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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania
Mission statement, press releases, a list of diplomatic missions, and more. Link updated: February 28, 2010.


EU ENLARGEMENT

Romania and Bulgaria join the EU

On Jan. 1, 2007 Romanians and Bulgarians achieved their dream of accession to the European Union. They marked the moment with celebrations. The Romanian President Traian Basescu appreciated that ""It was hard, but we arrived at the end of the road. It is the road of our future. It is the road of our joy." In the EU-15, however, there was abated enthusiasm regarding EU expansion, some of these states expressing apprehension regarding possible future immigration from Romania and Bulgaria and misgivings whether the money will be well spent. At the time of their accession, Romania and Bulgaria had a GDP per capita of about 33% of the EU average, compared with Poland's 50%. BBC NEWS, Jan. 1, 2007.

Romania delegation boycotts Europe's Parliamentarian Assembly
The delegation of the Romanian Parliament withdrew from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to protest Dick Marty's report about the existence of CIA secret prisons in Romania and Poland. The letter "reassert[s] that in Romania there have not existed any sites under other State's jurisdiction" and invites the author of the raport to Romania to "verify the so-called information and evidence that supposedly accuse Romania." HotNews.ro, June 28, 2007. Added: August 21, 2007.

EU Warns Bulgaria and Romania on Corruption
The European Commission advised Romania and Bulgaria to focus on implementing laws against corruption, and singled out high level corruption. The six-month progress report -- Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union on January 1, 2007 -- addressed the need for judicial reform in Romania and Bulgaria, and also warned Bulgaria to tackle its organized crime problem. No sanctions were imposed, however. Spiegel Online International, June 27, 2007. Added: August 21, 2007.


BOOKS



Verheugen: Nothing Could Prevent EU Accession in 2007
Scotland is eager to receive Romanian and Bulgarian labor force upon their accession to the EU next year. Romania and Bulgaria expect to join the EU on January 1, 2007, but a different date might be stipulated after the two Eastern European states present their final country reports on September 26. The accession to the EU is also expected to come with safeguards. According to Die Welt, these safeguards may regulate, among other things, exports, EU funding, and free access to the EU labor market. By Monica Bonea, Bucharest Daily News. Added: September 11, 2006.

Romania Hopes to Join EU Schengen bloc by 2012
The Schengen bloc now consists of 15 European countries but 26 countries have signed the Schengen Agreement, including all EU members except Britain and Ireland, and also including non-EU members Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. In order for Romania to join the Schengen open-border agreement, the country will first need to ensure that it's non-Schengen borders are secure. According to the Romanian Minister of Interior and Administration Vasile Blaga, "We will have the second longest EU external border after Finland's border with Russia." Deutsche Presse Agentur, September 7, 2006, on www.b92.net. Added: September 11, 2006.

Roundup: Barroso Urges Romania, Bulgaria to Continue with Reforms
Commenting on the May 16 reports, The European Commission President raised the well-known red flags for the two countries: corruption and mismanaged judicial processes. The President also stressed the European Union's concern about organized crime in Bulgaria. By Playfuls Team, May 17, 2006. Added: May 20, 2006.

Women Resist a History of Corruption
David Rennie writes a stark account of the pace of reforms in Romania. He sees Romania as "one of the most corrupt countries in Europe" but appreciates the work of "two remarkably brave women," MP Mona Musca and Justice Minister Monica Macovei. It is, perhaps, worth noting Rennie's observation that "in public hospitals, not only doctors must be bribed, but every nurse on every shift, if loved ones are to receive decent care." The author is equally skeptic of Bulgaria, where organized crime is seen as rampant, or "out of control," with "140 mafia-related killings . . . carried out last year." Telegraph.co.uk, May 13, 2006. Added: May 20, 2006.

Bulgaria and Romania Told to Speed Up Reforms
Bulgaria and Romania's EU accession date is set for January 1, 2007, by which time all 25 nations in the EU should ratify the treaty granting entry to the two countries. At the moment, however, there are still warnings regarding Romania and Bulgaria's workings of the judicial system as well as concerns regarding border security and food safety. By Daniel Dombey, FT.com, February 22, 2006. Added: February 23, 2006.

Romania Lauds End of EU Visa Requirement
December 7, 2001. Romanians can enter the Schengen zone (15 European countries, mostly Western and Northern Europe -- 13 European Union members, plus Norway and Iceland) without a visa. From EUbusiness.com.

Hungary ahead of Region in EU Accession Negotiations
A quick look at Eastern and Central European countries on the EU accession track. By Robin Marshall, for The Budapest Sun Online, December 6, 2001.

Romania to Introduce New Passport to Meet EU Requirements
Another step to meet EU accession prerequisites. The decision will be accompanied by stronger security at the border. From EUbusiness.com, November 27, 2001.

EU: Accession Talks Set Double Precedent
July 27, 2001. EU negociates enlargement with six countries -- Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia -- out of the twelve seeking admission. According to this article, "Romania's target date remains 2007." By Ahto Lobjakas, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Romania: German Chancellor Says Nation Still Long Way From Joining EU
July 5, 2001. With an average monthly salary, 45% inflation, and off-and-on reforms, Romania is trying to secure Germany's support for its agenda of joining the European Union. Prime Minister's visit to Germany emphasized Romania's targetting the EU's 2004 enlargement rather than that of 2007, as well as economic ties between Germany and Romania, the former being Romania's second-largest investor. More in this article by Eugen Tomiuc, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

EU/Romania: The Eastern Laggard Joins the Other EU Candidates
What Romania has to accomplish in order to be accepted as a European Union member in 2007: average annual GDP growth of 4-6% after 2001, and so much more. See the outline of the Strategy here. European Report, March 22, 2000.


NATO ENLARGEMENT

NATO welcomes seven new members
Romania joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on April 2, 2004, alongside Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Bush signs bill to aid NATO applicants
US Congress and President Bush approved of a bill granting $55.5 million in military aid to seven NATO applicants. Romania is to receive $11.5 million. By Jennifer Loven, AP, The Nando Times, June 11, 2002. Added: June 11, 2002.

Romania: Southern Comfort
President Ion Iliescu met with his Bulgarian counterpart, Georgi Parvanov, and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Snagov, Romania, on April 18 and 19 to affirm the ties between their countries and their joint goal of entering the NATO alliance. The Romanian media looks favorably upon the country's leaders' efforts to join NATO. By Andrei Stoiciu, World Press Review/WorldPress.org, May 25, 2002. Added: May 30, 2002.

10 Countries Looking to Join NATO
May 15, 2002. With an eye to enlarging the alliance at the Prague summit in November, NATO foreign ministers and diplomates from 10 candidate countries and 17 other nations met in Reykjavik to discuss the future expansion as well as partnerships with Ukraine and other former Soviet republics in Central Asia. By Roger Wilkison, Reykjavik, Iceland, May 15, 2002.

According to the AP report on the NATO session in Reykjavik, US Secretary of State Colin Powell also met with representatives of the ten candidates to NATO membership.

The Wednesday meetings followed the signing of a historic partnership between NATO and Russia on Tuesday. More about NATO expansion, the recent anti-terrorism partnership with Russia, and the Monday agreement between Moscow and Washington to cut back nuclear arsenal, in NATO begins talks on expansion after historic accords with Russia from Canadian Press, May 15, 2002.

Romania, Bulgaria Eyed As US Allies -- The Associated Press
May 15, 2002 note: Page seems to have been removed. Here's a summary:
Long hoping to join NATO, Romania and Bulgaria are encouraged now by the United States' and other allies' strategic interest in NATO's southern flank. While still working to ameliorate the country's economy, the Romanian government hopes beneficial changes to its military as well as politics in wake of the current war on terrorism will secure this country an early membership into NATO. Thinking of itself as a "de facto" member of the NATO alliance after Sept. 11, Romania has shown its support to the war on terrorism by sending troops to the peacemission in Kabul. It also gave NATO access to inspect ports at the Black Sea and airbases on its territory, as well as the cooperation of local military intelligence. As part of agreements with NATO preceding their membership, Romania and Bulgaria have already allowed NATO allies to base troops and fly warplanes in their territory. By George Jahn, Associated Press Writer, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com News, April 1, 2002. Added: April 1, 2002.


MORE INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

U.S. bill could keep some European countries from joining visa-free travel program
According to a bill expected to be approved in Congress, citizens of Romania, along with those of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia and Hungary will still need a visa to enter the US, despite initial hopes that they may be granted free entry. AP, July 26, 2007. Added: July 31, 2007.

Seven Romanian-born stateless people fight to return to Germany
Romania's hopes of joining the European Union cuts deep into the destinies of people who have fled then-Communist Romania to Germany only to find themselves now deported to a country they have renounced, away from family and friends. By Alison Mutler, AP, on NJ.com, October 5, 2002. Added: October 5, 2002.

France to sign home Romanian beggars
France has signed an agreement with Romania; Romania will have to take its beggars home. BBC News, October 4, 2002. Added: October 4, 2002.

Switzerland to expel Roma migrants
"We want to send a clear signal" -- Brigitte Hauser, Federal Refugee Office. BBC News, October 2, 2002. Added: October 4, 2002.

Statements to the press by Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana, Tel Aviv, April 28, 2002 -- on Israel.org (Web site of Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Statements point out the traditional beneficial involvement Romania has played in the peace-making process in the Middle East, as well as the expanding economic ties. Added: May 12, 2002.

Mubarak receives message from Romanian President -- on ArabicNews.com
April 27, 2001. Romania's Foreign Minister Dan Mircea Geoana met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Added: April 28, 2002.

NPC Chairman Meets Chairman of Romanian Senate -- on XinhuaNet.com
April 27, 2001. Chairman of Romanian Senate Nicolae Vacaroiu met with Chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC) Li Peng. Added: April 28, 2002.

Burnishing His Image
President Ion Iliescu appears brimming with optimism at the World Economic Forum's European Summit early this July. Interview by Jeremy Druker, Editor in Chief of Transitions Online, July 2001.

Against the Grain
Is Hungary's taking care of its ethnics abroad a crime or a laudatory move? Read about the Status Law, passed in the Hungarian Parliament on June 19, 2001, and the disputes it spurred in Romania. Article by Aron Ballo, Cluj, for Transitions Online.

Migration News -- Eastern Europe
The Status Law, granting benefits to ethnic Hungarians, is also intended to prevent mass immigration once Hungary enters the EU. On migration.ucdavis.edu, September 13, 2001.

A Bitter Pill
EU's enlargement talks involve the prospect of "transition periods" for Eastern European candidates, mainly directed at hampering a potentially large influx of workers from poorer countries. After much debate, it was settled that individual member states could decide for themselves whether to allow or not free movement of labor. More about transition periods and applicant countries' take on the issue in this article on Transitions Online. By Yordanka Nedyalkova and Victor Gomez, July 26, 2001.

Czech Republic: Government To Introduce Visas For Romanians
Despite opposition from its own Foreign Ministry which watches closely EU's policy developments regarding visa regimes for Romania, Czech Republic's Interior Ministry intends to suspend visa-free travel for Romanian citizens temporarily starting October 1, 2001. Reasons given are an increasing number of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants as well as petty crimes. By Eugen Tomiuc, Radio Free Europe, August 30, 2001.

Moldova: Romania Criticizes Chisinau's Decision to Cancel Sale of Energy Networks
After two Romanian companies participated in a public bid to buy two Moldovan electricity networks, Moldovan officials decided to sell the latter as shares, mainly to repay a debt to an Ukrainian company. By Eugen Tomiuc, Radio Free Europe, August 31, 2001.

Deepening Crisis Between Romania and Moldova
What was literally a "bridge of flowers" over the Prut River in the early 1990s, emphasizing the common history of Romania and what is now Moldova, has turned now into a tense relationship between two states about to take two different paths. On Transitions Online, October 16, 2001. Added: November 1, 2001.

Spartanburg Native Recently Named Ambassador to Romania
Michael Guest is the newly appointed ambassador to Romania, following his Excellency James Rosapepe. By Baker Maultsby, on Upstate South Carolina news portal, August 2001.

Romania: Bottom of the Heap
Statistics are grim and place Romania besides Peru (the latter with higher minimum monthly wage) or Libya and Lebanon (with comparable "quality of life"). Romania is a lagging cadidate to the EU. The author looks at Romania's recent past and tries to answer several questions: is Romania different than other ex-Communist countries? is Romania part of Central Europe? is Romania "European"? was it ever? By Tony Judt, The New York Review of Books. Added: November 1, 2001.

In 2006 Romania Will Pay Special Attention to Moldova’s European Destiny - Traian Basescu
At the annual meeting with foreign diplomats, President Traian Basescu expressed his hope that Romania’s union with Moldova will come about once both countries will have joined the EU. President Basescu also characterized Romania’s relations with Moldova in 2005 in the terms of a collaboration between the institutions of “one nation in two independent states,” and stressed the importance of a conflict-free zone in the Black Sea region. Moldova.org, January 21, 2006. Added: February 22, 2006.


DOMESTIC POLITICS

Zap! Was Romanian Election Loser Victim of Occult?
Traian Basescu won a narrow presidential victory in the Dec. 6, 2009 runoff. His rival, Mircea Geoana contended that during the key debate of Dec. 3 he was a victim of "negative energy attack" engineered by a parapsychologist working for the opposite team. The New York Times, January 22, 2010. The original article is no longer accesible on The New York Times Web site, but you can find it on Tom's Place. Added: February 28, 2010.

Romanian court blocks landmark graft case against Nastase
The Constitional Court blocked the National Anti-Corruption Department case against former PM Adrian Nastase and his wife on procedural grounds. According to the Constitution, a cabinet member can be investigated only by the Parliament and the President. Nastase was accused of abuse of office as well as receiving the equivalent of 1.37 million euros in bribes. The bribes purportedly relate to an apartment in Bucharest and include money as well merchandise. The former prime minister denied the charges and called the case "fabricated." Southeast European Times (July 6, 2007), BBC News (November 13, 2006), Transparency International (December 2006). Added: August 18, 2007.

Romanian Prosecutor Freed from His Political Leash
Prosecutor Daniel Morar, chief of the DNA, the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, is taking to account former prime minister Adrian Nastase, in connection to a real estate deal as well as his wealth of 10 million euros. While these timely investigations look promising, fact is that anti-corruption legislation allowing for the investigation of senior politicians and judges did not pass the Senate two weeks ago. Sceptics argue that Mr. Morar's timely investigations have much to do with Romania's schedule date of accession to the EU on January 1 next year, and that they will wear off once Romania joins the European Union. By Christopher Condon, FT.com, February 23, 2006. Added: February 23, 2006.

Romania Government Wins Confidence Vote on Health Reform
Romania's Parliament gave the centrist government a vote of confidence on a new health bill aimed at reining in corruption. A World Bank report gives a figure of $360 million in bribes for 2004. Critics of the bill argue that there is no money to support the new legislation and that it will hurt the poor. Reuters AlertNet, February 21, 2006. Added: February 22, 2006.

Romania Is Pressed to Reverse Anti-Graft Vote
President Traian Basescu reacted prompty to the rejection of an anti-corruption bill in the Senate. The proposed law would make possible the indictment of senior politicians and judges. The rejection did not go well with the European Commission, whose May 16 country report is expected to be a positive one, and one which would allow Romania to enter the European Union in 2007 as planned. Christopher Condon, February 11, 2006. Added: February 22, 2006.



Maria Todorova's book from 1997 uncovers the mechanisms which have turned a region into a negative counterpart to Western Europe. A must read for anybody who wants to understand European pride and prejudice.













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