OFFICIAL NAME: Romania
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 237,500 Sq Km (91,699 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 23,034,200
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Romania is located on the Balkan
Peninsula in South East Europe. It is bound by the Black
Sea and Moldova to the east, Bulgaria to the south, Serbia
& Montenegro and Hungary to the west as well as the Ukraine
to the north and northeast. The Carpathian Mountains form
the heart of the country and are divided into three ranges.
(1.) The East Carpathians, (2.) the South Carpathians and
(3.) the West Carpathians. There are rich arable plains
in the south which include the Baragan Plains to the east
and Oltenian Plains to the west. The principal rivers are
the Danube, Tisza, Mures, Prut, Siret and Olt Rivers. In
addition, around 3,500 glacial ponds, lakes and coastal
lagoons are also found throughout the country. Major Cities
(pop. est.); Bucharest 2,066,700, Constanta 349,000, Iasi
337,600, Timisoara 325,400, Galati 324,200, Brasov 324,100
(1993). Land Use; forested 29%, pastures 21%, agricultural-cultivated
43%, other 7% (1993).
CLIMATE: Romania has a continental climate characterized by cold
snowy winters and warm summers. In the Carpathian Mountains the summers
are cooler and wetter. The prevailing winds are from the north to northeast
and are hot and dry during summer while in winter they are cold and severe.
Average annual precipitation is 637 mm (25 inches) while average temperature
ranges in Bucharest are from -2 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenheit)
in winter to 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer.
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Romanians who account
for 88% of the population and are of mixed Roman, Thracian, Slavonic and
Celtic origins. The remainder are of small ethnic minority groups which
include Gypsies, Magyars, Germans, Ukrainians, Tartars, Jews, Croats, Russians,
Bulgarians and Serbs.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 98 persons per sq km (254
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 54.4% urban, 45.6% rural (1992).
Sex Distribution; 49.1% male, 50.9% female (1992). Life Expectancy at Birth;
66.5 years male, 72.4 years female (1989). Age Breakdown; 24% under 15,
22% 15 to 29, 21% 30 to 44, 18% 45 to 59, 11% 60 to 74, 4% 75 and over
(1989). Birth Rate; 13.6 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 10.7 per 1,000 (1990).
Increase Rate; 2.9 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 26.9 per 1,000
live births (1990).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 70% of the population Romanian
Orthodox while 5% are Roman Catholic, 10% are Protestant and another 10%
are Greek Catholic. There is also a Muslim minority which accounts for
around 1% of the population.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Romanian which is spoken
by most of the population while Hungarian and German are also widely understood.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: primary education
55.6%, secondary 39.8%, higher 4.6% (1977). Literacy; literate population
aged 15 or over 95.8% (1983).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1947 King Michael was forced
to abdicate and Romania was officially declared the People's Republic.
From 1948 to 1952 the socialist government embarked on a nationalization
program and collectivized agriculture. In June 1952 Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej
was appointed Prime Minister and in Oct. 1955 became the party's First
Secretary. In 1958 Gheorghiu-Dej negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet troops
and asserted the nations control over its own affairs. In Mar. 1961 Gheorghiu-Dej
was elected President and died in Mar. 1965, following which Nicolae Ceausescu
was appointed First Secretary and Chivu Stoica was elected President. In
Dec. 1967 Ceausescu was elected President and continued Gheorghiu-Dej's
policies of control over the country's own affairs. In Aug. 1968 when the
Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia, Pres.
Ceausescu condemned the invasion. In 1969 US Pres. Richard Nixon visited
Romania which was the first visit by an American president to a communist
country since 1945. In 1977 an earthquake caused around 1,500 deaths and
widespread property damage. In Nov. 1987 workers' protests broke out and
in 1988 Pres. Ceausescu announced a policy of systemization which resulted
in the demolition of 7,000 rural villages and the forced relocation of
the inhabitants to agro-industrial centers. In Nov. 1989 Ceausescu was
re-elected as leader and on Dec. 17, 1989 security police opened fire on
demonstrators protesting against repression, killing dozens. Within days
the protests had escalated and reached the capital which resulted in the
security police again opening fire on the demonstrators, killing dozens
more. On Dec. 22 some 150,000 demonstrators and army units, in protest
to the death of the Defense Minister who refused to obey the President's
order to shoot the protesters, stormed the Party Headquarters. On Dec.
25, 1989 Pres. Ceausescu and his wife were subsequently tried by a Military
Tribunal and executed by a firing squad. On Dec. 26, 1989 Ion Iliescu was
appointed interim President and legalized political parties as well as
dissolved the security police. After elections in May 1990 interim Pres.
Iliescu was elected President and inaugurated on June 20, 1990. On Feb.
14, 1991 land reform legislation was passed by the Parliament allowing
citizens to reclaim up to 24 acres (10 hectares) of land nationalized by
the state. On April 5, 1991 Pres. Iliescu signed a Treaty of Friendship
and Cooperation with the USSR following a visit there. On April 11, 1991
the IMF approved a a standby loan facility of US $1 billion. In July 1991
the government passed legislation on the privatization of state enterprises
while the government continued to withdraw state subsidies that led to
increasing prices for essential services and basic foodstuffs. In Sept.
1991 some 8,000 miners stormed the Party Headquarters which resulted in
the resignation of Prime Minister Petre Roman who was replaced by Theodor
Stolojan. Upon Prime Minister Stolojan's appointment he introduce a six
month freeze on price increases and announced plans to deal with the growing
food and energy shortages. On Nov. 2, 1991 the government announced that
5,000 troops would be drafted to help harvest the wheat and corn crops.
In Dec. 1991 a new constitution was approved by referendum which guaranteed
human rights and a free market economy. In 1992 the government implemented
an IMF recommended plan to reduce state subsidies on consumer goods. On
April 25, 1992 the deposed King Michael was allowed to visit his country
following a 45 year absence and drew several hundred thousand people to
an Easter mass he attended. In June 1992 Romania signed an agreement with
the IMF that required the government to restrict the monthly inflation
rate to 1.5% and to continue with its rapid economic reforms. In Sept.
1992 presidential and parliamentary elections resulted in Pres. Iliescu
being re-elected and on Nov. 3, 1992 Pres. Iliescu requested Nicolae Vacaroiu
to form a Democratic National Salvation Front (FDSN) dominated coalition
government. Also in 1992 allegations that Romania had breached the UN's
trade sanctions against the former Yugoslavia (Serbia) resulted in US and
British customs inspectors arriving in the country to check on Romania's
compliance. In 1993 the government's land reform program remained slow
with 30% of nationalized land still remaining under state control while
a pyramid investment scheme, known as Caritas, attracted up to 50% of the
population's savings with some 4 million people investing their money.
On Feb. 1, 1993 Romania signed an association agreement with the EC that
resulted in most of Romania's tariffs and quotas on industrial exports
to the EC being abolished. On July 1, 1993 a Valued Added Tax (VAT) was
introduced by the government to bring the country's fiscal policies in
line with the EC. The introduction of the VAT and the government's decision
to abolish its price freezes resulted in basic food items increasing by
80% and further fueled wage increase demands. In Aug. 1993 miners demanding
higher wages went on strike seriously affecting the coal mining and railway
industries, although the government refused to give into their demands.
On Sept. 28, 1993 Romania was admitted to the Council of Europe and on
Oct. 21, 1993 the US granted Romania "most-favored-nation" trade
status. Also during 1993 there were several racial attacks on Gypsies and
Hungarians (Magyars) during the year with three Gypsies being hung by Romanians
following a fatal knife attack on a Romanian villager as well as 13 houses
being burnt to the ground in retaliation.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Leu (plural; Lei) divided
into 100 Bani.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $24,810,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $2,326,000,000 (1993). Imports; Lei 5,087,390,000,000
(1993). Exports; Lei 3,775,942,000,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $197,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; USD -411,100,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 10,771,300 or 47.4% of total population (1992). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the former
USSR, Germany, the USA and France.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Cereals, Coal, Copper, Fish, Fruit and Vegetables,
Grapes, Gold, Iron Ore, Lignite, Livestock, Oil and Natural Gas, Potatoes,
Salt, Silver, Sugar, Timber, Uranium.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Chemicals, Coke, Fertilizers, Food
Processing, Forestry, Iron and Steel, Machinery, Mining, Motor Vehicles,
Ship Building, Textiles.
MAIN EXPORTS: Chemicals, Clothing, Food Stuffs, Machinery, Petroleum
Products, Transport Equipment.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 11,083 km (6,887 mi) (1990),
passenger-km 33,506,000,000 (20,820,000,000 passenger-mi) (1987), cargo
ton-km 78,074,000,000 (53,473,000,000 short ton-mi) (1987). Roads; length
72,816 km (45,246 mi) (1990). Vehicles; cars 1,218,128 (1990), trucks and
buses 236,791 (1990). Merchant Marine; vessels 483 (1990), deadweight tonnage
6,089,091 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 1,646,000,000 (1,023,000,000
passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 14,489,000 (9,924,000 short ton-mi)
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 76 with a total circulation
of 7,500,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 4,640,000 (1993). Television; receivers
4,580,000 (1993). Telephones; units 2,623,700 (1993).
MILITARY: 217,400 (1995) total active duty personnel with 59.2%
army, 8.7% navy and 24.8% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 2.5% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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