Romania Geopolitics

By | December 23, 2021

The territories of modern day Romania include the historic regions of Wallachia and Transylvania. Wallachia gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, while only after the Balkan wars and the First World War Romania reached a dimension comparable to that of today, with the annexation of Transylvania to the west, Bessarabia and Bucovina to north-east and Dobruja to south-east. The last three territories were ceded at the end of the Second World War, respectively to the Soviet Union (Bessarabia and Bucovina) and to Bulgaria (Dobruja). Currently, Bessarabia is incorporated into the territory of Moldova, while Bukovina is shared between Romania and Ukraine.

With other Central-Eastern European countries, Romania shares the past membership of the Warsaw Pact, and more generally of the Soviet system of influence, during the years of the Cold War. Between 1965 and 1989 the country was ruled by Nicolae Ceauşescu, who established one of the most repressive regimes in the satellite countries of Moscow, centralizing power in the hands of his family until he was deposed and executed in December 1989. For Romania government and politics, please check

In the international context following the end of the bipolar era, Romania gradually entered the Euro-Atlantic political dynamics and became a member of NATO in 2004. Three years later it joined the European Union, together with Bulgaria. (And u).

Romania is among the largest countries in Central and Eastern Europe by territorial extension and population; after joining the EU and NATO, its borders form part of the eastern borders of the two organizations and make it an important strategic actor for both Brussels and the Atlantic Alliance. Bucharest maintains excellent relations with most of its neighboring countries, although a territorial dispute with Ukraine over some territories at the mouth of the Danube in the Black Sea remains unresolved. It is a fundamental geopolitical area for Romanian foreign policy: the outlet to the sea is important both for commercial relations in Bucharest and for the possible construction of energy infrastructures that go from east to western Europe. Romania is one of the founders of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (Bsec): inaugurated in June 1992, it aims to encourage friendly and good neighborly relations between the coastal countries. The importance of the area has also been recognized by the European Union, which since 2008 inaugurated the Black Sea Synergy. As for neighboring countries not members Eu, are particularly friendly relations with Serbia: why Bucharest has opted for the non-recognition of Kosovo.

On the other hand, relations with Russia remain more difficult, especially after the Romanian accession to NATO and the concession of some air and naval bases to the USA, used by Washington and NATO for military exercises in the Black Sea, following the escalation. of the tension in Ukraine. To this already complex scenario we must add the participation of Bucharest in the European sanctions against Russia, for now limited only to the oil and derivatives sectors, banks, dual usetechnologiesand defense. All these elements, interpreted by Moscow as an immediate threat both to its borders and to its interests in the region, have led to a strengthening of Bucharest’s Euro-Atlantic relations and specifically its weight within NATO.

Given its geostrategic importance and its anti-Russian position on some chapters of regional foreign policy – among all, the competition between the countries bordering the Black Sea, the status of Moldova and Transnistria, and border disputes with Ukraine -, Romania is one of the most vulnerable countries (after the Baltic states and Poland) to the possibility of a worsening of relations and tensions with Russia.

Internally, Romania is a semi-presidential republic. The legislative function is entrusted to a bicameral parliament, whose members are elected by universal suffrage every four years. The president is also elected directly by the people and remains in office for five years, with the constraint of being able to exercise a maximum of two mandates. In 2008, the government approved a new electoral law which, for the first time, introduced the uninominal system with a threshold in parliament set at 5%. Since the fall of the Ceauşescu regime, the country has continued to be ruled by politicians who were already part of the nomenclature of the communist period. Most of them are part of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), leading the country from 1992-96, 2000-04, and from 2012 to today. In recent years, the country has faced numerous government crises, the last of which in February 2014, which immediately returned with a reshuffle in the executive.

The elections of December 2012, which sanctioned the large victory (about 60% of the votes) of the Social-Liberal Union, the electoral alliance between the PSD of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, the National Liberal Party of Crin Antonescu and the Conservative Party of Daniel Constantin, ended a period of particular political instability. Despite the alliance, however, the extreme heterogeneity of the majority parties has placed the government in a precarious condition. However, 2012 was the most turbulent year and recorded, in order: the resignation of the liberal-democratic Prime Minister Emil Boc, in office since 2008, following massive social protests against the severe anti-crisis austerity measures launched by its executive (January 2012); a government interim in the hands of the intelligence chiefRomanian Mihai Răzvan Ungureanu (between February and May 2012); the subsequent entrustment of the government to the then opposition leader Ponta in the last semester before the vote, characterized by a very strong opposition between the prime minister and the president of the republic Traian Băsescu (May-November 2012); the opposition finally resulted, in July, in a referendum, later canceled due to the failure to reach a quorum, for the dismissal of Băsescu, the historical leader of the Romanian center-right alignment, in his second presidential term. The tensions between the president and the prime minister are another source of instability that characterized the entire mandate of Băsescu and Ponta. The election of Klaus Werner Iohannis as President of the Republic in November 2014 did not put an end to this trend; the disputes between Iohannis and Ponta were on the agenda, until the latter’s resignation in autumn 2015 following protests following the death of 56 people in a fire in a Bucharest nightclub. This situation of political instability has led to the appointment of a new premier ad interim, Dacian Cioloș, and to hold early political elections in September 2016.

Romania Geopolitics