Romania (/roÊËmeÉªniÉ/ roh-MAY-nee-É; Romanian: RomÃ¢nia [romÉ¨Ëni.a]), occasionally spelled Rumania, and formerly also spelled Roumania is a unitary semi-presidential republic located in Southeastern-Central Europe, north of the Balkan Peninsula and on the western shore of the Black Sea. It borders Hungary, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Bulgaria. It covers 238,391 square kilometres (92,043Â sqÂ mi) and has a temperate-continental climate. With its 20.1 million inhabitants, it is the seventh most populous member of the European Union. Its capital and largest city, Bucharest, is the sixth largest city in the European Union.
Modern Romania emerged within the territories of the ancient Roman province of Dacia, and was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. At the end of World War I, Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia united with the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. At the end of World War II, territories which today roughly correspond to the Republic of Moldova were occupied by the Soviet Union, and a few years later Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition back towards democracy and a capitalist market economy.
Following rapid economic growth in the 2000s, Romania has an economy predominantly based on services, and is a producer and net exporter of machines and electric energy, featuring companies like Automobile Dacia and OMV Petrom. Living standards have improved, and currently, Romania is an upper-middle income country with a high Human Development Index. It has been a member of NATO since 2004, and part of the European Union since 2007. Around 90% of the population identify themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians, and are native speakers of Romanian, a Romance language. With a rich cultural history, Romania has been the home of influential artists, musicians, and inventors, and features a variety of tourist attractions such as "Dracula's Castle".
Romania derives from the Latin romanus, meaning "citizen of Rome". The first known use of the appellation was attested in the 16th-century by Italian humanists travelling in Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia.
The oldest surviving document written in Romanian, a 1521 letter known as the "Letter of NeacÈu from CÃ¢mpulung", is also notable for including the first documented occurrence of the country's name: Wallachia is mentioned as Èeara RumÃ¢neascÄ ("The Romanian Land", Èeara from the Latin terra, "land"; current spelling: Èara RomÃ¢neascÄ).
Two spelling forms: romÃ¢n and rumÃ¢n were used interchangeably until sociolinguistic developments in the late 17th century led to semantic differentiation of the two forms: rumÃ¢n came to mean "bondsman", while romÃ¢n retained the original ethnolinguistic meaning. After the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the word rumÃ¢n gradually fell out of use and the spelling stabilised to the form romÃ¢n. Tudor Vladimirescu, a revolutionary leader of the early 19th century, used the term RumÃ¢nia to refer exclusively to the principality of Wallachia."
The use of the name Romania to refer to the common homeland of all Romaniansâ"its modern-day meaningâ"is first documented in the early 19th century. The name has been officially in use since 11 December 1861. English-language sources still used the terms Rumania or Roumania, derived from the French spelling Roumanie and/or the Greek Î¡Î¿Ï Î¼Î±Î½Î¯Î±, as recently as World WarÂ II, but the name has since been replaced with the official spelling Romania.
The human remains found in PeÈtera cu Oase ("The Cave of the Bones"), radiocarbon dated as being from cca. 40,000 years ago, represent the oldest known Homo sapiens in Europe.
Prior to the Roman conquest of Dacia, the territories between Danube and Dniester rivers were inhabited by various Thracian peoples, including the Dacians and the Getae. Herodotus, in his work "Histories", notes the religious difference between the Getae and other Thracians, however, according to Strabo, the Dacians and the Getae spoke the same language. Dio Cassius draws attention to the cultural similarities between the two people. There is a scholarly dispute whether the Dacians and the Getae were the same people.
Roman incursions under Emperor Trajan between 101â"102 AD and 105â"106 AD led to result that about half of the Dacian kingdom became a province of the Roman Empire called "Dacia Traiana". The Roman rule lasted 165 years. During this period the province was fully integrated to the Roman Empire and a sizeable part of the population was newcomers from other provinces. The Roman colonists introduced the Latin language. According to followers of the continuity theory, the intense Romanization gave birth to the Proto-Romanian language. The province was rich of ore deposits (especially gold and silver in places like Alburnus Maior). As a result of invasions by Germanic tribes, Roman troops were pulled out of Dacia around 271 AD, making it the first province to be abandoned.
The territory was later invaded and dominated by various peoples, including Goths, Huns, Gepids, Avars, Bulgars, Slavs, Magyars, Pechenegs, and Cumans, who have been labelled as "migratory peoples" in Romanian historiography. Many of these populations also settled, cohabitated and mixed with the locals. Several competing theories have been proposed to explain the relations (or non-relations) between ancient Dacians and present-day Romanians.
In the Middle Ages, Romanians lived in three Romanian principalities: Wallachia (Romanian: Èara RomÃ¢neascÄ â" "The Romanian Land"), Moldavia (Romanian: Moldova) and in Transylvania. The existence of independent Romanian voivodeships in Transylvania as early as the 9th century is mentioned in Gesta Hungarorum, but by the 11th century, Transylvania had become a largely autonomous part of the Kingdom of Hungary. In the other parts, many small local states with varying degrees of independence developed, but only under Basarab I and Bogdan I the larger principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia would emerge in the 14th century to fight the threat of the Ottoman Empire.
By 1541, as with the entire Balkan peninsula and most of Hungary, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania were under Ottoman suzerainty, preserving partial or full internal autonomy until the mid-19th century (Transylvania until 1711). This period featured several prominent rulers such as: Stephen the Great, Vasile Lupu, and Dimitrie Cantemir in Moldavia; Matei Basarab, Vlad the Impaler, and Constantin BrÃ¢ncoveanu in Wallachia; and John Hunyadi and Gabriel Bethlen in Transylvania. In 1600, the three principalities were ruled simultaneously by the Wallachian prince Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazul), which was considered in later periods as the precursor of a modern Romania and became a point of reference for nationalists, as well as a catalyst for achieving a single Romanian state.
Â§Independence and monarchy
During the period of the Austro-Hungarian rule in Transylvania and of Ottoman suzerainty over Wallachia and Moldavia, most Romanians were given few rights in a territory where they formed the majority of the population. Nationalistic themes became principal during the Wallachian uprising of 1821, and the 1848 revolutions in Wallachia and Moldavia. The flag adopted for Wallachia by the revolutionaries was a blue-yellow-red horizontal tricolour (with blue above, in line with the meaning "Liberty, Justice, Fraternity"), while Romanian students in Paris hailed the new government with the same flag "as a symbol of union between Moldavians and Wallachians". The same flag, with the tricolour being mounted vertically, would later be officially adopted as the national flag of Romania.
After the failed 1848 revolutions not all the Great Powers supported the Romanians' expressed desire to officially unite in a single state. But in the aftermath of the Crimean War, the electors in both Moldavia and Wallachia voted in 1859 for the same leader, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, as Domnitor (prince in Romanian), and the two principalities became a personal union formally under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. Following coup d'Ã©tat in 1866, Cuza was exiled and replaced with Prince Carol I of Romania of the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. During the 1877â"1878 Russo-Turkish War Romania fought on the Russian side, and in the aftermath, it was recognized as an independent state both by the Ottoman Empire and the Great Powers by the Treaty of San Stefano and the Treaty of Berlin. The new Kingdom of Romania underwent a period of stability and progress until 1914, and also acquired Southern Dobruja from Bulgaria after the Second Balkan War.
Â§World Wars and Greater Romania
Romania remained neutral for the first two years of World War I. Following the secret Treaty of Bucharest, according to which Romania would acquire territories with a majority of Romanian population from Austria-Hungary, it joined the Entente Powers and declared war on 27 August 1916. The Romanian military campaign began disastrously for Romania as the Central Powers occupied two-thirds of the country within months, before reaching a stalemate in 1917. Total military and civilian losses from 1916 to 1918, within contemporary borders, were estimated at 748,000. After the war, the transfer of Bukovina from Austria was acknowledged by the 1919 Treaty of Saint Germain, of Banat and Transylvania from Hungary by the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, and of Bessarabia from Russian rule by the 1920 Treaty of Paris.
The following interwar period is referred as Greater Romania, as the country achieved its greatest territorial extent at that time (almost 300,000Â km2 or 120,000Â sqÂ mi). The application of radical agricultural reforms and the passing of a new constitution created a democratic framework and allowed for quick economic growth. With oil production of 7.2 million tons in 1937, Romania ranked second in Europe and seventh in the world. and was Europe's second-largest food producer. However, the early 1930s were marked by social unrest, high unemployment, and strikes, as there were over 25 separate governments throughout the decade. On several occasions in the last few years before World War II, the democratic parties were squeezed between conflicts with the chauvinistic Iron Guard and the authoritarian tendencies of king Carol II.
During World War II, Romania tried again to remain neutral, but on 28 June 1940, it received a Soviet ultimatum with an implied threat of invasion in the event of non-compliance. Again foreign powers created heavy pressure on Romania, by means of the Soviet-Nazi Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact of non-aggression from 23 August 1939. As a result of it the Romanian government and the army were forced to retreat from Bessarabia as well as from northern Bukovina in order to avoid war with the Soviet Union. The king was compelled to abdicate and appointed general Ion Antonescu as the new Prime-Minister with full powers in ruling the state by royal decree. Romania was prompted to join the Axis military campaign. Thereafter, southern Dobruja was ceded to Bulgaria, while Hungary received Northern Transylvania as result of an Axis powers' arbitration. Romanian contribution to Operation Barbarossa was enormous, with the Romanian Army of over 1.2 million men in the summer of 1944, fighting in numbers second only to Nazi Germany. Romania was the main source of oil for the Third Reich, and thus became the target of intense bombing by the Allies. Growing discontent among the population eventually peaked in August 1944 with King Michael's Coup, and the country switched sides to join the Allies. It is estimated that the coup shortened the war by as much as six months. Even though the Romanian Army had suffered 170,000 casualties after switching sides, Romania's role in the defeat of Nazi Germany was not recognized by the Paris Peace Conference of 1947, as the Soviet Union annexed Bessarabia and other territories corresponding roughly to present-day Republic of Moldova.
The Antonescu regime played a major role in the The Holocaust in Romania, and copied the Nazi policies of oppression and genocide of Jews and Gypsies, mainly in the Eastern territories reoccupied by the Romanians from the Soviet Union in Transnistria and in Moldavia. Jewish Holocaust victims in Romania totaled more than 280,000, plus another 11,000 Gypsies ("Roma").
During the Soviet occupation of Romania, the Communist-dominated government called for new elections in 1946, which were fraudulently won, with a fabricated 70% majority of the vote. Thus they rapidly established themselves as the dominant political force, and in 1947, forced King Michael I to abdicate and leave the country, and proclaimed Romania a people's republic. Romania remained under the direct military occupation and economic control of the USSR until the late 1950s. During this period, Romania's vast natural resources were continuously drained by mixed Soviet-Romanian companies (SovRoms) set up for unilateral exploitative purposes.
In 1948, the state began to nationalize private firms and to collectivize agriculture. Until the early 1960s, the Communist government established a terror regime carried out mainly through the Securitate (the Romanian secret police). During this period they launched several campaigns of purges in which numerous "enemies of the state" and "parasite elements" of the society were imprisoned for political or economic reasons, tortured and eventually killed. Punishments included deportation, internal exile and internment in forced labour camps and prisons, sometimes for life; dissent was vigorously suppressed by the regime. Nevertheless, anti-communist resistance was one of the most long-lasting in the Eastern Bloc. Tens of thousands of people were killed as part of repression in Communist Romania. A 2006 Commission estimated the number of direct victims of the communist repression at two million people. This excludes civilians who died in liberty as a result of their "treatment" and malnutrition in communist prisons and those who died because of the dire economic circumstances in the country, and whose numbers remain unknown but could reach a few millions.
In 1965, Nicolae CeauÈescu came to power and started to conduct the foreign policy more independently from the Soviet Union. Thus, communist Romania was the only Warsaw Pact country who refused to participate at the Soviet-led 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia (CeauÈescu even publicly condemned the action as "a big mistake, [and] a serious danger to peace in Europe and to the fate of communism in the world"); it was also the only communist state to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War; and established diplomatic relations with West Germany the same year. At the same time, close ties with the Arab countries (and the PLO) allowed Romania to play a key role in the Israelâ"Egypt and Israelâ"PLO peace talks. As Romania's foreign debt sharply increased between 1977 and 1981 (from US$3 billion to $10Â billion), the influence of international financial organizations (such as the IMF and the World Bank) grew, gradually conflicting with CeauÈescu's autocratic rule. The latter eventually initiated a policy of total reimbursement of the foreign debt by imposing austerity steps that impoverished the population and exhausted the economy. At the same time, CeauÈescu greatly extended the authority of the Securitate secret police and imposed a severe cult of personality, which led to a dramatic decrease in the dictator's popularity and culminated in his overthrow and eventual execution, together with his wife, in the violent Romanian Revolution of December 1989.
After the revolution, the National Salvation Front (NSF), led by Ion Iliescu, took partial multi-party democratic and free market measures. In April 1990 a sit-in protest contesting the results of the elections and accusing the NSF, including Iliescu, of being made up of former Communists and members of the Securitate, rapidly grew to become what was called the Golaniad. The peaceful demonstrations degenerated into violence, prompting the intervention of coal miners summoned by Iliescu. This episode has been documented widely by both local and foreign media, and is remembered as the June 1990 Mineriad.
The subsequent disintegration of the Front produced several political parties including the Social Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party. The former governed Romania from 1990 until 1996 through several coalitions and governments with Ion Iliescu as head of state. Since then there have been several democratic changes of government: in 1996 Emil Constantinescu was elected president, in 2000 Iliescu returned to power, while Traian BÄsescu was elected in 2004 and narrowly re-elected in 2009.
After the Cold War Romania developed closer ties with Western Europe and the United States, eventually joining NATO in 2004, and hosting the 2008 summit in Bucharest. The country applied in June 1993 for membership in the European Union and became an Associated State of the EU in 1995, an Acceding Country in 2004, and a full member on 1 January 2007. Following the "free travel agreement" with the EU and the economic instability throughout the 1990s, a large number of Romanians emigrated to North America and Western Europe, with particularly large communities in Italy and Spain. Currently, the Romanian diaspora is estimated at over twoÂ million people.
During the 2000s, Romania enjoyed one of the highest economic growth rates in Europe and has been referred at times as "the Tiger of Eastern Europe". This has been accompanied by a significant improvement in living standards as the country successfully reduced internal poverty and established a functional democratic state. However, Romania's development suffered a major setback during the late-2000s recession leading to a large gross domestic product contraction and budget deficit in 2009. This led to Romania heavily borrowing, eventually becoming the largest debtor to the International Monetary Fund in 2010. Worsening economic conditions led to unrest and triggered a political crisis in 2012. Romania still faces issues related to infrastructure, medical services, education, and corruption. Another major concern is emigration, which has kept unemployment low but is seen as a threat to the country's future.
With an area of 238,391 square kilometres (92,043Â sqÂ mi), Romania is the largest country in Southeastern Europe and the twelfth-largest in Europe. It lies between latitudes 43Â° and 49Â° N, and longitudes 20Â° and 30Â° E. The terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountains, hills and plains. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the centre of Romania, with 14 mountain ranges reaching above 2,000Â m or 6,600Â ft, and the highest point at Moldoveanu Peak (2,544Â m or 8,346Â ft). They are surrounded by the Moldavian and Transylvanian plateaus and Pannonian and Wallachian plains. The Danube river forms a large part of the border with Serbia and Bulgaria and flows into the Black Sea forming the Danube Delta, the second largest and best preserved delta in Europe, and also a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage Site.
Owing to its distance from open sea and position on the Southeastern portion of the European continent, Romania has a climate that is temperate and continental, with four distinct seasons. The average annual temperature is 11Â Â°C (52Â Â°F) in the south and 8Â Â°C (46Â Â°F) in the north. In summer, average maximum temperatures in Bucharest rise to 28Â Â°C (82Â Â°F), and temperatures over 35Â Â°C (95Â Â°F) fairly common in the lower-lying areas of the country. In winter, the average maximum temperature are below 2Â Â°C (36Â Â°F). Precipitation is average, with over 750Â mm (30Â in) per year only on the highest western mountains, while around Bucharest it drops to around 600Â mm (24Â in).
A high percentage (47% of the land area) of the country is covered with natural and semi-natural ecosystems. Romania has one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe covering almost 27% of the territory. The fauna consists of 33,792 species of animals, 33,085 invertebrate and 707 vertebrate, with almost 400 unique species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, including about 50% of Europe's (excluding Russia) brown bears and 20% of its wolves. Some 3,700 plant species have been identified in the country, from which to date 23 have been declared natural monuments, 74 missing, 39 endangered, 171 vulnerable and 1,253 rare. There are almost 10,000Â km2 (3,900Â sqÂ mi) (about 5% of the total area) of protected areas in Romania covering 13 national parks and three biosphere reserves. The Danube Delta, at 5,800Â km2 (2,200Â sqÂ mi), is the largest continuous marshland in Europe, and supports 1,688 different plant species alone.
The Constitution of Romania is based on the Constitution of France's Fifth Republic and was approved in a national referendum on 8 December 1991, and amended in October 2003 to bring it into conformity with the EU legislation. The country is governed on the basis of multi-party democratic system and of the segregation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers. It is a semi-presidential republic where executive functions are held by both government and the president. The latter is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two terms of five years and appoints the prime minister, who in turn appoints the Council of Ministers. The legislative branch of the government, collectively known as the Parliament (residing at the Palace of the Parliament), consists of two chambers (Senate and Chamber of Deputies) whose members are elected every four years by simple plurality.
The justice system is independent of the other branches of government, and is made up of a hierarchical system of courts culminating in the High Court of Cassation and Justice, which is the supreme court of Romania. There are also courts of appeal, county courts and local courts. The Romanian judicial system is strongly influenced by the French model, considering that it is based on civil law and is inquisitorial in nature. The Constitutional Court (Curtea ConstituÈionalÄ) is responsible for judging the compliance of laws and other state regulations to the constitution, which is the fundamental law of the country and can only be amended through a public referendum. The 2007 entry into the EU has been a significant influence on its domestic policy, and including judicial reforms, increased judicial cooperation with other member states, and measures to combat corruption. Nevertheless, a 2013 report by Ernst & Young described Romania among the most corrupt countries in the EU, on par with Spain and Italy.
Since December 1989, Romania has pursued a policy of strengthening relations with the West in general, more specifically with the United States and the European Union. It joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on 29 March 2004, the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2007, while it had joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in 1972, and is a founding member of the World Trade Organization.
The current government has stated its goal of strengthening ties with and helping other Eastern European countries (in particular Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia) with the process of integration with the West. Romania has also made clear since the late 1990s that it supports NATO and EU membership for the democratic former Soviet republics in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Romania also declared its public support for Turkey, and Croatia joining the European Union. Because it has a large Hungarian minority, Romania has also developed strong relations with Hungary. Romania opted on 1 January 2007, to adhere the Schengen Area, and its bid to join was approved by the European Parliament in June 2011, but was rejected by the EU Council in September 2011.
In December 2005, President Traian BÄsescu and United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed an agreement that would allow a U.S. military presence at several Romanian facilities primarily in the eastern part of the country. In May 2009, Hillary Clinton declared US Secretary of State that "Romania is one of the most trustworthy and respectable partners of the USA."
Relations with Moldova are a special case, considering that the two countries share the same language and a common history. A movement for unification of Romania and Moldova appeared in the early 1990s after both countries achieved emancipation from communist rule, but lost ground in the mid-1990s when a new Moldovan government pursued an agenda towards preserving a Moldovan republic independent of Romania. Romania remains interested in Moldovan affairs and has officially rejected the Molotovâ"Ribbentrop Pact, and after the 2009 protests in Moldova and subsequent removal of Communists from power, relations between the two countries have improved considerably.
The Romanian Armed Forces consist of Land, Air, and Naval Forces, and are led by a Commander-in-chief under the supervision of the Ministry of Defense, and by the president as the Supreme Commander during wartime. The Armed Forces consist of approximately 15,000 civilians and 75,000 are military personnelâ"45,800 for land, 13,250 for air, 6,800 for naval forces, and 8,800 in other fields. The total defence spending in 2007 accounted for 2.05% of total national GDP, or approximately US$2.9Â billion (59th in the world), with a total of $11Â billion spent between 2006 and 2011 for modernization and acquisition of new equipment.
The Land Forces have overhauled their equipment in the past few years, and are actively participating in the War in Afghanistan. The Air Force currently operates modernized Soviet MiG-21 Lancer fighters which are due to be replaced by twelve F-16s, purchased from Portugal in October 2013. The Air Force purchased seven new C-27J Spartan tactical airlifters, while the Naval Forces acquired two modernized Type 22 frigates from the Royal Navy. Romanian troops participated in the occupation of Iraq, reaching a peak of 730 soldiers before being slowly drawn down to 350 soldiers. Romania terminated its mission in Iraq and withdrew its last troops on 24 July 2009, among the last countries to do so. Romania currently has some 1,900 troops deployed in Afghanistan. The Regele Ferdinand frigate participated in the 2011 military intervention in Libya.
In December 2011, the Romanian Senate unanimously adopted the draft law ratifying the Romania-United States agreement signed in September of the same year that would allow the establishment and operation of a US land-based ballistic missile defence system in Romania as part of NATO's efforts to build a continental missile shield.
Romania is divided into 41 counties and the municipality of Bucharest. Each county is administered by a county council, responsible for local affairs, as well as a prefect responsible for the administration of national affairs at the county level. The prefect is appointed by the central government but cannot be a member of any political party. Each county is further subdivided into cities and communes, which have their own mayor and local council. There are a total of 319 cities and 2,686 communes in Romania. A total of 103 of the larger cities have municipality statuses, which gives them greater administrative power over local affairs. The municipality of Bucharest is a special case as it enjoys a status on par to that of a county. It is further divided into six sectors and has a prefect, a general mayor, and a general city council.
The NUTS-3 (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) level divisions of European Union reflect Romania's administrative-territorial structure, and correspond to the 41 counties plus Bucharest. The cities and communes correspond to the NUTS-5 level divisions, but there are no current NUTS-4 level divisions. The NUTS-1 (four macroregions) and NUTS-2 (eight development regions) divisions exist but have no administrative capacity, and are instead used for coordinating regional development projects and statistical purposes.
In 2013, Romania had a GDP (PPP) of around $386Â billion and a GDP per capita (PPP) of $19,397. According to CIA's The World Factbook, Romania is an upper-middle income country economy. According to Eurostat, Romania's GDP per capita (PPS) was at 55% of the EU average in 2013, an increase from 42% in 2007 (the year of Romania's accession to the EU).
After 1989 the country experienced a decade of economic instability and decline, led in part by an obsolete industrial base and a lack of structural reform. From 2000 onwards, however, the Romanian economy was transformed into one of relative macroeconomic stability, characterised by high growth, low unemployment and declining inflation. In 2006, according to the Romanian Statistics Office, GDP growth in real terms was recorded at 7.7%, one of the highest rates in Europe. However, a recession following the global financial crisis of 2008â"2009 forced the government was forced to borrow externally, including an IMF â¬20bn bailout program. GDP has been growing by over 2% each year since. According to IMF, the GDP per capita purchasing power parity grew from $14,875 in 2007 to an estimated $19,397 in 2014. Romania has one of the lowest net average monthly wage in the EU in 2013 of â¬387, and an inflation of 3.7%. Unemployment in Romania was at 7% in 2012, which is very low compared to other EU countries.
Industrial output growth reached 6.5% year-on-year in February 2013, the highest in the EU-27. The largest local companies include carmaker Automobile Dacia, Petrom, Rompetrol, Ford Romania, Electrica, Romgaz, RCS & RDS and Banca Transilvania. Exports have increased substantially in the past few years, with a 13% annual rise in exports in 2010. Romania's main exports are cars, software, clothing and textiles, industrial machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, metallurgic products, raw materials, military equipment, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, and agricultural products (fruits, vegetables, and flowers). Trade is mostly centred on the member states of the European Union, with Germany and Italy being the country's single largest trading partners. The account balance in 2012 was estimated to be â'4.52% of the GDP.
After a series of privatizations and reforms in the late 1990s and 2000s, government intervention in the Romanian economy is somewhat lower than in other European economies. In 2005, the government replaced Romania's progressive tax system with a flat tax of 16% for both personal income and corporate profit, among the lowest rates in the European Union. The economy is predominantly based on services, which account for 51% of GDP, even though industry and agriculture also have significant contributions, making up 36% and 13% of GDP, respectively. Additionally, 30% of the Romanian population was employed in 2006 in agriculture and primary production, one of the highest rates in Europe.
Since 2000, Romania has attracted increasing amounts of foreign investment, becoming the single largest investment destination in Southeastern and Central Europe. Foreign direct investment was valued at â¬8.3Â billion in 2006. According to a 2011 World Bank report, Romania currently ranks 72nd out of 175 economies in the ease of doing business, scoring lower than other countries in the region such as the Czech Republic. Additionally, a study in 2006 judged it to be the world's second-fastest economic reformer (after Georgia).
Since 1867 the official currency has been leu (Romanian leu), and following a denomination in 2005, it has been valued at â¬0.2â"0.3. After joining the EU in 2007, Romania is expected to adopt the euro sometime around 2020.
According to the CIA Factbook, Romania's total road network was estimated in 2009 at 81,713 kilometres (50,774Â mi) (excluding urban areas), out of which 66,632Â km (41,403Â mi) was paved roads. There are plans to build a 2,262.7Â km (1,406.0Â mi) long motorway system, consisting of six main motorways and six bypass motorways, but as of December 2013, 635.9Â km (395.1Â mi) have been laid down, with 419Â km (260Â mi) under construction or in tendering. The World Bank estimates the railway network at 22,298 kilometres (13,855Â mi) of track, the fourth-largest railroad network in Europe. Rail transport experienced a dramatic decline after 1989, and was estimated at 99Â million passenger journeys in 2004; but has experienced a recent (2013) revival due to infrastructure improvements and partial privatization of lines, accounting for 45% of all passenger and freight movements in the country. Bucharest Metro, the only underground railway system, was opened in 1979 and measures 61.41Â km (38.16Â mi) with an average ridership in 2007 of 600,000 passengers during the workweek. There are sixteen international commercial airports in service today, with five of them (Henri CoandÄ International Airport, Aurel Vlaicu International Airport, TimiÈoara International Airport, Constanta International Airport and Sibiu International Airport) being capable of handling wide-body aircraft. Over 7.6 million passengers flew through Bucharest's Henri CoandÄ International Airport in 2013.
Romania is a net exporter of electrical energy and is 46th worldwide in terms of consumption of electric energy. Around a third of the produced energy comes from renewable sources, mostly as hydroelectric power. In 2010, the main sources were coal (36%), hydroelectric (33%), nuclear (19%), and hydrocarbons (11%). It has one of the largest refining capacities in Eastern Europe, even though oil- and natural gas production has been decreasing for more than a decade. With one of the largest reserves of crude oil and shale gas in Europe, it is among the most energy-independent countries in the European Union, and is looking to further expand its nuclear power plant at CernavodÄ.
There were almost 13 million connections to the Internet in 2012. According to Bloomberg, in 2013 Romania ranked 5th in the world and 2nd in Europe in terms of internet connection speed, with TimiÈoara ranked among the highest in the world.
Tourism is a significant contributor to the Romanian economy, generating around 5% of GDP. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Romania was estimated to have the fourth fastest growing travel and tourism total demand in the world, with an estimated potential growth of 8% per year from 2007 to 2016. The number of tourist has been rising, reaching 3.5Â million in the first half of 2014. Tourism in Romania attracted â¬400Â million in investments in 2005.
More than 60% of the foreign visitors in 2007 were from other EU countries. Popular summer attractions of Mamaia and other Black Sea Resorts attracted 1.3 million tourists in 2009. Most popular skiing resorts are along the Valea Prahovei and in Poiana BraÈov. Castles in Transylvanian cities such as Sibiu, BraÈov, and SighiÈoara. Rural tourism, focusing on folklore and traditions, has become an important alternative, and is targeted to promote such sites as Bran and its Dracula's Castle, the Painted churches of Northern Moldavia, and the Wooden churches of MaramureÈ. Other attractions include Danube Delta, and Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin BrÃ¢ncuÈi at TÃ¢rgu Jiu.
Â§Science and technology
Historically, Romanian researchers and inventors have made notable contributions to several fields. In the history of flight, Traian Vuia made the first airplane to take off on its own power and Aurel Vlaicu built and flew some of the earliest successful aircraft, while Henri CoandÄ discovered the CoandÄ effect of fluidics. Victor BabeÈ discovered more than 50 types of bacteria; biologist Nicolae Paulescu discovered insulin, while Emil Palade, received the Nobel Prize for his contributions to cell biology. LazÄr Edeleanu was the first chemist to synthesize amphetamine, while Costin NeniÈescu developed numerous new classes of compounds in organic chemistry. Notable mathematicians include Spiru Haret, Grigore Moisil, and Ètefan Odobleja; physicists and inventors: Èerban ÈiÈeica, Alexandru Proca, and Ètefan Procopiu.
During the 1990s and 2000s, the development of research was hampered by several factors, including corruption, low funding and a considerable brain drain. However, since the country's accession to the European Union, this has begun to change. After being slashed by 50% in 2009 because of the global recession, R&D spending was increased by 44% in 2010 and now stands at $0.5 billion (1.5 billion lei). In January 2011, the Parliament also passed a law that enforces "strict quality control on universities and introduces tough rules for funding evaluation and peer review". The country has joined or is about to join several major international organizations such as CERN and the European Space Agency. Overall, the situation has been characterized as "rapidly improving", albeit from a low base.
The nuclear physics facility of the European Union's proposed Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) laser will be built in Romania. In early 2012, Romania launched its first satellite from the Centre Spatial Guyanais in French Guyana. Starting December 2014, Romania is a co-owner of the International Space Station.
According to the 2011 census, Romania's population is 20,121,641. Like other countries in the region, its population is expected to gradually decline in the coming years as a result of sub-replacement fertility rates and negative net migration rate. In October 2011, Romanians made up 88.9% of the population. The largest ethnic minorities are the Hungarians, 6.5% of the population, and Roma, 3.3% of the population. Hungarians constitute a majority in the counties of Harghita and Covasna. Other minorities include Ukrainians, Germans, Turks, Lipovans, and Tatars. In 1930, there were 745,421 Germans in Romania, but only about 36,000 remain today. As of 2009, there were also approximately 133,000 immigrants living in Romania, primarily from Moldova and China.
The total fertility rate (TFR) in 2013 was estimated at 1.31 children born per woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.1, and one of the lowest in the world. In 2012, 31% of births were to unmarried women. The birth rate (9.49â°, 2012) is much lower than the mortality rate (11.84â°, 2012), resulting in a shrinking (â'0.26% per year, 2012) and aging population (median age: 39.1, 2012), with approximately 14.9% of total population aged 65 years and over. The life expectancy in 2013 was estimated at 74.45 years (70.99 years male, 78.13 years female).
The number of Romanians and individuals with ancestors born in Romania living abroad is estimated at around 12Â million. After the Romanian Revolution of 1989, a significant number of Romanians emigrated to other European countries, North America or Australia, because of better working conditions and academic possibilities offered abroad.
The official language is Romanian, an Eastern Romance language similar to Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian, and Istro-Romanian, but sharing many features with other Romance languages such as Italian, French, Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese. Romanian is spoken as a first language by 91% of the population, while Hungarian and Vlax Romani are spoken by 6.7% and 1.1% of the population, respectively. There are 45,000 native German speakers, and 32,000 Turkish speakers in Romania. According to the Constitution, local councils ensure linguistic rights to all minorities, with localities with ethnic minorities of over 20%, that minority's language can be used in the public administration, justice system, and education. Foreign citizens and stateless persons that live in Romania have access to justice and education in their own language. English and French are the main foreign languages taught in schools. In 2010, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie identifies 4 756 100 French speakers in the country. According to the 2012 Eurobarometer, English is spoken by 31% of Romanians, French is spoken by 17%, and Italian by 7%.
Romania is a secular state and has no state religion. An overwhelming majority of the population identify themselves as Christians, with 86.7% being Orthodox Christians belonging to the Romanian Orthodox Church. Other denominations include Protestantism (5.2%), Roman Catholicism (4.7%), and Greek Catholicism (0.9%). The remaining less than 4% of the population include 67,500 Muslims of Turkish and Tatar ethnicity, 6,000 Jews, and 23,000 people who are of no religion or atheist.
The Romanian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church in full communion with other Orthodox churches, with a Patriarch as its leader. It is the only Orthodox church using a Romance language and the second-largest in size after the Russian Orthodox Church. Its jurisdiction covers the territory of Romania, with dioceses for Romanians living in nearby Moldova, Serbia and Hungary, as well as diaspora communities in Central and Western Europe, North America and Oceania.
Although 54.0% of the population lived in 2011 in urban areas, this percentage has been on the decline since 1996. Counties with over 2/3 urban population are Hunedoara, BraÈov and ConstanÈa, while with less than a third are DÃ¢mboviÈa (30.06%) and Giurgiu and Teleorman. Bucharest is the capital and the largest city in Romania, with a population of over 1.8Â million in 2011. Its larger urban zone has a population of almost 2.2Â million, which are planned to be included into a metropolitan area up to 20 times the area of the city proper. Another 19 cities have a population of over 100,000, with Cluj-Napoca and TimiÈoara of slightly more than 300,000 inhabitants, and IaÈi, ConstanÈa, Craiova, BraÈov, GalaÈi and PloieÈti with over 200,000 inhabitants. Metropolitan areas have been constituted for most of these cities.
Since the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the Romanian educational system has been in a continuous process of reform that has received mixed criticism. In 2004, some 4.4Â million of the population were enrolled in school. Out of these, 650,000 in kindergarten (3â"6 years), 3.11Â million in primary and secondary level, and 650,000 in tertiary level (universities). In the same year, the adult literacy rate was 97.3% (45th worldwide), while the combined gross enrollment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schools was 75% (52nd worldwide). Schooling is compulsory until the first ten years of the primary and secondary schools. There also exists a semi-legal, informal private tutoring system used mostly during secondary school, which has prospered during the Communist regime.
Higher education is aligned with the European higher education area. The results of the PISA assessment study in schools for the year 2000 placed Romania on the 34th rank out of 42 participant countries with a general weighted score of 432 representing 85% of the mean OECD score. Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of IaÈi, BabeÈ-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, University of Bucharest, and West University of TimiÈoara have been included in the QS World University Rankings' top 800.
Romania has a universal health care system, and total health expenditures by the government are roughly 5% of the GDP. It covers medical examinations, any surgical interventions, and any post-operator medical care, and provides free or subsidized medicine for a range of diseases. The state is obliged to fund public hospitals and clinics. The most common causes of death are cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Transmissible diseases, such as tuberculosis, syphilis or viral hepatitis, are more common than in Western Europe. In 2010, Romania had 428 state and 25 private hospitals, with 6.2 hospital beds per 1,000 people, and over 200,000 medical staff, including over 52,000 doctors. As of 2013, the emigration rate of doctors was 9%, higher than the European average of 2.5%.
Â§Arts and monuments
The topic of the origin of the Romanians began to be discussed and by the end of the 18th century among the Transylvanian School scholars. Several writers rose to prominence in the 19th century, including George CoÈbuc, Ioan Slavici Mihail KogÄlniceanu, Vasile Alecsandri, Nicolae BÄlcescu, Ion Luca Caragiale, Ion CreangÄ, and Mihai Eminescu, the later being considered the greatest and most influential Romanian poet, particularly for the poem LuceafÄrul. In the 20th century, Romanian artists reached international acclaim, including Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco, Mircea Eliade, Nicolae Grigorescu, Marin Preda, Liviu Rebreanu, EugÃ¨ne Ionesco, Emil Cioran, and Constantin BrÃ¢ncuÈi. The latter has a sculptural ensemble in TÃ¢rgu Jiu, while his sculpture Bird in Space, was auctioned in 2005 for $27.5Â million. Romanian-born Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, while writer Herta MÃ¼ller received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2009.
In cinema, several movies of the Romanian New Wave have achieved international acclaim. At the Cannes Film Festival, The Death of Mr. LÄzÄrescu by Cristi Puiu won Prix un certain regard in 2005, while 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days by Cristian Mungiu won Palme d'Or in 2007. At the Berlin International Film Festival, If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle by Florin Èerban won the Jury Grand Prix in 2010, and Child's Pose by CÄlin Peter Netzer won the Golden Bear in 2013.
The annual George Enescu Festival is held in Bucharest in honor of the 20th century emponymous composer. Musicians like Angela Gheorghiu, Tudor Gheorghe, Gheorghe Zamfir, Inna have achieved various levels of international acclaim. At the Eurovision Song Contest Romanian singers have achieved third place in 2005 and 2010.
The list of World Heritage Sites includes six cultural sites located within Romania, including eight Painted churches of northern Moldavia, eight Wooden Churches of MaramureÈ, seven Villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, the Horezu Monastery, and the Historic Centre of SighiÈoara. The city of Sibiu, with its Brukenthal National Museum, was selected as the 2007 European Capital of Culture. Multiple castles exist in Romania, including popular tourist attractions of PeleÈ Castle, Corvin Castle, and "Dracula's Castle".
Â§Holidays, traditions and cuisine
There are 12 non-working public holidays, including the Great Union Day, celebrated on 1 December in commemoration of the 1918 union of Transylvania with Romania. Winter holidays include the Christmas festivities and the New Year during which, various unique folklore dances and games are common: pluguÅorul, sorcova, ursul, and capra. The traditional Romanian dress that otherwise has largely fell out of use during the 20th century, is a popular ceremonial vestment worn on these festivities, especially in the rural areas. Sacrifices of live pigs during Christmas and lambs during Easter has required a special derogation from EU law after 2007. During Easter, painted eggs are very common, while on 1 March features mÄrÈiÈor gifting, a tradition likely of Thracian origin.
Romanian cuisine shares some similarities with other Balkan cuisines such as Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish cuisine. CiorbÄ includes a wide range of sour soups, while mititei, mÄmÄligÄ (similar to polenta), and sarmale are featured commonly in main courses. Pork, chicken and beef are the preferred meats, but lamb and fish are also popular. Certain traditional recipes are made in direct connection with the holidays: chiftele, tobÄ and tochitura at Christmas; drob, pascÄ and cozonac at Easter and other Romanian holidays. ÈuicÄ is a strong plum brandy reaching a 70% alcohol content which is the country's traditional alcoholic beverage, taking as much as 75% of the national production (Romania is one of the largest plum producers in the world). Traditional alcoholic beverages also include wine, rachiu, palincÄ and viÈinatÄ, but beer consumption has increased dramatically over the recent years.
Association football is the most popular sport in Romania with over a million players, of which 100,000 are registered sportsmen. The governing body is the Romanian Football Federation, which belongs to UEFA. The Romania national football team has taken part seven times in the FIFA World Cup games and had its most successful period during the 1990s, when they reached the quarterfinals of the 1994 FIFA World Cup and was ranked third by FIFA in 1997. The core player of this "Golden Generation" was Gheorghe Hagi, who was nicknamed "the Maradona of the Carpathians." Other successful players include Adrian Mutu, Cristian Chivu, Ciprian Marica, Dan Petrescu and Vlad ChiricheÈ. The most famous successful club is Steaua BucureÈti and was the first Eastern European team to win the European Champions Cup in 1986, and bing runners-up and in 1989. Dinamo BucureÈti reached the European Champions' Cup semifinal in 1984 and the Cup Winners' Cup semifinal in 1990. Other important Romanian football clubs are Rapid BucureÈti, UTA Arad, Universitatea Craiova, CFR Cluj and Petrolul PloieÈti.
Tennis is the second most popular sport, with over 15,000 registered players. Romania reached the Davis Cup finals three times (1969, 1971, 1972). The tennis player Ilie NÄstase won several Grand Slam titles, and was the first player to be ranked as number 1 by ATP between 1973 and 1974. Virginia Ruzici won the French Open in 1978, and was runner-up in 1980, Simona Halep played the final in 2014 and is currently ranked 4th by the WTA. Other popular team sport clubs are rugby union and handball. The rugby national team has competed in every Rugby World Cup, while both the men's and women's handball national teams are multiples world champions, with the female's under-18 team becoming world champions in 2014. On 13 January 2010, Cristina Neagu became the first Romanian in handball to win the IHF World Player of the Year award. Popular individual sports include athletics, chess, dancesport, and combat sports. While it has a limited popularity nowadays, oinÄ is a traditional Romanian sporting game similar to baseball that has been continuously practiced since at least the 14th century.
Romania participated in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1900 and has taken part in 18 of the 24 summer games. It has been one of the more successful countries at the Summer Olympic Games, with a total of 301 medals won throughout the years, of which 88 gold ones, ranking 15th overall, and second (behind Hungary) of the nations that have never hosted the game. It participated at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in defiance of a Warsaw Pact boycott and finished second in gold medals (20) and third in total medal count (53). Almost a quarter of all the medals and 25 of the gold ones were won in gymnastics, with Nadia ComÄneci becoming the first gymnast ever to score a perfect ten in an Olympic event at the 1976 Summer Olympics. Romanian competitors have won gold medals in other Olympic sports: rowing, athletics, canoeing, wrestling, shooting, fencing, swimming, weightlifting, boxing, and judo. At the Winter Olympic Games, Romania has won only a bronze medal in bobsleigh at the 1968 Winter Olympics.
- Index of Romania-related articles
- Outline of Romania
- Romania â" Wikipedia book
- Country Profile from BBC News.
- Romania Article and Country Profile from Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Romania Profile from Balkan Insight.
- Romania entry at The World Factbook
- Romania information from the United States Department of State.
- Portals to the World from the United States Library of Congress.
- Romania at UCB Libraries GovPubs.
- Romania at DMOZ
- Wikimedia Atlas of Romania
- Geographic data related to Romania at OpenStreetMap
- Key Development Forecasts for Romania from International Futures.
- Romanian Law and Miscellaneous â" English
- Romanian Presidency
- Romanian Parliament
- Culture and history links
- Treasures of the national library of Romania
- Historic Houses of Romania
- Romanian Tourism Website â" Attractions and Travel Info
- Official Romanian Tourism Website
- Photos from Romania