Population, society and rights
Romania is the second largest country by population in Central-Eastern Europe after Poland, although between 1995 and 2005 there was a demographic decline of about two million people due to both emigration and the decline in births. To date, it is estimated that about two million Romanians reside abroad: however many have not moved permanently and therefore there is substantial uncertainty as to how many could return home.
In the last decade, Romania has embarked on a phase of socio-cultural transformation that is slowly bridging the gap that separates it from the states of Western Europe. However, it differs from other states in the region as its language derives mainly from Latin, from which almost 90% of the Romanian vocabulary derives. 89% of the population is of Romanian ethnicity, but there are several ethnic minorities, albeit of small size, represented in parliament, by law, by at least one exponent. The most consistent is the Hungarian one, which resides in the central area of the country and constitutes 6.6% of the population, followed by the Roma representing 2.5%. From an ethnic point of view, the country underwent a profound transformation, coinciding with the watershed of the Second World War: before the outbreak of the conflict, ethnic minorities made up almost a third of the total population, but the territorial losses that followed the war, the return home to the Germans and the transfer of Jewish survivors to the nascent state of Israel resulted in a drastic reduction in ethnic differences.
With the exception of the capital, Bucharest, which has almost two million residents, in Romania there are only a dozen medium-sized cities (between 160,000 and 310,000 residents), a characteristic that makes the country the third least urbanized state within the country. It is u, after Slovenia and Slovakia. For Romania society, please check homosociety.com.
There are also many differences between urban areas and countryside, for example as regards the education system: in rural areas the level of teachers is on average lower and education is therefore less incisive than in cities, where the reflection is more evident. of European integration, especially in universities which are increasingly connected with universities in Western Europe. In recent years, there has also been the development of private institutions, which now welcome about one third of college-age students.
Corruption remains one of the biggest problems in Romania, one of the countries most afflicted by the problem in the EU: entry into the Union has not represented a reversal of the trend. Particularly emblematic, in this sense, was the arrest of the mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, in September 2015, precisely on charges of corruption.
Economy, energy and environment
After the fall of the communist regime, Romania experienced a transition phase characterized by a strong economic recession, which was followed by a phase of growth in the mid-1990s and a new crisis at the end of the decade. Since 2001, however, the Romanian economy has grown steadily at an annual average of 6.3%, only to collapse by 7.1% in 2008 in conjunction with the international economic crisis. Finally, in the two-year period 2011-12, growth resumed, albeit at a much slower pace than in 2008-09. At the same time, attempts at government reform – starting with privatizations in the public sector and the reorganization of the state administrative apparatus – and efforts to rearrange public finances have sparked lively political protests.
The tensions are fueled by requests from the European Commission (Ec) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to implement structural reforms, primarily the modernization of infrastructures and the reform of state-owned companies, in exchange for the provision of loans that support the economic development of the country. A first agreement in this sense, which therefore does not constitute a real loan, expired in September 2015. A further request formulated by the European institutions is to review the country’s fiscal policy: the government’s decision to lower the ‘tax on the consumption of food from 24% to 9%, which entered into force in June 2015, risks raising the budget deficit beyond the level allowed by the’ Maastricht parameters’ (3%). Nonetheless, Romania remains the recipient of a large portion of the EU structural funds – € 22 billion in the 2014-2020 period – and of the funds disbursed under the common agricultural policy, € 17.5 billion in the same period.
During the communist era, the economy was dominated by heavy industry and agriculture, while the tertiary sector, until 1990, did not exceed 25% of GDP. Today, however, the sector represents well over half, about 70%, of the Romanian gross domestic product. In addition to the downsizing of the industry, there was an increase in production with a higher technological content, favored by the inflow of capital and know-how from foreign companies, attracted by the low costs of the Romanian workforce.
In the first years of the twenty-first century, the government implemented a more decisive policy of privatization, imposed by the approach to the structures of the EU. Even today, however, the public sector remains of significant size compared to other EU states and, according to the Doing Business classification drawn up by the World Bank, Romania has a less attractive economic system for foreign investments than most of the other economies recently. entry into the Eu. Parallel to the economic development and the consequent growth in consumption, the Romanian trade balance has progressively deteriorated, although remittances sent home by emigrants make it possible to balance the trade balance. A sector that would have a high potential but which at the moment represents only a small part of the GDPit is tourism, which in recent years has seen an increase in investments in projects aimed at enhancing the great variety of landscapes. From an energy point of view, Romania has always exploited its oil wealth: before the Second World War, when Germany drew from its wells to support its war efforts, it was the second country by reserves in Europe, the seventh in terms of global. Under Ceauşescu, however, much of the hydrocarbon reserves were consumed and today the country is a net importer of oil and gas. Most of these imports come from Russia: a dependency that encourages Bucharest to look kindly on those infrastructure projects which, connecting it to the fields of the Caspian Sea and the Near East, they would modify the energy supply network. Due to the continuous erosion of hydrocarbon reserves, the only energy resource on which Romania can rely in the long term is coal, of which it is estimated to hold 4.1 billion tons and which currently represents the third voice in thenational energy mix (21.6%), after gas and oil.
In environmental matters, the EU has repeatedly criticized the government for the high rate of emissions, water pollution and poor waste management. Despite this, Romania’s per capita emissions level is lower than that recorded in many European states, including Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Scandinavian countries.