after the cessation of organized hostilities, has been participating in security and reconstruction activities. Romania is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which it chaired in 2001.

Romania was the first country to enroll in the NATO Partnership for Peace program. NATO member states invited Romania to join the Alliance in 2002, based on Romania's rapid progress in modernizing its armed forces and its contributions to allied peacekeeping and other military operations. Romania officially became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on March 29, 2004 after depositing its instruments of treaty ratification in Washington, DC. In 1996, Romania signed and ratified a basic bilateral treaty with Hungary that settled outstanding issues and laid the foundation for closer, more cooperative relations. In June 1997, Romania signed a bilateral treaty with Ukraine that resolved certain territorial and minority issues, among others. Romania also signed a basic bilateral treaty with Russia in July 2003.

Romania has been actively involved in regional organizations, such as the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative (SECI) and the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe, and has been a positive force in supporting stability and cooperation in the area.

Romania maintains good diplomatic relations with Israel and was supportive of the Middle East peace negotiations initiated after the Gulf conflict in 1991. Romania also is a founding member of the Black Sea Consortium for Economic Development. It joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1972, and is a member of the World Trade Organization.

In January 2004, Romania commenced a two-year term as an elected member of the UN Security Council.

Romanian Missions in the United States

Embassy of Romania
1607 23rd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel. 202-232-3694,
fax:202-232-4748

Romanian Mission to the UN
573 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212-682-3273

Romanian National Tourist Office
573 Third Avenue
New York, NW 10016
Tel. 212-697-6971

Romanian Cultural Center
200 E. 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212-687-0180


DEFENSE

In accordance with the December 1991 Romanian constitution, the Romanian armed forces have the defensive mission of ensuring the territorial integrity of the country. The military enjoys popular support, partly because of its role in supporting the December 1989 revolution. The army is the largest service. Total armed forces strength is currently about 100,000, and is maintained through conscription, although only volunteers are assigned to combat zones. There is an ongoing strategic review that is intended to lead to a NATO interoperable force of 60,000 by 2007. Romania plans to phase out conscription in the armed forces by 2007. In 1993, the U.S. military began training of Romanian military and civilian officials through IMET and other exchange programs, emphasizing civilian democratic control over the military.


U.S.-ROMANIAN RELATIONS

Cold during the early post-war period, U.S. bilateral relations with Romania began to improve in the early 1960s with the signing of an agreement providing for partial settlement of American property claims. Cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges were initiated, and in 1964 the legations of both nations were promoted to full embassies.

Responding to Ceausescu's calculated distancing of Romania from Soviet foreign policy, particularly Romania's continued diplomatic relations with Israel and denunciation of the 1968 Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, President Nixon paid an official visit to Romania in August 1969. Despite political differences, high-level contacts continued between U.S. and Romanian leaders throughout the decade of the 1970s, culminating in the 1978 state visit to Washington by President and Mrs. Ceausescu.

In 1972, a consular convention to facilitate protection of citizens and their property in both countries was signed. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) facilities were granted, and Romania became eligible for U.S. Export-Import Bank credits.

A trade agreement signed in April 1975 accorded Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to Romania under section 402 of the Trade Reform Act of 1974 (the Jackson-Vanik amendment that links MFN to a country's performance on emigration). This status was renewed yearly after Congressional review of a presidential determination that Romania was making progress toward freedom of emigration.

In the mid-1980s, criticism of Romania's deteriorating human rights record, particularly regarding mistreatment of religious and ethnic minorities, spurred attempts by Congress to withdraw MFN status. In 1988, to preempt Congressional action, Ceausescu renounced MFN treatment, calling Jackson-Vanik and other human rights requirements unacceptable interference in Romanian sovereignty.

After welcoming the revolution of December 1989 with a visit by Secretary of State Baker in February 1990, the U.S. Government expressed concern that opposition parties had faced discriminatory treatment in the May 1990 elections, when the National Salvation Front won a sweeping victory. The slow progress of subsequent political and economic reform increased that concern, and relations with Romania cooled sharply after the June 1990 intervention of the miners in University Square. Anxious to cultivate better relations with the U.S. and Europe, and disappointed at the poor results from its gradualist economic reform strategy, the Stolojan government undertook some economic reforms and conducted free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections in September 1992. Encouraged by the conduct of local elections in February 1992, Deputy Secretary of State Eagleburger paid a visit in May 1992. Congress restored MFN in November 1993 in recognition of Romania's progress in instituting political and economic reform. In 1996, the U.S. Congress voted to extend permanent MFN graduation to Romania.

As Romania's policies became unequivocally pro-Western, the United States moved to deepen relations. President Clinton visited Bucharest in 1997. The two countries initiated cooperation on shared goals, including economic and political development, defense reform, and non-traditional threats (such as trans-border crime and nonproliferation).

Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Romania has been fully supportive of the U.S.-led counter-terrorism campaign. Secretary of State Powell visited Romania in December 2001 for the OSCE summit and Deputy Secretary of State Armitage attended the Bucharest meeting of the Vilnius 10 heads of governments in March 2001. The country's highest foreign policy goal, NATO membership, was attained in November 2002, when Romania received an invitation to join the Alliance. Romania officially became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on March 29, 2004 after depositing its instruments of treaty ratification in Washington, DC.President Bush helped commemorate Romania's NATO accession when he visited Bucharest in November 2002. On that occasion he congratulated the Romanian people on building democratic institutions and a market economy following the fall of communism. President Iliescu paid a return visit to the United States in December 2003, permitting both heads of state to reemphasize commitment to shared political and economic goals.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

BUCHAREST (E) Address: 7-9 Tudor Arghezi; APO/FPO: 5260 Bucharest Place (Pouch); Phone: (40)(21) 210-4042; Fax: (40) 21-210-0395; Workweek: Mon–Fri 0800-1700; Website: www.usembassy.ro

AMB:J.D. Crouch
AMB OMS:Karen Baker
DCM:Thomas Delare
DCM OMS:Dal Asher
CG:Bryan Dalton
POL:Robert Gilchrist
COM:Jonathan Marks
CON:Bryan Dalton
MGT:Joyce Currie
AGR:Holly Higgins (res. in Sofia)
AID:Rodger Garner
CLO:Wenda Schmelebeck
DAO:Richard G. McClellan
ECO:John Rodgers
FMO:Margaret Sula
GSO:Jeff Biron
ICASS Chair:Jonathan Marks
IMO:Harvey Vazquez
IPO:Bryan Martin
ISO:John Yeager
LEGATT:Gabrielle Burger
PAO:Mark Wentworth
RSO:Robert W. Hanni
Last Updated: 11/9/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

September 17, 2004

Country Description: Romania has undergone profound political and economic changes since the 1989 revolution and is in a period of economic transition. Most tourist facilities, while being upgraded, have not yet reached Western European standards.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport is required. Tourist visas for stays of up to ninety days are not required. Visitors are granted 90 days of stay without a visa within a given six-month period. An exit visa must be obtained only in cases when the original passport used to enter the country was lost or stolen and a replacement passport has been issued by the Embassy. For stays longer than ninety days, an extension of stay may be obtained in Romania from the offices of the Authority for Aliens in the area of residence. Travelers should be advised that the Romanian Government is enforcing visa regulations more vigorously and a record of visa overstay can result in the denial of future visas or entry without visa for a specified time. Visitors can obtain information regarding entry requirements from the Romanian Embassy at 1607 23rd St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone number (202) 232-4747, or the Romanian Consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York City. The Romanian Embassy maintains a web site at http://www.roembus.org.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, Romanian immigration officials at entry and exit points check for documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present. Having such documentation on hand will facilitate entry/departure.

Dual Nationality: In addition to being subject to all Romanian laws affecting U.S. citizens, individuals who also possess the nationality of Romania may be subject to additional laws that impose special obligations on Romanian citizens. For additional information, see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: While most crimes in Romania are non-violent and non-confrontational, crimes do occur in which the victim suffers personal harm. Crimes against tourists, including robbery, mugging, pick-pocketing and confidence schemes, remain a problem in Romania. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate in train stations and on trains, subways, and buses in major cities. A number of thefts and assaults have occurred on overnight trains, including thefts from passengers in closed compartments.

Money exchange schemes targeting travelers are common in Romania. Some of these ploys have become rather sophisticated, involving individuals posing as plainclothes policemen, who approach the potential victim, flash a badge and ask for the victim's passport and wallet. In many of these cases, the thieves succeed in obtaining passports, credit cards, and other personal documents. Credit card and Internet fraud remain among the most common crimes affecting foreigners in Romania.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the Embassy for assistance. The Embassy staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of a crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you understand the local criminal justice process and find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Medical Facilities: Medical care in Romania is generally not up to Western standards, and basic medical supplies are limited, especially outside major cities. Some medical providers that are up to Western quality standards are available in Bucharest and other cities, but can be difficult to identify and locate. Travelers seeking medical treatment should therefore choose their provider carefully. A list of hospitals and physicians is available on the embassy website at http://www.usembassy.ro.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Americans who wish to extend their stay in Romania must present health insurance that applies overseas for the duration of their intended stay in Romania. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.

Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Romania is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair

Road conditions vary widely throughout Romania. While major streets in larger cities and major inter-city roads are in fair to good condition, most other roads are in poor repair, badly lit, narrow, and often do not have marked lanes. Many roads, particularly in rural areas, are also used by pedestrians, animals, people on bicycles, and horse-drawn carts that are extremely difficult to see, especially at night. Roads, especially in the mountains, can be particularly dangerous when wet or covered with snow or ice.

Romanian traffic laws are very strict. The traffic police can confiscate any form of driver's license or permit for 1-3 months and payment of fines may be requested at the time of the infractions. Some examples are failure to yield the right of way, failure to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, and failure to stop at a red light or stop sign. Romanian traffic law provides for retention of licenses and possible imprisonment from 1 to 5 years for driving under the influence (alcohol level over 0.1%) or for causing an accident resulting in injury or death. In spite of these strict rules, however, many drivers in Romania often do not follow traffic laws or yield the right of way. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that defensive driving be practiced while driving in Romania.

U.S. driver's licenses are only valid in Romania for up to 90 days. Before the 90-day period has expired, U.S. citizens must either obtain an international driving permit in addition to their U.S. driver's license or a Romanian driver's license. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory only in the front seats of a car. Children under 12 years of age cannot be transported in the front seat. Drivers must yield to pedestrians at all marked pedestrian crosswalks, but many of these are poorly maintained and difficult to see. Unless otherwise marked with road signs, speed limits are as follows: inter-city traffic on highways, 120 km/hr for cars, 100 km/hr for motorcycles, 90 km/hr for vans. On all other roads the speed limits are 90 km/hr for cars, 80 km/hr for motorcycles, and 70 km/hr for vans. Urban traffic: 50 km/hr. Speed limits for motor vehicles with trailers and for drivers with less than one year of driving experience are 10 km/hr slower than those listed above.

Inter-city travel is generally done via trains and buses, which are relatively safe, inexpensive, and reliable. However, pickpockets pose a danger on night trains and in train stations. Inter-city travel by taxi is much more expensive and safety depends on the quality of the driver. Many older taxis are not equipped with seat belts. To avoid being overcharged, those using taxis should request the taxi by phone and make sure the taxi has an operational meter, or agree upon a price before entering the taxi.

The host country authority responsible for road safety is the Traffic Police of the Romanian Ministry of Interior. The Traffic Police maintain a web site at http://www.politiarutiera.ro. Emergency roadside help and information may be reached by dialing 9271 for vehicle assistance and towing services, 961 for ambulance services, 981 for fire brigade, and 955 for police.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/travel/abroad_roadsafety.html. For specific information concerning Romanian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Romanian national tourist organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.towd.com.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Romania's civil aviation authority as Category 1 – in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Romania's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Customs Regulations: Romania's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Romania of items such as firearms, antiquities, and medications. Romanian law allows foreigners to bring up to $10,000 in cash into Romania. No amount in excess of that declared upon entry may be taken out of Romania upon departure. Sums larger than $10,000 must be transferred through banks. No more than 1,000,000 Romanian lei (ROL) may be brought into or taken out of the country. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Romania in Washington or one of Romania's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. I n many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. A current list of those countries with serious problems in this regard can be found here.

Romania customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information call (212) 354-4480, send an e-mail to [email protected], or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. Law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Romanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Romania are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines, ranging from 3-5 years for illegal possession to 25 years to life for organized drug trafficking.

Under the PROTECT Act of April 2003, it is a crime, prosecutable in the United States, for a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18, whether or not the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident alien intended to engage in such illicit sexual conduct prior to going abroad. For purposes of the PROTECT Act, illicit sexual conduct includes any commercial sex act in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18. The law defines a commercial sex act as any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by a person under the age of 18.

Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998, it is a crime to use the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transmit information about a minor under the age of 16 for criminal sexual purposes that include, among other things, the production of child pornography. This same law makes it a crime to use any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transport obscene materials to minors under the age of 16. Under Romanian law, engaging in sexual conduct with a minor is a crime punishable with a 3-10 year sentence, if the minor is under the age of 15, or if the minor is under the age of 18 and the adult has abused the minor's trust or the influence/authority held over the minor. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with someone who has a physical or psychological disability is punishable with a 3-12 year sentence. Distribution of obscene materials depicting minors is a crime punishable with a 1-5 year sentence.

Special Circumstances: Romania is largely a "cash only" economy. While an increasing number of businesses do accept credit cards, travelers are advised to use cash for goods and services rendered due to the prevalence of credit card fraud. Vendors have been known to misuse credit card information by making illegal purchases on individuals' accounts. There are an increasing number of ATM machines located throughout major cities. Travelers' checks are of limited use but may be used to purchase local currency at some exchange houses.

Americans should exercise caution when traveling to Romania to meet individuals known only through contact over the Internet. A number of confidence scams have been uncovered involving Romanians who contact their prospective American victims through chat rooms or personal advertisements. They generally identify themselves as young Romanian women and develop a "relationship" with their victim over time. Variations of this scam have emerged, but money extortion remains the ultimate goal. Americans who suspect they have fallen victim to this kind of scam should contact American Citizens Services at the Embassy.

There is a significant population of stray dogs in and around Bucharest and attacks on pedestrians and joggers are not uncommon. While there have not been any reported problems with rabies, travelers are advised to avoid all stray dogs.

Disaster Preparedness: Romania is an earthquake-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html, or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting Romania are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the Department of State's travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Romania. A registration form is also available on the embassy homepage at http://www.usembassy.ro (Information for Americans / Services). Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest Embassy or Consulate. By registering you'll make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact you in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Strada Tudor Arghezi 7-9, telephone (40) 21-210-4042. In life or death emergencies, an after hours duty officer may be reached by calling (40) 21-210-0149. Consular services for U.S. citizens are performed at the Consular Section located at Strada Filipescu no. 26 (formerly Strada Snagov), one block from the U.S. Embassy at the corner of Strada Batistei. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (40) 21-210-4042, and faxes can be sent to (40) 21 211-3360. The Embassy Information Office in Cluj-Napoca is located at Universitatii 7-9, Etaj 1, telephone (40) 264-193-815. This office is able to provide limited consular information.

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ROMANIA

Compiled from the December 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Romania


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

237,499 sq. km. (91,699 sq. mi.); somewhat smaller than New York and Pennsylvania combined.

Cities:

Capital—Bucharest (pop. 2.02 million). Other cities—Iasi (350,000), Constanta (344,000), Timisoara (327,000), Cluj-Napoca (334,000), Galati (331,000), Brasov (316,000).

Terrain:

Consists mainly of rolling, fertile plains; hilly in the eastern regions of the middle Danube basin; and major mountain ranges running north and west in the center of the country, which collectively are known as the Carpathians.

Climate:

Moderate.

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Romanian(s).

Population:

21.7 million (March 2004).

Annual population growth rate:

−0.3

Ethnic groups:

Romanians 89%, Hungarians 7.1%, Germans 0.5%, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, Russians, Turks, and Roma 2.5%.

Religion:

Orthodox 86.8%, Roman Catholic 5%, Reformed Protestant, Baptist, and Pentecostal 5%, Greek Catholic (Uniate) 1 to 3%, Muslim 0.2%, Jewish less than 0.1%.

Language:

Romanian (official). Other languages—Hungarian, German.

Education:

Years compulsory—10. Attendance—98%. Literacy—98%.

Health:

Infant mortality rate—18.7/1000 (2001); 18.6/1,000 (2002). Life expectancy—men 67.61 yrs., women 74.9 yrs.

Work force:

9.1 million (December 2004). Agriculture—2.75 million (December 2004); industry and commerce—3.34 million (December 2004); services—2.89 million (December 2004).

Government

Type:

Republic.

Constitution:

December 8, 1991, amended by referendum October 18-19, 2003.

Branches:

Executive—president (head of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers. Legislative—bicameral Parliament. Judicial—Constitutional Court, High Court of Cassation and Justice, and lower courts.

Subdivisions:

41 counties plus the city of Bucharest.

Political parties:

Political parties represented in the Parliament are the Social Democratic Party (PSD); the National Liberal Party (PNL); the Democratic Party (PD); the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR); the Romanian Conservative Party (PC); the Greater Romania Party (PRM). Other political parties include National Democratic Christian Peasant Party (PNTCD), the Party of the Romanian National Unity (PUNR), as well as political organizations of minorities.

Suffrage:

Universal from age 18.

Defense:

2.4% of GDP.

Economy

GDP:

$34.0 billion (1999); $36.7 billion (2000); $45.76 billion (2002); $56.9 billion (2003); $73.2 billion (2004).

Annual GDP growth rate:

−3.2% (1999); 1.8% (2000); 5.3% (2001); 4.9% (2002); 4.9% (2003); 8.3% (2004).

Per capita GDP:

$1,585 (1999); $1,645 (2000); $1,772.90 (2001); $2,120 (2002); $2,623 (2003); $3,389 (2004).

Natural resources:

Oil, timber, natural gas, coal, salt, iron ore.

Agriculture:

Percent of GDP—11.4% (2000); 13.2% (2001); 11.3% (2002); 11.7% (2003); 13.0% (2004). Products—corn, wheat, potatoes, oilseeds, vegetables, livestock, fish, and forestry.

Industry:

Percent of GDP—27.6% (2000); 28.2% (2001); 28.3% (2002); 28.4% (2003); 27.0% (2004). Types—machine building, mining, construction materials, metal production and processing, chemicals, food processing, textiles, clothing. Industrial output increased by 3.2% from 2002 to 2003 and 5.3% in 2004 over 2003. Services: Percent of GDP—60.9% (2000); 44% (2001); 44.7% (2002); 43.7% (2003); 44.1% (2004).

Construction:

Percent of GDP—4.9% (2001); 5.6% (2002); 5.7% (2003); 6.1% (2004).

Trade:

Exports—$10.4 billion (2000); $11.46 billion (2001); $13.87 billion (2002); $17.61 billion (2003); $23.48 billion (2004). Types—textiles, chemicals, light manufactures, wood products, fuels, processed metals, machinery and equipment. Major markets—Italy, Germany, France, Turkey, U.K., Hungary, Netherlands, Austria, U.S. (2.8%). Exports to the U.S.—$490.7 million (2001); $535.3 million (2002); $689.4 million (2003); $668.5 million (2004). Imports—$15.5 billion (2001); $17.96 billion (2002); $24 billion (2003); $32.58 billion (2004). Types—machinery and equipment, textiles, fuel, coking coal, iron ore, machinery and equipment, and mineral products. Major suppliers—Italy, Germany, France, Russia, Turkey, Austria, U.K., China, Hungary, U.S. (2.8%). Imports from the U.S.—$357.1 million (2001); $597.8 million (2002); $616.3 million (2003); $933 million (2004).

Exchange rate:

33,500 lei=US$1 (December 2002); 33,016 lei=US$1 (June 2003); 32,595 lei=US$1 (December 2003); 32,076 lei=US$1 (October 2004); 29,067 lei=US$1 (end-December 2004); 29,278 lei=US$1 (end-May 2005).


GEOGRAPHY

Extending inland halfway across the Balkan Peninsula and covering a large elliptical area of 237,499 square kilometers (91,699 sq. mi.), Romania occupies the greater part of the lower basin of the Danube River system and the hilly eastern regions of the middle Danube basin. It lies on either side of the mountain systems collectively known as the Carpathians, which form the natural barrier between the two Danube basins.

Romania's location gives it a continental climate, particularly in Moldavia and Wallachia (geographic areas respectively east of the Carpathians and south of the Transylvanian Alps) and to a lesser extent in centrally located Transylvania, where the climate is more moderate. A long and at times severe winter (December-March), a hot summer (April-July), and a prolonged autumn (August-November) are the principal seasons, with a rapid transition from spring to summer. In Bucharest, the daily minimum temperature in January averages -7ºC (20ºF), and the daily maximum temperature in July averages 29ºC (85ºF).


PEOPLE

About 89% of the people are ethnic Romanians, a group that—in contrast to its Slav or Hungarian neighbors—traces itself to Latin-speaking Romans, who in the second and third centuries A.D. conquered and settled among the ancient Dacians, a Thracian people. As a result, the Romanian language, although containing elements of Slavic, Turkish, and other languages, is a romance language related to French and Italian.

Hungarians and Roma are the principal minorities, with a declining German population and smaller numbers of Serbs, Croats, Ukrainians, Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Great Russians, and others. Minority populations are greatest in Transylvania and the Banat, areas in the north and west, which belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until World War I. Even before union with Romania, ethnic Romanians comprised the overall majority in Transylvania. However, ethnic Hungarians and Germans were the dominant urban population until relatively recently, and ethnic Hungarians still are the majority in a few districts.

Before World War II, minorities represented more than 28% of the total population. During the war that percentage was halved, largely by the loss of the border areas of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina (to the former Soviet Union—now Moldova and a portion of south-west Ukraine) and southern Dobrudja (to Bulgaria), as well as by the postwar flight or deportation of ethnic Germans. In the last several decades, more than twothirds of the remaining ethnic Germans in Romania emigrated to Germany.

Romanian troops during World War II participated in the destruction of the Jewish communities of Bessarabia and Transnistria (both now comprising the independent Republic of Moldova) and Bukovina (now part of Ukraine). Although subjected to harsh persecution, including government-sanctioned pogroms and killings, most Jews from the territory now comprising Romania survived the Holocaust. Mass emigration, mostly to Israel, has reduced the surviving Jewish community from over 300,000 to less than 10,000.

Religious affiliation tends to follow ethnic lines, with most ethnic Romanians identifying with the Romanian Orthodox Church. Also ethnically Romanian is the Greek Catholic or Uniate church, reunified with the Orthodox Church by fiat in 1948, and restored after the 1989 revolution. The 2002 census indicates that less than 1% of the population is Greek Catholic, as opposed to about 10% prior to 1948. Roman Catholics, largely ethnic Hungarians and Germans, constitute about 5% of the population; Calvinists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Lutherans make up another 5%. There are smaller numbers of Unitarians, Muslims, and other religions.

Romania's rich cultural traditions have been nourished by many sources, some of which predate the Roman occupation. The traditional folk arts, including dance, music, wood-carving, ceramics, weaving and embroidery of costumes and household decorations still flourish in many parts of the country. Despite strong Austrian, German, and especially French influence, many of Romania's great artists, such as the painter Nicolae Grigorescu, the poet Mihai Eminescu, the composer George Enescu, and the sculptor Constantin Brancusi, drew their inspiration from Romanian folk traditions.

The country's many Orthodox monasteries, as well as the Transylvanian Catholic and Evangelical Churches, some of which date back to the 13th century, are repositories of artistic treasures. The famous painted monasteries of Bukovina make an important contribution to European architecture.

Poetry and the theater play an important role in contemporary Romanian life. Classic Romanian plays, such as those of Ion Luca Caragiale, as well as works by modern or avant-garde Romanian and international playwrights, find sophisticated and enthusiastic audiences in the many theaters of the capital and of the smaller cities.


HISTORY

Since about 200 B.C., when it was settled by the Dacians, a Thracian tribe, Romania has been in the path of a series of migrations and conquests. Under the emperor Trajan early in the second century A.D., Dacia was incorporated into the Roman Empire, but was abandoned by a declining Rome less than two centuries later. Romania disappeared from recorded history for hundreds of years, to reemerge in the medieval period as the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Heavily taxed and badly administered under the Ottoman Empire, the two Principalities were unified under a single native prince in 1859, and had their full independence ratified in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. A German prince, Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was crowned first King of Romania in 1881.

The new state, squeezed between the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, looked to the West, particularly France, for its cultural, educational, and administrative models. Romania was an ally of the Entente and the U.S. in World War I, and was granted substantial territories with Romanian populations, notably Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina, after the war.

Most of Romania's pre-World War II governments maintained the forms, but not always the substance, of a liberal constitutional monarchy. The fascist Iron Guard movement, exploiting a quasi-mystical nationalism, fear of communism, and resentment of alleged foreign and Jewish domination of the economy, was a key destabilizing factor, which led to the creation of a royal dictatorship in 1938 under King Carol II. In 1940, the authoritarian General Antonescu took control. Romania entered World War II on the side of the Axis Powers in June 1941, invading the Soviet Union to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina, which had been annexed in 1940.

In August 1944, a coup led by King Michael, with support from opposition politicians and the army, deposed the Antonescu dictatorship and put Romania's battered armies on the side of the Allies. Romania incurred additional heavy casualties fighting alongside the Soviet Union against the Germans in Transylvania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

A peace treaty, signed in Paris on February 10, 1947, confirmed the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, but restored the part of northern Transylvania granted to Hungary in 1940 by Hitler. The treaty also required massive war reparations by Romania to the Soviet Union, whose occupying forces left in 1958.

The Soviets pressed for inclusion of Romania's heretofore negligible Communist Party in the post-war government, while non-communist political leaders were steadily eliminated from political life. King Michael abdicated under pressure in December 1947, when the Romanian People's Republic was declared, and went into exile.

By the late 1950s, Romania's communist government began to assert some independence from the Soviet Union. Nicolae Ceausescu became head of the Communist Party in 1965 and head of state in 1967. Ceausescu's denunciation of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and a brief relaxation in internal repression helped give him a positive image both at home and in the West. Seduced by Ceausescu's "independent" foreign policy, Western leaders were slow to turn against a regime that, by the late 1970s, had become increasingly harsh, arbitrary, and capricious. Rapid economic growth fueled by foreign credits gradually gave way to economic autarchy accompanied by wrenching austerity and severe political repression.

After the collapse of communism in the rest of Eastern Europe in the late summer and fall of 1989, a mid-December protest in Timisoara against the forced relocation of an ethnic Hungarian pastor grew into a country-wide protest against the Ceausescu regime, sweeping the dictator from power. Ceausescu and his wife were executed on December 25, 1989, after a cursory military trial. About 1,500 people were killed in confused street fighting. An impromptu governing coalition, the National Salvation Front (FSN), installed itself and proclaimed the restoration of democracy and freedom. The Communist Party was dissolved and its assets transferred to the state. Ceausescu's most unpopular measures, such as bans on private commercial entities and independent political activity, were repealed.

Ion Iliescu, a former Communist Party official demoted by Ceausescu in the 1970s, emerged as the leader of the NSF. Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on May 20, 1990. Running against representatives of the pre-war National Peasants' Party and National Liberal Party, Iliescu won 85% of the vote. The NSF captured two-thirds of the seats in Parliament, and named a university professor, Petre Roman, as Prime Minister. The new government began cautious free market reforms such as opening the economy to consumer imports and establishing the independence of the National Bank. Romania has made great progress in institutionalizing democratic principles, civil liberties, and respect for human rights since the revolution. Nevertheless, the legacy of 44 years of communist rule cannot quickly be eliminated. Membership in the Romanian Communist Party was usually the prerequisite for higher education, foreign travel, or a good job, while the extensive internal security apparatus subverted normal social and political relations. To the few active dissidents, who suffered gravely under Ceausescu and his predecessors, many of those who came forward as politicians after the revolution seemed tainted by association with the previous regime.

Over 200 new political parties sprang up after 1989, gravitating around personalities rather than programs. All major parties espoused democracy and market reforms, but the governing National Salvation Front proposed slower, more cautious economic reforms. In contrast, the opposition's main parties, the National Liberal Party (PNL), and the National Peasant-Christian Democrat Party (PNTCD) favored quick, sweeping reforms, immediate privatization, and reducing the role of the ex-communist elite.

In the 1990 general elections, the FSN and its candidate for presidency, Ion Iliescu, won with a large majority of the votes (66.31% and 85.07%, respectively). The strongest parties in opposition were the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), with 7.23%, and the PNL, with 6.41%.

Unhappy at the continued political and economic influence of members of the Ceausescu-era elite, anti-communist protesters camped in University Square in April 1990. When miners from the Jiu Valley descended on Bucharest two months later and brutally dispersed the remaining "hooligans," President Iliescu expressed public thanks, thus convincing many that the government had sponsored the miners' actions. The miners also attacked the headquarters and houses of opposition leaders. The Roman government fell in late September 1991, when the miners returned to Bucharest to demand higher salaries and better living conditions. Theodor Stolojan was appointed to head an interim government until new elections could be held.

Parliament drafted a new democratic constitution, approved by popular referendum in December 1991. The FSN split into two groups, led by Ion Iliescu (FDSN) and Petre Roman (FSN) in March 1992; Roman's party subsequently adopted the name Democratic Party (PD). National elections in September 1992 returned President Iliescu by a clear majority, and gave his party, the FDSN, a plurality. With parliamentary support from the nationalist PUNR and PRM parties, and the ex-communist PSM party, a technocratic government was formed in November 1992 under Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, an economist. The FDSN became the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR) in July 1993. The Vacaroiu government ruled in coalition with three smaller parties, all of which abandoned the coalition by the time of the November 1996 elections.

The 1992 elections revealed a continuing political cleavage between major urban centers and the countryside. Rural voters, who were grateful for the restoration of most agricultural land to farmers but fearful of change, strongly favored President Ion Iliescu and the FDSN, while the urban electorate favored the CDR (a coalition made up by several parties—among which the PNTCD and the PNL were the strongest—and civic organizations) and quicker reform. Iliescu easily won reelection over a field of five other candidates. The FDSN won a plurality in both chambers of Parliament. With the CDR, the second-largest parliamentary group, reluctant to take part in a national unity coalition, the FDSN (now PDSR) formed a government under Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, with parliamentary support from the PUNR, PRM, and PSM. PRM and PSM left the government in October and December 1995, respectively.

The 1996 local elections demonstrated a major shift in the political orientation of the Romanian electorate. Opposition parties swept Bucharest and many of the larger cities. This trend continued in the national elections that same year, where the opposition dominated the cities and made steep inroads into rural areas theretofore dominated by President Iliescu and the PDSR, which lost many voters in their traditional strongholds outside Transylvania. The campaign of the opposition hammered away on the twin themes of the need to squelch corruption and to launch economic reform. The message resonated with the electorate, which swept Emil Constantinescu and parties allied to him to power in free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections. The coalition government formed in December 1996 took the historic step of inviting the UDMR and its Hungarian ethnic backers into government.

The coalition government retained power for four years despite constant internal frictions and three prime ministers, the last being the Governor of the National Bank, Mugur Isarescu.

In elections in November 2000, the electorate punished the coalition parties for their corruption and failure to improve the standard of living. The PDSR (renamed PSD - Social Democratic Party at June 16, 2001 Congress) came back into power, albeit as a minority government. In the concurrent presidential elections, former President Ion Iliescu decisively defeated the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM) leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor.

The PSD government, led by Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, forged a de facto governing coalition with the ethnic Hungarian UDMR, ushering in four years of relatively stable government. The PSD guided Romania toward greater macro-economic stability, although endemic corruption remained a major problem. In September 2003, the center-right National Liberal Party (PNL) and centrist Democratic Party (PD) formed an alliance at a national and local level, in anticipation of 2004 local and national elections. Romania then moved closer toward a political system dominated by two large political blocs.

In October 2003 citizens voted in favor of major amendments to the constitution in a nationwide referendum to bring Romania's organic law into compliance with European Union standards.

On November 28, 2004, Romania again held parliamentary and the first round of presidential elections. In the December 12 presidential runoff election, former Bucharest Mayor Traian Basescu, representing the center-right PNL-PD alliance, delivered a surprise defeat to PSD candidate Nastase. Basescu appointed PNL leader Calin Popescu-Tariceanu as Prime Minister, whose government was approved by the Parliament on December 28, 2004.


GOVERNMENT

Romania's 1991 constitution proclaims Romania a democracy and market economy, in which human dignity, civic rights and freedoms, the unhindered development of human personality, justice, and political pluralism are supreme and guaranteed values. The constitution directs the state to implement free trade, protect the principle of competition, and provide a favorable framework for production. The constitution provides for a president, a Parliament, a Constitutional Court and a separate system of lower courts that includes a Supreme Court.

The two-chamber Parliament, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, is the law-making authority. Deputies and senators are elected for 4-year terms by universal suffrage. Elected officials at all levels of government, with the exception of the president and mayors, are selected on the basis of party lists, with parliamentary seats, city and county council representation, all allocated in proportion to party choices made by the electorate.

The president is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two terms. The length of the term was extended from four to five years in an October 2003 constitutional referendum. He is the Chief of State, charged with safeguarding the constitution, foreign affairs, and the proper functioning of public authorities. He is supreme commander of the armed forces and chairman of the Supreme Defense Council. According to the constitution, he acts as mediator among the power centers within the state, as well as between the state and society. The president nominates the prime minister, who in turn appoints the government, which must be confirmed by a vote of confidence from Parliament.

The Constitutional Court adjudicates the constitutionality of challenged laws and decrees. The court consists of nine judges, appointed for non-concurrent terms of 9 years. Three judges are appointed by the Chamber of Deputies, three by the Senate, and three by the president of Romania.

The Romanian legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code. The judiciary is to be independent, and judges appointed by the president are not removable. The president and other judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice are appointed for terms of 6 years and may serve consecutive terms. Proceedings are public, except in special circumstances provided for by law.

The Ministry of Justice represents "the general interests of society" and defends the legal order as well as citizens' rights and freedoms. The ministry is to discharge its powers through independent, impartial public prosecutors.

For territorial and administrative purposes, Romania is divided into 41 counties and the city of Bucharest. Each county is governed by an elected county council. Local councils and elected mayors are the public administration authorities in villages and towns. The county council is the public administration authority that coordinates the activities of all village and town councils in a county.

The central government appoints a prefect for each county and the Bucharest municipality. The prefect is the representative of the central government at the local level and directs any public services of the ministries and other central agencies at the county level. A prefect may block the action of a local authority if he deems it unlawful or unconstitutional. The matter is then decided by an administrative court.

Under legislation in force since January 1999, local councils have control over spending of their allocations from the central government budget, as well as authority to raise additional revenue locally.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 8/23/2005

President: Traian BASESCU
Prime Minister: Calin Popescu-TARICEANU
Dep. Prime Min. for Business & Small & Medium Enterprises: George COPOS
Dep. Prime Min. for Culture, Education, & European Integration: Bela MARKO
Dep. Prime Min. for Economic Activities: Gheorghe POGEA
Min. of Administration & Interior: Vasile BLAGA
Min. of Agriculture, Forests, & Rural Development: Gheorghe FLUTUR
Min. of Communication & Information Technology: Zsolt NAGY
Min. of Culture & Religious Affairs: Adrian IORGULESCU
Min. of Defense: Teodor ATANASIU
Min. of Economy & Commerce: Ioan-Codrut SERES
Min. of Education, Youth, & Research: Mircea MICLEA
Min. of Environment & Water Resources: Sulfina BARBU
Min. of European Integration: Anca BOAGIU
Min. of Finance: Sebastian VLADESCU
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Mihai Razvan UNGUREANU
Min. of Health: Eugen NICOLAESCU
Min. of Justice: Monica Luisa MACOVEI
Min. of Labor, Social Solidarity, & Family: Gheorghe BARBU
Min. of Transport, Construction, & Tourism: Gheorghe DOBRE
Min. Del. of Government Coordination: Mihai Alexandru VOICU
Min. Del. for Implementation of International Funds: Cristian DAVID
Min. Del. for Parliament: Bogdan OLTEANU
Min. Del. for Public Administration: Laszlo BORBELY
Min. Del. for Commerce: Iuliu WINKLER
Governor, National Bank of Romania: Mugur ISARESCU
Ambassador to the US: Sorin Dumitru DUCARU
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Mihnea MOTOC

Romania maintains an embassy in the United States at 1607 23rd St., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-232-3694, Fax: 202-232-4748).


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

November 2004 elections left the Romanian parliament closely divided between the center-right PNL-PD alliance and the PSD, which each hold between 30-40% of the seats in each chamber. The PNL-PD, however, forged a parliamentary majority with the support of the UDMR, PC and (in the lower house) the ethnic minority party representatives. The extreme nationalist PRM won fewer seats than in the 2000 elections, but remained a significant political player. Although the PNL and PD vote as a bloc in the parliament and ran candidates on a common list in the 2004 parliamentary elections, the two parties remain separate. On several occasions in 2005, President Traian Basescu publicly expressed support for snap parliamentary elections. Other elected leaders, both from the governing and opposition parties, expressed opposition to new elections, noting that they are difficult to achieve under the constitution and could detract from government efforts to implement reforms necessary for EU accession.

Political parties represent a broad range of views and interests, and elected officials and other public figures freely express their views. Civil society watchdog groups remain relatively small but have grown in influence. The press is free and outspoken, although there have been incidents of politically motivated intimidation and even violence against journalists and media management, particularly prior to 2004 national elections. Independent radio networks have proliferated, and several private television networks now operate nationwide. In addition, a large number of local private television networks have emerged.

Through support of or participation in consecutive government coalitions, the UDMR has ensured continuing influence of the ethnic Hungarian minority in national government. In addition, consecutive governments have sought to improve the socio-economic situation of the Roma minority, which continues to suffer from severe poverty in many areas and discrimination. Although according to government statistics Roma officially represent 2.5% of the population, Romani organizations claim the percentage is actually several percentage points higher.

The restitution of private and religious property seized under communism or during World War II continues to move slowly. Particularly problematic is the return of Greek-Catholic churches, which were given to the Romanian Orthodox Church by the communist regime. The Romanian Orthodox Church thus far has turned over very few of these churches, many of which had belonged to the Greek Catholic community for hundreds of years. Romania has repealed communist-era legislation criminalizing homosexual acts and banned xenophobic and racist groups and their activities. Romanian law does not prohibit women's participation in government or politics, but societal attitudes remain a significant barrier. Women hold some high positions in government and roughly 10% of the seats in each chamber in the Parliament.


ECONOMY

Romania is a country of considerable potential: rich agricultural lands; diverse energy sources (coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear); a substantial, if aging, industrial base encompassing almost the full range of manufacturing activities; an educated, well-trained work force; and opportunities for expanded development in tourism on the Black Sea and in the mountains.

The Romanian Government borrowed heavily from the West in the 1970s to build a substantial state-owned industrial base. Following the 1979 oil price shock and a debt rescheduling in 1981, Ceausescu decreed that Romania would no longer be subject to foreign creditors. By the end of 1989, Romania had paid off a foreign debt of about $10.5 billion through an unprecedented effort that wreaked havoc on the economy and living standards. Vital imports were slashed and food and fuel strictly rationed, while the government exported everything it could to earn hard currency. With investment slashed, Romania's infrastructure fell behind that of even its historically poorer Balkan neighbors.

Since the fall of the Ceausescu regime in 1989, successive governments have sought to build a Western-style market economy. The pace of restructuring has been slow, but by 1994 the legal basis for a market economy was largely in place. After the 1996 elections, the coalition government attempted to eliminate consumer subsidies, float prices, liberalize exchange rates, and put in place a tight monetary policy. The Parliament enacted laws permitting foreign entities incorporated in Romania to purchase land. Foreign capital investment in Romania has been increasing, but remains significantly less in per capita terms than in most other transition economy countries in East and Central Europe.

In November 2001, the government negotiated an 18-month standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a total amount of $431 million. The IMF board approved Romania's completion of the standby agreement in October 2003, Romania's first successfully concluded agreement since the 1989 revolution. The IMF acknowledged that sound macro-economic policies and progress in structural reform contributed to continuing disinflation and economic growth, and credited the government with implementing prudent budgetary measures toward reaching IMF directed targets. High tax arrears, largely on the part of state owned firms, hinder government programming. However, significant levels of public and private sector corruption also impede economic growth and undercut public trust in new democratic institutions.

The IMF Executive Board approved in July 2004 a 24-month Stand-By Precautionary Arrangement for an amount equivalent to $367 million. The new program aims at strengthening the external current account balance, further reducing inflation, sustaining continued GDP growth, and preparing the economy for EU accession. The current program emphasizes continued prudent macroeconomic policies and progress with wide-ranging structural reforms. Key stabilization policies include a reduction in the general government budget deficit, a strengthening of the finances of state-owned enterprises through energy price adjustments and wage restraint, and measures to contain credit growth. Prioritization of expenditure will help finance investment in infrastructure. With the passage of a number of new and amended laws, the authorities have started an overhaul of the judicial system, which will contribute to improving the business climate, strengthening the judicial system's independence, and improve the capacity to address the problem of corruption. In September 2004, the IMF completed the first review under the standby agreement. The review confirmed that macroeconomic developments were in line with the program. In June 2005, the IMF conducted a review of the Romanian economy, focusing on the need for a tight, consolidated budget deficit for 2005, given the government's January 1 introduction of a flat income tax and a profit tax cut. Other top priorities of this IMF review were ensuring control of inflation and managing the current account deficit.

Privatization of industry was first pursued with the transfer in 1992 of 30% of the shares of some 6,000 state-owned enterprises to five private ownership funds, in which each adult citizen received certificates of ownership. The remaining 70% ownership of the enterprises was transferred to a state ownership fund. With the assistance of the World Bank, European Union (EU), and IMF, Romania succeeded in privatizing most industrial state-owned enterprises, including some large state-owned energy companies. Among the most important privatizations of 2004 were: national oil company Petrom to Austrian OMV; electric energy distribution companies Electrica Banat and Dobrogea to Italian Enel. Energy privatization helped Romania receive the "functioning market economy" stamp from the EU in October 2004.

Despite delays in privatizing certain companies, the overall balance of the economy has shifted decisively. Even in 2002, the private sector produced about 69% of GDP, accounted for approximately 55% of assets, and employed approximately 55% of the work force. The private sector accounted for 69.1% of Romania's GDP in 2003, of which were 68.7% in services, 79.0% in industry, 93.2% in construction, and 98.7% in agriculture. 70.4% of banking capital is now in private hands; this will rise over 90% after the BCR and CEC privatization is completed. By 2004, Romania's private sector employed over 72% of Romania's total workforce.

Under the IMF's guidance, the consolidated budget deficit has dropped significantly from earlier levels. In 1999, the budget deficit represented 4.0% of GDP; 3.7% in 2000; 3.5% in 2001; 2.6% in 2002; 2.4% in 2003; and 1.2% in 2004. At the end of the first three months of 2005, the consolidated budget posted a surplus of 0.13% of GDP. Domestic arrears—resulting mostly from state-owned enterprises not paying pension and health insurance contributions and utility bills—rose to around 40% of GDP in 2002, but after some large scale debt forgiveness, currently stand at about 28% of GDP. Public sector expenditures have been more tightly controlled and limited.

The return of collectivized farmland to its cultivators, one of the first initiatives of the post-December 1989 revolution government, resulted in a short-term decrease in agricultural production. Some four million small parcels representing 80% of the arable surface were returned to original owners or their heirs. Many of the recipients were elderly or city dwellers, and the slow progress of granting formal land titles was an obstacle to leasing or selling land to active farmers.

Unemployment was officially 6.2% of the active labor force at the end of December 2004 and 5.7% at the end of April 2005, although these figures do not capture high levels of underemployment or temporary emigration.

In the 1990s, inflation was one of Romania's most serious economic problems. Retail price inflation, which monthly averaged 12.1% in 1993 (the equivalent of 256% annually), declined to 28% annually in 1995. However, inflation picked up again in 1996 and 1997 due to excessive government spending in late 1996, and price and exchange rate liberalization in early 1997. Inflation in 1999 hovered around 54%, but dropped in 2000 to 40.7%, and 33.7% by the end of 2001. After a diminished 2002 inflation rate of 17.8%, the inflation rate further dropped to 14.1% in 2003 and 9.3% in 2004. The government target for 2004 was 9%, and Romanian authorities consider they met it. Romania's first time single-digit annual inflation rate was largely assisted by the Romanian lei's appreciation. The official target for 2005 is 7%.

Financial and technical assistance continue to flow in from the U.S., European Union, other industrial nations, and international financial institutions facilitating Romania's reintegration into the world economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (IBRD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) all have programs and resident representatives in Romania. Romania's foreign direct investment (FDI) is domestically tracked by the National Trade Registry, which at the end of 2004 pegged FDI at $13.57 billion, of which an estimated 6.8% was U.S. direct investment (1.21% of 2004 GDP). U.S. direct investment was 7.8% in 2001 and 8.9% in 2002 (2.4% of 2002 GDP). As of the end of December 2004, Romania had attracted $13.7 billion in foreign direct investment, of which $888.4 million (6.5%) was U.S. direct investment.

Romania was the largest U.S. trading partner in Eastern Europe until Ceausescu's 1988 renunciation of Most Favored Nation (MFN or non-discriminatory) trading status resulted in high U.S. tariffs on Romanian products. Congress approved restoration of MFN status effective November 8, 1993, as part of a new Bilateral Trade Agreement. Tariffs on most Romanian products dropped to zero in February 1994, with the inclusion of Romania in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Major Romanian exports to the U.S. include shoes, clothing, steel, and chemicals. Romania signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 1992 and a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1993, codifying Romania's access to European markets and creating the basic framework for further economic integration. At its Helsinki Summit in December 1999, the European Union (EU) invited Romania to formally begin accession negotiations. In December 2004, the EU Commission concluded pre-accession negotiations with Romania. In April 2005, the EU signed an accession treaty with Romania and its neighbor, Bulgaria, with the goal of welcoming them as new members in January 2007. However, the EU has warned that Romania's accession by that date is not guaranteed; the EU has imposed a "super safeguard clause," enabling it to postpone Romania's accession to 2008, should Romania be unable to make substantial progress on corruption, competition, and judiciary issues.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since December 1989, Romania has actively pursued a policy of strengthening relations with the West in general, more specifically with the U.S. and the European Union. Romania was a helpful partner to the allied forces during the first Gulf War, particularly during its service as president of the UN Security Council. Romania has been active in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, UNAVEM in Angola, IFOR/SFOR in Bosnia, KFOR in Kosovo, and in Albania. Romania also offered important logistical support to allied military operations in Iraq in 2003 and, after the cessation of organized hostilities, has been participating in security and reconstruction activities. Romania is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which it chaired in 2001.

Romania was the first country to enroll in the NATO Partnership for Peace program. NATO member states invited Romania to join the Alliance in 2002, based on Romania's rapid progress in modernizing its armed forces and its contributions to allied peacekeeping and other military operations. Romania officially became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on March 29, 2004 after depositing its instruments of treaty ratification in Washington, DC. In 1996, Romania signed and ratified a basic bilateral treaty with Hungary that settled outstanding issues and laid the foundation for closer, more cooperative relations. In June 1997, Romania signed a bilateral treaty with Ukraine that resolved certain territorial and minority issues, among others. Romania also signed a basic bilateral treaty with Russia in July 2003.

Romania has been actively involved in regional organizations, such as the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative (SECI) and the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe, and has been a positive force in supporting stability and cooperation in the area.

Romania maintains good diplomatic relations with Israel and was supportive of the Middle East peace negotiations initiated after the Gulf conflict in 1991. Romania also is a founding member of the Black Sea Consortium for Economic Development. It joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1972, and is a member of the World Trade Organization.

In January 2004, Romania commenced a two-year term as an elected member of the UN Security Council.

Romanian Missions in the United States
Embassy of Romania
1607 23rd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel. 202-232-3694, Fax: 202-232-4748

Romanian Mission to the UN
573 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212-682-3273

Romanian National Tourist Office
573 Third Avenue
New York, NW 10016
Tel. 212-697-6971

Romanian Cultural Center
200 E. 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212-687-0180


DEFENSE

In accordance with the December 1991 Romanian constitution, the Romanian armed forces have the defensive mission of ensuring the territorial integrity of the country. The military enjoys popular support, partly because of its role in supporting the December 1989 revolution. The army is the largest service. Total armed forces strength is currently about 100,000, and is maintained through conscription, although only volunteers are assigned to combat zones. There is an ongoing strategic review that is intended to lead to a NATO interoperable force of 60,000 by 2007. Romania plans to phase out conscription in the armed forces by 2007. In 1993, the U.S. military began training of Romanian military and civilian officials through IMET and other exchange programs, emphasizing civilian democratic control over the military.


U.S.-ROMANIAN RELATIONS

Cold during the early post-war period, U.S. bilateral relations with Romania began to improve in the early 1960s with the signing of an agreement providing for partial settlement of American property claims. Cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges were initiated, and in 1964 the legations of both nations were promoted to full embassies.

Responding to Ceausescu's calculated distancing of Romania from Soviet foreign policy, particularly Romania's continued diplomatic relations with Israel and denunciation of the 1968 Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, President Nixon paid an official visit to Romania in August 1969. Despite political differences, high-level contacts continued between U.S. and Romanian leaders throughout the decade of the 1970s, culminating in the 1978 state visit to Washington by President and Mrs. Ceausescu.

In 1972, a consular convention to facilitate protection of citizens and their property in both countries was signed. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) facilities were granted, and Romania became eligible for U.S. Export-Import Bank credits.

A trade agreement signed in April 1975 accorded Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to Romania under section 402 of the Trade Reform Act of 1974 (the Jackson-Vanik amendment that links MFN to a country's performance on emigration). This status was renewed yearly after Congressional review of a presidential determination that Romania was making progress toward freedom of emigration.

In the mid-1980s, criticism of Romania's deteriorating human rights record, particularly regarding mistreatment of religious and ethnic minorities, spurred attempts by Congress to withdraw MFN status. In 1988, to preempt Congressional action, Ceausescu renounced MFN treatment, calling Jackson-Vanik and other human rights requirements unacceptable interference in Romanian sovereignty.

After welcoming the revolution of December 1989 with a visit by Secretary of State Baker in February 1990, the U.S. Government expressed concern that opposition parties had faced discriminatory treatment in the May 1990 elections, when the National Salvation Front won a sweeping victory. The slow progress of subsequent political and economic reform increased that concern, and relations with Romania cooled sharply after the June 1990 intervention of the miners in University Square. Anxious to cultivate better relations with the U.S. and Europe, and disappointed at the poor results from its gradualist economic reform strategy, the Stolojan government undertook some economic reforms and conducted free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections in September 1992. Encouraged by the conduct of local elections in February 1992, Deputy Secretary of State Eagleburger paid a visit in May 1992. Congress restored MFN in November 1993 in recognition of Romania's progress in instituting political and economic reform. In 1996, the U.S. Congress voted to extend permanent MFN graduation to Romania.

As Romania's policies became unequivocally pro-Western, the United States moved to deepen relations. President Clinton visited Bucharest in 1997. The two countries initiated cooperation on shared goals, including economic and political development, defense reform, and non-traditional threats (such as trans-border crime and nonproliferation).

Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Romania has been fully supportive of the U.S. in the Global War on Terror. Romania was invited to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in November 2002 and formally joined NATO on March 29, 2004 after depositing its instruments of treaty ratification in Washington, DC. President Bush helped commemorate Romania's NATO accession when he visited Bucharest in November 2002. On that occasion he congratulated the Romanian people on building democratic institutions and a market economy following the fall of communism.

In March 2005, President Traian Basescu made his first official visit Washington to meet with President Bush, Secretary of State Rice, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and other senior U.S. officials. The same month, Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick traveled to Bucharest for meetings with Prime Minister Popescu-Tariceanu and Foreign Minister Ungureanu.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

BUCHAREST (E) Address: 7-9 Tudor Arghezi; APO/FPO: 5260 Bucharest Place (Pouch); Phone: (40)(21) 316-4052; Fax: (40) 21-210-0395; Workweek: Mon-Fri 0800-1700; Website: www.usembassy.ro.

AMB:Nicholas Taubman
AMB OMS:Roberta Viggiano
DCM:Mark Taplin
DCM OMS:Maria Schamber
CG:Bryan Dalton
POL:Robert Gilchrist
CON:Bryan Dalton
MGT:Joyce Currie
AGR:Brian Goggin (res. in Sofia)
AID:Rodger Garner
CLO:Soni Armstrong
DAO:Barbara Kuennecke
ECO:John Rodgers
FCS:Cynthia Biggs
FMO:Margaret Sula
GSO:Jeff Biron
IMO:Harvey Vazquez
IPO:Bryan Martin
ISO:John Yeager
LEGATT:Gary Dickson
PAO:Mark Wentworth
RSO:Robert Weitzel
Last Updated: 1/10/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

October 31, 2005

Country Description:

Romania has undergone profound political and economic changes since the 1989 revolution and is in a period of economic transition. Most tourist facilities, while being upgraded, have not yet reached Western European standards.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

A valid passport is required. Visitors are granted 90 days of stay without a visa within a given six-month period. An exit visa must be obtained in cases of overstay or when the original passport used to enter the country was lost or stolen and a replacement passport has been issued by the Embassy. For stays longer than ninety days, an extension of stay may be obtained in Romania from the offices of the Authority for Aliens in the area of residence. The Romanian Government is enforcing visa regulations more vigorously and a record of visa overstay can result in payment of large fines and the denial of entry without visa for a specified time. Visitors can obtain information regarding entry requirements from the Romanian Embassy at 1607 23rd St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone number (202) 232-4747, or the Romanian Consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York City. The Romanian Embassy maintains a web site at http://www.roembus.org.

Safety and Security:

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

While most crimes in Romania are non-violent and non-confrontational, crimes do occur in which the victim suffers personal harm. Crimes against tourists, including robbery, mugging, pick-pocketing and confidence schemes, remain a problem in Romania. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate in train stations and on trains, subways, and buses in major cities. A number of thefts and assaults have occurred on overnight trains, including thefts from passengers in closed compartments. Money exchange schemes targeting travelers are common in Romania. Some of these ploys have become rather sophisticated, involving individuals posing as plainclothes policemen, who approach the potential victim, flash a badge and ask for the victim's passport and wallet. In many of these cases, the thieves succeed in obtaining passports, credit cards, and other personal documents. Credit card and Internet fraud remain among the most common crimes affecting foreigners in Romania.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. To contact the police in an emergency, dial 955. For emergency ambulance service, dial 961.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Medical care in Romania is generally not up to Western standards, and basic medical supplies are limited, especially outside major cities. Some medical providers that are up to Western quality standards are available in Bucharest and other cities, but can be difficult to identify and locate. Travelers seeking medical treatment should therefore choose their provider carefully. A list of hospitals and physicians is available on the embassy website at http://www.usembassy.ro. Information regarding health threats or other medical issues affecting visitors to Romania can also be found at this site. The emergency telephone number for ambulance service is 961.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Americans who wish to extend their stay in Romania must present health insurance that applies overseas for the duration of their intended stay in Romania. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Romania is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Road conditions vary widely throughout Romania. While major streets in larger cities and major inter-city roads are in fair to good condition, most other roads are in poor repair, badly lit, narrow, and often do not have marked lanes. Pedestrians, animals, people on bicycles, and horse-drawn carts that are extremely difficult to see, especially at night, also use many roads, particularly in rural areas. Roads, especially in the mountains, can be particularly dangerous when wet or covered with snow or ice.

Romanian traffic laws are very strict. The traffic police can confiscate any form of driver's license or permit for 1-3 months and payment of fines may be requested at the time of the infractions. Some examples when this might occur are failure to yield the right of way, failure to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, and failure to stop at a red light or stop sign. Romanian traffic law provides for retention of licenses and possible imprisonment for driving under the influence of alcohol or for causing an accident resulting in injury or death. In spite of these strict rules, however, many drivers in Romania often do not follow traffic laws or yield the right of way. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that defensive driving be practiced while driving in Romania.

U.S. driver's licenses are only valid in Romania for up to 90 days. Before the 90-day period has expired, U.S. citizens must either obtain an international driving permit in addition to their U.S. driver's license or a Romanian driver's license. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory only in the front seat of a car. Children under 12 years of age may not be transported in the front seat. Drivers must yield to pedestrians at all marked pedestrian crosswalks, but many of these are poorly maintained and difficult to see. Unless otherwise marked with road signs, speed limits are as follows: inter-city traffic on highways - 120 km/hr for cars, 100 km/hr for motorcycles, 90 km/hr for vans, and urban traffic - 50 km/hr. On all other roads the speed limits are 90 km/hr for cars, 80 km/hr for motorcycles, and 70 km/hr for vans. Speed limits for motor vehicles with trailers and for drivers with less than one year of driving experience are 10 km/hr slower than those listed above.

Inter-city travel is generally done via trains and buses, which are relatively safe, inexpensive, and reliable. However, pickpockets pose a danger on night trains and in train stations. Inter-city travel by taxi is much more expensive and safety depends on the quality of the driver. Many older taxis are not equipped with seat belts. To avoid being overcharged, passengers should request the taxi by phone and make sure the taxi has an operational meter, or agree upon a price before entering the taxi.

The host country authority responsible for road safety is the Traffic Police of the Romanian Ministry of Interior. The Traffic Police maintain a web site at http://www.politiarutiera.ro. Emergency roadside help and information may be reached by dialing 9271 for vehicle assistance and towing services, 961 for ambulance services, 981 for fire brigade, and 955 for police.

Visit the website of the country's national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety at http://www.towd.com.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Romania as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Romania's air carrier operations.

Special Circumstances:

Romania is largely a "cash only" economy. While an increasing number of businesses do accept credit cards, travelers are advised to use cash for goods and services rendered due to the prevalence of credit card fraud. Vendors have been known to misuse credit card information by making illegal purchases on individual's accounts. There are an increasing number of ATM machines located throughout major cities, but increasingly sophisticated identity theft rings are targeting ATM machines, as well. Travelers should try to use ATMs located inside banks and check for any evidence of tampering with the machine before use. Travelers' checks are of limited use but may be used to purchase local currency at some exchange houses.

Americans should exercise caution when traveling to Romania to meet individuals known only through contact over the Internet. A number of confidence scams have been uncovered involving Romanians who contact their prospective American victims through chat rooms or personal advertisements. They generally identify themselves as young Romanian women and develop a "relationship" with their victim over time. Variations of this scam have emerged, but money extortion remains the ultimate goal. Americans who suspect they have fallen victim to this kind of scam should contact American Citizens Services at the Embassy.

There is a significant population of stray dogs in and around Bucharest and attacks on pedestrians and joggers are not uncommon. While there have not been any reported problems with rabies, travelers are advised to avoid all stray dogs.

Romania's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Romania of items such as firearms, antiquities, and medications. Romanian law allows foreigners to bring up to $10,000 in cash into Romania. No amount in excess of that declared upon entry may be taken out of Romania upon departure. Sums larger than $10,000 must be transferred through banks. No more than 1,000,000 Romanian lei (ROL) may be brought into or taken out of the country. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Romania in Washington or one of Romania's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Romania is an earthquake-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Romania's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Romania are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Under Romanian law, engaging in sexual conduct with a minor is a crime punishable with a 3-10 year prison sentence, if the minor is under the age of 15, or if the minor is under the age of 18 and the adult has abused the minor's trust or the influence/authority held over the minor. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with someone who has a physical or psychological disability is punishable with a 3-12 year prison sentence. Distribution of obscene materials depicting minors is a crime punishable with a 1-5 year prison sentence.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in Romania are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Romania. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Strada Tudor Arghezi 7-9, telephone (40) 21-316-4052. In life or death emergencies, an after hours duty officer may be reached by calling (40) 21-319-4106. Consular services for U.S. citizens are performed at the Consular Section located at Strada Filipescu no. 26 (formerly Strada Snagov), one block from the U.S. Embassy at the corner of Strada Batistei. The Consular Section can be reached through (40) 21-316-4052, and faxes can be sent to (40) 21 316-3360. The Embassy Information Office in Cluj-Napoca is located at Universitatii 7-9, Etaj 1, telephone: (40) 264-193-815. This office is able to provide limited consular information.

International Adoption

August 2004

On June 21, Romanian President Iliescu signed into law a draft adoption bill that limits international adoption to a child's grandparents. The law was published in the Romanian Government Monitor on June 22, making the law official. The United States Government remains extremely concerned that the new Romanian adoption law imposes serious obstacles to all adoptions and creates a system in which children remain for years in state care without parents. We know that there are disappointed prospective parents whose plans to adopt Romanian children have been adversely affected by the new law. In July 2004, senior U.S. Government officials met with Romanian officials in Washington during which they expressed their disappointment in the new Romanian adoption law and urged an expeditious solution to the remaining adoptions in progress so that children can be placed in a permanent family environment.

Adoptive families who have accepted a referral of a Romanian orphan are asked to contact the Office of Children's Issues at [email protected] In your correspondence please provide your name, your child's name and adoption registration number, a description of the status of your adoption and your contact information. Please include "Romanian Adoption" in the subject line. Adoptive families who have not yet accepted a referral of a Romanian child are strongly advised against doing so, as Romanian children are no longer available for international adoption.

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Romania

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
DEFENSE
U.S.-ROMANIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the October 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Romania

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 237,499 sq. km. (91,699 sq. mi.); somewhat smaller than New York and Pennsylvania combined.

Cities: Capital—Bucharest (pop. 2.02 million). Other cities—Iasi (350,000), Constanta (344,000), Timi-soara (327,000), Cluj-Napoca (334,000), Galati (331,000), Brasov (316,000).

Terrain: Consists mainly of rolling, fertile plains; hilly in the eastern regions of the middle Danube basin; and major mountain ranges running north and west in the center of the country, which collectively are known as the Carpathians.

Climate: Moderate.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Romanian(s).

Population: 21.6 million (December 2006).

Annual population growth rate: -0.3%.

Ethnic groups: Romanians 89%, Hungarians 7.1%, Germans 0.5%, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, Russians, Turks, and Roma 2.5%.

Religions: Orthodox 86.8%, Roman Catholic 5%, Reformed Protestant, Baptist, and Pentecostal 5%, Greek Catholic (Uniate) 1 to 3%, Muslim 0.2%, Jewish less than 0.1%.

Languages: Romanian (official). Other languages—Hungarian, German.

Education: Years compulsory—10. Attendance—98%. Literacy—98%.

Health: Infant mortality rate—18.7/ 1000 (2001); 18.6/1,000 (2002). Life expectancy—men 67.61 yrs., women 74.9 yrs.

Work force: (June 2007) 9.4 million. Agriculture—3.0 million, industry and construction—2.8 million, services—3.3 million, other—0.3 million.

Government

Type: Republic.

Constitution: December 8, 1991, amended by referendum October 18-19, 2003.

Government branches: Executive—president (head of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers. Legislative—bicameral Parliament. Judicial—Constitutional Court, High Court of Cassation and Justice, and lower courts.

Political subdivisions: 41 counties plus the city of Bucharest.

Political parties: Political parties represented in the Parliament are the Social Democratic Party (PSD); the National Liberal Party (PNL); the Democratic Party (PD); the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR); the Romanian Conservative Party (PC); the Greater Romania Party (PRM). Other political parties include National Democratic Christian Peasant Party (PNTCD), the Party of the Romanian National Unity (PUNR), as well as political organizations of minorities.

Suffrage: Universal from age 18.

Defense: 1.9% of GDP.

Economy

GDP: (2006) $122.3 billion.

Annual GDP growth rate: (2006) +7.7%; +5.8% (Jan.-June 2007).

GDP per capita: (2006) $5,662.

Natural resources: Oil, timber, natural gas, coal, salt, iron ore.

Agriculture: (2006) Percent of GDP—8.0%. Products—corn, wheat, potatoes, oilseeds, vegetables, livestock, fish, and forestry.

Industry: (2006) Percent of GDP—23.9%. Types—machine building, mining, construction materials, metal production and processing, chemicals, food processing, textiles, clothing. Industrial output increased by 7.1% in 2006 and 6.1% in Jan.-June 2007.

Services: (2006) Percent of GDP—61.1%.

Construction: (2006) Percent of GDP—7.0%.

Trade: Exports (2006)—$32.3 billion; (Jan.-June 2007) $18.6 billion. Types—textiles, chemicals, light manufactures, wood products, fuels, processed metals, machinery and equipment. Exports to the U.S. (2006)—$827.5 million; (Jan.-June 2007) $391 million. Major markets-Italy, Germany, Turkey, France, Hungary, U.K., U.S. (2.6%). Imports (2006)—$50.9 billion; (Jan.-June 2007) $31.3 billion. Types—machinery and equipment, textiles, fuel, coking coal, iron ore, machinery and equipment, and mineral products. Imports from the U.S. (2006)—$1.2 billion; (Jan.-June 2007) $414.1 million. Major suppliers—Germany, Italy, Russia, France, Turkey, Austria, U.K., China, Hungary, U.S. (2.4%).

Exchange rate: 2.38 new Lei=U.S.$1 (end-October 2007).

GEOGRAPHY

Extending inland halfway across the Balkan Peninsula and covering a large elliptical area of 237,499 square kilometers (91,699 sq. mi.), Romania occupies the greater part of the lower basin of the Danube River system and the hilly eastern regions of the middle Danube basin. It lies on either side of the mountain systems collectively known as the Carpathians, which form the natural barrier between the two Danube basins.

Romania's location gives it a continental climate, particularly in Moldavia and Wallachia (geographic areas east of the Carpathians and south of the Transylvanian Alps, respectively) and to a lesser extent in centrally located Transylvania, where the climate is more moderate. A long and at times severe winter (December-March), a hot summer (April-July), and a prolonged autumn (August-November) are the principal seasons, with a rapid transition from spring to summer. In Bucharest, the daily minimum temperature in January averages -7°C (20°F), and the daily maximum temperature in July averages 29°C (85°F).

PEOPLE

About 89% of the people are ethnic Romanians, a group that—in contrast to its Slav or Hungarian neighbors—traces itself to Latin-speaking Romans, who in the second and third centuries A.D. conquered and settled among the ancient Dacians, a Thracian people. As a result, the Romanian language, although containing elements of Slavic, Turkish, and other languages, is a romance language related to French and Italian.

Hungarians and Roma are the principal minorities, with a declining German population and smaller numbers of Serbs, Croats, Ukrainians, Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Great Russians, and others. Minority populations are greatest in Transylvania and the Banat, areas in the north and west, which belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until World War I. Even before union with Romania, ethnic Romanians comprised the overall majority in Transylvania. However, ethnic Hungarians and Germans were the dominant urban population until relatively recently, and ethnic Hungarians still are the majority in a few districts.

Before World War II, minorities represented more than 28% of the total population. During the war that percentage was halved, largely by the loss of the border areas of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina (to the former Soviet Union — now Moldova and a portion of south-west Ukraine) and southern Dobrudja (to Bulgaria), as well as by the postwar flight or deportation of ethnic Germans. In the last several decades, more than two-thirds of the remaining ethnic Germans in Romania emigrated to Germany.

Romanian troops during World War II participated in the destruction of the Jewish communities of Bessara-bia and Transnistria (both now comprising the independent Republic of Moldova) and Bukovina (now part of Ukraine). Although subjected to harsh persecution, including government-sanctioned pogroms and killings, most Jews from the territory now comprising Romania survived the Holocaust. Mass emigration, mostly to Israel, has reduced the surviving Jewish community from over 300,000 to less than 10,000.

Religious affiliation tends to follow ethnic lines, with most ethnic Romanians identifying with the Romanian Orthodox Church. Also ethnically Romanian is the Greek Catholic or Uniate church, reunified with the Orthodox Church by fiat in 1948, and restored after the 1989 revolution. The 2002 census indicates that less than 1% of the population is Greek Catholic, as opposed to about 10% prior to 1948. Roman Catholics, largely ethnic Hungarians and Germans, constitute about 5% of the population; Calvinists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Lutherans make up another 5%. There are smaller numbers of Unitarians, Muslims, and other religions.

Romania's rich cultural traditions have been nourished by many sources, some of which predate the Roman occupation. The traditional folk arts, including dance, music, wood-carving, ceramics, weaving and embroidery of costumes and household decorations still flourish in many parts of the country. Despite strong Austrian, German, and especially French influence, many of Romania's great artists, such as the painter Nicolae Grigorescu, the poet Mihai Eminescu, the composer George Enescu, and the sculptor Constantin Brancusi, drew their inspiration from Romanian folk traditions.

The country's many Orthodox monasteries, as well as the Transylvanian Catholic and Evangelical Churches, some of which date back to the 13th century, are repositories of artistic treasures. The famous painted monasteries of Bukovina make an important contribution to European architecture.

Poetry and the theater play an important role in contemporary Romanian life. Classic Romanian plays, such as those of Ion Luca Caragiale, as well as works by modern or avant-garde Romanian and international playwrights, find sophisticated and enthusiastic audiences in the many theaters of the capital and of the smaller cities.

HISTORY

Since about 200 B.C., when it was settled by the Dacians, a Thracian tribe, Romania has been in the path of a series of migrations and conquests. Under the emperor Trajan early in the second century A.D., Dacia was incorporated into the Roman Empire, but was abandoned by a declining Rome less than two centuries later. Romania disappeared from recorded history for hundreds of years, to reemerge in the medieval period as the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Heavily taxed and badly administered under the Ottoman Empire, the two Principalities were unified under a single native prince in 1859, and had their full independence ratified in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. A German prince, Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was crowned first King of Romania in 1881.

The new state, squeezed between the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, looked to the West, particularly France, for its cultural, educational, and administrative models. Romania was an ally of the Entente and the U.S. in World War I, and was granted substantial territories with Romanian populations, notably Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina, after the war.

Most of Romania's pre-World War II governments maintained the forms, but not always the substance, of a liberal constitutional monarchy. The fascist Iron Guard movement, exploiting a quasi-mystical nationalism, fear of communism, and resentment of alleged foreign and Jewish domination of the economy, was a key destabilizing factor, which led to the creation of a royal dictatorship in 1938 under King Carol II. In 1940, the authoritarian General Antonescu took control. Romania entered World War II on the side of the Axis Powers in June 1941, invading the Soviet Union to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina, which had been annexed in 1940.

In August 1944, a coup led by King Michael, with support from opposition politicians and the army, deposed the Antonescu dictatorship and put Romania's battered armies on the side of the Allies. Romania incurred additional heavy casualties fighting alongside the Soviet Union against the Germans in Transylvania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

According to the officially recognized 2004 Wiesel Commission report, Romanian authorities were responsible for the death of between 280,000 and 380,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews in the territories under Romanian jurisdiction (including Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Transnistria) out of a population of approximately 760,000. In addition, 132,000 Romanian Jews were killed by the pro-Nazi Hungarian authorities in Transylvania.

A peace treaty, signed in Paris on February 10, 1947, confirmed the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, but restored the part of northern Transylvania granted to Hungary in 1940 by Hitler. The treaty also required massive war reparations by Romania to the Soviet Union, whose occupying forces left in 1958.

The Soviets pressed for inclusion of Romania's heretofore negligible Communist Party in the post-war government, while non-communist political leaders were steadily eliminated from political life. King Michael abdicated under pressure in December 1947, when the Romanian People's Republic was declared, and went into exile.

By the late 1950s, Romania's communist government began to assert some independence from the Soviet Union. Nicolae Ceausescu became head of the Communist Party in 1965 and head of state in 1967. Ceausescu's denunciation of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and a brief relaxation in internal repression helped give him a positive image both at home and in the West. Seduced by Ceausescu's “independent” foreign policy, Western leaders were slow to turn against a regime that, by the late 1970s, had become increasingly harsh, arbitrary, and capricious. Rapid economic growth fueled by foreign credits gradually gave way to economic autarchy accompanied by wrenching austerity and severe political repression.

After the collapse of communism in the rest of Eastern Europe in the late summer and fall of 1989, a mid-December protest in Timisoara against the forced relocation of an ethnic Hungarian pastor grew into a country-wide protest against the Ceausescu regime, sweeping the dictator from power. Ceausescu and his wife were executed on December 25, 1989, after a cursory military trial. About 1,500 people were killed in confused street fighting. An impromptu governing coalition, the National Salvation Front (FSN), installed itself and proclaimed the restoration of democracy and freedom. The Communist Party was dissolved and its assets transferred to the state. Ceausescu's most unpopular measures, such as bans on private commercial entities and independent political activity, were repealed.

Ion Iliescu, a former Communist Party official demoted by Ceausescu in the 1970s, emerged as the leader of the NSF. Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on May 20, 1990. Running against representatives of the pre-war National Peasants' Party and National Liberal Party, Iliescu won 85% of the vote. The NSF captured two-thirds of the seats in Parliament, and named a university professor, Petre Roman, as Prime Minister. The new government began cautious free market reforms such as opening the economy to consumer imports and establishing the independence of the National Bank. Romania has made great progress in institutionalizing democratic principles, civil liberties, and respect for human rights since the revolution. Nevertheless, the legacy of 44 years of communist rule cannot quickly be eliminated. Membership in the Romanian Communist Party was usually the prerequisite for higher education, foreign travel, or a good job, while the extensive internal security apparatus subverted normal social and political relations. To the few active dissidents, who suffered gravely under Ceausescu and his predecessors, many of those who came forward as politicians after the revolution seemed tainted by association with the previous regime.

Over 200 new political parties sprang up after 1989, gravitating around personalities rather than programs. All major parties espoused democracy and market reforms, but the governing National Salvation Front proposed slower, more cautious economic reforms. In contrast, the opposition's main parties, the National Liberal Party (PNL), and the National Peasant-Christian Democrat Party (PNTCD) favored quick, sweeping reforms, immediate privatization, and reducing the role of the ex-communist elite.

In the 1990 general elections, the FSN and its candidate for presidency, Ion Iliescu, won with a large majority of the votes (66.31% and 85.07%, respectively). The strongest parties in opposition were the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), with 7.23%, and the PNL, with 6.41%.

Unhappy at the continued political and economic influence of members of the Ceausescu-era elite, anti-communist protesters camped in University Square in April 1990. When miners from the Jiu Valley descended on Bucharest two months later and brutally dispersed the remaining “hooligans,” President Iliescu expressed public thanks, thus convincing many that the government had sponsored the miners' actions. The miners also attacked the headquarters and houses of opposition leaders. The Roman government fell in late September 1991, when the miners returned to Bucharest to demand higher salaries and better living conditions. Theodor Stolojan was appointed to head an interim government until new elections could be held.

Parliament drafted a new democratic constitution, approved by popular referendum in December 1991. The FSN split into two groups, led by Ion Ili-escu (FDSN) and Petre Roman (FSN) in March 1992; Roman's party subsequently adopted the name Democratic Party (PD). National elections in September 1992 returned President Iliescu by a clear majority, and gave his party, the FDSN, a plurality. With parliamentary support from the nationalist PUNR and PRM parties, and the ex-communist PSM party, a technocratic government was formed in November 1992 under Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, an economist. The FDSN became the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR) in July 1993. The Vacaroiu government ruled in coalition with three smaller parties, all of which abandoned the coalition by the time of the November 1996 elections.

The 1992 elections revealed a continuing political cleavage between major urban centers and the countryside. Rural voters, who were grateful for the restoration of most agricultural land to farmers but fearful of change, strongly favored President Ion Iliescu and the FDSN, while the urban electorate favored the CDR (a coalition made up by several parties —among which the PNTCD and the PNL were the strongest —and civic organizations) and quicker reform. Iliescu easily won reelection over a field of five other candidates. The FDSN won a plurality in both chambers of Parliament. With the CDR, the second-largest parliamentary group, reluctant to take part in a national unity coalition, the FDSN (now PDSR) formed a government under Prime Minister Nicolae Vac-aroiu, with parliamentary support from the PUNR, PRM, and PSM. PRM and PSM left the government in October and December 1995, respectively.

The 1996 local elections demonstrated a major shift in the political orientation of the Romanian electorate. Opposition parties swept Bucharest and many of the larger cities. This trend continued in the national elections that same year, where the opposition dominated the cities and made steep inroads into rural areas theretofore dominated by President Iliescu and the PDSR, which lost many voters in their traditional strongholds outside Transylvania. The campaign of the opposition hammered away on the twin themes of the need to squelch corruption and to launch economic reform. The message resonated with the electorate, which swept Emil Constantinescu and parties allied to him to power in free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections. The coalition government formed in December 1996 took the historic step of inviting the UDMR and its Hungarian ethnic backers into government.

The coalition government retained power for four years despite constant internal frictions and three prime ministers, the last being the Governor of the National Bank, Mugur Isarescu.

In elections in November 2000, the electorate punished the coalition parties for their corruption and failure to improve the standard of living. The PDSR (renamed PSD—Social Democratic Party at June 16, 2001 Congress) came back into power, albeit as a minority government. In the concurrent presidential elections, former President Ion Iliescu decisively defeated the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM) leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor.

The PSD government, led by Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, forged a de facto governing coalition with the ethnic Hungarian UDMR, ushering in four years of relatively stable government. The PSD guided Romania toward greater macro-economic stability, although endemic corruption remained a major problem. In September 2003, the center-right National Liberal Party (PNL) and centrist Democratic Party (PD) formed an alliance at a national and local level, in anticipation of 2004 local and national elections. Romania then moved closer toward a political system dominated by two large political blocs.

In October 2003 citizens voted in favor of major amendments to the constitution in a nationwide referendum to bring Romania's organic law into compliance with European Union standards. On November 28, 2004, Romania again held parliamentary and the first round of presidential elections. In the December 12 presidential run-off election, former Bucharest Mayor Traian Basescu, representing the center-right PNL-PD alliance, delivered a surprise defeat to PSD candidate Nastase. Basescu appointed PNL leader Calin Popescu-Tariceanu as Prime Minister, whose government was approved by the Parliament on December 28, 2004.

GOVERNMENT

Romania's 1991 constitution proclaims Romania a democracy and market economy, in which human dignity, civic rights and freedoms, the unhindered development of human personality, justice, and political pluralism are supreme and guaranteed values. The constitution directs the state to implement free trade, protect the principle of competition, and provide a favorable framework for production. The constitution provides for a president, a Parliament, a Constitutional Court and a separate system of lower courts that includes a Supreme Court.

The two-chamber Parliament, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, is the law-making authority. Deputies and senators are elected for 4-year terms by universal suffrage. Elected officials at all levels of government, with the exception of the president and mayors, are selected on the basis of party lists, with parliamentary seats, city and county council representation, all allocated in proportion to party choices made by the electorate.

The president is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two terms. The length of the term was extended from four to five years in an October 2003 constitutional referendum. He is the Chief of State, charged with safe-guarding the constitution, foreign affairs, and the proper functioning of public authorities. He is supreme commander of the armed forces and chairman of the Supreme Defense Council. According to the constitution, he acts as mediator among the power centers within the state, as well as between the state and society. The president nominates the prime minister, who in turn appoints the government, which must be confirmed by a vote of confidence from Parliament.

The Constitutional Court adjudicates the constitutionality of challenged laws and decrees. The court consists of nine judges, appointed for non-concurrent terms of 9 years. Three judges are appointed by the Chamber of Deputies, three by the Senate, and three by the president of Romania.

The Romanian legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code. The judiciary is to be independent, and judges appointed by the president are not removable. The president and other judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice are appointed for terms of 6 years and may serve consecutive terms. Proceedings are public, except in special circumstances provided for by law.

The Ministry of Justice represents “the general interests of society” and defends the legal order as well as citizens' rights and freedoms. The ministry is to discharge its powers through independent, impartial public prosecutors.

For territorial and administrative purposes, Romania is divided into 41 counties and the city of Bucharest. Each county is governed by an elected county council. Local councils and elected mayors are the public administration authorities in villages and towns. The county council is the public administration authority that coordinates the activities of all village and town councils in a county.

The central government appoints a prefect for each county and the Bucharest municipality. The prefect is the representative of the central government at the local level and directs any public services of the ministries and other central agencies at the county level. A prefect may block the action of a local authority if he deems it unlawful or unconstitutional. The matter is then decided by an administrative court. Under legislation in force since January 1999, local councils have control over spending of their allocations from the central government budget, as well as authority to raise additional revenue locally.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Pres.: Traian BASESCU

Prime Min.: Calin Popescu-TARICEANU

Dep. Prime Min. for Culture, Education, & European Integration

Min. of Admin. Reform & Interior: Cristian DAVID

Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: Decebal Traian REMES

Min. of Communication & Information Technology: Iuliu WINKLER

Min. of Culture & Religious Affairs: Adrian IORGULESCU

Min. of Defense: Teodor Viorel MELESCANU

Min. of Development, Public Works, & Housing: Laszlo BORBELY

Min. of Economy & Finance: Varujan VOSGANIAN

Min. of Education, Youth, & Research:Cristian ADOMNITEI

Min. of Environment & Sustainable Development: Attila KORODI

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Adrian CIOROIANU

Min. of Health: Eugen NICOLAESCU

Min. of Justice: Tudor CHIUARIU

Min. of Labor, Social Solidarity, & Family: Paul PACURARU

Min. for Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises, Trade, Tourism & Freelance Professions: Ovidiu SILAGHI

Min. of Transport: Ludovic ORBAN

Min.-Del. for Relations With Parliament: Mihai Alexandru VOICU

Governor, National Bank of Romania: Mugur ISARESCU

Ambassador to the US:

Permanent Representative to the UN, NewYork: Mihnea MOTOC

Romania maintains an embassy in the United States at 1607 23rd St., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-232-3694, fax: 202-232-4748).

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

November 2004 elections left the Romanian parliament closely divided between the center-right PNL-PD alliance and the PSD, which each hold between 30-40% of the seats in each chamber. The PNL-PD, however, forged a parliamentary majority with the support of the UDMR, PC and (in the lower house) the ethnic minority party representatives. The extreme nationalist PRM won fewer seats than in the 2000 elections, but remained a significant political player. Although the PNL and PD voted as a bloc in the parliament and ran candidates on a common list in the 2004 parliamentary elections, the two parties remained separated. On several occasions since 2005, President Traian Basescu has publicly expressed support for snap parliamentary elections. Parliamentary leaders have steadily opposed calling new elections.

After Romania's accession to the EU on January 1, 2007, the cooperation between PD President Basescu and PNL Prime Minister Tariceanu devolved into political infighting. The political turmoil resulted in a rupture of the PD-PNL alliance in April 2007, the 30-day suspension of the President in May, and the President's campaign to force a change from party list representational voting to single-member districts. Prime Minister Tariceanu continues to head a minority government in coalition with the UDMR and with the tacit support of the Socialist opposition.

Political parties represent a broad range of views and interests, and elected officials and other public figures freely express their views. Civil society watchdog groups remain relatively small but have grown in influence. The press is free and outspoken, although there have been incidents of politically motivated intimidation and even violence against journalists and media management, particularly prior to 2004 national elections. Independent radio networks have proliferated, and several private television networks now operate nationwide. In addition, a large number of local private television networks have emerged.

Through support of or participation in consecutive government coalitions, the UDMR has ensured the continuing influence of the ethnic Hungarian minority in national government. In addition, consecutive governments have sought to improve the socio-economic situation of the Roma minority, which continues to suffer from severe poverty in many areas and discrimination. Although according to government statistics Roma officially represent 2.5% of the population, Romani organizations claim the percentage is actually several percentage points higher.

The restitution of private and religious property seized under communism or during World War II continues to move slowly. Particularly problematic is the return of Greek-Catholic churches, which were given to the Romanian Orthodox Church by the communist regime. The Romanian Orthodox Church thus far has turned over very few of these churches, many of which had belonged to the Greek Catholic community for hundreds of years. Romania has repealed communist-era legislation criminalizing homosexual acts and banned xenophobic and racist groups and their activities. Romanian law does not prohibit women's participation in government or politics, but societal attitudes remain a significant barrier. Women hold some high positions in government and roughly 10% of the seats in each chamber in the Parliament.

ECONOMY

Romania is a country of considerable potential: rich agricultural lands; diverse energy sources (coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear); a substantial industrial base encompassing almost the full range of manufacturing activities; an educated work force; and opportunities for expanded development in tourism on the Black Sea and in the Carpathian mountains. The Romanian Government borrowed heavily from the West in the 1970s to build a substantial state-owned industrial base. Following the 1979 oil price shock and a debt rescheduling in 1981, Ceausescu decreed that Romania would no longer be subject to foreign creditors. By the end of 1989, Romania had paid off a foreign debt of about $10.5 billion through an unprecedented effort that wreaked havoc on the economy and living standards. Vital imports were slashed and food and fuel strictly rationed, while the government exported everything it could to earn hard currency. With investment slashed, Romania's infrastructure fell behind its historically poorer Balkan neighbors.

Since the fall of the Ceausescu regime in 1989, successive governments sought to build a Western-style market economy. The pace of restructuring was slow, but by 1994 the legal basis for a market economy was largely in place. After the 1996 elections, the coalition government attempted to eliminate consumer subsidies, float prices, liberalize exchange rates, and put in place a tight monetary policy. The Parliament enacted laws permitting foreign entities incorporated in Romania to purchase land. Foreign capital investment in Romania has been increasing rapidly, although it remains less in per capita terms than in some other countries of East and Central Europe.

Romania was the largest U.S. trading partner in Eastern Europe until Ceausescu's 1988 renunciation of most favored nation (MFN or non-discriminatory) trading status resulted in high U.S. tariffs on Romanian products. Congress approved restoration of MFN status effective November 8, 1993, as part of a new Bilateral Trade Agreement. Tariffs on most Romanian products dropped to zero in February 1994, with the inclusion of Romania in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Major Romanian exports to the U.S. include shoes, clothing, steel, and chemicals. Romania signed an Association Agreement with the European Union (EU) in 1992 and a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1993, codifying Romania's access to European markets and creating the basic framework for further economic integration. At its Helsinki Summit in December 1999, the European Union invited Romania to formally begin accession negotiations. In December 2004, the EU Commission concluded pre-accession negotiations with Romania. In April 2005, the EU signed an accession treaty with Romania and its neighbor, Bulgaria, and in January 2007, they were both welcomed as new EU members.

Privatization of industry was first pursued with the transfer in 1992 of 30% of the shares of some 6,000 state-owned enterprises to five private ownership funds, in which each adult citizen received certificates of ownership. The remaining 70% ownership of the enterprises was transferred to a state ownership fund. With the assistance of the World Bank, European Union, and International Monetary Fund (IMF), Romania succeeded in privatizing most industrial state-owned enterprises, including some large state-owned energy companies. Romania completed the privatization of the largest commercial bank (BCR) in 2006. The privatization of the last state-owned bank—the National Savings Bank (CEC)—was stopped in 2006 and has been indefinitely postponed. Four of the country's eight regional electricity distributors have now been privatized. Privatization of natural gas distribution companies also progressed with the sale of Romania's two regional gas distributors, Distrigaz Nord (to E.ON Ruhr-gas of Germany) and Distrigaz Sud (to Gaz de France). Further progress in energy sector privatization, however, has been delayed as the government reconsiders its strategy on the Rovinari, Turceni, and Craiova energy complexes, contemplating the creation of an integrated, state-owned energy producer. Romania has a nuclear power plant at Cernavoda, with one nuclear reactor in operation since 1996 and a second one commissioned in the fall of 2007.

The return of collectivized farmland to its cultivators, one of the first initiatives of the post-December 1989 revolution government, resulted in a short-term decrease in agricultural production. Some four million small parcels representing 80% of the arable surface were returned to original owners or their heirs. Many of the recipients were elderly or city dwellers, and the slow progress of granting formal land titles remains an obstacle to leasing or selling land to active farmers.

Financial and technical assistance continues to flow from the U.S., European Union, other industrial nations, and international financial institutions facilitating Romania's reintegration into the world economy. The International Monetary Fund, World Bank (IBRD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) all have programs and resident representatives in Romania, although USAID programs will phase out at the end of 2007. As of August 2007, Romania had attracted $21.8 billion in foreign direct investment. Of this total, U.S. direct investment accounted for $915.7 million (4.9%), ranking sixth among national investors but first among non-EU countries.

After years of IMF-guided economic reforms, Romania' stand-by agreement with the IMF expired on July 7, 2006. Romania' inflation rate has steadily decreased, while growth rates have been between 4% and 8% since 2001. However, the IMF has been critical of Romania's 2005 adoption of a 16% flat tax, pointing to the country's low rate of tax collection as a medium- to long-term impediment to growth. The IMF has also criticized Romania's public sector wage policy as inflationary. Public sector wages increased 36% through 2006 and the Government of Romania has approved public sector wage increases of 14%-19% over three rounds in 2007. Analysts have warned about increasing macroeconomic imbalances, such as the growing current account deficit (10.3% of GDP in 2006 and possibly reaching 15% in 2007, the IMF estimates). This along with deteriorating education and health services, aging and inadequate physical infrastructure, and a looming real estate price bubble are all seen as threats to future growth. Romania's budget deficits also dropped under IMF guidance, though the trend is reversing. Actual deficits decreased from 4% of GDP in 1999 to only 0.8% in 2005 and 1.7% in 2006. However, the 2007 deficit is expected to approach 3%, driven by rising spending on infrastructure, public sector wages, and pension increases. In response the IMF has recommended that Romania strive to keep the 2007 deficit below 2%, dropping to 1% of GDP in 2008. The IMF also advises that Romania is lacking a realistic fiscal policy framework for the medium term. The country made progress in combating domestic tax arrears and expanding the tax base in 2005, though Romania has one of the lowest collection rates in Europe, at 31.0% of GDP in 2006.

Unemployment was officially 3.9%in August 2007, although these figures do not capture high levels of temporary emigration, gray-market employment, or under-employment.

In the early 1990s, inflation was one of Romania's most serious economic problems. Inflation rates have gradually declined, finally reaching single digits in 2004. Inflation in 2006 stood at a historical low of 4.9%. The Central Bank has set an ambitious annual target band of 4% plus/minus 1% for 2007, but outside analysts note that inflationary pressures are growing and predict that the rate for the year will slightly exceed the top of this band.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since December 1989, Romania has actively pursued a policy of strengthening relations with the West in general, more specifically with the U.S. and the European Union. Romania was a helpful partner to the allied forces during the first Gulf War, particularly during its service as president of the UN Security Council. Romania has been active in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, UNAVEM in Angola, IFOR/SFOR in Bosnia, KFOR in Kosovo, and in Albania. Romania also offered important logistical support to allied military operations in Iraq in 2003 and, after the cessation of organized hostilities, has been participating in security and reconstruction activities. Romania is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which it chaired in 2001.

Romania was the first country to enroll in the NATO Partnership for Peace program. NATO member states invited Romania to join the Alliance in 2002, based on Romania's rapid progress in modernizing its armed forces and its contributions to allied peacekeeping and other military operations. Romania officially became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on March 29, 2004 after depositing its instruments of treaty ratification in Washington, DC.

In 1996, Romania signed and ratified a basic bilateral treaty with Hungary that settled outstanding issues and laid the foundation for closer, more cooperative relations. In June 1997, Romania signed a bilateral treaty with Ukraine that resolved certain territorial and minority issues, among others. Romania also signed a basic bilateral treaty with Russia in July 2003. Romania acceded to the European Union on January 1, 2007 along with Bulgaria, bringing the number of EU states to 27. Romania is a strong advocate for a “larger Europe,” encouraging other countries that were formerly part of the Soviet sphere to integrate into both NATO and the EU. Romania has been actively involved in regional organizations, such as the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative (SECI) and the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe, and has been a positive force in supporting stability and cooperation in the area. Romania maintains good diplomatic relations with Israel and was supportive of the Middle East peace negotiations initiated after the Gulf conflict in 1991. Romania also is a founding member of the Black Sea Consortium for Economic Development. It joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1972, and is a member of the World Trade Organization.

Romanian Missions in the United States

Embassy of Romania
1607 23rd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel. 202-232-3694,
fax: 202-232-4748

Romanian Mission to the UN
573 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212-682-3273

Romanian National Tourist Office
573 Third Avenue
New York, NW 10016
Tel. 212-697-6971

Romanian Cultural Center
200 E. 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212-687-0180

DEFENSE

In accordance with the December 1991 Romanian constitution, the Romanian armed forces have the defensive mission of ensuring the territorial integrity of the country. The military enjoys popular support, partly because of its role in supporting the December 1989 revolution. The army is the largest service. Total armed forces strength is currently about 100,000, and is maintained through conscription, although only volunteers are assigned to combat zones. There is an ongoing strategic review that is intended to lead to a NATO interoperable force of 60,000 in 2007. Romania plans to phase out conscription in the armed forces in 2007. In 1993, the U.S. military began training of Romanian military and civilian officials through IMET and other exchange programs, emphasizing civilian democratic control over the military.

U.S.-ROMANIAN RELATIONS

Cold during the early post-war period, U.S. bilateral relations with Romania began to improve in the early 1960s with the signing of an agreement providing for partial settlement of American property claims. Cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges were initiated, and in 1964 the legations of both nations were promoted to full embassies.

Responding to Ceausescu's calculated distancing of Romania from Soviet foreign policy, particularly Romania's continued diplomatic relations with Israel and denunciation of the 1968 Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, President Nixon paid an official visit to Romania in August 1969. Despite political differences, high-level contacts continued between U.S. and Romanian leaders throughout the decade of the 1970s, culminating in the 1978 state visit to Washington by President and Mrs. Ceausescu.

In 1972, a consular convention to facilitate protection of citizens and their property in both countries was signed. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) facilities were granted, and Romania became eligible for U.S. Export-Import Bank credits.

A trade agreement signed in April 1975 accorded most favored nation (MFN) status to Romania under section 402 of the Trade Reform Act of 1974 (the Jackson-Vanik amendment that links MFN to a country's performance on emigration). This status was renewed yearly after congressional review of a presidential determination that Romania was making progress toward freedom of emigration.

In the mid-1980s, criticism of Romania's deteriorating human rights record, particularly regarding mistreatment of religious and ethnic minorities, spurred attempts by Congress to withdraw MFN status. In 1988, to preempt congressional action, Ceausescu renounced MFN treatment, calling Jackson-Vanik and other human rights requirements unacceptable interference in Romanian sovereignty.

After welcoming the revolution of December 1989 with a visit by Secretary of State Baker in February 1990, the U.S. Government expressed concern that opposition parties had faced discriminatory treatment in the May 1990 elections, when the National Salvation Front won a sweeping victory. The slow progress of subsequent political and economic reform increased that concern, and relations with Romania cooled sharply after the June 1990 intervention of the miners in University Square. Anxious to cultivate better relations with the U.S. and Europe, and disappointed at the poor results from its gradualist economic reform strategy, the Stolojan government undertook some economic reforms and conducted free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections in September 1992. Encouraged by the conduct of local elections in February 1992, Deputy Secretary of State Eagleburger paid a visit in May 1992. Congress restored MFN in November 1993 in recognition of Romania's progress in instituting political and economic reform. In 1996, the U.S. Congress voted to extend permanent MFN graduation to Romania. As Romania's policies became unequivocally pro-Western, the United States moved to deepen relations. President Clinton visited Bucharest in 1997. The two countries initiated cooperation on shared goals, including economic and political development, defense reform, and non-traditional threats (such as transborder crime and non-proliferation).

Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Romania has been fully supportive of the U.S. in the Global War on Terror. Romania was invited to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in November 2002 and formally joined NATO on March 29, 2004 after depositing its instruments of treaty ratification in Washington, DC. President Bush helped commemorate Romania's NATO accession when he visited Bucharest in November 2002. On that occasion he congratulated the Romanian people on building democratic institutions and a market economy following the fall of communism. Romanian troops serve alongside U.S. troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

In March 2005, President Traian Basescu made his first official visit to Washington to meet with President Bush, Secretary of State Rice, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and other senior U.S. officials. In December 2005, Secretary Rice visited Bucharest to meet with President Basescu and to sign a bilateral defense cooperation agreement that will allow for the joint use of Romanian military facilities by U.S. troops. The first proof of principle exercise took place at Mihail-Kogalniceanu Air Base from August to October 2007.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

BUCHAREST (E) 7-9 Tudor Arghezi Street, sector 2, APO/FPO 5260 BucharEST Place (POuch), +40 (21) 200-3300, Fax +40 (21)-200-3442, Workweek: Mon-Fri 0800-1700, Web-site: http://bucharEST.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Maria Schamber
AMB OMS:Roberta Viggiano
ECO:Blair Labarge
FCS:Cynthia Biggs
FM:Toby Kinnett
MGT:Jennifer Bonner
AMB:Nicholas Taubman
CG:Bryan Dalton
DCM:Mark Taplin
PAO:Judith Moon
GSO:John Smith
RSO:Robert Weitzel
AGR:Susan Reid (Sofia)
AID:Debra Mosel
CLO:Brigitte Campbell
DAO:Barbara Kuennecke
FMO:Robert Young
IMO:Ross Campbell
IPO:Chandra Masdar
ISO:Gary Ellis
LEGATT:Gary Dickson
POL:Theodore Tanoue

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

December 26, 2007

Country Description: Romania joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007. Rapid economic growth in recent years has improved tourist and transportation infrastructure in many areas.

Entry Requirements: A valid passport is required. U.S. citizen visitors are granted 90 days of stay without a visa within a given six-month period. An exit visa must be obtained in cases of overstay. For stays longer than 90 days, an extension of stay may be obtained in Romania from the Romanian Immigration Office in the area of residence (http://aps.mai.gov.ro) The Romanian Government is enforcing visa regulations more vigorously and a record of visa overstay can result in payment of large fines and the denial of entry without visa for a specified time. Visitors can obtain information regarding entry requirements from the Romanian Embassy at 1607 23rd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone number (202) 232-4747, or the Romanian Consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York City. Web site: http://www.roembus.org.

U.S. visa information for Romanians and other foreign citizens can be found on the web site of the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest at http://bucharest.usembassy.gov or the Department's travel web site.

Safety and Security: The assessed threat to visitors as the result of political violence is medium. The Romanian Government does give permission to groups who wish to assemble for demonstration purposes. Demonstrations are normally well-contained and the police are close at hand. Nevertheless, for general safety purposes, it is wise to stay away from these gatherings and be alert to the fact that the normal traffic patterns can be disrupted during and just after the event. During the first week of April 2008, Bucharest will host the leaders of more than 50 countries for a NATO Summit. Travelers during this time should expect not only traffic disruptions, but increased security at airports, borders, and around the capital, as well as business closures and hotel room unavailability in areas of downtown Bucharest. Travelers at that time should also recognize the potential for protest activity at various locations around the capital, including some protests that may be anti-NATO and/or anti-U.S. in nature.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, Travel Warnings and other Travel Alerts can be found. Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: While most crimes in Romania are non-violent and non-confrontational, crimes do occur in which victims suffer personal harm. Crimes against tourists, including robbery, mugging, pickpocketing and confidence schemes, remain a problem in Romania.

Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate in train stations and on trains, subways, and buses in major cities. A number of thefts and assaults have occurred on overnight trains, including thefts from passengers in closed compartments. Money exchange schemes targeting travelers are common in Romania.

Some of these ploys have become rather sophisticated, involving individuals posing as plainclothes policemen, who approach the potential victim, flash a badge and ask for the victim's passport and wallet. In many of these cases, the thieves succeed in obtaining passports, credit cards, and other personal documents. Credit card and Internet fraud remain among the most common crimes affecting foreigners in Romania.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. To contact the local police, dial 112.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical care in Romania is generally not up to Western standards, and basic medical supplies are limited, especially outside major cities. Some medical providers that are up to Western quality standards are available in Bucharest and other cities, but can be difficult to identify and locate. Travelers seeking medical treatment should therefore choose their provider carefully. A list of hospitals and physicians is available on the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest's web site at http://bucharest.usembassy.gov. Information regarding health threats or other medical issues affecting visitors to Romania can also be found at this site. The emergency telephone number for ambulance and other emergency services is 112.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's web site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Americans who wish to extend their stay in Romania must present health insurance that applies overseas for the duration of their intended stay in Romania.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Romania is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Road conditions vary widely throughout Romania. While major streets in larger cities and major inter-city roads are in fair to good condition, many other roads are in poor repair, badly lit, narrow, or lack marked lanes. Pedestrians, animals, people on bicycles, and horse-drawn carts that are extremely difficult to see, especially at night, also use many roads, particularly in rural areas. Roads, especially in the mountains, can be particularly dangerous when wet or covered with snow or ice.

Romanian traffic laws are very strict. The traffic police can confiscate any form of driver's license or permit for 1–3 months and payment of fines may be requested at the time of the infractions. Some examples when this might occur are failure to yield the right of way, failure to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, and failure to stop at a red light or stop sign. Romanian traffic law provides for retention of licenses and possible imprisonment for driving under the influence of alcohol or for causing an accident resulting in injury or death. In spite of these strict rules, however, many drivers in Romania drive aggressively and often do not follow traffic laws or yield the right of way. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that defensive driving be practiced while driving in Romania.

U.S. driver's licenses are only valid in Romania for up to 90 days. Before the 90-day period has expired, U.S. citizens must either obtain an international driving permit in addition to their U.S. driver's license or a Romanian driver' license. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory. Children under 12 years of age may not be transported in the front seat. Drivers must yield to pedestrians at all marked pedestrian crosswalks, but many of these are poorly maintained and difficult to see.

Unless otherwise marked with road signs, speed limits are as follows:

  • Inter-city traffic on highways: 130 km/hr for cars and motorcycles, 110 km/hr for vans
  • Urban traffic: 50 km/hr
  • Express and European roads: 100 km/hour for cars and motorcycles, 90 km/hour for vans
  • All other roads: 90 km/hr for cars and motorcycles, 80 km/hr for vans

Motor vehicles with trailers and drivers with less than one year of driving experience have speed limits 20 km/ hr slower than those listed above.

Inter-city travel is generally done via trains and buses, which vary in terms of quality, safety, cost and reliability. Pickpockets pose a danger on night trains and in train stations. Inter-city travel by taxi is much more expensive and safety depends on the quality of the driver. Many older taxis are not equipped with seat belts. To avoid being overcharged, passengers should request the taxi by phone and make sure the taxi has an operational meter, or agree upon a price before entering the taxi.

The host country authority responsible for road safety is the Traffic Police of the Romanian Ministry of Interior. The Traffic Police maintain a web site at http://www.politiarutiera.ro. Emergency roadside help and information may be reached by dialing 9271 for vehicle assistance and towing services. For ambulance services, fire brigade or police, dial 112.

Visit the web site of the country's national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety at http://www.romaniatourism.com.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Romania's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Romania's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Romania is largely a “cash only” economy. While an increasing number of businesses do accept credit cards, travelers are advised to use cash for goods and services rendered due to the prevalence of credit card fraud. Vendors have been known to misuse credit card information by making illegal purchases on individual's accounts. There are an increasing number of ATMs located throughout major cities, but increasingly sophisticated identity theft rings are targeting ATMs, as well. Travelers should try to use ATMs located inside banks and check for any evidence of tampering with the machine before use. Travelers' checks are of limited use but may be used to purchase local currency at some exchange houses.

Americans should exercise caution when traveling to Romania to meet individuals known only through contact over the Internet. A significant number of confidence scams have been uncovered involving Romanians who contact their prospective American victims through chat rooms or personal advertisements. They generally identify themselves as young Romanian women and develop a “relationship” with their victim over time. Variations of this scam have emerged, but money extortion remains the ultimate goal. Americans who suspect they may have fallen victim to this kind of scam should contact American Citizens Services at the Embassy.

While the population of stray dogs in and around Bucharest has decreased in recent years, groups of dogs are still found in some areas and attacks on pedestrians and joggers are not uncommon. While there have not been any reported problems with rabies, travelers are advised to avoid all stray dogs.

Romania's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Romania of items such as firearms, antiquities, and medications. Romanian law allows travelers to bring cash into or out of Romania, however, sums larger than 10,000 Euros or the equivalent must be declared.

Romania is an earthquake-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Romania's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Romania are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Under Romanian law, engaging in sexual conduct with a minor is a crime punishable with a 3-10 year prison sentence, if the minor is under the age of 15, or if the minor is under the age of 18 and the adult has abused the minor's trust or the influence/authority held over the minor. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with someone who has a physical or psychological disability is punishable with a 3-12 year prison sentence. Distribution of obscene materials depicting minors is a crime punishable with a 1–5 year prison sentence.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family. In 2005, Romania banned intercountry adoptions except by grandparents.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Romania are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration web site, https://travelregis-tration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Romania. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Strada Tudor Arghezi 7-9, telephone (40) 21-200-3300. In life or death emergencies, an after hours duty officer may be reached by calling (40) 21-200-3433. Consular services for U.S. citizens are performed at the Consular Section located at Strada Filipescu no. 26 (formerly Strada Snagov), one block from the U.S. Embassy at the corner of Strada Batistei. The Consular Section can be reached through the Embassy operator at (40) 21-200-3300, and faxes can be sent to (40) 21 200-3381 or 200-3578.

views updated

Romania

Compiled from the September 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Romania

PROFILE

GEOGRAPHY

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

DEFENSE

U.S.-ROMANIAN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 237,499 sq. km. (91,699 sq. mi.); somewhat smaller than New York and Pennsylvania combined.

Cities: Capital—Bucharest (pop. 2.02 million). Other cities—Iasi (350,000), Constanta (344,000), Timisoara (327,000), Cluj-Napoca (334,000), Galati (331,000), Brasov (316,000).

Terrain: Consists mainly of rolling, fertile plains; hilly in the eastern regions of the middle Danube basin; and major mountain ranges running north and west in the center of the country, which collectively are known as the Carpathians.

Climate: Moderate.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective— Romanian(s).

Population: 21.7 million (December 2005).

Annual population growth rate: 0.3.

Ethnic groups: Romanians 89%, Hungarians 7.1%, Germans 0.5%, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, Russians, Turks, and Roma 2.5%.

Religions: Orthodox 86.8%, Roman Catholic 5%, Reformed Protestant, Baptist, and Pentecostal 5%, Greek Catholic (Uniate) 1 to 3%, Muslim 0.2%, Jewish less than 0.1%.

Languages: Romanian (official). Other languages—Hungarian, German.

Education: Years compulsory—10. Attendance—98%. Literacy—98%.

Health: Infant mortality rate—18.7/1000 (2001); 18.6/1,000 (2002). Life expectancy—men 67.61 yrs., women 74.9 yrs.

Work force: 9.3 million (December 2005). Agriculture— 2.54 million (December 2005); industry and commerce— 3.30 million (December 2005); services— 3.5 million (December 2005).

Government

Type: Republic.

Constitution: December 8, 1991, amended by referendum October 18-19, 2003.

Government branches: Executive—president (head of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers. Legislative—bicameral Parliament. Judicial— Constitutional Court, High Court of Cassation and Justice, and lower courts.

Political subdivisions: 41 counties plus the city of Bucharest.

Political parties: Political parties represented in the Parliament are the Social Democratic Party (PSD); the National Liberal Party (PNL); the Democratic Party (PD); the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR); the Romanian Conservative Party (PC); the Greater Romania Party (PRM). Other political parties include National Democratic Christian Peasant Party (PNTCD), the Party of the Romanian National Unity (PUNR), as well as political organizations of minorities.

Suffrage: Universal from age 18.

Defense: 2.4% of GDP.

Economy

GDP: $36.7 billion (2000); $45.76 billion (2002); $56.9 billion (2003); $73.2 billion (2004); $98.7 billion (2005).

Annual GDP growth rate: 1.8% (2000); 5.3% (2001); 4.9% (2002); 4.9% (2003); 8.3% (2004); 4.1% (2005).

Per capita GDP: $1,645 (2000); $1,772.90 (2001); $2,120 (2002); $2,623 (2003); $3,389 (2004); $4,564 (2005).

Natural resources: Oil, timber, natural gas, coal, salt, iron ore.

Agriculture: Percent of GDP— 11.4% (2000); 13.2% (2001); 11.3% (2002); 11.7% (2003); 13.0% (2004); 8.9% (2005). Products—corn, wheat, potatoes, oilseeds, vegetables, livestock, fish, and forestry.

Industry: Percent of GDP— 27.6% (2000); 28.2% (2001); 28.3% (2002); 28.4% (2003); 27.0% (2004); 24.4% (2005). Types—machine building, mining, construction materials, metal production and processing, chemicals, food processing, textiles, clothing. Industrial output increased by 5.3% in 2004 and 2.0% in 2005.

Services: Percent of GDP— 60.9% (2000); 44% (2001); 44.7% (2002); 43.7% (2003); 44.1% (2004); 48.3% (2005).

Construction: Percent of GDP— 4.9% (2001); 5.6% (2002); 5.7% (2003); 6.1% (2004); 6.5% (2005).

Trade: Exports—$10.4 billion (2000); $11.46 billion (2001); $13.87 billion (2002); $17.61 billion (2003); $23.48 billion (2004); $27.5 billion (2005). Types—textiles, chemicals, light manufactures, wood products, fuels, processed metals, machinery and equipment. Major markets— Italy, Germany, Turkey, France, U.K., U.S. (4.1%) Exports to the U.S.— $490.7 million (2001); $535.3 million (2002); $689.4 million (2003); $668.5 million (2004); $1.1 billion (2005). Imports—$15.5 billion (2001); $17.96 billion (2002); $24 billion (2003); $32.58 billion (2004); $40.3 billion (2005). Types—machinery and equipment, textiles, fuel, coking coal, iron ore, machinery and equipment, and mineral products. Major suppliers— Italy, Germany, Russia, France, Turkey, Austria, U.K., China, Hungary, U.S. (2.8%). Imports from the U.S.— $357.1 million (2001); $597.8 million (2002); $616.3 million (2003); $933 million (2004); $1.1 billion (2005).

Exchange rate: 33,500 lei=US$1 (December 2002); 32,595 lei=US$1 (December 2003); 29,067 lei=US$1 (December 2004); 31,078 Lei=US$1 (end-December 2005); 28,068 Lei=US$1 (end-June 2006).

GEOGRAPHY

Extending inland halfway across the Balkan Peninsula and covering a large elliptical area of 237,499 square kilometers (91,699 sq. mi.), Romania occupies the greater part of the lower basin of the Danube River system and the hilly eastern regions of the middle Danube basin. It lies on either side of the mountain systems collectively known as the Carpathians, which form the natural barrier between the two Danube basins.

Romania’s location gives it a continental climate, particularly in Moldavia and Wallachia (geographic areas east of the Carpathians and south of the Transylvanian Alps, respectively) and to a lesser extent in centrally located Transylvania, where the climate is more moderate. A long and at times severe winter (December-March), a hot summer (April-July), and a prolonged autumn (August-November) are the principal seasons, with a rapid transition from spring to summer. In Bucharest, the daily minimum temperature in January averages -7°C (20°F), and the daily maximum temperature in July averages 29°C (85°F).

PEOPLE

About 89% of the people are ethnic Romanians, a group that—in contrast to its Slav or Hungarian neighbors—traces itself to Latin-speaking Romans, who in the second and third centuries A.D. conquered and settled among the ancient Dacians, a Thracian people. As a result, the Romanian language, although containing elements of Slavic, Turkish, and other languages, is a romance language related to French and Italian.

Hungarians and Roma are the principal minorities, with a declining German population and smaller numbers of Serbs, Croats, Ukrainians, Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Great Russians, and others. Minority populations are greatest in Transylvania and the Banat, areas in the north and west, which belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until World War I. Even before union with Romania, ethnic Romanians comprised the overall majority in Transylvania. However, ethnic Hungarians and Germans were the dominant urban population until relatively recently, and ethnic Hungarians still are the majority in a few districts.

Before World War II, minorities represented more than 28% of the total population. During the war that percentage was halved, largely by the loss of the border areas of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina (to the former Soviet Union — now Moldova and a portion of south-west Ukraine) and southern Dobrudja (to Bulgaria), as well as by the postwar flight or deportation of ethnic Germans. In the last several decades, more than two-thirds of the remaining ethnic Germans in Romania emigrated to Germany.

Romanian troops during World War II participated in the destruction of the Jewish communities of Bessarabia and Transnistria (both now comprising the independent Republic of Moldova) and Bukovina (now part of Ukraine). Although subjected to harsh persecution, including government-sanctioned pogroms and killings, most Jews from the territory now comprising Romania survived the Holocaust. Mass emigration, mostly to Israel, has reduced the surviving Jewish community from over 300,000 to less than 10,000.

Religious affiliation tends to follow ethnic lines, with most ethnic Romanians identifying with the Romanian Orthodox Church. Also ethnically Romanian is the Greek Catholic or Uniate church, reunified with the Orthodox Church by fiat in 1948, and restored after the 1989 revolution. The 2002 census indicates that less than 1% of the population is Greek Catholic, as opposed to about 10% prior to 1948. Roman Catholics, largely ethnic Hungarians and Germans, constitute about 5% of the population; Calvinists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Lutherans make up another 5%. There are smaller numbers of Unitarians, Muslims, and other religions.

Romania’s rich cultural traditions have been nourished by many sources, some of which predate the Roman occupation. The traditional folk arts, including dance, music, wood-carving, ceramics, weaving and embroidery of costumes and household decorations still flourish in many parts of the country. Despite strong Austrian, German, and especially French influence, many of Romania’s great artists, such as the painter Nicolae Grigorescu, the poet Mihai Eminescu, the composer George Enescu, and the sculptor Constantin

Brancusi, drew their inspiration from Romanian folk traditions. The country’s many Orthodox monasteries, as well as the Transylvanian Catholic and Evangelical Churches, some of which date back to the 13th century, are repositories of artistic treasures. The famous painted monasteries of Bukovina make an important contribution to European architecture.

Poetry and the theater play an important role in contemporary Romanian life. Classic Romanian plays, such as those of Ion Luca Caragiale, as well as works by modern or avant-garde Romanian and international playwrights, find sophisticated and enthusiastic audiences in the many theaters of the capital and of the smaller cities.

HISTORY

Since about 200 B.C., when it was settled by the Dacians, a Thracian tribe, Romania has been in the path of a series of migrations and conquests. Under the emperor Trajan early in the second century A.D., Dacia was incorporated into the Roman Empire, but was abandoned by a declining Rome less than two centuries later. Romania disappeared from recorded history for hundreds of years, to reemerge in the medieval period as the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Heavily taxed and badly administered under the Ottoman Empire, the two Principalities were unified under a single native prince in 1859, and had their full independence ratified in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. A German prince, Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was crowned first King of Romania in 1881.

The new state, squeezed between the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, looked to the West, particularly France, for its cultural, educational, and administrative models. Romania was an ally of the Entente and the U.S. in World War I, and was granted substantial territories with Romanian populations, notably Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina, after the war.

Most of Romania’s pre-World War II governments maintained the forms, but not always the substance, of a liberal constitutional monarchy. The fascist Iron Guard movement, exploiting a quasi-mystical nationalism, fear of communism, and resentment of alleged foreign and Jewish domination of the economy, was a key destabilizing factor, which led to the creation of a royal dictatorship in 1938 under King Carol II. In 1940, the authoritarian General Antonescu took control. Romania entered World War II on the side of the Axis Powers in June 1941, invading the Soviet Union to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina, which had been annexed in 1940.

In August 1944, a coup led by King Michael, with support from opposition politicians and the army, deposed the Antonescu dictatorship and put Romania’s battered armies on the side of the Allies. Romania incurred additional heavy casualties fighting alongside the Soviet Union against the Germans in Transylvania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

A peace treaty, signed in Paris on February 10, 1947, confirmed the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, but restored the part of northern Transylvania granted to Hungary in 1940 by Hitler. The treaty also required massive war reparations by Romania to the Soviet Union, whose occupying forces left in 1958.

The Soviets pressed for inclusion of Romania’s heretofore negligible Communist Party in the post-war government, while non-communist political leaders were steadily eliminated from political life. King Michael abdicated under pressure in December 1947, when the Romanian People’s Republic was declared, and went into exile.

By the late 1950s, Romania’s communist government began to assert some independence from the Soviet Union. Nicolae Ceausescu became head of the Communist Party in 1965 and head of state in 1967. Ceausescu’s denunciation of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and a brief relaxation in internal repression helped give him a positive image both at home and in the West. Seduced by Ceausescu’s “independent” foreign policy, Western leaders were slow to turn against a regime that, by the late 1970s, had become increasingly harsh, arbitrary, and capricious. Rapid economic growth fueled by foreign credits gradually gave way to economic autarchy accompanied by wrenching austerity and severe political repression.

After the collapse of communism in the rest of Eastern Europe in the late summer and fall of 1989, a mid-December protest in Timisoara against the forced relocation of an ethnic Hungarian pastor grew into a country-wide protest against the Ceausescu regime, sweeping the dictator from power. Ceausescu and his wife were executed on December 25, 1989, after a cursory military trial. About 1,500 people were killed in confused street fighting. An impromptu governing coalition, the National Salvation Front (FSN), installed itself and proclaimed the restoration of democracy and freedom. The Communist Party was dissolved and its assets transferred to the state. Ceausescu’s most unpopular measures, such as bans on private commercial entities and independent political activity, were repealed.

Ion Iliescu, a former Communist Party official demoted by Ceausescu in the 1970s, emerged as the leader of the NSF. Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on May 20, 1990. Running against representatives of the pre-war National Peasants’ Party and National Liberal Party, Iliescu won 85% of the vote. The NSF captured two-thirds of the seats in Parliament, and named a university professor, Petre Roman, as Prime Minister. The new government began cautious free market reforms such as opening the economy to consumer imports and establishing the independence of the National Bank. Romania has made great progress in institutionalizing democratic principles, civil liberties, and respect for human rights since the revolution. Nevertheless, the legacy of 44 years of communist rule cannot quickly be eliminated. Membership in the Romanian Communist Party was usually the prerequisite for higher education, foreign travel, or a good job, while the extensive internal security apparatus subverted normal social and political relations. To the few active dissidents, who suffered gravely under Ceausescu and his predecessors, many of those who came forward as politicians after the revolution seemed tainted by association with the previous regime.

Over 200 new political parties sprang up after 1989, gravitating around personalities rather than programs. All major parties espoused democracy and market reforms, but the governing National Salvation Front proposed slower, more cautious economic reforms. In contrast, the opposition’s main parties, the National Liberal Party (PNL), and the National Peasant-Christian Democrat Party (PNTCD) favored quick, sweeping reforms, immediate privatization, and reducing the role of the ex-communist elite.

In the 1990 general elections, the FSN and its candidate for presidency, Ion Iliescu, won with a large majority of the votes (66.31% and 85.07%, respectively). The strongest parties in opposition were the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), with 7.23%, and the PNL, with 6.41%.

Unhappy at the continued political and economic influence of members of the Ceausescu-era elite, anti-communist protesters camped in University Square in April 1990. When miners from the Jiu Valley descended on Bucharest two months later and brutally dispersed the remaining “hooligans,” President Iliescu expressed public thanks, thus convincing many that the government had sponsored the miners’ actions. The miners also attacked the headquarters and houses of opposition leaders. The Roman government fell in late September 1991, when the miners returned to Bucharest to demand higher salaries and better living conditions. Theodor Stolojan was appointed to head an interim government until new elections could be held.

Parliament drafted a new democratic constitution, approved by popular referendum in December 1991. The FSN split into two groups, led by Ion Iliescu (FDSN) and Petre Roman (FSN) in March 1992; Roman’s party subsequently adopted the name Democratic Party (PD). National elections in September 1992 returned President Iliescu by a clear majority, and gave his party, the FDSN, a plurality. With parliamentary support from the nationalist PUNR and PRM parties, and the ex-communist PSM party, a technocratic government was formed in November 1992 under Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, an economist. The FDSN became the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR) in July 1993. The Vacaroiu government ruled in coalition with three smaller parties, all of which abandoned the coalition by the time of the November 1996 elections.

The 1992 elections revealed a continuing political cleavage between major urban centers and the countryside. Rural voters, who were grateful for the restoration of most agricultural land to farmers but fearful of change, strongly favored President Ion Iliescu and the FDSN, while the urban electorate favored the CDR (a coalition made up by several parties — among which the PNTCD and the PNL were the strongest — and civic organizations) and quicker reform. Iliescu easily won reelection over a field of five other candidates. The FDSN won a plurality in both chambers of Parliament. With the CDR, the second-largest parliamentary group, reluctant to take part in a national unity coalition, the FDSN (now PDSR) formed a government under Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, with parliamentary support from the PUNR, PRM, and PSM. PRM and PSM left the government in October and December 1995, respectively. The 1996 local elections demonstrated a major shift in the political orientation of the Romanian electorate. Opposition parties swept Bucharest and many of the larger cities. This trend continued in the national elections that same year, where the opposition dominated the cities and made steep inroads into rural areas theretofore dominated by President Iliescu and the PDSR, which lost many voters in their traditional strongholds outside Transylvania. The campaign of the opposition hammered away on the twin themes of the need to squelch corruption and to launch economic reform. The message resonated with the electorate, which swept Emil Constantinescu and parties allied to him to power in free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections. The coalition government formed in December 1996 took the historic step of inviting the UDMR and its Hungarian ethnic backers into government.

The coalition government retained power for four years despite constant internal frictions and three prime ministers, the last being the Governor of the National Bank, Mugur Isarescu.

In elections in November 2000, the electorate punished the coalition parties for their corruption and failure to improve the standard of living. The PDSR (renamed PSD—Social Democratic Party at June 16, 2001 Congress) came back into power, albeit as a minority government. In the concurrent presidential elections, former President Ion Iliescu decisively defeated the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM) leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor.

The PSD government, led by Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, forged a de facto governing coalition with the ethnic Hungarian UDMR, ushering in four years of relatively stable government. The PSD guided Romania toward greater macro-economic stability, although endemic corruption remained a major problem. In September 2003, the center-right National Liberal Party (PNL) and centrist Democratic Party (PD) formed an alliance at a national and local level, in anticipation of 2004 local and national elections. Romania then moved closer toward a political system dominated by two large political blocs.

In October 2003 citizens voted in favor of major amendments to the constitution in a nationwide referendum to bring Romania’s organic law into compliance with European Union standards.

On November 28, 2004, Romania again held parliamentary and the first round of presidential elections. In the December 12 presidential runoff election, former Bucharest Mayor Traian Basescu, representing the center-right PNL-PD alliance, delivered a surprise defeat to PSD candidate Nastase. Basescu appointed PNL leader Calin Popescu-Tariceanu as Prime Minister, whose government was approved by the Parliament on December 28, 2004.

GOVERNMENT

Romania’s 1991 constitution proclaims Romania a democracy and market economy, in which human dignity, civic rights and freedoms, the unhindered development of human personality, justice, and political pluralism are supreme and guaranteed values. The constitution directs the state to implement free trade, protect the principle of competition, and provide a favorable framework for production. The constitution provides for a president, a Parliament, a Constitutional Court and a separate system of lower courts that includes a Supreme Court.

The two-chamber Parliament, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, is the law-making authority. Deputies and senators are elected for 4-year terms by universal suffrage. Elected officials at all levels of government, with the exception of the president and mayors, are selected on the basis of party lists, with parliamentary seats, city and county council representation, all allocated in proportion to party choices made by the electorate.

The president is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two terms. The length of the term was extended from four to five years in an October 2003 constitutional referendum. He is the Chief of State, charged with safeguarding the constitution, foreign affairs, and the proper functioning of public authorities. He is supreme commander of the armed forces and chairman of the Supreme Defense Council. According to the constitution, he acts as mediator among the power centers within the state, as well as between the state and society. The president nominates the prime minister, who in turn appoints the government, which must be confirmed by a vote of confidence from Parliament.

The Constitutional Court adjudicates the constitutionality of challenged laws and decrees. The court consists of nine judges, appointed for non-concurrent terms of 9 years. Three judges are appointed by the Chamber of Deputies, three by the Senate, and three by the president of Romania.

The Romanian legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code. The judiciary is to be independent, and judges appointed by the president are not removable. The president and other judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice are appointed for terms of 6 years and may serve consecutive terms. Proceedings are public, except in special circumstances provided for by law.

The Ministry of Justice represents “the general interests of society” and defends the legal order as well as citizens’ rights and freedoms. The ministry is to discharge its powers through independent, impartial public prosecutors.

For territorial and administrative purposes, Romania is divided into 41 counties and the city of Bucharest. Each county is governed by an elected county council. Local councils and elected mayors are the public administration authorities in villages and towns. The county council is the public administration authority that coordinates the activities of all village and town councils in a county.

The central government appoints a prefect for each county and the Bucharest municipality. The prefect is the representative of the central government at the local level and directs any public services of the ministries and other central agencies at the county level. A prefect may block the action of a local authority if he deems it unlawful or unconstitutional. The matter is then decided by an administrative court.

Under legislation in force since January 1999, local councils have control over spending of their allocations from the central government budget, as well as authority to raise additional revenue locally.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 1/24/2007

Pres.: Traian BASESCU

Prime Min.: Calin Popescu-TARICEANU

Dep. Prime Min. for Business & Small & Medium Enterprises:

Dep. Prime Min. for Culture, Education, & European Integration: Bela MARKO

Dep. Prime Min. for Economic Activities:

Min. of Admin. & Interior: Vasile BLAGA

Min. of Agriculture, Forests, & Rural Development: Dan MOTREANU

Min. of Communication & Information Technology: Zsolt NAGY

Min. of Culture & Religious Affairs: Adrian IORGULESCU

Min. of Defense: Sorin FRUNZAVERDE

Min. of Economy & Commerce: Varujan VOSGANIAN

Min. of Education, Youth, & Research: Mihail HARDAU

Min. of Environment & Water Resources: Sulfina BARBU

Min. of European Integration: Anca BOAGIU

Min. of Finance: Sebastian VLADESCU

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Mihai Razvan UNGUREANU

Min. of Health: Eugen NICOLAESCU

Min. of Justice: Monica Luisa MACOVEI

Min. of Labor, Social Solidarity, & Family: Gheorghe BARBU

Min. of Transport, Construction, & Tourism: Radu Mircea BERCEANU

Min.-Del. of Government Coordination: Radu STROE

Min.-Del. for Implementation of Intl. Funds: Cristian DAVID

Min.-Del. for Parliament: Mihai Alexandru VOICU

Min.-Del. for Public Admin.: Laszlo BORBELY

Min.-Del. for Commerce: Iuliu WINKLER

Governor, National Bank of Romania: Mugur ISARESCU

Ambassador to the US:

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Mihnea MOTOC

Romania maintains an embassy in the United States at 1607 23rd St., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-232-3694, fax: 202-232-4748).

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

November 2004 elections left the Romanian parliament closely divided between the center-right PNL-PD alliance and the PSD, which each hold between 30-40% of the seats in each chamber. The PNL-PD, however, forged a parliamentary majority with the support of the UDMR, PC and (in the lower house) the ethnic minority party representatives. The extreme nationalist PRM won fewer seats than in the 2000 elections, but remained a significant political player. Although the PNL and PD vote as a bloc in the parliament and ran candidates on a common list in the 2004 parliamentary elections, the two parties remain separate. On several occasions in 2005, President Traian Basescu publicly expressed support for snap parliamentary elections. Other elected leaders, both from the governing and opposition parties, expressed opposition to new elections, noting that they are difficult to achieve under the constitution and could detract from government efforts to implement reforms necessary for EU accession.

Political parties represent a broad range of views and interests, and elected officials and other public figures freely express their views. Civil society watchdog groups remain relatively small but have grown in influence. The press is free and outspoken, although there have been incidents of politically motivated intimidation and even violence against journalists and media management, particularly prior to 2004 national elections. Independent radio networks have proliferated, and several private television networks now operate nationwide. In addition, a large number of local private television networks have emerged.

Through support of or participation in consecutive government coalitions, the UDMR has ensured continuing influence of the ethnic Hungarian minority in national government. In addition, consecutive governments have sought to improve the socio-economic situation of the Roma minority, which continues to suffer from severe poverty in many areas and discrimination. Although according to government statistics Roma officially represent 2.5% of the population, Romani organizations claim the percentage is actually several percentage points higher.

The restitution of private and religious property seized under communism or during World War II continues to move slowly. Particularly problematic is the return of Greek-Catholic churches, which were given to the Romanian Orthodox Church by the communist regime. The Romanian Orthodox Church thus far has turned over very few of these churches, many of which had belonged to the Greek Catholic community for hundreds of years. Romania has repealed communist-era legislation criminalizing homosexual acts and banned xenophobic and racist groups and their activities. Romanian law does not prohibit women’s participation in government or politics, but societal attitudes remain a significant barrier. Women hold some high positions in government and roughly 10% of the seats in each chamber in the Parliament.

ECONOMY

Romania is a country of considerable potential: rich agricultural lands; diverse energy sources (coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear); a substantial, if aging, industrial base encompassing almost the full range of manufacturing activities; an educated, well-trained work force; and opportunities for expanded development in tourism on the Black Sea and in the mountains.

The Romanian Government borrowed heavily from the West in the 1970s to build a substantial state-owned industrial base. Following the 1979 oil price shock and a debt rescheduling in 1981, Ceausescu decreed that Romania would no longer be subject to foreign creditors. By the end of 1989, Romania had paid off a foreign debt of about $10.5 billion through an unprecedented effort that wreaked havoc on the economy and living standards. Vital imports were slashed and food and fuel strictly rationed, while the government exported everything it could to earn hard currency. With investment slashed, Romania’s infrastructure fell behind that of even its historically poorer Balkan neighbors.

Since the fall of the Ceausescu regime in 1989, successive governments sought to build a Western-style market economy. The pace of restructuring was slow, but by 1994 the legal basis for a market economy was largely in place. After the 1996 elections, the coalition government attempted to eliminate consumer subsidies, float prices, liberalize exchange rates, and put in place a tight monetary policy. The Parliament enacted laws permitting foreign entities incorporated in Romania to purchase land. Foreign capital investment in Romania has been increasing, but remains significantly less in per capita terms than in most other transition economy countries in East and Central Europe.

Romania was the largest U.S. trading partner in Eastern Europe until Ceausescu’s 1988 renunciation of Most Favored Nation (MFN or non-discriminatory) trading status resulted in high U.S. tariffs on Romanian products. Congress approved restoration of MFN status effective November 8, 1993, as part of a new Bilateral Trade Agreement. Tariffs on most Romanian products dropped to zero in February 1994, with the inclusion of Romania in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Major Romanian exports to the U.S. include shoes, clothing, steel, and chemicals. Romania signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 1992 and a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1993, codifying Romania’s access to European markets and creating the basic framework for further economic integration.

At its Helsinki Summit in December 1999, the European Union (EU) invited Romania to formally begin accession negotiations. In December 2004, the EU Commission concluded pre-accession negotiations with Romania. In April 2005, the EU signed an accession treaty with Romania and its neighbor, Bulgaria, with the goal of welcoming them as new members in January 2007. As of July 31, 2006, 21 of the 25 EU member states have ratified Romania and Bulgaria’s accession treaty. The EU warned that Romania’s accession by 2007 is not guaranteed; the EU has imposed a “super safeguard clause,” enabling it to postpone Romania’s accession to 2008, should Romania be unable to make substantial progress on corruption, competition, and judiciary issues. Despite the safeguard clause, most analysts believe Romania will join the EU in 2007.

Privatization of industry was first pursued with the transfer in 1992 of 30% of the shares of some 6,000 state-owned enterprises to five private ownership funds, in which each adult citizen received certificates of ownership. The remaining 70% ownership of the enterprises was transferred to a state ownership fund. With the assistance of the World Bank, European Union (EU), and IMF, Romania succeeded in privatizing most industrial state-owned enterprises, including some large state-owned energy companies. Romania will complete privatization of the banking sector in 2006 with the transfer of the Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR) and the Romanian Savings Bank (CEC) to foreign ownership. The country made substantial progress in the energy sector in 2005, completing or launching numerous privatization projects, including privatization of two additional regional electricity distributors. Four of the countries eight regional electricity distributors have now been privatized, and the government is continuing the process. Privatization of natural gas distribution companies also progressed with the sale of Romania’s two regional gas distributors, Distrigaz Nord (to E.ON Ruhrgas of Germany) and Distrigaz Sud (to Gaz de France). Further Progress in energy sector privatization, however, has been delayed as the government reconsiders its strategy on the Rovinari, Turceni and Craiova energy complexes.

The return of collectivized farmland to its cultivators, one of the first initiatives of the post-December 1989 revolution government, resulted in a short-term decrease in agricultural production. Some four million small parcels representing 80% of the arable surface were returned to original owners or their heirs. Many of the recipients were elderly or city dwellers, and the slow progress of granting formal land titles is an obstacle to leasing or selling land to active farmers.

Financial and technical assistance continue to flow from the U.S., European Union, other industrial nations, and international financial institutions facilitating Romania’s reintegration into the world economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (IBRD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) all have programs and resident representatives in Romania. As of April 2006, Romania had attracted $17.1 billion in foreign direct investment. Of this total, U.S. direct investment accounted for $835.3 million (4.9%), ranking sixth among country investors.

After years of IMF-guided economic reforms, Romania’stand-by agreement with the IMF expired on July 7. Romania’s inflation rate has steadily decreased, while growth rates have been between four and eight percent since 2001. However, the IMF has been critical of Romania’s 2005 adoption of a 16% flat tax, pointing to the country’s low rate of tax collection as a medium to long-term impediment to growth. The IMF has also criticized Romania’s public sector wage policy as inflationary. Public sector wages have increased 50% since autumn 2004. Analysts have warned that increasing macroeconomic imbalances, such as the growing current account deficit (now at 9.1% of GDP), deteriorating education and health services, and outdated and limited physical infrastructure may harm future growth.

Romania’s budget deficits also dropped under IMF guidance, though the trend is reversing. While deficits decreased from 4% of GDP in 1999 to only 0.8% in 2005, Romania plans a 2.5% budget deficit in 2006. However, first half 2006 consolidated budget posted a temporary 1.1% of GDP surplus. Deficits are expected to increase as Romania strives to absorb Structural Fund Assistance from the EU. The country made progress in combating domestic tax arrears and expanding the tax base in 2005, though Romania has one of the lowest collection rates in Europe, at 29.9% of GDP. Unemployment was officially 5.1% in July 2006, although these figures do not capture high levels of under-employment or temporary emigration.

In the 1990s, inflation was one of Romania’s most serious economic problems. Retail price inflation averaged 12.1% monthly in 1993 (the equivalent of 256% annually). Inflation rates gradually declined through the 1990s, reaching single digits in 2004. Inflation in 2005 stood at 8.6%. Six-month 2006 inflation rate dropped to 2.65%. The Central Bank has set a target of 6% in 2006, though many experts believe this will be difficult to achieve in the face of rising energy costs.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since December 1989, Romania has actively pursued a policy of strengthening relations with the West in general, more specifically with the U.S. and the European Union. Romania was a helpful partner to the allied forces during the first Gulf War, particularly during its service as president of the UN Security Council. Romania has been active in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, UNAVEM in Angola, IFOR/SFOR in Bosnia, KFOR in Kosovo, and in Albania. Romania also offered important logistical support to allied military operations in Iraq in 2003 and, after the cessation of organized hostilities, has been participating in security and reconstruction activities. Romania is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which it chaired in 2001.

Romania was the first country to enroll in the NATO Partnership for Peace program. NATO member states invited Romania to join the Alliance in 2002, based on Romania’s rapid progress in modernizing its armed forces and its contributions to allied peacekeeping and other military operations. Romania officially became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on March 29, 2004 after depositing its instruments of treaty ratification in Washington, DC. In 1996, Romania signed and ratified a basic bilateral treaty with Hungary that settled outstanding issues and laid the foundation for closer, more cooperative relations. In June 1997, Romania signed a bilateral treaty with Ukraine that resolved certain territorial and minority issues, among others. Romania also signed a basic bilateral treaty with Russia in July 2003.

Romania has been actively involved in regional organizations, such as the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative (SECI) and the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe, and has been a positive force in supporting stability and cooperation in the area.

Romania maintains good diplomatic relations with Israel and was supportive of the Middle East peace negotiations initiated after the Gulf conflict in 1991. Romania also is a founding member of the Black Sea Consortium for Economic Development. It joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1972, and is a member of the World Trade Organization.

In January 2004, Romania commenced a two-year term as an elected member of the UN Security Council.

Romanian Missions in the United States Embassy of Romania
1607 23rd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel. 202-232-3694, fax: 202-232-4748

Romanian Mission to the UN
573 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212-682-3273

Romanian National Tourist Office
573 Third Avenue
New York, NW 10016
Tel. 212-697-6971

Romanian Cultural Center
200 E. 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212-687-0180

DEFENSE

In accordance with the December 1991 Romanian constitution, the Romanian armed forces have the defensive mission of ensuring the territorial integrity of the country. The military enjoys popular support, partly because of its role in supporting the December 1989 revolution. The army is the largest service. Total armed forces strength is currently about 100,000, and is maintained through conscription, although only volunteers are assigned to combat zones. There is an ongoing strategic review that is intended to lead to a NATO interoperable force of 60,000 by 2007. Romania plans to phase out conscription in the armed forces by 2007. In 1993, the U.S. military began training of Romanian military and civilian officials through IMET and other exchange programs, emphasizing civilian democratic control over the military.

U.S.-ROMANIAN RELATIONS

Cold during the early post-war period, U.S. bilateral relations with Romania began to improve in the early 1960s with the signing of an agreement providing for partial settlement of American property claims. Cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges were initiated, and in 1964 the legations of both nations were promoted to full embassies.

Responding to Ceausescu’s calculated distancing of Romania from Soviet foreign policy, particularly Romania’s continued diplomatic relations with Israel and denunciation of the 1968 Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, President Nixon paid an official visit to Romania in August 1969. Despite political differences, high-level contacts continued between U.S. and Romanian leaders throughout the decade of the 1970s, culminating in the 1978 state visit to Washington by President and Mrs. Ceausescu.

In 1972, a consular convention to facilitate protection of citizens and their property in both countries was signed. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) facilities were granted, and Romania became eligible for U.S. Export-Import Bank credits.

A trade agreement signed in April 1975 accorded Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to Romania under section 402 of the Trade Reform Act of 1974 (the Jackson-Vanik amendment that links MFN to a country’s performance on emigration). This status was renewed yearly after Congressional review of a presidential determination that Romania was making progress toward freedom of emigration.

In the mid-1980s, criticism of Romania’s deteriorating human rights record, particularly regarding mistreatment of religious and ethnic minorities, spurred attempts by Congress to withdraw MFN status. In 1988, to preempt Congressional action, Ceausescu renounced MFN treatment, calling Jackson-Vanik and other human rights requirements unacceptable interference in Romanian sovereignty.

After welcoming the revolution of December 1989 with a visit by Secretary of State Baker in February 1990, the U.S. Government expressed concern that opposition parties had faced discriminatory treatment in the May 1990 elections, when the National Salvation Front won a sweeping victory. The slow progress of subsequent political and economic reform increased that concern, and relations with Romania cooled sharply after the June 1990 intervention of the miners in University Square. Anxious to cultivate better relations with the U.S. and Europe, and disappointed at the poor results from its gradualist economic reform strategy, the Stolojan government undertook some economic reforms and conducted free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections in September 1992. Encouraged by the conduct of local elections in February 1992, Deputy Secretary of State Eagleburger paid a visit in May 1992. Congress restored MFN in November 1993 in recognition of Romania’s progress in instituting political and economic reform. In 1996, the U.S. Congress voted to extend permanent MFN graduation to Romania. As Romania’s policies became unequivocally pro-Western, the United States moved to deepen relations. President Clinton visited Bucharest in 1997. The two countries initiated cooperation on shared goals, including economic and political development, defense reform, and non-traditional threats (such as trans-border crime and non-proliferation).

Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Romania has been fully supportive of the U.S. in the Global War on Terror. Romania was invited to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in November 2002 and formally joined NATO on March 29, 2004 after depositing its instruments of treaty ratification in Washington, DC. President Bush helped commemorate Romania’s NATO accession when he visited Bucharest in November 2002. On that occasion he congratulated the Romanian people on building democratic institutions and a market economy following the fall of communism. In March 2005, President Traian Basescu made his first official visit Washington to meet with President Bush, Secretary of State Rice, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and other senior U.S. officials. In December 2005, Secretary Rice visited Bucharest to meet with President Basescu and to sign a bilateral defense cooperation agreement that will allow for the joint use of Romanian military facilities by U.S. troops.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials BUCHAREST (E) Address: 7-9 Tudor Arghezi Street, sector 2; APO/FPO: 5260 Bucharest Place (Pouch); Phone: +40(21) 200-3300; Fax: +40 (21)-200-3442; Workweek: Mon–Fri 0800-1700; Web site: bucharest. usembassy.gov.

AMB:Nicholas Taubman
AMB OMS:Roberta Viggiano
DCM:Mark Taplin
DCM OMS:Maria Schamber
CG:Bryan Dalton
POL:Theodore Tanoue
MGT:Jennifer Bonner
AGR:Susan Reid (Sofia)
AID:Rodger Garner
CLO:Brigitte Campbell
DAO:Barbara Kuennecke
ECO:John Rodgers
FCS:Cynthia Biggs
FMO:Margaret Sula
GSO:Jeff Biron
IMO:Ross Campbell
IPO:Chandra Masdar
ISO:Gary Ellis
LEGATT:Gary Dickson
PAO:Judith Moon
RSO:Robert Weitzel

Last Updated: 12/13/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : November 15, 2006

Country Description: Romania has undergone profound political and economic changes since the 1989 revolution and is in a period of economic transition. Most tourist facilities, while being upgraded, have not yet reached Western European standards.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A valid passport is required. Visitors are granted 90 days of stay without a visa within a given six-month period. An exit visa must be obtained in cases of overstay. For stays longer than ninety days, an extension of stay may be obtained in Romania from the offices of the Authority for Aliens in the area of residence. The Romanian Government is enforcing visa regulations more vigorously and a record of visa overstay can result in payment of large fines and the denial of entry without visa for a specified time. Visitors can obtain information regarding entry requirements from the Romanian Embassy at 1607 23rd St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone number (202) 232-4747, or the Romanian Consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York City. The Romanian Embassy maintains a web site at http://www.roembus.org. U.S. visa information for Romanians and other foreign citizens is found at http://www.usembassy.ro or http://www.travel.state.gov.

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, can be found. Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: While most crimes in Romania are non-violent and non-confrontational, crimes do occur in which the victim suffers personal harm. Crimes against tourists, including robbery, mugging, pick-pocketing and confidence schemes, remain a problem in Romania. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate in train stations and on trains, subways, and buses in major cities. A number of thefts and assaults have occurred on overnight trains, including thefts from passengers in closed compartments. Money exchange schemes targeting travelers are common in Romania. Some of these ploys have become rather sophisticated, involving individuals posing as plainclothes policemen, who approach the potential victim, flash a badge and ask for the victim’s passport and wallet. In many of these cases, the thieves succeed in obtaining passports, credit cards, and other personal documents. Credit card and Internet fraud remain among the most common crimes affecting foreigners in Romania—see section on “Special Circumstances” below.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. To contact the police dial 112.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical care in Romania is generally not up to Western standards, and basic medical supplies are limited, especially outside major cities. Some medical providers that are up to Western quality standards are available in Bucharest and other cities, but can be difficult to identify and locate. Travelers seeking medical treatment should therefore choose their provider carefully. A list of hospitals and physicians is available on the embassy website at http://www.usembassy.ro. Information regarding health threats or other medical issues affecting visitors to Romania can also be found at this site. The emergency telephone number for ambulance and other emergency services is 112.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Americans who wish to extend their stay in Romania must present health insurance that applies overseas for the duration of their intended stay in Romania. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Romania is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Road conditions vary widely throughout Romania. While major streets in larger cities and major inter-city roads are in fair to good condition, most other roads are in poor repair, badly lit, narrow, and often do not have marked lanes. Pedestrians, animals, people on bicycles, and horse-drawn carts that are extremely difficult to see, especially at night, also use many roads, particularly in rural areas. Roads, especially in the mountains, can be particularly dangerous when wet or covered with snow or ice.

Romanian traffic laws are very strict. The traffic police can confiscate any form of driver’s license or permit for 1-3 months and payment of fines may be requested at the time of the infractions. Some examples when this might occur are failure to yield the right of way, failure to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, and failure to stop at a red light or stop sign. Romanian traffic law provides for retention of licenses and possible imprisonment for driving under the influence of alcohol or for causing an accident resulting in injury or death. In spite of these strict rules, however, many drivers in Romania often do not follow traffic laws or yield the right of way. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that defensive driving be practiced while driving in Romania.

U.S. driver’s licenses are only valid in Romania for up to 90 days. Before the 90-day period has expired, U.S. citizens must either obtain an international driving permit in addition to their U.S. driver’s license or a Romanian driver’s license. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory only in the front seat of a car. Children under 12 years of age may not be transported in the front seat. Drivers must yield to pedestrians at all marked pedestrian crosswalks, but many of these are poorly maintained and difficult to see. Unless otherwise marked with road signs, speed limits are as follows: inter-city traffic on highways— 120 km/hr for cars, 100 km/hr for motorcycles, 90 km/hr for vans, and urban traffic—50 km/hr. On all other roads the speed limits are 90 km/hr for cars, 80 km/hr for motorcycles, and 70 km/hr for vans. Speed limits for motor vehicles with trailers and for drivers with less than one year of driving experience are 10 km/hr slower than those listed above. Intercity travel is generally done via trains and buses, which are relatively safe, inexpensive, and reliable. However, pickpockets pose a danger on night trains and in train stations. Inter-city travel by taxi is much more expensive and safety depends on the quality of the driver. Many older taxis are not equipped with seat belts. To avoid being overcharged, passengers should request the taxi by phone and make sure the taxi has an operational meter, or agree upon a price before entering the taxi.

The host country authority responsible for road safety is the Traffic Police of the Romanian Ministry of Interior. The Traffic Police maintain a web site at http://www.politiarutiera.ro. Emergency roadside help and information may be reached by dialing 9271 for vehicle assistance and towing services. For ambulance services, fire brigade or police, dial 112.

Visit the website of the country’s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety at http://www.towd.com.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Romania’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Romania’s air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Romania is largely a “cash only” economy. While an increasing number of businesses do accept credit cards, travelers are advised to use cash for goods and services rendered due to the prevalence of credit card fraud. Vendors have been known to misuse credit card information by making illegal purchases on individual’s accounts. There are an increasing number of ATM machines located throughout major cities, but increasingly sophisticated identity theft rings are targeting ATM machines, as well. Travelers should try to use ATMs located inside banks and check for any evidence of tampering with the machine before use. Travelers’ checks are of limited use but may be used to purchase local currency at some exchange houses.

Americans should exercise caution when traveling to Romania to meet individuals known only through contact over the Internet. A number of confidence scams have been uncovered involving Romanians who contact their prospective American victims through chat rooms or personal advertisements. They generally identify themselves as young Romanian women and develop a “relationship” with their victim over time. Variations of this scam have emerged, but money extortion remains the ultimate goal. Americans who suspect they have fallen victim to this kind of scam should contact American Citizens Services at the Embassy.

There is a significant population of stray dogs in and around Bucharest and attacks on pedestrians and joggers are not uncommon. While there have not been any reported problems with rabies, travelers are advised to avoid all stray dogs. Romania’s customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Romania of items such as firearms, antiquities, and medications. Romanian law allows foreigners to bring up to $10,000 in cash into Romania. No amount in excess of that declared upon entry may be taken out of Romania upon departure. Sums larger than $10,000 must be transferred through banks. No more than 1,000,000 Romanian lei (ROL) may be brought into or taken out of the country. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Romania in Washington or one of Romania’s consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Romania is an earthquake-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Romania’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Romania are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Under Romanian law, engaging in sexual conduct with a minor is a crime punishable with a 3-10 year prison sentence, if the minor is under the age of 15, or if the minor is under the age of 18 and the adult has abused the minor’s trust or the influence/authority held over the minor. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with someone who has a physical or psychological disability is punishable with a 3-12 year prison sentence. Distribution of obscene materials depicting minors is a crime punishable with a 1-5 year prison sentence.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Romania are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Romania. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the U.S. Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Strada Tudor Arghezi 7-9, telephone (40) 21-200-3300. In life or death emergencies, an after hours duty officer may be reached by calling (40) 21-200-3433. Consular services for U.S. citizens are performed at the Consular Section located at Strada Filipescu no. 26 (formerly Strada Snagov), one block from the U.S. Embassy at the corner of Strada Batistei. The Consular Section can be reached through the Embassy operator at (40) 21-200-3300, and faxes can be sent to (40) 21 200-3381. The Embassy Information Office in Cluj-Napoca is located at Universitatii 7-9, Etaj 1, telephone: (40) 264-593-815. This office is able to provide limited consular information.

International Adoption : January 14, 2005

The State Department is seeking confirmation from the new Romanian Government of reports that the ban on international adoption will remain in effect but that exceptions to the law would be considered by an international commission. This international commission will be established for the purpose of reviewing pending cases that were registered with the Romanian Government prior to adoption of the new law.

views updated

ROMANIA

Compiled from the January 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.




Official Name:
Romania

PROFILEGEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
DEFENSE
U.S.-ROMANIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 237,499 sq. km. (91,699 sq. mi.); somewhat smaller than New York and Pennsylvania combined.

Cities: Capital—Bucharest (pop. 2.02 million). Other cities—Constanta (344,000), Iasi (350,000), Timisoara (327,000), Cluj-Napoca (334,000), Galati (331,000), Brasov (316,000).

Terrain: Consists mainly of rolling, fertile plains; hilly in the eastern regions of the middle Danube basin; and major mountain ranges running north and west in the center of the country, which collectively are known as the Carpathians.

Climate: Moderate.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Romanian(s).

Population: 21.7 million (March 2002).

Annual population growth rate: - 0.3

Ethnic groups: Romanians 89%, Hungarians 7.1%, Germans 0.5%, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croats, Russians, Turks, and Roma 2.5%.

Religions: Orthodox 86.8%, Roman Catholic 5%, Reformed Protestant, Baptist, and Pentecostal 5%, Greek Catholic (Uniate) 1%, Jewish less than 0.1%.

Languages: Romanian (official). Other languages—Hungarian, German.

Education: Years compulsory—10. Attendance—98%. Literacy—98%.

Health: Infant mortality rate—18.7/1000 (2001); 18.6/1,000 (2002). Life expectancy—men 67.61 yrs., women 74.9 yrs.

Work force: 9 million (2001); 8.8 million (2002—40.7% of total population). Agriculture—3.52 million (2001); Industry and commerce—2.016 million (2001); Services—2.7 million.


Government

Type: Republic.

Constitution: December 8, 1991, amended by referendum October 18-19, 2003.

Branches: Executive—president (head of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers. Legislative—bicameral Parliament. Judicial—Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, and lower courts.

Subdivisions: 41 counties plus the city of Bucharest.

Political parties: Political parties represented in the Parliament are the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the National Liberal Party (PNL); the Democratic Party (PD); the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR); the Greater Romania Party (PRM). Other political parties include National Democratic Christian Peasant Party (PNTCD), the Romanian Humanist Party (PUR), the Party of the Romanian National Unity (PUNR), as well as political organizations of minorities.

Suffrage: Universal from age 18.

Defense: 2.4% of GDP.


Economy

GDP: $34.0 billion (1999); $36.7 billion (2000); $45.76 billion (2002); $50.26 billion (2003 est.).

Annual GDP growth rate: -3.2% (1999); 1.8 (2000); 5.3% (2001); 4.9% (2002).

Per Capita GDP: $1,585 (1999); $1,645 (2000); $1,772.90 (2001); $2,120 (2002).

Natural resources: Oil, timber, natural gas, coal, salt, iron ore.

Agriculture: Percent of GDP—11.4% (2000); 13.2% (2001); 11.7% (2002). Products—corn, wheat, potatoes, oilseeds, vegetables, livestock, and forestry.

Industry: Percent of GDP—27.6% (2000); 28.2% (2001); 29.1% (2002). Types—machine building, mining, construction materials, metal production and processing, chemicals, food processing, textiles, clothing. Industrial output increased by 6% from 2001 to 2002.

Services: Percent of GDP—60.9% (2000); 44% (2001); 44.7% (2002).

Construction: Percent of GDP—4.9% (2001); 5% (2002).

Trade: Exports—$10.4 billion (2000); $11.46 billion (2001); $13.96 billion (2002); $16.26 billion (2003). Types—textiles, chemicals, light manufactures, wood products, fuels, processed metals. Major markets—Italy, Germany, France, U.K., U.S. (4.3%), Turkey. U.S. exports: $490.7 million (2001); $535.3 million (2002); $616.4 million (2003). Imports—$15.5 billion (2001); $17.96 billion (2002); $19.96 billion (2003). Types—fuel, cooking coal, iron ore, machinery and equipment, and mineral products. Major suppliers—Italy, Germany, Russia, France, U.K., Hungary, Austria, Turkey, and U.S. (3% in 2002). U.S. imports: $357.1 million (2001); $597.8 million (2002); $670.6 million (2003).

Exchange rate: 33,500 lei =US$1 (December 2002); 33,016 lei=US$1 (June 2003); 32,846 lei=US$1 (December 2003).




GEOGRAPHY

Extending inland halfway across the Balkan Peninsula and covering a large elliptical area of 237,499 square kilometers (91,699 sq. mi.), Romania occupies the greater part of the lower basin of the Danube River system and the hilly eastern regions of the middle Danube basin. It lies on either side of the mountain systems collectively known as the Carpathians, which form the natural barrier between the two Danube basins.


Romania's location gives it a continental climate, particularly in the Old Kingdom (east of the Carpathians and south of the Transylvanian Alps) and to a lesser extent in Transylvania, where the climate is more moderate. A long and at times severe winter (December-March), a hot summer (April-July), and a prolonged autumn (August-November) are the principal seasons, with a rapid transition from spring to summer. In Bucharest, the daily minimum temperature in January averages -7°C (20°F), and the daily maximum temperature in July averages 29°C (85°F).


PEOPLE

About 89% of the people are ethnic Romanians, a group that—in contrast to its Slav or Hungarian neighbors—traces itself to Latin-speaking Romans, who in the second and third centuries A.D. conquered and settled among the ancient Dacians, a Thracian people. As a result, the Romanian language, although containing elements of Slavic, Turkish, and other languages, is a romance language related to French and Italian.


Hungarians and Roma are the principal minorities, with a declining German population and smaller numbers of Serbs, Croats, Ukrainians, Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Great Russians, and others. Minority populations are greatest in Transylvania and the Banat, areas in the north and west, which belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire until World War I. Even before union with Romania, ethnic Romanians comprised the overall majority in Transylvania. However, ethnic Hungarians and Germans were the dominant urban population until relatively recently, and ethnic Hungarians still are the majority in a few districts.


Before World War II, minorities represented more than 28% of the total population. During the war that percentage was halved, largely by the loss of the border areas of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina (to the former Soviet Union — now Moldova and Ukraine) and southern Dobrudja (to Bulgaria), as well as by the postwar flight or deportation of ethnic Germans. In the last several decades, more than two-thirds of the remaining ethnic Germans in Romania emigrated to Germany.


Though Romanian troops participated in the destruction of the Jewish communities of Bessarabia and Bukovina, most Jews from Romania proper survived the Holocaust. Mass emigration, mostly to Israel, has reduced the surviving Jewish community from over 300,000 to less than 15,000.

Religious affiliation tends to follow ethnic lines, with most ethnic Romanians identifying with the Romanian Orthodox Church. The Greek Catholic or Uniate church, reunified with the Orthodox Church by fiat in 1948, was restored after the 1989 revolution. The 1992 census indicates that 1% of the population is Greek Catholic, as opposed to about 10% prior to 1948. Roman Catholics, largely ethnic Hungarians and Germans, constitute about 5% of the population; Calvinists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Lutherans make up another 5%. There are smaller numbers of Unitarians, Muslims, and other religions.


Romania's rich cultural traditions have been nourished by many sources, some of which predate the Roman occupation. The traditional folk arts, including dance, music, wood carving, ceramics, weaving and embroidery of costumes and household decorations still flourish in many parts of the country. Despite strong Austrian, German, and especially French influence, many of Romania's great artists, such as the painter Nicolae Grigorescu, the poet Mihai Eminescu, the composer George Enescu, and the sculptor Constantin Brancusi, drew their inspiration from Romanian folk traditions.


The country's many Orthodox monasteries, as well as the Transylvanian Catholic and Evangelical Churches, some of which date back to the 13th century, are repositories of artistic treasures. The famous painted monasteries of Bukovina make an important contribution to European architecture.


Poetry and the theater play an important role in contemporary Romanian life. Classic Romanian plays, such as those of Ion Luca Caragiale, as well as works by modern or avant-garde Romanian and international playwrights, find sophisticated and enthusiastic audiences in the many theaters of the capital and of the smaller cities.


HISTORY

From about 200 B.C., when it was settled by the Dacians, a Thracian tribe, Romania has been in the path of a series of migrations and conquests. Under the emperor Trajan early in the second century A.D., Dacia was incorporated into the Roman Empire, but was abandoned by a declining Rome less than two centuries later. Romania disappeared from recorded history for hundreds of years, to reemerge in the medieval period as the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Heavily taxed and badly administered under the Ottoman Empire, the two Principalities were unified under a single native prince in 1859, and had their full independence ratified in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin. A German prince, Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, was crowned first King of Romania in 1881.

The new state, squeezed between the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, looked to the West, particularly France, for its cultural, educational, and administrative models. Romania was an ally of the Entente and the U.S. in World War I, and was granted substantial territories with Romanian populations, notably Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina, after the war.

Most of Romania's pre-World War II governments maintained the forms, but not always the substance, of a liberal constitutional monarchy. The quasi-mystical fascist Iron Guard movement, exploiting nationalism, fear of communism, and resentment of alleged foreign and Jewish domination of the economy, was a key destabilizing factor, which led to the creation of a royal dictatorship in 1938 under King Carol II. In 1940, the authoritarian General Antonescu took control. Romania entered World War II on the side of the Axis Powers in June 1941, invading the Soviet Union to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina, which had been annexed in 1940.

In August 1944, a coupled by King Michael, with support from opposition politicians and the army, deposed the Antonescu dictatorship and put Romania's battered armies on the side of the Allies. Romania incurred additional heavy casualties fighting alongside the Soviet Union against the Germans in Transylvania, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.


The peace treaty, signed at Paris on February 10, 1947, confirmed the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, but restored the part of northern Transylvania granted to Hungary in 1940 by Hitler. The treaty required massive war reparations by Romania to the Soviet Union, whose occupying forces left in 1958.


The Soviets pressed for inclusion of Romania's heretofore negligible Communist Party in the post-war government, while non-communist political leaders were steadily eliminated from political life. King Michael abdicated under pressure in December 1947, when the Romanian People's Republic was declared, and went into exile.


By the late 1950s, Romania's communist government began to assert some independence from the Soviet Union. Nicolae Ceausescu became head of the Communist Party in 1965 and head of state in 1967. Ceausescu's denunciation of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and a brief relaxation in internal repression helped give him a positive image both at home and in the West. Seduced by Ceausescu's "independent" foreign policy, Western leaders were slow to turn against a regime that, by the late 1970s, had become increasingly harsh, arbitrary, and capricious. Rapid economic growth fueled by foreign credits gradually gave way to economic autarchy accompanied by wrenching austerity and severe political repression.


After the collapse of communism in the rest of Eastern Europe in the late summer and fall of 1989, a mid-December protest in Timisoara against the forced relocation of an ethnic Hungarian pastor grew into a countrywide protest against the Ceausescu regime, sweeping the dictator from power. Ceausescu and his wife were executed on December 25, 1989, after a cursory military trial. About 1,500 people were killed in confused street fighting. An impromptu governing coalition, the National Salvation Front (FSN), installed itself and proclaimed the restoration of democracy and freedom. The Communist Party was outlawed, and Ceausescu's most unpopular measures, such as bans on private commercial entities, independent political activity, and contraception, were repealed.

Ion Iliescu, a former Communist Party official demoted by Ceausescu in the 1970s, emerged as the leader of the NSF. Presidential and parliamentary elections were held on May 20, 1990. Running against representatives of the pre-war National Peasants' Party and National Liberal Party, Iliescu won 85% of the vote. The NSF captured two-thirds of the seats in Parliament, and named a university professor, Petre Roman, as Prime Minister. The new government began cautious free market reforms such as opening the economy to consumer imports and establishing the independence of the National Bank.


The new government made a crucial early misstep. Unhappy at the continued political and economic influence of members of the Ceausescu-era elite, anti-communist protesters camped in University Square in April 1990. When miners from the Jiu Valley descended on Bucharest two months later and brutally dispersed the remaining "hooligans," President Iliescu expressed public thanks, thus convincing many that the government had sponsored the miners' actions. The miners also attacked the headquarters and houses of opposition leaders. The Roman government fell in late September 1991, when the miners returned to Bucharest to demand higher salaries and better living conditions. A technocrat, Theodor Stolojan, was appointed to head an interim government until new elections could be held.


Parliament drafted a new democratic constitution, approved by popular referendum in December 1991. The FSN split into two groups, led by Ion Iliescu (FDSN) and Petre Roman (FSN) in March 1992; Roman's party subsequently adopted the name Democratic Party (PD). National elections in September 1992 returned President Iliescu by a clear majority, and gave his party, the FDSN, a plurality. With parliamentary support from the nationalist PUNR and PRM parties, and the ex-communist PSM party, a technocratic government was formed in November 1992 under Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, an economist. The FDSN became the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR) in July 1993. The Vacaroiu government ruled in coalition with three smaller parties, all of which abandoned the coalition by the time of the November 1996 elections.

Emil Constantinescu of the Democratic Convention (CDR) electoral coalition defeated President Iliescu in the second round of voting by 9% and replaced him as chief of state. The PDSR won the largest number of seats in Parliament, but the constituent parties of the CDR joined the Democratic Party, the National Liberal Party, and the Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) to form a centrist coalition government, holding 60% of the seats in Parliament. Victor Ciorbea was named Prime Minister. Ciorbea remained in office until March 1998, when he was replaced by Radu Vasile (PNTCD), followed by Mugur Isarescu in 2000.


The 2000 general elections brought back both the PDSR with Adrian Nastase as prime minister and Ion Iliescu as president.




GOVERNMENT

Romania's 1991 constitution proclaims Romania a democracy and market economy, in which human dignity, civic rights and freedoms, the unhindered development of human personality, justice, and political pluralism are supreme and guaranteed values. The constitution directs the state to implement free trade, protect the principle of competition, and provide a favorable framework for production. The constitution provides for a President, a Parliament, a Constitutional Court and a separate system of lower courts that includes a Supreme Court.


The two-chamber Parliament, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, is the law-making authority. Deputies and senators are elected for 4-year terms by universal suffrage.


The president is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two 4-year terms. He is the Chief of State, charged with safeguarding the constitution, foreign affairs, and the proper functioning of public authorities. He is supreme commander of the armed forces and chairman of the Supreme Defense Council. According to the constitution, he acts as mediator among the power centers within the state, as well as between the state and society. The president nominates the prime minister, who in turn appoints the government, which must be confirmed by a vote of confidence from Parliament.


The Constitutional Court adjudicates the constitutionality of challenged laws and decrees. The court consists of nine judges, appointed for a term of 9 years. Three judges are appointed by the Chamber of Deputies, three by the Senate, and three by the president of Romania.


The Romanian legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code. The judiciary is to be independent, and judges appointed by the president are not removable. The president and other judges of the Supreme Court are appointed for terms of 6 years and may serve consecutive terms. Proceedings are public, except in special circumstances provided for by law.


The Ministry of Justice represents "the general interests of society" and defends the legal order as well as citizens' rights and freedoms. The ministry is to discharge its powers through independent, impartial public prosecutors.

For territorial and administrative purposes, Romania is divided into 41 counties and the city of Bucharest. Each county is governed by an elected county council. Local councils and elected mayors are the public administration authorities in villages and towns. The county council is the public administration authority that coordinates the activities of all village and town councils in a county.


The central government appoints a prefect for each county and the Bucharest municipality. The prefect is the representative of the government at the local level and directs any public services of the ministries and other central agencies at the county level. A prefect may block the action of a local authority if he deems it unlawful or unconstitutional. The matter is then decided by an administrative court.


Under new legislation in force since January 1999, local councils have control over spending of their allocations from the central government budget, as well as authority to raise additional revenue locally.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 11/14/03


President: Iliescu, Ion

Prime Minister: Nastase, Adrian

Min. of Agriculture, Waters, Forest, & Environment: Sarbu, llie

Min. of Communication: Nica, Dan

Min. of Culture: Theodorescu, Razvan

Min. of Defense: Pascu, Ioan Mircea

Min. of Economy & Trade: Popescu, Dan Ioan

Min. of Education, Youth, & Research: Athanasiu, Alexandru

Min. of European Integration: Puscas, Vasile

Min. of Finance: Tanasescu, Mihai Nicolae

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Geoana, Mircea Dan

Min. of Government Coordination: Bejenariu, Eugen

Min. of Health: Blanculescu, Ionel

Min. of Interior: Rus, Ioan

Min. of Justice: Stanoiu, Rodica Mihaela

Min. of Labor, Social Solidarity, & Family: Dumitru, Elena

Min. of Transport, Construction, & Tourism: Mitrea, Miron Tudor

Min. Del. for Coordination of Control Activities: Blanculeascu, Ionel

Min. Del. & EU Chief Negotiator: Puscas, Vasile

Min. Del. for Parliament: Gaspar, Axinte

Min. Del. for Public Administration: Oprea, Gabriel

Min. Del. for Social Activities: Sarbu, Marian

Min. Del. for Trade: Dijmarescu, Eugen

Gov., Romanian National Bank: Isarescu, Mugur

Ambassador to the US: Ducaru, Sorin Dumitru

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Motoc, Mihnea



Romania maintains an embassy in the United States at 1607 23rd St., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-232-3694, fax: 202-232-4748).




POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Romania has made great progress in institutionalizing democratic principles, civil liberties, and respect for human rights since the revolution. Nevertheless, the legacy of 44 years of communist rule cannot quickly be eliminated. Membership in the Romanian Communist Party was usually the prerequisite for higher education, foreign travel, or a good job, while the extensive internal security apparatus subverted normal social and political relations. To the few active dissidents, who suffered gravely under Ceausescu, many of those who came forward as politicians after the revolution seemed tainted by association with the previous regime.


Over 200 new political parties sprang up after 1989, gravitating around personalities rather than programs. All major parties espoused democracy and market reforms, but the governing National Salvation Front proposed slower, more cautious economic reforms. In contrast, the opposition's main parties, the National Liberal Party (PNL), and the National Peasant-Christian Democrat Party (PNTCD) favored quick, sweeping reforms, immediate privatization, and reducing the role of the ex-communist elite. There is no law banning communist parties (the Communist Party ceased to exist).


In the 1990 general elections, the FSN and its candidate for presidency, Ion Iliescu, won with a large majority of the votes (66.31% and 85.07%, respectively). The strongest parties in opposition were the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR), with 7.23%, and the PNL, with 6.41%.


Following the FSN Prime Minister Petre Roman's sacking (due to the miners' descent on Bucharest late 1991), a few months before the 1992 general elections, the FSN broke in two. President Iliescu's followers formed a new party called the Democratic Front of National Salvation (FDSN), while Roman's supporters kept the party's original title, FSN.


The 1992 local and national elections revealed a continuing political cleavage between major urban centers and the countryside. Rural voters, who were grateful for the restoration of most agricultural land to farmers but fearful of change, strongly favored President Ion Iliescu and the FDSN, while the urban electorate favored the CDR (a coalition made up by several parties — among which the PNTCD and the PNL were the strongest — and civic organizations) and quicker reform. Iliescu easily won reelection over a field of five other candidates. The FDSN won a plurality in both chambers of Parliament. With the CDR, the second-largest parliamentary group, reluctant to take part in a national unity coalition, the FDSN (now PDSR) formed a government under Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, an economist, with parliamentary support from the PUNR, PRM, and PSM. PRM and PSM left the government in October and December 1995, respectively.


The 1996 local elections demonstrated a major shift in the political orientation of the Romanian electorate. Opposition parties swept Bucharest and many of the larger cities. This trend continued in the national elections that same year, where the opposition dominated the cities and made steep inroads into rural areas theretofore dominated by President Iliescu and the PDSR, which lost many voters in their traditional strongholds outside Transylvania. The campaign of the opposition hammered away on the twin themes of the need to squelch corruption and to launch economic reform. The message resonated with the electorate, which swept Constantinescu and parties allied to him to power in free and fair elections. The coalition government formed in December 1996 took the historic step of inviting the UDMR and its Hungarian ethnic backers into government.

The coalition government managed to retain power for four years despite constant internal frictions and going through three prime ministers, the last being the Governor of the National Bank, Mugur Isarescu. In elections in November 2000, the electorate punished the coalition parties for failure to improve the standard of living, and the PDSR (renamed PSD-Social Democratic Party at June 16, 2001 Congress) came back into power, albeit as a minority government. In the concurrent presidential elections, former President Ion Iliescu decisively defeated the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM) leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor. Tudor's party, however, gained the second largest number of seats in parliament.


Adrian Nastase, the new prime minister, early concluded an agreement with the ethnic Hungarian party (UDMR), which gave the PSD a de facto majority in parliament. In return, the UDMR obtained some of its longstanding goals of greater use of the Hungarian language in cities and counties where Hungarians were a majority or sizable minority, and increased use of Hungarian in schools, including the reestablishment of some high schools as all-Hungarian language schools.


The government also introduced new protections for Roma, including the establishment of an ethnic Roma advisor in prefect offices. The Government of Romania also tackled the thorny issue of restitution of property, both private and communal. Legislation has been passed that should eventually return all church property seized in the communist era. Still unresolved is the return of Greco-Catholic churches, which were given to the Romanian Orthodox Church by the communist regime. The Nastase government also made progress on several rule of law and human rights issues. Steps taken in law enforcement include a new anti-corruption office; judicial reform efforts; movement on a new political party financing law; a human trafficking law. On human rights, the Government of Romania repealed communist-era legislation criminalizing homosexual acts and banned xenophobic and racist groups and their activities.

Romania continued to make progress in consolidating democratic institutions. The press is free and outspoken, although there have been some recent incidents of violence against journalists. Independent radio networks have proliferated, and a private television network now operates nationwide. In October 2003 citizens voted in favor of major amendments to the Constitution in a nationwide referendum necessary to bring Romania's organic law into compliance with European Union standards.




ECONOMY

Romania is a country of considerable potential: rich agricultural lands; diverse energy sources (coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear); a substantial, if aging, industrial base encompassing almost the full range of manufacturing activities; an educated, well-trained work force; and opportunities for expanded development in tourism on the Black Sea and in the mountains.


The Romanian Government borrowed heavily from the West in the 1970s to build a substantial state-owned industrial base. Following the 1979 oil price shock and a debt rescheduling in 1981, Ceausescu decreed that Romania would no longer be subject to foreign creditors. By the end of 1989, Romania had paid off a foreign debt of about $10.5 billion through an unprecedented effort that wreaked havoc on the economy. Vital imports were slashed and food and fuel strictly rationed, while the government exported everything it could to earn hard currency. With investment slashed, Romania's infrastructure fell behind that of even its Balkan neighbors.


Since the fall of the Ceausescu regime in 1989, successive governments have sought to build a Western-style market economy. The pace of restructuring has been slow, but by 1994 the legal basis for a market economy was largely in place. After the 1996 elections, the coalition government attempted to eliminate consumer subsidies, float prices, liberalize exchange rates, and put in place a tight monetary policy. The Parliament enacted laws permitting foreign entities incorporated in Romania to purchase land. Foreign capital investment in Romania has been increasing slowly, but remains significantly less in per capita terms than in most other transition economy countries in East and Central Europe.


In November 2001, the government negotiated an 18-month standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a total amount of $431 million. The IMF board approved Romania's completion of the standby agreement in October 2003, Romania's first successfully concluded agreement since the 1989 revolution. The IMF acknowledged that sound macro-economic policies and progress in structural reform contributed to continuing disinflation and economic growth, and credited the government with implementing prudent budgetary measures toward reaching IMF directed targets. High tax arrears, largely on the part of state owned firms, hinder government programming. Significant levels of public and private sector corruption also impede economic growth and undercut public trust in new democratic institutions.

Privatization of industry was first pursued with the transfer in 1992 of 30% of the shares of some 6,000 state-owned enterprises to five private ownership funds, in which each adult citizen received certificates of ownership. The remaining 70% ownership of the enterprises was transferred to a state ownership fund. With the assistance of the World Bank, European Union (EU), and IMF, Romania succeeded in privatizing most major state-owned enterprises. In 2002, 112 small and medium sized companies in which the state had been majority shareholder were sold and 35 large companies were privatized. By the end of the year, the State Authority for Privatization had sold about 36% of the state capital in its portfolio at the beginning of 2002. From the beginning of privatization until the end of 2002, 7,218 companies were privatized, including 288 large companies. However, an estimated 42.3% of industrial assets remain under state ownership, mostly in the energy and mining sectors. Progress in 2003 includes an agreement between the Government of Romania and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the acquisition of a 25% stake in Romania's largest bank, Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR), with a view to prepare the bank for the sale to strategic investor by 2006. In addition, three key privatizations in the energy sector were initiated: Petrom, the state-owned oil company, and two natural gas distribution networks, Distrigaz North and Distrigaz South. Despite delays in privatizing certain companies, the overall balance of the economy has shifted decisively. Even in 2002, the private sector produced about 69% of GDP, accounted for approximately 55% of assets, and employed approximately 55% of the work force.


The consolidated budget deficit has dropped significantly from earlier levels. In 1999, the budget deficit represented 4.0% of GDP; 3.7% in 2000; 3.5% in 2001; and 2.6% in 2002. Although domestic arrears — resulting mostly from state-owned enterprises not paying pension and health insurance contributions and utility bills — rose to around 40% of GDP in 2002, public sector expenditures have been more tightly controlled and limited.

The return of collectivized farmland to its cultivators, one of the first initiatives of the post-December 1989 revolution government, resulted in a short-term decrease in agricultural production. Some four million small parcels representing 80% of the arable surface were returned to original owners or their heirs. Many of the recipients were elderly or city dwellers, and the slow progress of granting formal land titles was an obstacle to leasing or selling land to active farmers.


Unemployment is officially 7.8% of the active labor force in mid-2003, although this figure does not capture high levels of under-employment.


In the early 1990s, inflation was one of Romania's most serious economic problems. Retail price inflation, which monthly averaged 12.1% in 1993 (the equivalent of 256% annually), declined to 28% annually in 1995. However, inflation picked up again in 1996 and 1997 due to excessive government spending in late 1996, and price and exchange rate liberalization in early 1997. Inflation in 1999 hovered around 54%, but dropped in 2000 to 40.7%, and 33.7% by the end of 2001. After a diminished 2002 inflation rate of 17.8%, economists predict inflation to further decline to about 14.5% in 2003. The government target for 2004 is below 10%.


Financial and technical assistance continue to flow in from the U.S., European Union, other industrial nations, and international financial institutions facilitating Romania's reintegration into the world economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (IBRD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) all have programs and resident representatives in Romania. Romania has also attracted foreign direct investment, which in 2000 grew to $6.47 billion, of which an estimated 7.7% was U.S. direct investment. U.S. direct investment was 7.8% in 2001 and 8.9% in 2002 (2.4% of 2002 GDP). According to Romania's National Office of Trade Register, as of October 2003 Romania attracted over $10.1 billion in foreign direct investment, of which $694 million (approximately 6.9%) was U.S. direct investment.


Romania was the largest U.S. trading partner in Eastern Europe until Ceausescu's 1988 renunciation of Most Favored Nation (MFN or nondiscriminatory) trading status resulted in high U.S. tariffs on Romanian products. Congress approved restoration of MFN status effective November 8, 1993, as part of a new Bilateral Trade Agreement. Tariffs on most Romanian products dropped to zero in February 1994 with the inclusion of Romania in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Major Romanian exports to the U.S. include shoes, clothing, steel, and chemicals. Romania signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 1992 and a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1993, codifying Romania's access to European markets and creating the basic framework for further economic integration. At its Helsinki Summit in December 1999, the European Union invited Romania to formally begin accession negotiations. Romania's targeted date for EU accession is 2007. As of early December 2003, Romania had closed 22 of 30 EU accession chapters. However, in 2003 the EU Commission failed to grant Romania the designation of "functioning market economy status," a prerequisite to becoming a member of the EU.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since December 1989, Romania has actively pursued a policy of strengthening relations with the West in general, more specifically with the U.S. and the European Union. Romania was a helpful partner to the allied forces during the first Gulf war, particularly during its service as president of the UN Security Council. Romania has been active in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, UNAVEM in Angola, IFOR/SFOR in Bosnia, and in Albania. Romania also offered important logistical support to allied military operations in Iraq in 2003 and, after the cessation of organized hostilities, has been participating in security and reconstruction activities. Romania is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which it chaired in 2001.

Romania was the first country to enroll in the NATO Partnership for Peace program. NATO member states invited Romania to join the Atlantic Alliance in 2002, based on Romania's rapid progress in modernizing its armed forces and its contributions to allied peacekeeping and other military operations. Romania is scheduled to become a full NATO member in 2004.


In 1996, Romania signed and ratified a basic bilateral treaty with Hungary that settled outstanding issues and laid the foundation for closer, more cooperative relations. In June 1997, Romania signed a bilateral treaty with Ukraine that resolved territorial and minority issues, among others. Romania also signed a basic bilateral treaty with Russia in July 2003.


Romania has been actively involved in regional organizations, such as the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative (SECI) and the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe, and has been a positive force in supporting stability and cooperation in the area.


Romania maintains good diplomatic relations with Israel and was supportive of the Middle East peace negotiations initiated after the Gulf conflict in 1991. Romania also is a founding member of the Black Sea Consortium for Economic Development. It joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1972, and is a member of the World Trade Organization.

Romanian Missions in the United States
Embassy of Romania
1607 23rd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel. 202-232-3694, fax: 202-232-4748


Romanian Mission to the UN
573 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212-682-3273


Romanian National Tourist Office
573 Third Avenue
New York, NW 10016
Tel. 212-697-6971


Romanian Cultural Center
200 E. 38th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel. 212-687-0180




DEFENSE

In accordance with the December 1991 Romanian constitution, the Romanian armed forces have the defensive mission of ensuring the territorial integrity of the country. The military enjoys popular support, largely because of its role in supporting the December 1989 revolution. The army is the largest service. Total armed forces strength is currently about 100,000, and is maintained through conscription, although only volunteers are assigned to combat zones. There is an ongoing strategic review that would lead to a NATO interoperable force of 60,000 by 2007. Romania plans to phase out conscription in the armed forces by 2007. In 1993, the U.S. military began training of Romanian military and civilian officials through IMET and other exchange programs, emphasizing civilian democratic control over the military.




U.S.-ROMANIAN RELATIONS

Cold during the early post-war period, U.S. bilateral relations with Romania began to improve in the early 1960s with the signing of an agreement providing for partial settlement of American property claims. Cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges were initiated, and in 1964 the legations of both nations were promoted to full embassies.


Responding to Ceausescu's calculated distancing of Romania from Soviet foreign policy, particularly Romania's continued diplomatic relations with Israel and denunciation of the 1968 Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, President Nixon paid an official visit to Romania in August 1969. Despite political differences, highlevel contacts continued between U.S. and Romanian leaders throughout the decade of the 1970s, culminating in the 1978 state visit to Washington by President and Mrs. Ceausescu.


In 1972, a consular convention to facilitate protection of citizens and their property in both countries was signed. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) facilities were granted, and Romania became eligible for U.S. Export-Import Bank credits.


A trade agreement signed in April 1975 accorded Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to Romania under section 402 of the Trade Reform Act of 1974 (the Jackson-Vanik amendment that links MFN to a country's performance on emigration). This status was renewed yearly after Congressional review of a presidential determination that Romania was making progress toward freedom of emigration.


In the mid-1980s, criticism of Romania's deteriorating human rights record, particularly regarding mistreatment of religious and ethnic minorities, spurred attempts by Congress to withdraw MFN status. In 1988, to preempt Congressional action, Ceausescu renounced MFN treatment, calling Jackson-Vanik and other human rights requirements unacceptable interference in Romanian sovereignty.

After welcoming the revolution of December 1989 with a visit by Secretary of State Baker in February 1990, the U.S. Government expressed concern that opposition parties had faced discriminatory treatment in the May 1990 elections, when the National Salvation Front won a sweeping victory. The slow progress of subsequent political and economic reform increased that concern, and relations with Romania cooled sharply after the June 1990 intervention of the miners in University Square. Anxious to cultivate better relations with the U.S. and Europe, and disappointed at the poor results from its gradualist economic reform strategy, the Stolojan government undertook some economic reforms and conducted free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections in September 1992. Encouraged by the conduct of local elections in February 1992, Deputy Secretary of State Eagleburger paid a visit in May 1992. Congress restored MFN in November 1993 in recognition of Romania's progress in instituting political and economic reform. In 1996, the U.S. Congress voted to extend permanent MFN graduation to Romania.


As Romania's policies became unequivocally pro-Western, the United States moved to deepen relations. President Clinton visited Bucharest in 1997. The two countries have deepened cooperation on shared goals, including economic and political development, defense reform, and non-traditional threats (such as trans-border crime and non-proliferation).


Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Romania has been fully supportive of the U.S.-led counter-terrorism campaign. Secretary of State Powell visited Romania in December 2001 for the OSCE summit and Deputy Secretary of State Armitage attended the Bucharest meeting of the Vilnius 10 heads of governments in March 2001. The country's highest foreign policy goal, NATO membership, was attained in November 2002, when Romania received an invitation to join the Alliance. President Bush visited Bucharest in November 2002 to congratulate the Romanian people on building democratic institutions and a market economy following the fall of communism. President Iliescu paid a return visit to the United States in December 2003, permitting both heads of state to reemphasize commitment to shared political and economic goals.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Bucharest (E), Strada Tudor Arghezi 7-9 • Pouch:Dept. of State, 5260 Bucharest Pl., Washington, DC 20521-5260, Tel [40] (21) 210-4042, emergency after-hours 210-0149, Fax 210-0395, EXEC Fax 212-3604, CON Tel 210-4042, Fax 211-3360; AID Tel 335-5805, Fax 337-2683; AGR Tel 210-0398, Fax 210-5998; GSO Tel 211-5658, Fax 210-5567; PC Tel 312-1289, Fax 312-3004; Public Diplomacy 210-1602. ADM ext. 220; B&F ext. 262; HR ext. 309; CON ext. 270 CLO ext. 256; GSO ext. 777; IRM ext. 229; MED ext. 211; PD ext. 888; POL ext. 202; ECO ext. 224 RSO ext. 249; AID ext. 444; DAO ext. 235; FSC ext. 350; RLA ext. 406. Website: www.usembassy.ro

AMB: Michael E. Guest
AMB OMS: Kelli Adams
DCM: Thomas L. Delare
POL: Steven L. Blake
ECO: Laura A. Griesmer
COM: Jonathan Marks
CON: Jay T. Smith
MGT: Gary G. Bagley
RSO: Robert W. Hanni
IRM: Harry Moore
AID: Rodger Garner
DAO: COL Richard G. McClellan, USAF
PAO: Mark A. Wentworth
PC: Candy Mirrer
RLA: Terry Lord
AGR: Holly Higgins (res. Sofia)
FAA: Steven B. Wallace (res. Rome)
IRS: Margaret J. Lullo (res. Berlin)

Cluj-Napoca [BO], Int'l address: US Branch Office, Universitatii 7-9, Etage 1,Cluj-Napoca, Romania 3400, Tel [40] (64) 19-38-15, Fax 19-38-68.

PO: Michael J. Mates

Last Modified: Tuesday, January 6, 2004




TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
September 30, 2002


Country Description: Romania has undergone profound political and economic changes since the 1989 revolution, and it is in a period of economic transition. Most tourist facilities, while being upgraded, have not yet reached Western European standards. The capital is Bucharest.


Entry Requirements: A passport is required. Tourist visas for stays up to ninety days are not required. An exit visa must be obtained only in cases when the original passport used to enter the country was lost or stolen and a replacement passport has been issued by the Embassy. For stays longer than ninety days, visas should be obtained from a Romanian embassy or consulate abroad. These should be extended at passport offices in Romania in the area of residence. Travelers should be advised that the Romanian Government has begun enforcing visa regulations more vigorously, and a record of visa overstay can result in the denial of future visas or entry without visa for a specified time. Visitors can obtain visas and other information regarding entry requirements from the Romanian Embassy at 1607 23rd St. N. W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone number (202) 232-4747, or the Romanian consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York City. The Romanian Embassy maintains a website at http://www.roembus.org.


In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

Dual Nationality: In addition to being subject to all Romanian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Romanian citizens. For additional information, please see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.


Crime: While most crimes in Romania are non-violent and non-confrontational, crimes do occur in which the victim suffers personal harm. Crimes against tourists (robbery, mugging, pick-pocketing and confidence scams) remain a problem in Romania. Organized groups of thieves and pickpockets operate in the train stations and on trains, subways, and buses in major cities. A number of thefts and assaults have occurred on overnight trains, including thefts from passengers in closed compartments. Money exchange schemes targeting travelers are common in Romania. Some of these scams have become rather sophisticated, involving individuals posing as plainclothes policemen, who approach the potential victim, flash a badge and ask for his/her passport and wallet. In many of these cases, the thieves succeed in obtaining passports, credit cards, and other personal documents. Credit card and Internet fraud remain among the most common crimes affecting foreigners in Romania (please see the section below on "Special Circumstances").


The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.


Medical Facilities: Medical care in Romania generally is not up to Western standards, and basic medical supplies are limited, especially outside major cities. Some medical providers that are up to Western quality standards are available in Bucharest and other cities, but they can be difficult to identify and locate. Therefore, travelers seeking medical treatment should choose their provider carefully.


Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.


Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.


Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, please consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Romania is provided for general reference only, and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.


Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair

Road conditions vary widely throughout Romania. While major streets in larger cities and major inter-city roads are in fair to good condition, most other roads are in poor repair, badly lit, narrow, and often do not have marked lanes. Many roads, particularly in rural areas, are also used by pedestrians, animals, people on bicycles, and horse-drawn carts that are difficult to see, especially at night. Road travel can be particularly dangerous when roads are wet or covered with snow or ice. This is especially the case concerning mountain roads.

Romanian traffic laws are very strict. Any form of driver's license or permit can be confiscated by the traffic police for one to three months, and payment of fines may be requested at the time of many infractions. Some examples are: failure to yield the right of way, failure to yield to pedestrians at crossroads, or not stopping at a red light or stop sign. Romanian traffic law provides for retention of licenses and possible imprisonment from one to five years for driving under the influence (alcohol level over 0.1% limit) or for causing an accident resulting in injury or death. In spite of these strict rules, however, many drivers in Romania often do not follow traffic laws or yield the right of way. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that defensive driving be practiced while driving in Romania.


U.S. driver's licenses are only valid in Romania for up to 30 days. Before the 30-day period has expired, U.S. citizens must either obtain an international driving permit in addition to their U.S. driver's license or obtain a Romanian driver's license. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory only in the front seats of a car. Children under 12 years of age cannot be transported on the front seat. Drivers must yield to pedestrians at all marked pedestrian crosswalks, but many of these are poorly marked and difficult to see. Unless otherwise marked with road signs, speed limits are as follows: inter-city traffic on highways, 120 km/hr for cars, 100 km/hr for motorcycles, 90 km/hr for vans. On all other roads: 90 km/hr for cars, 80 km/hr for motorcycles, and 70 km/hr for vans.

Inner-city traffic: 50 km/hr. Speed limits for motor vehicles with trailers and for drivers with less than one year of driving experience are 10 km/hr slower than those listed above.


Inter-city travel is generally done via trains and buses, which are relatively safe, inexpensive, and reliable. However, travelers should beware of pick-pockets while on night trains or in train stations. Inter-city travel by taxi is much more expensive, and safety depends on the quality of the driver. Many older taxis are not equipped with seat belts. To avoid being overcharged, those using inner-city taxis should request the taxi by phone, make sure the taxi has an operational meter, or agree upon a price before entering the taxi.


The host country authority responsible for road safety is the Traffic Police of the Romanian Ministry of Interior. The Traffic Police maintain a website at http://www.politiarutiera.ro. Emergency roadside help and information may be reached by dialing 9271 for vehicle assistance and towing services, 961 for ambulance services, 981 for fire brigade, and 955 for police.


For additional information about road travel in Romania, please see the U.S. Embassy home page at http://www.usembassy.ro. For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government websites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Romanian driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Romania National Tourist Organization offices in New York via the Internet at http://www.towd.com.


Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Romania's civil aviation authority as Category 1 — in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Romania's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet web-site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.


The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at tel. (618) 229-4801.


Customs Regulations: Romania's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Romania of items such as firearms, antiquities, and medications. Romanian law allows foreigners to bring up to $10,000 in cash into Romania, and no amount in excess of that declared upon entry may be taken out of Romania upon departure. Sums larger than $10,000 must be transferred through banks. No more than 1,000,000 Romanian lei (rol) may be brought into or taken out of the country. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Romania in Washington, D.C. or one of Romania's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.


Romania customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. ATA Carnet headquarters, located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information, please telephone (212) 354-4480, or send an e-mail to [email protected], or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. Law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Romanian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Romania are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.


Special Circumstances: Romania is largely a "cash only " economy. While an increasing number of businesses do accept credit cards, travelers are advised to use cash for goods and services rendered due to an increase in credit card fraud. Venders have been known to misuse credit card information by making illegal purchases on individuals' accounts. There are an increasing number of ATM machines located throughout major cities. Travelers' checks are of limited use, but they may be used to exchange local currency at some exchange houses.


There is a significant population of stray dogs in and around Bucharest, and attacks on pedestrians and joggers are not uncommon. While there have not been any reported problems with rabies, travelers are advised to avoid all stray dogs.


Disaster Preparedness: Romania is an earthquake-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.


Children's Issues: There is currently a moratorium on adoptions in Romania. For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone 1-888-407-4747.

International Adoptions: Before traveling to Romania, prospective parents may wish to obtain information about both United States visa requirements and Romanian adoption laws from the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest or from the Embassy's website at http://www.usembassy.ro. Romanian adoption law mandates criminal penalties for offering money or goods to obtain the release of children for adoption. A guidebook detailing the adoption process can be found on the Embassy's website or by requesting a copy from the U.S. Embassy, Consular Section, Immigrant Visas Unit, Tudor Arghezi 7-9, Bucharest, Romania or [email protected]


Registration/Embassy and Consulate Location: Americans living in or visiting Romania are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Romania and obtain updated information on travel and security within Romania. The U.S. Embassy is located at Strada Tudor Arghezi 7-9, telephone (40) 21-210-4042. In life or death emergencies, an after hours duty officer may be reached by telephoning (40) 21-210-0149. Consular services for U.S. citizens are performed in the Consular Section located at Strada Filipescu No. 26 (formerly Strada Snagov), one block from the U.S. Embassy at the corner of Strada Batistei. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (40) 21-210-4042, and faxes can be sent to (40) 21 211-3360. The Embassy Information Office in Cluj-Napoca is located at Universitatii 7-9, Etaj 1, telephone (40) 264-193-815. This office is able to provide limited consular information.

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ROMANIA

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Located in southeastern Europe on the Black Sea, Romania covers an area of 238,500 square kilometers (92,085 square miles), making it slightly smaller than Oregon. It borders Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine, and has a coastline of 225 kilometers (140 miles). The capital, Bucharest, is towards the south of the country.

POPULATION.

The population of Romania was estimated at 22,334,312 in July 2000, having fallen 2.6 percent since its peak in 1988. The population is expected to continue falling for the next decade thanks to net emigration and low birth rates, a fact that worries the government. But improved health care should slow the rate of decline as infant mortality falls from its current 19.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Meanwhile, the proportion of retired people is rising. By 2005, 14.6 percent of the Romanian population will be aged 65 or over, compared to 11.8 percent in 1995. For this reason, Romania has recently reformed its state pension system because rising unemployment has combined with the aging population to make the former payas-you-go system unaffordable. The plan is to encourage complementary private pensions, allowing younger citizens to save for their own old age while maintaining payments to those that are already pensioners .

Romania's population is remarkably homogenous. Almost 90 percent are ethnic Romanians, claiming descent from Latin-speaking Romans who settled among the local Dacians in 100-200 A.D. As a result, Roman-ian is a Romance language related to French and Italian, in contrast to the Slav languages spoken in surrounding countries. Around 70 percent of Romania's population is Romanian Orthodox.

The biggest minority group is Hungarian, which is particularly strong in the western region of Transylvania. Hungarian-Romanians have automatic rights to parliamentary representation and Hungarian-language education. There are also sizeable Roma, Turkish, and Croat populations, as well as Ukrainians, Greeks, Russians, Armenians, and Serbs. Romania used to have a Jewish population of around 300,000. Most of them survived World War II but emigrated to Israel, leaving only a few thousand now. During the 1990s, two-thirds of Romania's German population also emigrated to Germany.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

Romania is well-endowed with minerals, natural fuels, and rich agricultural land, and has a good trading location on the Black Sea. But a turbulent history, culminating in the repressive communist regime of 1947 to 1989, have kept it from turning its natural advantages into profit. Originally settled by the Dacian tribe, the region now known as Romania fell under Roman rule in the 2nd century A.D. The Romans abandoned the area less than 2 centuries later, and Romania was split between local fiefdoms until the medieval period, when it fell under Ottoman rule.

Over the next few centuries, Hapsburg forces from Austria-Hungary took over the northwestern region of Transylvania and gradually pushed the Ottoman Empire south. But it was not until the 19th century that the Ottomans finally left Romania. Europe's other powers were anxious to stop Austria-Hungary and Russia from dominating the region, and their pressure led to Romania being declared a nation in 1878 under the German prince Carol of Hohenzollern. For the next 50 years, the country struggled to establish a liberal democracy. It cultivated links with the West, particularly France, and fought with the Allied forces in World War I. But, by 1938, it had become a dictatorship, and the country entered World War II on the side of Nazi Germany.

The country fell under full communist control at the end of 1947 after Soviet troops moved into Eastern Europe. The country's first communist leader, Gheorgiu-Dej, was originally a Stalinist but gradually loosened ties with Moscow. That process was completed by his successor, Nicolae Ceaucescu, who started to improve relations with the West. During the 1970s, he borrowed heavily abroad to build up Romania's infrastructure and heavy industry, often building plants without any commercial rationale. Then, in the 1980s, he adopted a policy of isolationism and self-sufficiency. Industry and infrastructure was starved of investment as Romania strove to repay all of its foreign debts .

Nicolae Ceaucescu was overthrown and killed in 1989 in a revolution that officially cost 689 lives. He was replaced by his former aide, Ion Iliescu, who called elections in 1990. Despite protests, these resulted in Iliescu being elected president, while his party headed the government. Since then, Romania has worked towards becoming a democratic, Western-style economy. This has involved breaking up and privatizing its huge industrial plants, reviving foreign trade, and allowing the growth of small businesses.

The process has been difficult, and Romania has not progressed as fast as some of its Eastern European neighbors. A decade of stop-and-go reforms meant that Romania's first post-communist recession was followed by another 3-year slump in the mid-1990s. By 1999, the country's GDP was just 76 percent of its 1989 level, according to the Development Ministry. Romania has struggled to maintain its infrastructure and restructure its outdated heavy industry. Agricultural output has fallen, largely because the land has been split up into tiny subsistence farms . Many of the country's largest companies are still state-owned and loss-making.

With the help of the World Bank, Romania has drawn up a list of state companies to be closed or sold in an attempt to improve the government's finances. But progress has been slow because of the job losses involved. The transition to a market economy has also put an enormous strain on the country's social support systems. Unemployment has risen rapidly and the World Bank estimates that 22 percent of the population lives in poverty.

The year 2000 may be the start of a turnaround, however. Romania's economy started growing again and is expected to continue growing for the next 2 years at least. High world commodity prices in the past 2 years have boosted exports. Meanwhile, the service sector has expanded quickly, with new private shops and trading companies springing up. Romania's tourism industry, centered around the Black Sea coast and the beautiful mountain resorts, is reviving. There has also been some limited foreign investment, notably the acquisition of the Dacia car plant by France's Renault in 1999.

Romania's main aim for the next few years is to reduce inflation (45.7 percent in 2000) and boost growth, partly by attracting more foreign investment. Longer-term, the country hopes to join NATO and is 1 of the 10 Eastern European countries negotiating to join the European Union (EU). Romania's own target date for EU entry is 2007, but the latest progress report from the EU Commission in October 2000 was not encouraging. It put Romania in last place out of all the current candidates, saying that the country did not yet have a functioning market economy, a prerequisite for entry. Most analysts expect it to take Romania at least another decade to pass the reforms necessary for EU entry, even if the political will is there.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Since the overthrow of communist leader Nicolae Ceaucescu in 1989, Romania has been ruled by a succession of new or reformed parties, each claiming that they will be able to revive the economy. The most dominant has been the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), a leftist party that developed out of the former Romanian Communist Party. It is headed by Ion Iliescu, a former communist who took over from Ceaucescu in 1989 in what many see as an insiders' coup.

Iliescu recognized the need to turn Romania into a democratic market economy and called elections in 1990 and 1992. These resulted in his being declared president and the PDSR becoming the main party in the governing coalition. The PDSR advocated a slow reform program and started to liberalize the economy, restitute land to its pre-Communist owners, and privatize smaller companies. But it kept state controls over some prices, particularly in the energy sector, and over foreign exchange markets. It also failed to break down many of the big state monopolies . The economy, after a recession in the early 1990s, revived on the back of government subsidies . But Romania's economic problems and allegations of corruption led to Iliescu and the PDSR losing the presidential and government elections in 1996.

They were succeeded by a multi-party coalition that promised more rapid reforms, including faster privatization and liberalization. Unfortunately, this new government, headed by the Democratic Coalition, proved too inexperienced and quarrelsome to push through many of the necessary measures. Others proved unexpectedly painful. Price liberalization pushed up inflation and a credit crunch boosted unemployment, while privatization was slow and scandal-ridden. The coalition went through 3 prime ministers in 3 years as politicians squabbled and the economy went into a 3-year recession.

By November 2000, when new government and presidential elections were held, the coalition government had become deeply unpopular. Romanians voted overwhelmingly for the return of Iliescu and the PDSR. However, the PDSR did not receive a majority of the votes. The ultra-nationalist Greater Romania Party received the 2nd highest percentage of votes, which generated anxiety in many national and international circles because of the party's isolationist and xenophobic rhetoric. Instead of forming a coalition with other parties to create a majority government, the PDSR formed a single-party minority government. The party claims to have changed since its previous term in office and is now presenting itself as a European-style social democratic party. It has announced its support for Romania's bids to join the EU and NATO and is trying to woo foreign investors by pushing through reforms recommended by the EU and International Monetary Fund.

In general, the elections confirmed that democracy in Romania is on a stronger footing than the economy. The European Commission says that substantial progress has been made in establishing political parties, a plural-istic media, and civilian control of the army. None of these things is yet assured, however. Parties often have similar platforms and are continually splitting, while the media is under pressure from both politicians and business lobbies. Meanwhile, corruption is widespread, according to a report published in March 2001 by the World Bank. Romania passed new anti-corruption legislation in May 2000 establishing several agencies and tightening up rules on public administration, but it will take years for the effects to show.

The trade unions, particularly in the mining industries, form a powerful and potentially disruptive lobby group. In the past decade, notably in 1991 and 1998, the miners and other unions have stepped in at moments of crisis by marching on Bucharest. Rival politicians are often accused of triggering these miners' marches for their own ends, and disagreements with the unions was one reason for the problems faced by the Democratic Coalition and its partners in government. The PDSR enjoys closer ties with the unions and is trying to use this relationship to contain wage increases. In February 2001, it struck a key social pact with the unions and employers, trying to set a framework for all 3 sides to work together.

One perennial source of political and economic problems is taxation. Weak administration and collection, the collapse of several big tax-paying firms, and widespread tax avoidance have led to a sharp decline in revenues. Some 30 to 40 percent of the real economy is probably not registered in the official figures, and the government runs a persistent deficit (7 percent of GDP in 2000) as it struggles to fund social security systems, health care, and education. In 2000, the government tried to boost its tax take partly by lowering tax rates and broadening the tax base, in a bid to lure non-payers back into the system. Despite all this, government spending still accounts for 40 percent of the economy because of slow privatization of state industry.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Romania's infrastructure is fairly extensive, with 103,671 kilometers (64,276 miles) of road, 11,385 kilometers (7,058 miles) of rail, and 3.84 million main telephone lines. But most of it is in a poor state of repair, due to decades of underinvestment. This is a situation that successive governments are eager to rectify, though they have had difficulty finding the necessary funding. Most hopes rest on foreign aid, particularly from the EU, and on attracting foreign investment.

Since 1989, every government has instituted a road-building program, partly in an attempt to generate employment. The EU has helped, but its money has mainly gone towards improving border posts and building the major trans-European corridor routes that run through Romania. Critics say the money would be better spent on improving smaller roads, particularly in ensuring that donkeys and carts are kept off major routes. Railway services, meanwhile, are still provided by the state-owned rail company SNCFR and are loss-making, despite government subsidies. Only a third of the tracks are electrified, and speed restrictions are widespread. In March 2001, the Japanese government lent Romania US$220 million to upgrade the Bucharest-to-Constanta railway.

Romania has 6 major ports, of which Constanta is seen as the most important to the country's future. It is located where the River Danube flows into the Black Sea. The Danube itself is the country's most important trade route, but, in 1999, was blocked thanks to NATO's bombing of Serbia. It has recently reopened, but problems remain. Romania also has 3 international and 16 domestic airports. The dominant carrier is the country's national airline, Tarom. It is currently state-owned, and the government has been trying to find a strategic investor to provide financing and connect the airline into the rapidly forming global alliances. But the latest attempt

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Romania 300 319 233 119.2 29 N/A 10.2 9.01 600
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Russia 105 418 420 78.5 5 0.4 40.6 13.06 2,700
Poland 113 523 413 83.3 50 N/A 43.9 40.86 2,100
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

to sell Tarom, in late 2000, failed thanks to a lack of interest.

Investment into Romania's energy sector is also badly needed. The country currently generates 22.6 gigawatts of power from a combination of thermal, hydro-electric, and nuclear power plants. But most of the plants are over 20 years old, and about 60 percent of Romania's power capacity will have to be replaced within the next 10 years. The power market is dominated by the state monopoly Conel. To meet EU expectations and attract investment into the power market, Romania plans to liberalize the power market, break up Conel, and privatize parts of the sector. The government is also pushing for an oil and gas pipeline to be built through the country to transport fuel from the Caspian Sea region to the West. But with several countries competing to become a transit route, the outcome is uncertain.

Romania's telecommunications system is extremely outdated, with poor service. But there has been some progress in recent years. In 1998, Greece's OTE bought a 35 percent stake in the state fixed-line monopoly, Romtelecom. OTE plans substantial investment, while the government has raised US$7 to 8 billion through a 15-year telecoms program supported by the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Meanwhile, mobile telecoms have grown rapidly, led by private companies such as Mobifon and Connex. Over 1 million Romanians are now thought to have mobile phones, with 60 percent of the country covered. Internet access has been slow to develop because of poor phone lines. Internet accounts penetration is now 0.25 per 100 inhabitants, compared with 1.25 in neighboring Hungary, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Romania's economy was designed for self-sufficiency under the communist regime, and great emphasis was placed on building up manufacturing industry to supply the population's needs. This resulted in a fairly diversified economy. But the 1980s scramble to repay foreign debts led to chronic underinvestment. Then, during the 1990s, the transition to a market economy and the liberalization of foreign trade exposed many of the country's products as obsolete. Two deep recessions in the past 10 years have added to the problems afflicting many of Romania's companies.

Industry's share of GDP has fallen from 41 percent in 1990 to 28 percent in 1999. Much of the slack has been taken up by services, which were underdeveloped during the communist era. Services now account for 48 percent of GDP, largely because of a growth in trade. Agricultural production also slumped heavily during the 1990s, and the inefficient structure of farming, as well as export barriers, means it will not rise markedly in the future. Instead, Romanian growthpredicted at 3 to 4 percent in each of the next 4 yearsis expected to come from reviving industry and services.

Foreign trade has developed rapidly during the 1990s, despite the disruption caused by war in former Yugoslavia, and now accounts for 64 percent of GDP. The previous Romanian government put great emphasis on encouraging exports, cutting the profit tax on exports at the start of 2000. The new government says it will continue this policy. Nevertheless, with 22 million people, the domestic market is still the main focus for most companies. It is also the main reason why foreign investors such as France's Renault have moved to the country.

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture employed 42 percent of Romania's labor force in 1999 but generated just 16 percent of GDP. Improving this ratio is one of the biggest challenges facing Romania as it tries to raise living standards and to enter the European Union. One reason for the low productivity of farming is the agricultural reforms started in 1991, which restituted land nationalized under the communists to its former owners or their heirs. A limit was put on the amount of land that could be restituted, in the interests of social equality. The result is that Romania now has the most fragmented agricultural land in Eastern Europe.

The agricultural sector has 2 main components: informal and formal. On the one hand are the estimated 4 million subsistence farmers, which own 60 percent of farmland but produce mostly for their own consumption. These are deemed a social, rather than economic, problem and efforts are focused on improving their living standards, largely by persuading them to move into other jobs. The sheer number of them is a big barrier to European Union entry because, under current EU rules, they would each be entitled to income support. The formal agricultural sector consists of the large farms, which produce for domestic and export markets. Privatization of these began in 1997, though a substantial number are still state-owned.

Agricultural production fell sharply in the early 1990s, followed by a slow recovery. According to the World Bank, total production dropped 20 percent between 1989 and 1998, though gross value-added in the sector has only dropped 1 percent. Droughts in 2000 cut production further, but the underlying problem is the agricultural sector's inefficiency.

The small size of the plots of land makes them uneconomic to farm. In addition, Romania's self-sufficiency drive in the 1980s meant that it started producing crops like rice, which were unsuitable for local conditions. These crops disappeared as soon as agriculture was opened to market forces. Romania also suffered from the Yugoslav wars, from a drop in world commodity prices, and from export barriers imposed by the EU and its Central European neighbors.

These trade barriers have gradually been lifted throughout the 1990s, while the Yugoslav wars have calmed down and prices have risen. But, if Romania is to exploit the new opportunities, it has to increase the efficiency of its farms and of its distribution. The country should be a natural exporter of agricultural goods. It has some of the richest land in the region, with 80 percent of its territory suitable for arable farming. Yet, in 1999, agriculture accounted for just 3.4 percent of the country's exports.

INDUSTRY

MINING/NATURAL RESOURCES.

Romania is well-endowed with natural resources. It has large reserves of petroleum, timber, natural gas, coal, iron ore, and salt, as well as facilities for hydropower. But lack of investment is causing the output of everything from coal to oil to fall.

The coal sector has been among the hardest-hit by the transition to a market economy. Coal production fell by 57 percent between 1989 and 1998, to 28.6 million short tons, as the economy shrank and use of other, less-polluting fuels increased. Over the past 5 years, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have pushed Romania to close inefficient mines, in order to stop the sector from gobbling up state subsidies. The social impact of this has been huge, with tens of thousand of miners losing their jobs, pushing unemployment in some regions to 70 percent. The current leftist government has promised that the pit closures will soon stop. It is hoping to boost electricity exports, which will mean more demand for coal.

Romania has proven oil reserves of 1.4 billion barrels, the largest in Eastern Europe. The country used to be a major oil exporter, but lack of investment has caused production to steadily fall over the last 2 decades. Romania now relies on imports to cover half its domestic needs. The government has started to attract foreign investment for oil exploration and production, both on land and in the Black Sea. There are also long-standing plans to privatize the state oil company SNP Petrom, although the attitude of the government remains unclear. Gas production has also fallen, with little money for exploration. Proven reserves of natural gas stood at 13.2 trillion cubic feet in 1998, but Romania still imports gas from Russia.

MANUFACTURING.

Romania's manufacturing sector is dominated by machine-building, metals, chemicals, and textiles, all of which have had to turn from supplying the domestic market to finding export markets. Investment has been a key issue, as they try to update the outdated equipment many of them were left with when communism fell. Many of the previously state-owned firms have also been sold to private owners in an attempt to bring in money and improve management. Some of the biggest firms, seen by the government as strategic, have still to be sold, however.

The textile and footwear industries have been among the most successful in the past decade, as Western European and U.S. clothes-makers subcontract work to Romanian firms. As a result, textile exports accounted for 24.2 percent of 2000 exports, while footwear accounted for 7.6 percent. But such work depends on low wages, which is why Romania is anxious to progress from sub-contracting to selling its own clothing designs. At present, the gross monthly wage in the textiles sector is just US$130 a month.

The metals sector has enjoyed a boom in the past 2 years, thanks to high world prices. The aluminum plant Alro is now Romania's biggest exporter and tripled its net profits in 2000. The country's biggest steelworks, Sidex, has also benefitted from the high prices, despite its outdated equipment and competition from stronger steel firms in Slovakia. Sidex is said to employ, directly and indirectly, over a million Romanian workers, both in and outside its home town of Galati. Both Alro and Sidex are still mainly state-owned and are expected to be sold to private owners by 2003.

During the 1990s, many of the largest firms in the machine-building sector were split up into smaller units in an attempt to boost efficiency and speed up their privatization. The disruption has been immense, and Romanian firms, long protected in an isolated market, have also found it hard to raise their production to the standard needed for export. Nevertheless, there has been some recovery in the sector. Exports rose nearly 50 percent during 2000, and it accounted for 14 percent of the total.

Romanian firms in both the metals and machine-building sectors lay great hopes on becoming subcon-tractors for major European manufacturers. That is why the 1999 acquisition of the Dacia car plant by France's Renault is seen as so important to Romania's future. Renault plans to use Dacia to develop, for emerging markets , cars selling for around US$5,000 apiece. To do that, it will have to build up a network of local, cheap suppliers such as the Sidex steelmaker. Renault's entry into Romania has also brought in other foreign investors, among them its international suppliers, such as the United States's Johnson Controls.

Romania's chemicals sector consists of both petro-chemicals, based on its oil industry, and on pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical firms, such as Terapia, have found a niche for themselves in producing cheap versions of international drugs to sell both to Romanian hospitals and to EU countries. But they face problems as Romania moves towards EU membership because its patent laws will have to be made stricter, which will limit the drugs they can produce. Like the oil sector, the petro-chemicals sector has revived in the past year due to rising world prices.

SERVICES

TOURISM.

Tourism has always been an important part of Romania's economy. A combination of beautiful mountain regions, a warm sea coast, and Dracula's castles lure tourists. But the development of the industry has been hampered by a lack of money for infrastructure and tourist facilities. Service is still patchy in several parts of the country.

These factors, combined with the wars in neighboring Yugoslavia, mean that tourism numbers more than have halved since communism ended. In 1990, some 6.5 million foreigners visited the country; by 1998, that figure was down to 2.9 million. The collapse of the state tourism monopolies are partly to blame, combined with Romania's rising reputation for corruption. The number of domestic tourists has also slumped, with many Romanians no longer able to afford holidays.

Nevertheless, there are signs of a revival since the mid-1990s. Some limited foreign investment has come into the sector, particularly into Bucharest. Privatization of tourism facilities has speeded up. And the government has made development of the industry one of its prime medium-term objectives.

FINANCIAL SERVICES.

The development of Romania's banking sector is seen as crucial to economic growth, because it will determine whether companies can get the loans and investment they need to become competitive. In 1990, the market was dominated by a handful of state banks. In 2000, there were 54 banks registered in the country, many of which were subsidiaries of foreign banks.

But Romanian financial services remain small in international terms. And the locally-owned banks in particular are also vulnerable to collapse because of a lack of experience in selecting borrowers, the effects of the 2 recessions, and their limited access to international capital. Several banks and funds collapsed during 2000, leaving thousands of deposit-holders demanding compensation from the government. Altogether, the government has had to spend US$3 billion in the past decade propping up the country's banks.

To overcome these problems, Romania is in the process of privatizing its remaining state banks. The aim is to find foreign strategic investors who can provide both capital and expertise and stop the banks from collapsing. The Romanian Bank for Development was sold to France's Societe Generale, while several financial investors, including America's GE Capital, have bought into Banc Post. In April 2001, Banka Agricola, the agricultural bank, was sold to the Romanian-American Enterprise Fund and Austria's Raiffeisen bank.

TRADE.

Much of the growth of Romania's service sector stems from the growth of trade, both international and domestic. Trade employed 9.5 percent of Romania's workforce by 1998, compared with 5 percent in 1990. And it accounts for an estimated 90 percent of small businesses in the country, many of which operate in the grey economy . Many of these firms are one-person companies with a van to ship goods. Others are small shops or even street-traders.

The retail trade in particular was underdeveloped in the communist era when all shops were state-owned. Now a multitude of small shops have sprung up and are increasingly having to compete with the new supermarkets. Some of the investment has come from foreign countries, with retailers such as Austria's Billa, Germany's Metro, and France's Carrefour building supermarkets and hypermarkets in the major towns. The investors seem unconcerned by the low purchasing power of Romanians. They see fast growth for the sector because it is so underdeveloped, and are keen to establish their position.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Foreign trade has grown rapidly during the 1990s, as Romania has quickly liberalized its trade regime. The country joined the World Trade Organization in 1995 and the Central European Free Trade Area in 1997. It also enjoys special trading rights with the European Union as a precursor to membership. Some 63.8 percent of exports go to EU countries, making Romania's economy dependent on that of major markets, particularly Italy. Great hopes are placed on the ending of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, the successor countries to which are natural trading partners for Romania.

Romanian companies have found it hard to take advantage of the new export opportunities, however. Meanwhile, imports have risen by 42 percent in dollar terms since 1990, as Romanians take advantage of their new access to consumer goods and as companies import investment goods such as computers. As a result, the country runs a persistent trade deficit .

Fortunately, export growth has accelerated in the past 2 years, thanks in part to high world commodity prices for Romanian exports such as steel, aluminum, and refined oil products. Nevertheless, 2000 exports rose 21.9

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Romania
Exports Imports
1975 5.341 5.769
1980 11.209 13.843
1985 12.167 11.267
1990 5.775 9.843
1995 7.910 10.278
1998 8.300 11.821
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

percent in dollar terms compared to the previous year, while imports rose 25.6 percent, according to the national statistics office. And the trade gap is expected to remain large for at least the next 4 years.

MONEY

The value of the Romanian leu has slowly declined on the world market for the past 10 years. In 1990, there were 24 lei to the U.S. dollar. By 2000, the average exchange rate was 21,693. The government and national bank have attempted to control this devaluation by defending the currency within a controlled band. Inflation averaged 45.7 percent in 2000, and, though the trend appears to be gradually downwards, the government's finances are still strained. There remains a slight risk of a return to the high inflation of the early 1990s (256 percent in 1993). For this reason, international rating agencies do not yet define Romania as an investment grade country.

Romania has 2 stock exchanges: the Bucharest Stock Exchange, which handles the biggest companies; and the Rasdaq, intended for smaller companies. Both exchanges peaked during the mini-boom of 1997, but confidence and turnover is now low. The Bucharest Stock Exchange is capitalized at US$11.5 billion, while the Rasdaq is capitalized at US$826 million.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

Under communism, Romania was a comparatively egalitarian society, and this has remained the case. Nevertheless, inequality has increased in the past 10 years. In 1989, the top 10 percent of the population earned around 2.1 times more than the bottom 10 percent. By 1998, the ratio was 3.0, around Western European levels.

At the same time, the rapid rise of inflation during the 1990s and the collapsing power of the Romanian currency have left many in poverty. Cornelia Tesliuc, in a study for the World Bank, estimates that poverty has risen

Exchange rates: Romania
lei (L) per US$1
Jan 2001 26,243.0
2000 21,708.7
1999 15,332.8
1998 8,875.6
1997 7,167.9
1996 3,084.2
Note: Lei is the plural form of leu.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].
GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Romania 1,201 1,643 1,872 1,576 1,310
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Russia 2,555 3,654 3,463 3,668 2,138
Poland N/A 2,932 2,819 2,900 3,877
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

six-fold since 1989. That has left some two-thirds of the population (14.7 million people) living on the international equivalent of less than US$4 a day. Yet nearly all these people can still afford a basic food basket, and malnutrition is still rare.

Poverty is far greater in rural areas than in the towns. The northeastern regions, near the border with Moldova, have suffered most, thanks to the collapse of badly located industrial plants placed in these regions in the 1970s. Southern regions, near the Bulgarian border, are also poor. Meanwhile, the wealthiest regions are around Bucharest and in the western regions around Timisoara. But even in wealthier regions, pockets of poverty remain.

One major reason was the break-up and restitution of agricultural land, which left many people living on small subsistence farms. Unemployment has risen to over 10 percent from zero in communist times, thanks to struggling industry. A comprehensive government safety net is in place, providing a wide range of payments to pensioners, the unemployed, and large families. But strained government finances means the social payments have become tiny in real terms. Meanwhile, the average gross salary was just US$136.60 a month in January 2001.

As yet, the growing inequality has not had a noticeable effect on education levels. As in other ex-communist countries, Romania's literacy rate is relatively high, at 97 percent for women and 98 percent for men. The governent

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Romania
Lowest 10% 3.7
Lowest 20% 8.9
Second 20% 13.6
Third 20% 17.6
Fourth 20% 22.6
Highest 20% 37.3
Highest 10% 22.7
Survey year: 1994
Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

maccepts that it is vital to maintain these standards if Romania is to overcome poverty in the future. Unemployment is already affecting the less well-educated disproportionately. And there are worrying, if unsubstantiated, reports that school attendance is falling rapidly in some of the poorest rural areas and particularly among the Roma minority.

Maintaining health standards is also important. Romania's health-care system provides for universal access to care, funded from a state insurance fund. But it has proved difficult to maintain standards in the face of rising health-care costs. Many patients report that they have to make unofficial payments to doctors and nurses in order to get treatment, which makes access difficult for the poor. Health-care workers argue that low wages force them to accept such tips.

One of the key problems facing Romania is its orphanages. Abortion and contraception were made illegal in 1966, in an attempt to build up a communist work-force. The result was thousands of unwanted births. Some 150,000 children now live in orphanages, and though Westerners' attempts to adopt some of these children or donate money have helped, they have also brought new problems. A system of illegal adoption agencies has

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All Food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Romania 36 7 9 3 20 9 16
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Russia 28 11 16 7 15 8 16
Poland 28 4 19 6 1 8 34
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

grown up around the orphanages, and the foreign aid has encouraged corruption. In 1999, the European Union told Romania that it would have to stamp out this corruption and improve conditions in the orphanages before it could be admitted to EU membership.

A poor family in Romania is likely to be one with 6 or more members, including 4 or more children. It will probably be headed by a woman (particularly an elderly woman), with only primary education. The head of the household will be either unemployed, self-employed, or a subsistence farmer with less than 2 hectares of land. The family is also likely to be a Roma familyRoma are 3.5 times more likely to be poor than other Romanians.

A wealthy family in Romania is likely to be an urban couple with no children and high education. They are likely to be young and employed in a high-paying sector such as financial services.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Between 1994 and 1998, Romania's labor force has fallen from 10 million to 8.8 million. Part of the drop came from growing unemployment. But even more people simply fell out of the labor force by taking early retirement or invalid benefits. Agriculture has also soaked up a huge proportion of the spare labor force as industrial firms collapsed and land was restored to its owners. In 1990, agriculture used to account for 28 percent of the workforce. It now accounts for 42 percent.

Working conditions are regulated by various laws, most importantly the Labor Code of 1991. It sets a working week of 40 hours per week, and paid holidays of 18-24 days a year. It also stipulates redundancy payments and higher pay for workers in dangerous sectors. Nevertheless, workers still complain that working conditions are worsening in Romania. Wages have been slow to recover from a slump in 1997, when they fell 22.6 percent in real terms. And accidents at work are still one of the biggest causes of death for men aged 30 to 50.

The bargaining power of Romanian workers is limited in most sectors, thanks to the weak economy. The huge unions of the communist era have collapsed as the country turned to democracy, and their successors are far weaker. Unions and strikes are both allowed under the 1991 law, but workers complain that there are restrictions on their activity. Politicized sectors, like the miners, have frequently held large street protests. But these have often had political aims rather than pushing for improvements to working conditions.

The current leftist government views relations with the unions as key to its ability to govern the country. That is why it formed a social pact with unions and employers in February 2001. The unions have agreed that wage increases should keep pace with productivity in order to make the country's exports competitive. In return, the government has promised to keep unemployment below 10 percent, improve workplace safety, reduce the grey economy, and stop appointing political managers to state-owned firms.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

106 A.D. Roman troops defeat the local Dacians, and Dacia becomes a province of the Roman empire.

271. Goth attacks force the Romans to withdraw.

4TH CENTURY. Christianity arrives in the region and is adopted by the Latin-speaking Daco-Romans. The area gradually coalesces into 3 regions: Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania.

1415. The ruler of Wallachia is forced to recognize the suzerainty of the Ottomans, who go on to conquer and unite all 3 regions.

1686. Hapsburg forces from Austria-Hungary take over Transylvania and annex parts of Moldavia over the next 200 years.

1859. After the Turko-Russian war, Wallachia and Moldavia are united and become independent.

1878. Romanian independence is recognized by the UK, France, and Germany. The country later chooses Carol I of Prussia as its first king.

1916. Romania declares war on Hungary and invades Transylvania, which it eventually wins.

1919. The Treaty of Versailles, which ends the First World War, sees Romania double in size, taking over Bukovina and parts of Bessarabia as well as Transylvania. Even now, this Greater Romania is still seen as the country's rightful territory by some politicians, e.g. those in the Greater Romania Party.

1938. King Carol II declares a royal dictatorship to stem a wave of fascist terror sweeping through the country. At the onset of the Second World War, Romania loses many of its northern territories under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Germany and Russia. Carol II steps down.

1941. Under General Ion Antonescu, Romania forms a pact with Nazi Germany and fights to regain its territories. Thousands of Jews are deported.

1944. A royal coup topples Antonescu, and Romania fights the rest of the war on the Allied side.

1947. Romania is declared a People's Republic after communists gain 80 percent of the vote in rigged elections the previous year. Russia takes over northern Bukovina and Bessarabia.

1965. The country's first communist leader, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, dies. His successor, Nicolae Ceaucescu, continues to draw Romania away from Russian influence and towards the West.

1980s. Romania adopts a policy of isolationism and scrambles to pay off its US$10 billion in foreign debts. The clampdown on trade results in widespread shortages of goods, including gasoline. The debt is repaid by 1989.

1989. Nicolae Ceaucescu is overthrown and is shot, together with his wife, Elena. The National Salvation Front (NSF), headed by former Ceaucescu aide Ion Iliescu, takes over the government.

1990. Parliamentary elections are held, resulting in an overwhelming victory for the NSF. Iliescu becomes president. But he has to bus hundreds of miners into Bucharest to quell public demonstrations against the NSF.

1992. Parliamentary elections are won by Iliescu's National Democratic Salvation Front, an offshoot of the NSF. This later becomes the Party of Social Democracy of Romania (PDSR).

1993-95. Romania joins the Council of Europe and the World Trade Organization, and becomes an associated member of the European Union and a member of NATO's Partnership for Peace.

1996. Centrist opposition parties win a majority in parliamentary elections and come to power promising faster economic reforms. But the economy subsequently goes into a 3-year recession.

1997. Romania joins the Central European Free Trade Area.

1999. The European Union officially invites Romania, together with 6 other candidates, to negotiate for membership.

2000. The PDSR regains power and promises to continue Romania's progress towards EU and NATO membership.

FUTURE TRENDS

As Romania enters the 21st century under a new government, its immediate troubles seem to be behind it. The recession is over and growth is predicted for the next 4 years. This is partly for unhealthy reasons, with the government trying to stimulate the economy. But it is also for more healthy reasons. The country's exports are rising as Romanian firms learn to compete in international markets, and more foreign investment is coming into the country.

But for the long term, a lot depends on whether Romania progresses towards membership in the European Union. Even now, the goal of EU membership forces the government to tackle some of the uncomfortable reforms still needed if the economy is to thrive, such as closing down uneconomic factories and rooting out corruption. It also encourages much-needed investment in the country. Meanwhile, the EU itself is contributing billions of dollars in aid to help Romania repair its infrastructure.

These benefits can only increase if Romania achieves its goal and joins the EU within the next decade. EU aid should increase, along with the investment. And trade will be eased, raising living standards. It is the country's best chance for economic security and of achieving some kind of political security. NATO membership would be an added boon, bringing military security.

But there are plenty of risks along the way. One is that Romania's governments will fail to do the work they need to do to persuade the EU and NATO to let them join. Existing EU and NATO members could block Romania's entry to both organizations if the potential problems seem too big. Worst of all, Romania's attempts to establish democracy could fail if there is a backlash against some of the job cuts and austerity measures needed to revive the economy.

DEPENDENCIES

Romania has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Business Central Europe. <http://www.bcemag.com>. Accessed April 2001.

Economist Intelligence Unit. <http://www.eiu.com>(subscription necessary to access all reports). Accessed April 2001.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Romania. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

"Enlargement." Europa. European Commission. <http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/romania/index.htm>. Accessed April 2001.

National Bank of Romania. <http://www.bnro.ro/def_en.htm>. Accessed April 2001.

"Report on Romanian Energy." Energy Information Administration. <http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/romania2.html>. Accessed April 2001.

"Romania." World Bank. <http://www.worldbank.org/ro>. Accessed April 2001.

Romania In Your Pocket. <http://www.inyourpocket.com/Romania/index.shtml>. Accessed April 2001.

Romanian National Commission for Statistics. <http://www.cns.ro/indexe.htm>. Accessed April 2001.

"A Survey of Romania, November 2000." Business Central Europe. <http://www.bcemag.com/servlets/bce.application.issue?cid=1284&parent_cid=1268>. Accessed April 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000: Romania. <http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ro.html>. Accessed April 2001.

Vienna Institute of Comparative Economic Studies (WIIW). <http://www.wiiw.ac.at>. (Subscription necessary to access all reports.) Accessed April 2001.

Ana Nicholls

CAPITAL:

Bucharest.

MONETARY UNIT:

Romania leu (L). One leu equals 100 bani, though bani are seldom used, thanks to devaluation. There are notes of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 50,000, 100,000, and 500,000 lei (plural of leu), and coins of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 lei.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Textiles and footwear, metals and metal products, machinery and equipment, minerals, fuels.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Machinery and equipment, minerals and fuels, chemicals, textiles, footwear.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$36.7 billion (2000). [ CIA World Factbook 2000 reports GDP at purchasing power parity to be US$87.4 billion (1999 est.).]

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$10.4 billion (2000). Imports: US$12.0 billion (2000). [ CIA World Factbook 2000 reports exports to be US$8.4 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.) and imports to be US$9.6 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.).]

views updated

ROMANIA

Republic of Romania

Major Cities:
Bucharest, Braşov, Constanţa, Timişoara

Other Cities:
Arad, Bacǎu, Baia Mare, Brǎila, Buzǎu, Cluj-napoca, Craiova, Galaţi, Giurgiu, Hunedoara, Iaşi, Oradea, Piatra-nea mţ, Piteşti, Ploieşti, Reşiţa, Sibiu, Tîrgu-mureş

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated February 1992. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

Although surrounded by Slav and Magyar neighbors, the Republic of ROMANIA is mainly a Latin country which traces its origins to the Roman Empire. It has been a unitary state for less than a century, and its culture and historical traditions are a source of pride and national sentiment. Romania's high proportion of ethnic minorities and its rich and varied cultural life lend it a special appeal for folklorists and students of the fine arts.

MAJOR CITIES

Bucharest

Bucharest (in Romanian, Bucureşti), Romania's largest city and its political, economic, and administrative center, has a population of over two million, including the immediate suburbs. It is situated on a wide agricultural plain in the southeastern part of the country, 40 miles north of the Danube and 156 miles west of the Black Sea.

Bucharest, probably founded late in the 14th century, was known then as Cetatea Dambovitei. It grew as a military fortress and commercial center along the trade routes to Constantinople. Known under its present name since the 15th century, it became the capital of Romania in 1861. During World War I, Bucharest was occupied from 1916 to 1918 by the Central Powers, the alliance formed by Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire. In World War II, following Romania's surrender to the Allies in August 1944, German planes bombed the city extensively. When Soviet troops entered on August 31, 1944, a coalition of leftist parties had already seized power.

The city lies on the Dîmbo-viţa River, at an altitude of 265 feet, and enjoys a temperate climate. The skyline is low except for the 22-story Intercontinental Hotel. Many attractive parks and drives add an element of beauty to the city. A large part of Bucharest's architecture dates to the pre-World War II era and consists of baroque and Renaissance-style structures. Many of these are former homes of the old aristocracy taken over as offices for state enterprises or by foreign diplomatic missions. Construction in recent years was limited to apartment buildings, the Metro, and civic buildings. Now the focus is on restoration work.

French is the second most common language spoken in Bucharest, but some knowledge of English is common among educated persons under 35 years of age. Knowledge of Romanian is an important asset.

Traffic in Bucharest, moderate by Western standards, is always hectic due to the increasing number of vehicles on the road, newly found freedom to drive, and narrow streets. City dwellers enjoy walking, and pedestrian traffic is always heavy, particularly from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays. Parks and recreation facilities are crowded on weekends. Romanians usually take to the highways on weekends, beginning around noon on Saturday.

Clothing

Dress in Romania is simple and informal. Wardrobes should resemble those needed in Washington, DC.

Local ready-made clothing and shoes, including children's, differ from U.S. quality and fit and are more expensive. Clothing can be made here by a tailoring or dressmaking cooperative or, occasionally, by a seamstress. This is not always satisfactory because of the time, workmanship, and expense involved. For tailor-made clothing, the purchaser should furnish sewing notions. Materials of good quality can be bought locally, but are expensive.

Shoes can be repaired satisfactorily in Romania. Wardrobes for an extended stay should include rubber boots, children's clothes and shoes, winter clothing, including sports-and footwear (e.g., ski clothes and ice skates), and summer sportswear (for tennis and swimming).

Food

Meat and fish on the local market generally are of poor quality and are scarce. Fresh vegetables and fruits are usually available in season at local open-air markets. Milk and milk products are not pasteurized.

Supplies & Services

In general, basic services and supplies are expensive and either unavailable or only irregularly found. In many cases, such as in auto, radio, and stereo repair, the lack of spare parts hinders service. Repairs for locally purchased TV sets are obtainable.

Barbershops for men are readily available and are satisfactory. Several beauty shops are fairly good, including those at the Intercontinental and Lido Hotels in Bucharest.

Domestic Help

Many Americans living in Romania have household help. The number depends on family size. Single people and couples without children usually have only part-time help, or one full-time person who does the housecleaning and some cooking. Families, especially those with small children, often have two domestics.

Romanian domestics do not live in. Minimum monthly salaries for full-time help is about $100 a month. Romanian labor law requires employees to pay additional taxes: 25% social security and 4% unemployment tax.

Housecleaning help is not hard to find. Reliable baby-sitters and good cooks are more difficult to locate. English-speaking help is hard to find.

Religious Activities

The Romanian Orthodox Church is dominant in Romania, but there are also Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Calvinist, and Unitarian churches; several synagogues; and two mosques in Bucharest. The British community sponsors an Anglican church, with services in English.

Education

The American School of Bucharest, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, has a pre-kindergarten and grades kindergarten through eight.

The American School, incorporated in the State of Delaware, is financed primarily by tuition fees and a grant from the Department of State. It is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the European Council of International Schools. Its curriculum and materials parallel those currently used in the U.S. and, because of its international character, the educational experience is broadening. Current placement policy according to chronological age requires a birthdate on or before November 30. For example, a child entering the pre-school class must be four-years old by November 30.

American children above the eighth grade normally attend school outside of Romania. Several schools in the area have boarding facilities.

Recreation

Romania has many natural and historical points of interest and beauty. Travel restrictions do not exist in Romania. Signs designate certain areas as "off limits" for photography but, in general, unlimited and irresistible photo opportunities abound.

Among the many interesting places to visit in Romania are the Black Sea coast, the Danube delta, the Moldavian monasteries, Maramureş and its wooden churches, the scenic Retezat Mountains in western Romania, and the medieval cities of Sibiu and Sighişoara. A few locations in southern Romania, from the west to the Black Sea coast (e.g., Sarmizegetusa, Adamclisi, and Histria), have ruins from Greco-Roman times. Camping enthusiasts find many sites, either in commercial cabins or by pitching tents, in attractive surroundings. Mountain climbing possibilities abound, and fishing for trout in the mountains or for a variety of game fish in the delta can be arranged. Hunting can be productive, but expensive.

Bucharest and vicinity have a few tourist spots. Just outside the city limits is a small zoo. North on the road to Ploieşti are Lake Snagov and the Caldarusani Monastery (where Vlad Tepeşthe historical prince tenuously identified as Count Draculawas reportedly buried). To the northwest is the town of Tîrgovişte. To the west, about two-and-a-half hours by car, are the beautiful monastery of Curtea de Argeş and the scenic Vidraru Lake north of Capatineni. Near the lake, there is an old fortress once belonging to Vlad Tepeş and, on a clear day, the peaks of the Fǎgǎraş Mountains, the highest in Romania, can be seen in the distance. All of these spots provide good picnic areas.

Some interesting museums, with fine art and history collections, and a botanical garden are in Bucharest. Also, tours to arts and crafts mills occasionally can be arranged. There are several nice parks for strolling (particularly Herǎstrǎu Park, beyond the massive triumphal arch), but they are crowded on weekends.

Numerous spectator sports in Bucharest are available to foreigners; the most popular is soccer. Other sports are volleyball, hand-ball, basketball, boxing, tennis, and ice hockey. Tickets are reasonable. A number of international matches are played in Bucharest each year between Romanian and foreign teams. American teams have made a few visits.

Professional tennis lessons can be arranged for visitors at the Club Tineretului or the Bucharest Tennis Club, and admittance to the former for swimming also can be arranged. In winter, one can ice skate at the Floreasca rink and ski in the mountains near Sinaia and Predeal.

Entertainment

Local entertainment possibilities for English-speaking visitors are limited. Many inexpensive cinemas exist, but the films shown are either poor or are in a foreign language. Few American films are shown. Some good operas and ballets are seen each season, and many fine concerts and recitals are given. For those skilled in the Romanian language, the live stage is enjoyable.

Good restaurants were scarce, but new restaurants are opening and old ones seem to be improving. Selection is limited, and service is often slow. Nightclub entertainment is also improving, but still limited. Discotheques are opening all over town and are usually open from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Folk festivals with the various regional dances and colorful costumes can be enjoyed in the countryside. Bucharest holds a growing number of international fairs.

The American Library and Cultural Center provides some good reading material. The cultural attractions produced in the center's theater are worth attending.

Braşov

Braşov (sometimes Brashov), located in central Romania 75 miles north of Bucharest, has a population of approximately 314,000. Situated at the foot of the Transylvanian Alps, the city was founded early in the 13th century by the Teutonic Order of Knights. Braşov was a major trade and industrial center in the Middle Ages, enjoying considerable autonomy under the Hapsburg empire. It was part of Hungary until after World War I; consequently, there are large numbers of Hungarians and Germans in the city.

There are several interesting ecclesiastical buildings in Braşov, including the large 14th-century Black Church, so called because of extensive fire damage in 1689; St. Bartholomew Church (13th century); and St. Nicholas Church (14th century, rebuilt in 1751). The medieval town hall (built in 1420, and restored in 1777) and the 17th-century citadel still stand. Today, Braşov is a road and rail junction, as well as a major industrial center. The city's chief products are tractors, trucks, machinery, chemicals, and textiles. Braşov was called Stalin, or Oraşul-Stalin, from 1950 to 1960.

The Carpathian resort and winter sports center of Poiana Braşov is close by.

Constanţa

Romania's chief seaport is Constanţa, situated in the southeastern part of the country on the Black Sea. Located about 120 miles east of Bucharest, Constanţa's major exports are petroleum (brought by pipeline from the oil fields near Ploieşti), grain, and lumber. Constanţa also handles traffic involving Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, serves as the country's major naval and air base, and is a seaside resort. Romania acquired the city in 1878 after a varied history.

Founded as the Greek colony of Tomi in the seventh century B.C., it later came under Roman and Turkish rule. Ovid, the greatest Roman poet of his time (43 B.C.-A.D.17), spent his final years in exile at Tomi, then a lonely fishing village.

Constanţa has several synagogues and mosques, an Orthodox cathedral, a statue of Ovid, and many Roman and Byzantine ruins. Also interesting are a regional archaeological museum and a marine biology station. The population is 342,000.

Timişoara

Timişoara, situated on the Beja Canal in western Romania, has a population of 324,000. About 235 miles northwest of Bucharest, Timişoara is a railroad hub and an industrial center. There are plants here that process food and tobacco, and factories that manufacture textiles, machinery, and chemicals. Timişoara also has a university, founded in 1945, and other institutions of higher education.

Timişoara was an ancient Roman settlement, came under Magyar rule in 896, and was annexed to Hungary in 1010. An important frontier fortress, the city was held by the Turks from 1552 to 1716. It was formally restored to Austria-Hungary with the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718, and passed to Romania via the Treaty of Tianon in 1920. The inner city is now surrounded by boulevards, replacing the old ramparts. Several buildings date from the 18th century, including Roman Catholic and Orthodox cathedrals and the city hall. There is also a regional museum, housed in a 14th-century castle.

Thermal springs in use since Roman times are still operated as spa facilities in Timişoara.

OTHER CITIES

ARAD is located in western Romania near the Hungarian border, 260 miles northwest of Bucharest. Situated on the Mureşul River, Arad is a leading regional commercial and industrial center, as well as an important railroad junction. Chief industries include distilleries, sawmills, and the manufacture of textiles, machine tools, locomotives, electrical goods, and leather products. Arad was under Turkish rule for more than a century (16th to 17th centuries), under Austrian domination for more than 150 years (1685 to 1849), and controlled by the Hungarians, who made it their headquarters against the Hapsburg empire from 1849 to 1920. In 1920, after World War I, Arad became part of Romania. The city has a theological seminary and a teachers' training school. Cultural institutions include a state theater, a philharmonic orchestra, and a museum. There also is an 18th-century citadel built by Empress Maria Theresa. Arad's population is about 184,000.

BACǍU is the capital and principal city of the district of the same name. It lies on the Bistriţa River, 150 miles northeast of Bucharest, and has a population of 209,000. Fighter plane manufacture is the main industry; others include footwear, textile, and paper production. Because of its location near the confluence of two major rivers, Bacǎu has long been an important trade center. Originally a customs post, it was noted in documents as early as 1408. Today this city is a major road and railway junction. As a cultural hub, Bacǎu has a state theater, symphony orchestra, and museums.

BAIA MARE (in Hungarian, Nagybánya) is situated in the far northwest, 250 miles from Bucharest. Surrounded by mountains, it is shielded from northeast winds, and has a Mediterranean-like vegetation. Heavy industries, such as lead and zinc smelting plants, predominate here. Baia Mare's 14th-century clock tower, known as Stephen's Tower, overshadows the medieval quarter. Saxon immigrants founded the city in the 12th century, and called it Neustadt. Baia Mare has an estimated population of 150,000.

BRǍILA is in southeastern Romania near the Ukraine border, about 100 miles northeast of Bucharest. Situated on the lower Danube River, Brǎila has an estimated population of 234,000. The city is Romania's chief grain-shipping port and also a major industrial and commercial center whose principal products are machinery, metals, foodstuffs, and textiles. Brǎila's history dates to Greek times. In the 15th century, the city was burned by the Turks and again by forces of Stephen the Great of Moldavia. Brǎila played an important role in the Russo-Turkish Wars of the 18th century. Today, Brǎila has many landmarks, including the Cathedral of St. Michael, a theater, and an art museum.

BUZǍU is a market and trading center located about 60 miles northeast of Bucharest. It dates to the early 15th century, and is surrounded by a fertile agricultural region. Industries in Buzǎu include those producing alcohol, textiles, and plastics. Approximately 148,000 people live in the city.

CLUJ-NAPOCA is located in central Romania, about 200 miles northwest of Bucharest. Situated on the Someşul Mic River in the hills of Transylvania, it is the capital of Cluj Province, and has a population of roughly 332,000. The administrative center of an area rich in agriculture and minerals, Cluj-Napoca manufactures machinery, metal products, electrical equipment, textiles, chemicals, and shoes. It also is a noted center of education, with two universities, a branch of the Romanian Academy of Sciences, a fine arts institute, a polytechnic institute, and several scientific research centers. Founded in the 12th century by German colonists, the city became an important cultural and commercial center in the Middle Ages. A Jesuit academy was founded here in 1581; Cluj-Napoca then became the chief cultural and religious center of Transylvania. Incorporated into Austria-Hungary in 1867 and transferred to Romania in 1920, it was occupied by Hungarian forces during World War II. Historical sites in the city include the 14th-century Gothic Church of St. Michael and the ruins of an 11th-century church. Cluj-Napoca also has beautiful botanical gardens.

CRAIOVA lies on the Jiul River, a tributary of the Danube in southwest Romania. Approximately 110 miles west of Bucharest, Craiova is the administrative and industrial center of an agricultural and mineral region, and also an important market for grain. Chief industries include food processing, machine building, and electrical equipment manufacturing. It is a city of about 314,000 residents. Built on the site of a Roman settlement, Craiova was destroyed by an earthquake in 1790 and burned by the Turks in 1802. Culturally, the city is the site of a university (founded in 1966) and other institutions of higher learning, a philharmonic orchestra, and several museums displaying prehistoric and Roman relics. Also of interest are St. Demetrius Church (built in the 17th century and later restored) and a 19th-century palace.

GALAŢI , also called Galatz, is in eastern Romania, about 115 miles northeast of Bucharest. With a population of about 330,000, Galaţi is a major inland port and the home of the Romanian Danube flotilla. An important rail junction, Galaţi also has large iron and steel plants and shipyards. Chief exports are grain and timber. Founded in the Middle Ages, Galaţi became an international trading center in the 18th century, and a free port between 1834 and 1883. A cultural and educational center, Galaţi has an agricultural college and a technical institute.

GIURGIU , an important inland port, is situated on the Danube in southern Romania. Directly across the river is Ruse, Bulgaria, and the two are linked by a bridge. Oil pipelines from Ploieşti are connected to Giurgiu. The city also has shipyards and some light industry. Genoese merchants founded Giurgiu in the 10th century and named it San Giorgio. Conquered by the Turks in 1417, Giurgiu played an important role in 16th-century wars. Parts of the old town wall, ruins of a 14th-century medieval fortress, and an old clock tower still stand. The population is about 55,000.

HUNEDOARA is in west-central Romania, about 275 miles northwest of Bucharest. A major industrial center with iron-and steelworks, it also has iron ore and coal mines nearby. Historically, the city is noted for Hunyadi Castle, built in the 15th century on the site of a citadel. The population is currently about 80,000.

IAŞI , or sometimes Jassy, is located in eastern Romania, in the region called Moldavia. Near the Moldova border and 200 miles northeast of Bucharest, Iaşis a population of approximately 348,000. The city is the commercial center for a fertile agricultural region where machinery, textiles, furniture, pharmaceuticals, food products, plastics, and metal are produced. Iaşi was the capital of the Romanian principality of Moldavia from 1565 until 1859. It served as Romania's temporary capital during World War I. In the Second World War, Iaşi's large Jewish population was exterminated by the Nazis. Iaşi has long been a cultural center; the first book in the Romanian language was printed here in 1643 and the national theater was founded in the city in 1849. A university was established in Iaşi in 1860; there are also several other institutions of higher learning. Three churchesa 17th-century cathedral, the Church of the Three Hierarchs, and the Church of St. Nicholasare all examples of the Moldavian adaptation of Byzantine architecture.

ORADEA , sometimes called Oradea-Mare, is situated near the Hungarian border in western Romania. Approximately 270 miles northwest of Bucharest, Oradea has a population of around 222,000. It is the marketing and shipping center for a livestock and agricultural region, as well as an important industrial city. The seat of a Roman Catholic bishopric as early as 1080, Oradea was destroyed in the 13th century, but rebuilt in the 15th century. Held by the Turks from 1660 to 1692, Oradea became part of Romania after World War I. Hungarian forces occupied the city during World War II. Most of the architecture in Oradea is baroque. The city is popular with tourists for the health resorts which are found nearby.

PIATRA-NEAMŢ is a northeastern district capital, situated 175 miles north of Bucharest on the Biastriţa River. This cultural center of some 125,000 people has a regional natural science museum, state theater, and archaeological museum. Textiles, chemicals and canned foods number among its industries. St. Ion Church here is a classic example of the Moldavian architectural style. It was built by Stephen the Great of Moldavia in 1497-98. The Biastriţa Monastery, erected in the early 15th century, is five miles west of Piatra-Neamţ.

PITEŞTI , with a population of around 187,000, is located 70 miles northwest of Bucharest, in south-central Romania. Piteşti is a commercial center and an important rail junction, and has both heavy and light industry. The city is famous for its wines and for several resorts in the vicinity.

PLOIEŞTI (or sometimes Ploeşti), the center of the Romanian petroleum industry, is situated in south-central Romania, just north of Bucharest. With a population of around 251,000, Ploieşti is a railroad hub linked by pipelines with Bucharest, and with the ports of Giurgiu on the Danube, and Constanţa on the Black Sea. Reflecting its importance in the oil region of Romania, Ploieşti has large refineries and oil storage installations. Founded in 1596, it was the largest oil-producing center of southeast Europe by the 19th century. The city provided substantial oil to Germany during World War II and, consequently, was heavily bombed by Allied forces in August 1943. Ploieşti was occupied by the U.S.S.R. on August 31, 1944. After the war, Romania nationalized the oil industry here.

REŞIŢA (also spelled Reciţa) is located in the western foothills of the Transylvanian Alps, approximately 200 miles west of Bucharest. A leading mining and industrial center, Reşiţa produces iron, steel, machinery, metals, and chemicals. Coal and iron ore are mined nearby. Reşiţa was known as a mining center for precious metals during Roman times. The modern city was established in 1768, when the first foundry was built. Currently the population is close to 94,000.

SIBIU is situated at the foot of the Transylvanian Alps in central Romania. Located about 135 miles northwest of Bucharest, Sibiu has a mechanical engineering works and produces textiles, agricultural machinery, chemicals, and leather. It is also a market for farm products and cattle. Originally a Roman settlement, German colonists reestablished Sibiu in the 12th century, but the town was destroyed during the Tatar invasion in 1241. By the 14th century, Sibiu had recovered and was a leading administrative and commercial center for the German communities in Transylvania. Austrians controlled the city in the 17th century. Sibiu retains much of its medieval character and has a large German population, even though many Germans were forced to leave after World War II. Long recognized as the cultural center of Transylvania, Sibiu has a philharmonic orchestra, a state theater, and a museum. The population here is about 170,000.

TÎRGU-MUREŞ , a major industrial center, is in central Romania about 165 miles north of Bucharest. Situated on the Mureşul River, Tîrgu-Mureş has sugar refineries and distilleries, and manufactures food products, chemicals, fertilizers, machinery, and furniture. It is also a market for agricultural products. Tîrgu-Mureşdates from the 12th century, and remained a part of Hungary until 1918, when Romania acquired Transylvania; consequently, more than half of the city's population is Hungarian. Its name in that language is Maros-Vásárhely. A fire destroyed most of the city in 1876, but a 17th-century citadel, several old churches, and some baroque mansions survived. The population is approximately 165,000.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

The Republic of Romania is the twelfth largest country in Europe. It occupies the greater part of the lower basin of the Danube River system and the hilly eastern regions of the middle Danube Basin. Its 91,700 square miles make it similar in size to the United Kingdom or Oregon. Some consider Romania to be a "Latin Island" because it is bordered by two seas, one realthe Black Sea to which Romania owes its 150 miles of coastlineand the other, the sea of non-Latin countries with which it shares its other borders. The Black Sea is to the east, Bulgaria is south, Serbia is west, Hungary northwest, and Moldova and Ukraine east and north.

Romania has three major geographical areas. A fertile fluvial plain stretches in a crescent from the northeast to the southwest, bounded by the Danube and Prut rivers. Bordering this plain to the west and north are the Carpathian Mountains and the Transylvanian Alps, a number of which reach above 7,000 feet. Most of the rest of the country is comprised of the hilly Transylvanian plateau. Finally, there is the Black Sea shore with its coastal plain, and the Danube delta.

Because of Romania's geographical and topographical diversity, the climate varies from region to region. It is generally continental, with short springs that quickly give way to long, warm summers, followed by pleasant, prolonged autumns and moderately cold, but comparatively short, winters. Snowfall in the Bucharest (capital) area usually is not heavy; however, the mountains have enough snow for skiing. The average daily minimum temperature for Bucharest in February is 28.6°F, and the average daily maximum in August is 95°F. Rainfall is normally heaviest from April through July, with an average of five inches in June. Aside from the relatively low humidity, Bucharest's climate is much like that of Washington, DC.

Population

Romanians consider themselves descendants of the ancient Dacians and their conquerors, the Romans. After the Roman occupation and colonization (between 106 and 271), the Goths, Huns, Slavs, Magyars, Turks, and other invaders each, in turn, left their mark on the population. Nevertheless, contemporary Romanians take particular pride in their Roman origins and Latin language and culture which, they believe, differentiates them from their Slavic and Hungarian neighbors.

Today about 90% of the country's estimated 23.4 million inhabitants are ethnically Romanian. Most of the remaining 10%, principally Hungarians and Germans live in Transylvania, which was, until 1918, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Jews and Gypsies are spread throughout the country, predominantly in Moldavia. The Jewish population was formerly larger, but emigration, primarily to Israel, has greatly reduced its numbers.

As a result of the country's ethnic diversity, Hungarian and German are important secondary languages, and various other tongues are spoken among the smaller minority groups. The Romanian language itself is related to Italian and Portuguese; the Cyrillic alphabet was replaced by the Latin in 1860. Religious affiliations tend to follow ethnic lines, with about 70% of all Romanian citizens belonging, at least nominally, to the Romanian Orthodox Church. Roman Catholics, mostly Hungarians, constitute about 3% of the population, and the 6% who are Protestant include Calvinists, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Seventh-Day Adventists.

Romanian law towards minorities is nondiscriminatory and the government allows them some cultural and linguistic freedom. The concept of Romania as a unitary national state, however, runs deep among ethnic Romanians and tension with minorities occasionally appears.

Government

Romania ceased to be a Socialist Republic on December 22, 1989, when the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown. The government replacing the communist dictatorship, which had controlled Romania since the end of World War II, renamed the country Romania (it had previously been the Socialist Republic of Romania) and proclaimed its support for a multi-party democracy, a republican form of government, a tripartite separation of powers, a free market, and the observance of fundamental human rights. Movement toward these objectives in the years following the revolution was uneven, however, and the country continues to suffer from a difficult economic situation and experiences sharp political and social divisions.

The central government appoints prefects who serve as the chief executive official in each of the country's 40 provinces and Bucharest. Mayors of cities, towns, and rural communes are elected.

The bicameral parliament consists of a 119-member Senate and a 397-member Chamber of Deputies. The national legislature is elected on a proportional representation, party-list system through a universal, secret ballot. The Chamber of Deputies also includes 12 appointed members to represent the national minorities who do not win an elective seat in Parliament.

Romania's current chief of state is the president. The president is elected by universal, direct, and secret voting by all citizens over the age of 18; once elected, he must sever ties with any party or political organization. Decrees issued by the president, including ratifying treaties, promulgating laws, and declaring war and states of emergency, must be countersigned by the prime minister.

The prime minister is currently appointed by the president, with the approval of both houses of Parliament. The president appoints as prime minister the representative of the political party receiving a majority of votes in the national parliamentary elections. The prime minister appoints and dismisses the members of his cabinet. Appointments are subject to approval by both houses of Parliament.

The president appoints the members of the Supreme Court and the prosecutor general, with Senate approval. The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal. The prosecutor general is the chief public prosecutor. The prosecutor general's office is divided into civil and military jurisdictions and each of the country's provinces has its own prosecutor, subject to the prosecutor general.

Primary law enforcement rests in the hands of the national police force, which investigates common crimes, patrols populated areas, and controls traffic. Each province has its own police precinct, located in the provincial capital, which supervises the activities of police constables stationed in every sizeable town. There are eight precincts in Bucharest with a chief of police maintaining overall supervision. The national gendarmerie, under the control of the Ministry of Interior, is a uniformed paramilitary force that is deployed in situations beyond the control of local police, such as for riot control. The gendarmerie also provides security for diplomatic embassies and facilities as well as for economically significant industrial installations. The Ministry of Interior coordinates counternarcotics responsibilities involving several agencies, including local police and customs agents. Internal security and the protection of state secrets are the responsibilities of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), which includes among its personnel, uniformed troops. The SRI also is responsible for counterterrorism; an anti-terrorism brigade is assigned to each of Bucharest's six sectors.

The Romanian flag consists of three vertical bands in blue, yellow, and red. The emblem of the republic appears in the central yellow band.

Arts, Science, Education

The impact of folklore and tradition has had a strong influence on the evolution of Romanian culture. Miori ţa (The Ewe Lamb ), an ancient legend about the relationship between man and nature, is considered the masterpiece of Romanian literature. The richly embroidered cultural tradition of Romania has been nurtured by many factors, much of it predating the Roman occupation. Traditional folk arts, dance, woodcarving, weaving, and decoration of costumes as well as an enthralling body of folk music still flourish in many parts of the country.

Modern Romanian literature was born in the mid-19th century and boasts such writers as Mihail Eminescu (1850-1889), Ion Creangà (1837-1889), Ion Luca Caragiale (1842-1912), and the poet Tudor Arghezi (1880-1967). Romania has over 21,000 public libraries. Every Romanian, on average, reads five books a year.

Despite strong Austrian and German influence, the modern movement in painting and sculpture is rooted in the revolutionary period of 1830 to 1848, when the sons of wealthy Romanian boyars (aristocrats) traveled abroad to study in Western schools of art, particularly in Paris and Rome. Such painters as Theodor Aman (1831-1891) and Nicolae Grigorescu (1838-1907) found their themes and subjects in peasant life. Notable modern painters are Nicolae Tonitsa (1886-1940), Gheorghe Popescu (1903-1975), Ion Tucuescu (1910-1961), and Marin Gherasim (born 1937). Constantin Brâncuşi produced sculpture of first rank. Graphics, book illustration, and poster design are respected arts in Romania. Romanian artists, ancient and modern, are distinguished by their fondness for bold, bright colors.

In music, Georges Enescu and Dinu Lipatti are well known. Bucharest has had opera since 1864; soprano Elena Teodorini (1857-1926) received wide public acclaim.

Serious literature is widely read, and mid-city Bucharest is sprinkled with galleries exhibiting the work of both Romanian and foreign artists. Several concerts and recitals are held weekly in season, in addition to regular performances of the Romanian opera and ballet. Theater in Romania is extremely active, and a wide selection of plays from Romania, the U.S., and other countries is presented.

Science and technology in Romania are closely connected with contemporary efforts to modernize the nation and create an industrial state. The most prestigious of the scientific societies established in the last century is the Romanian Academy, founded in 1866. Today, applied science and technology represent important areas of official emphasis, particularly in the educational and research institutions. Research work in scientific fields is directed by the National Council for Science and Technology and the Academy of Social and Political Sciences.

Education in Romania is state supported and state controlled. Elementary education and the first two levels of secondary school are compulsory for all students. Secondary schools, called licee, are available for students who have passed national examinations and are preparing for advanced study at universities. Competition for entrance into the universities and for postgraduate study is intense. Major university centers include those in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iaşi, Timişoara, and Craiova. Half of the students receive state scholarships. The literacy rate in Romania is 97%.

Commerce and Industry

Romania's economy, which used to be centrally controlled, is currently being transformed toward a free market system. A large number of formerly state-owned enterprises have been turned into limited-liability or joint-stock companies, and thousands of privately-owned businesses, mostly small service-oriented operations, have appeared. In spite of this positive trend, the country still suffers from the crippling legacy of the communist regime, and faces enormous difficulties in the process of changing old economic structures and mentalities. Industrial production has decreased sharply, foreign trade has recorded unprecedented deficits, unemployment is rampant, and inflation is spiraling. It will probably take a massive influx of Western equipment and technology, which also means Western financing to facilitate Romania's transition to a market economy.

Representing considerable natural wealth, Romania's resources include petroleum, timber, natural gas, soft coal, iron, copper, water-power, uranium ore, bauxite, and salt. The largest share in the country's industrial structure is held by the chemical and petrochemical, iron-and-steel, and machine-building sectors. Textile, leather, and glassware manufacturing, as well as wood processing, are significant.

Romania has a total of some 37.5 million acres of agricultural land, of which 25 million are arable. About 40% of the work force is involved in agriculture. Corn, wheat, barley, and sunflower are the most important crops. Romania also has extensive areas covered by orchards, vineyards, and truck farms. Animal husbandry (mostly cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry) has good potential for producing significant quantities of meat and dairy products. Modernization of agriculture and of food processing is top on the country's priority list.

Romania maintains economic and commercial relations with most other nations. Romania belongs to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank. A growing number of foreign firms (including some 45 U.S. companies) have representative offices in Bucharest.

There is a Chamber of Commerce in Romania at Boulevard Nicolae Bǎlescu 22, Bucharest.

Transportation

Bucharest's Bǎneasa Airport provides domestic air service on the state airline, TAROM (Transporturile Aeriene Romǎne). Otopeni Airport, about 10 miles outside Bucharest, has foreign air service. Foreigners frequently use the inexpensive rail system for official and personal trips within Romania. Intercity buses exist, but are rarely used by foreigners.

The national road system is generally good. Most roads are two-lane and asphalt-surfaced, but dirt roads also are common. A four-lane highway goes from the northern city limits of Bucharest to Ploieşti, and a limited access superhighway goes to Piteşti. Frequent encounters with heavy truck traffic and horse-drawn carts or farm machinery can hinder progress on Romanian roads. Rest stops for fuel and food are virtually nonexistent.

Buses and trolleys in Bucharest are plentiful and cheap, but often are crowded, and breakdowns are common. Reasonably priced taxis are difficult to obtain. Streets in Bucharest are hard-surfaced and of varying quality, with bumpy and cobblestone streets still common in many sectors. Streets become slippery when wet, particularly cobblestone routes.

Left-hand-drive automobiles are used here. The lack of foreign car parts is a major inconvenience. Parts for European cars are obtained more quickly from abroad, but most American car parts must be imported from the U.S., which takes several weeks. The most conveniently serviced automobiles are those of European manufacture.

Third-party liability insurance is mandatory. It must be bought locally and is relatively inexpensive.

Gas stations are located in most regions and are labeled PECO. To be safe, drivers should fill up when the gas gauge falls below half, since chronic gas shortages do occur.

Police cars are blue and white, are labeled "militia," and have blue lights on top. Fire trucks are red. Many ambulances are not white and they do not always use their sirens. Some have a red cross painted on the door and may use only a flashing light.

Communications

Romania has reasonably good, but slow, telephone service. The dial system is used. Long-distance domestic service is available, but 30-minute waits and bad connections are common. International calls often are faster and of better quality than domestic service. Calls from the U.S. to Romania cost approximately the same as calls made from Romania to the U.S. International telegraph services are not always reliable.

Delivery time for mail between the U.S. and Bucharest is approximately two weeks, except for parcels, which usually take three to five weeks. Both incoming and outgoing parcels require a customs declaration.

Although Romanian radio carries music and news programs, it is not a common source of information and entertainment for visitors. Two local television channels, with some programming in French and English, make a TV set worthwhile. Romanian television carries international news, Western movies (many of them American of varying vintage), American reruns, international sports events, children's cartoon shows, and international events by satellite. For those who are interested in and understand the Romanian language, local television is a good way to learn more about Romanian politics, economics, culture, and sports.

Local publications are of interest to those with Romanian-language skills. International newspapers and magazines are seldom found, even in international-class hotels.

Health

Generally, local medical care is below U.S. standards. The Romanian Government maintains a Diplomatic Polyclinic in Bucharest for medical examinations and treatment. Patients ordinarily receive good attention at the Polyclinic for routine ailments. Emergency dental problems are referred to Vienna or Athens. Local pharmacies usually do not stock Western medical and health supplies, but the Polyclinic sometimes stocks limited supplies.

Weather and local sanitation can be a problem and aggravate health conditions. Garbage is picked up sporadically. Street sweeping and washing in Bucharest is sporadic, but sewage disposal is adequate. Winter weather is hard because streets are not cleaned of snow and ice, and apartments and work sites are irregularly heated. In winter, soot from wood burning and soft coal aggravates some sinus problems and allergies; dust from the extensive construction in Bucharest will do the same for some people year round.

Water should be boiled and filtered before use. The 1977 earthquake disrupted the aging plumbing system which caused the water quality to deteriorate, especially during the spring rains and winter freeze/thaw cycles. Bottled drinks are considered safe.

AIDS and seropositive HIV have recently come to the forefront in Romania as a major public health problem, particularly in the pediatric population. Thus far, many of these cases seem to be attributed to the use of giving blood microtransfusions to young babies, and the reuse of contaminated syringes, particularly in the institutionalized child and/or the child with multiple hospitalizations. Research is continuing to try and help clarify this issue. The practice of microtransfusions in Romania has been banned, and disposable syringes are becoming more available, but the problem still exists. In additions, AIDS surveillance programs are being set up in Romania, as well as programs for blood donor screening for HIV and Hepatitis B.

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

Passage, Customs & Duties

Bucharest is served by numerous foreign airlines which use Otopeni International Airport. Flights are scheduled daily from Frankfurt, and four to six flights a week arrive from Vienna, Paris, Rome, and London. TAROM, the Romanian airline, provides service between Bucharest and New York. International shipping arrives at the Black Sea ports of Constanţa and Galaţi. Rail connections are available from Western Europe via Budapest and Belgrade, as well as from Eastern European countries. Travel by car from Western Europe also is possible.

A passport is required. Tourist visas for stays up to thirty days are not required. An exit visa must be obtained only in cases when the original passport used to enter the country was lost or stolen and a replacement passport has been issued by the American Embassy. For stays longer than thirty days, visas should be obtained from a Romanian embassy or consulate abroad. These should be extended at passport offices in Romania in the area of residence. Travelers can obtain visas and other information regarding entry requirements from the Romanian Embassy at 1607 23rd St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone number (202) 232-4747, or the Romanian consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York City. The Romanian Embassy maintains a web site at http://www.roembus.org.

Romania's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Romania of items such as firearms, antiquities, and medications. Romanian law allows foreigners to bring up to $10,000 in cash into Romania. No amount in excess of that declared upon entry may be taken out of Romania upon departure. Sums larger than $10,000 must be transferred through banks. No more than 1,000,000 Romanian lei (rol) may be brought into or taken out of the country. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Romania in Washington or one of Romania's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Americans living in or visiting Romania are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Romania and obtain updated information on travel and security within Romania. The U.S. Embassy is located at Strada Tudor Arghezi 7-9, telephone (40) 1-210-4042. In life or death emergencies, an after hours duty officer may be reached by calling (40) 1-210-0149. Consular services for U.S. citizens are performed in the Consular Section located at Strada Filipescu no. 26 (formerly Strada Snagov), one block from the

U.S. Embassy at the corner of Strada Batistei. The telephone number of the Consular Section is (40) 1-210-4042, and faxes can be sent to (40) 1 211-3360. An Embassy Information Office in Cluj-Napoca is located at Universitatii 7-9, Etaj 1, telephone (40) 64-193-815. This office is able to provide only limited consular information.

Pets

No regulations restrict the importation of household pets (cats and dogs). Animals with proper documentation, such as health and rabies-vaccination certificates, are quickly cleared through customs.

There is a significant population of stray dogs in and around Bucharest, and attacks on pedestrians and joggers are not uncommon. While there have not been any reported problems with rabies, travelers are advised to avoid all stray dogs.

Disaster Preparedness

Romania is an earthquake-prone country. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Aanagement Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

The leu is the official unit of currency (the plural is lei ). There are 100 bani in one leu.

Romania is largely a "cash only" economy. While an increasing number of businesses do accept credit cards, travelers are advised to use cash for goods and services rendered due to an increase in credit card fraud. Venders have been known to misuse credit card information by making illegal purchases on individuals' accounts. There are an increasing number of ATM machines located throughout major cities. Travelers' checks are of limited use, but they may be used to exchange local currency at some exchange houses.

The metric system of weights and measures is in force.

The time in Romania is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) plus one.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1New Year's Day

Jan. 2Day after New Year's Day

Apr/MayEaster (Orthodox)* Apr/MayEaster Monday*

May 1Romanian Labor Day

Dec. 1Romanian National Day

Dec. 25Christmas Day

*variable

RECOMMENDED READING

The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country:

Behr, Edward. Kiss the Hand You Cannot Bite: The Rise and Fall of the Ceausescus. New York: Random House, 1991.

Demekas, Dimitrios and Mohsin Khan. The Romanian Economic Reform Program. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 1991.

Fischer-Galati, Stephen. Twentieth-Century Romania, 2nd ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.

Haynes, Jim, ed. Romania: People to People. Somerville, MA: Zephyr Press, 1992.

Jones, Harold D. Where to Go in Romania. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1991.

Sitwell, Sacheverell. Romanian Journey. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.