Background Information Romania

Romania is a very interesting country with lots to offer on social, cultural and natural terrain. This is an unique country due to the many faces Romania presents you with. It's the only Latin orientated country amidst a Slavonic ocean of states: Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgary and Serbia. The only exception is the neighbour on the western border, Hungary. The Hungarian language belongs to the Finno-Ugrian or Uralic language family. The Romanian vocabulary is of Latin (or Roman) origin and therefore shows much resemblance to Italian, Spanish, French and Portugese. Those of you who master any of these languages will certainly recognize some of the written Romanian words.

Romania offers a variety of very rich and differentiated flora and fauna. The populations of big wild animals - like bears, wolves and lynxes - are the largest of Europe. The landscapes are breathtaking and mostly undesturbed by humans.From highlands to lowlands, from broad beaches to rough mountains and primeval forests, Romania has it all !

The Romanian people is known for its hospitality. Everywhere you go, you're immediately invited for food and, above all, drinks. Keep in mind: compared to Western Europeans, most Romanians don't have much to spend. Income inequality is one of the many contrasts this country exhibits: you'll witness great wealth and luxury but extreme poverty as well.

The vast majority of the Romanians belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church. This belief bears resemblance to the Russian and Greek Orthodox Church. The church has its own patriarch, the Teoctist, and the pope is not recognized.

Romania will most likely become a member of the EU in 2007. To achieve this membership, a lot of changes have to be made. The EU laid emphasis on the issues of the indepent constitutional state, freedom of the press and corruption. A lot of improvements are already noticeable in Romania: renovations, better infrastructure and most importantly, changes in mentality. Obviously, a lot of investing is taking place and/or European funding is being utilized.

Some dull figures, facts and data:

Geography

coordinates

46 00 N, 25 00 E

area

total: 237,500 sq km (slightly smaller than the UK)
land: 230,340 sq km
water: 7,160 sq km

boundaries

total: 2,508 km
countries: Bulgaria 608 km, Hungary 443 km, Moldova 450 km, Serbia and Montenegro 476 km, Ukraine (north) 362 km, Ukraine (east) 169 km
coastline: 225 km

terrain

type: highlands, lowlands, mountains (Carpathian Mountains, Transylvanian Alps), coastal areas (Black Sea)
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Moldoveanu 2,544 m

climate

temperate - cold winters and hot summers

Demography

population

total: 22,355,551 (July 2004 est.)
0-14: 16.2% (male 1,861,801; female 1,770,746)
15-64: 69.4% (male 7,712,612; female 7,791,900)
65+: 14.4% (male 1,330,994; female 1,887,498)

life expectancy

total population: 71.12 years (2004 est.)
male: 67.63 jaar
female: 74.82 jaar

ethnic groups:

Romanian 89.5%, Hungarian 6.6%, Roma 2.5%, Ukrainian 0.3%, German 0.3%, Russian 0.2%, Turkish 0.2%, other 0.4% (2002)

religions

Romanian Orthodox 87%, Protestant 6.8%, Roman Catholic 5.6%, other (mostly Muslim) 0.4%, unaffiliated 0.2% (2002)

languages

Romanian (official), Hungarian, German

Constitutional System

government type

Kingdom proclaimed on March 26th 1881, republic since December 30th 1947

capital

Bucharest

independence

May 9th 1877 (independence proclaimed from Turkey; independence recognized 13 July 1878 by the Treaty of Berlin, outcome of the Congress of Berlin)

national holiday

December 1st 1918, Unification Day (of the kingdom Romania and Transylvania), Ziua naţională (Ziua unirii)

constitution

December 8th 1991, revision came into force 29 October 2003

legal system

former: mixture of civil law system and communist legal theory
now: based on the constitution of France's Fifth Republic

head of state

President Traian Băsescu (since December 20th 2004)

head of government

Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu (since december 28th 2004)

cabinet

Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister

elections

president: elected by popular vote for a five-year term (before 2004: 4 years)
prime minister: appointed by the president (4 years)

parliament

bicameral system
Senate : 137 seats (before 2004: 140), members are elected by direct, popular vote (4 years)
Chamber of Deputies: 332 seats (before 2004: 345), members are elected by direct, popular vote (4years)

Economy

GDP

ppp: $160 billion (2004 est.)
growth rate: 4.9% (2004 est.)
per capita: $7000,- (ppp)

GDP by sector

agriculture: 13.1%
industry: 38.1%
services: 48.8% (2003)

below poverty line

44.5% (2000)


unemployment rate

7.2% (2004 est.)


exports

total: $17.63 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
commodities: textiles and footwear, metals and metal products, machinery and equipment, minerals and fuels, chemicals, agricultural products
partners: Italy 24,3%, Germany 15,7 %, France 7,4%, UK 6,7%, Turkey 5,1% (2003)

imports

total: $22.17 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
commodities: machinery and equipment, fuels and minerals, chemicals, textile and products, basic metals, agricultural products
partners: Italy 19.6%, Germany 14.9%, Russia 8.3%, France 7.3% (2003)

sources: CIA World Factbook, Ursul Net, Wikipedia UK, Library of Congress