Business and Economics
Despite good energy resources, a developed industrial
sector and fertile soils, Romania is one of Europe's poorest
During the first half of the 1990s, the country
experienced good growth; In 2000–08, the economy grew by an
average of just over 6 percent per year. The country
attracted foreign investment in many sectors of the business
sector, including the financial and industrial sectors. In
2007, the country joined the EU
The international financial crisis in 2008 hit Romania
hard and was the start of a sharp economic downturn. The
country received emergency loans from the IMF, the EU and
the European Development Bank against a commitment to reduce
government spending. Economic cuts in the public sector,
including increased retirement age, lower wages and
increased VAT, entailed large popular protests and an
unstable political situation.
In 2011 and 2013, the country was able to experience some
economic recovery, mainly as a result of good harvests and
increased exports from industry, but the country's economy
is still weak and major efforts are needed to combat
widespread corruption and economic crime.
Following the communist takeover, Romania underwent
approximately the same development as the other eastern bloc
countries. This meant that, following a Soviet model, the
introduction of a planned economy, nationalized production
resources and the collectiveization of most of agriculture.
Here, too, a changeover took place from a traditional
agricultural society to an industrial society with the
emphasis placed on the heavy industry (iron and steel and
engineering) and the chemical and petrochemical industries.
There was talk of a Romanian wonder in this area in the
1960s and 1970s.
During the 1980s, in particular, establishments were used
within the aforementioned industry branches to manipulate
the growth of certain localities. Problems with energy
supply as well as far-reaching exports of agricultural
products in order to eliminate external debt led to a
serious food shortage around 1980. An increasingly
centralist policy and thoughtful giant initiatives in
business brought Romania to the brink of ruin in the late
The changed political situation during the 1990s led to
major restructuring problems in the economy. The new
government implemented privatization of state-owned
enterprises, reduced government debt and tightened monetary
policy, a work that led to improved finances during the
countryaah, Romania has a very versatile agriculture. About
two-thirds of the country consists of agricultural land, of
which fields dominate. The most important crops are wheat
and maize, which, among other things, are grown on the
Valakian plain in the south, on the Transylvanian plateau in
the middle of the country and in the border regions towards
Hungary. Vegetables are grown mainly in the vicinity of the
larger cities. Potatoes, sunflowers and sugar beets are also
common crops. Despite a collectivization of agriculture
during the 1950s, the small private plots became of great
importance to the country's livelihood.
When Romania entered a severe food crisis in the early
1980s, Ceaușescu considered that the cure was an increase in
its agricultural area. In 1984, efforts were made to quickly
implement the so-called systemization program, which had as
its ultimate goal, until 2000, to eliminate 7,000-8,000 of
the country's more than 13,000 villages and to convert the
remaining to urban-like locations. Among other things, this
would have meant that the country's old village culture was
completely destroyed, but only provided a couple of percent
increase in agricultural land.
In 1989, the program was canceled; By then, about 500
villages had been demolished more or less. Since then,
privatization has increased (now more than 85 per cent of
the area is privatized), but too small farming units and a
lack of machinery and fertilizers have made agriculture a
problematic sector in business.
At the 2007 EU membership, Romania undertook to reform
agriculture, but this has been slow and has not led to any
significant change in ownership structure.
More than a quarter of the country's area, mainly
mountain areas, is covered by forest. Forestry is one of the
traditional industries, and the forest industry has expanded
after the Second World War. Forests are now protected by a
nationwide program. Here, a balance is sought between
felling and planting.
Fishing, which has decreased in importance due to the
severe pollution in the Black Sea and in the rivers, today
occurs mainly along the Black Sea coast and in the Danube.
Fish canning factories are located in Tulcea, Constanța and
Galați. Romania also conducts fishing in the Atlantic.
Romania has large assets in a variety of minerals, which
were the prerequisite for the growth of the metallurgical
and chemical industry. EU membership led to a need for
modernization or closure of certain mines, which greatly
reduced the production of several minerals. After new
investments to meet, among other environmental requirements,
production has again risen.
The most important minerals are iron (for example. In
Reșița and Hunedoara in the western part of the country),
copper, bauxite, lead and zinc. Romania is also a major
producer of coal (southwest and central part), plaster and
rock salt; uranium is also mined. Despite its own assets,
iron is imported to meet the needs of the steel industry.
Romania's main energy raw materials are coal and natural
gas, and to 2/3 the country is self-sufficient (2009).
Imports are made primarily of crude oil but also of coal and
natural gas. This is due in part to excessive oil extraction
and export during the Ceaușescu period, which then led to a
significant reduction in production and fuel shortages in
the country. The foremost oil-bearing area extends in an
east-west band below the South Carpathians. The most
important refinery species are Ploiești and Pitești. Oil
pipelines go to the Black Sea port of Constanța.
Fossil energy types account for 3/4 of total energy
production, nuclear energy for just under 10 per cent and
renewable sources for around 15 per cent (2009). Natural gas
deposits are found in many parts of Transylvania; they have
become increasingly important and constitute 1/3 of their
own energy raw materials. This also applies to the coal,
which covers 20 percent of the energy demand.
Hydropower is relatively small. Romania shares with
Serbia two hydropower plants at the Danube Iron Gate, of
which the larger, Iron Gate I, is among Europe's largest in
terms of energy production. The wind energy is under strong
expansion. By 2020, the goal is for 24 percent of the
electricity consumed to be produced by renewable energy
Before the transition to market economy in the 1990s,
Romania had a large state-owned heavy industry. Many
companies were loss-making and survived thanks to government
subsidies. These mainly worked in the steel, iron and
machinery industries as well as in the chemical industry.
The transition to market economy and the subsequent
privatization meant that many of these were closed down.
However, Romania still has a large and economically
important heavy industry, mainly metal industry. and
chemical industry. During the 00s, an increased investment
was made in light industry, such as the production of
clothing, textiles and furniture. As has been the case in
several other Eastern European countries, international car
companies have also invested in Romania. The prime example
of this is Renault, which has taken over the main ownership
of the car company Dacia.
Romania's steel industry is concentrated mainly on Reșița
and Hunedoara and Galați on the Dunarea (Danube). The
engineering industry is located in most major cities. The
chemical industry is located in Onesţti and Năvodari, among
others, near the seaside resort of Mamaia. The petrochemical
industry is preferably located at the oil metropolises
Ploiești and Pitești. Copper, gold and silver are produced
in the country's southwestern parts. Light industry is
represented throughout the country, but a certain
concentration of high-tech industry is found around the city
of Timișoara in the west.
During the communist era, the Soviet Union was Romania's
leading trading partner. The collapse of the Eastern Bloc
significantly changed Romania's foreign trade. Through
membership in the EU in 2007, Romania has significantly
increased its trade with other EU countries. The most
important export goods are textile products, machinery,
minerals and metals. Imports consist of machinery, fuel and
chemicals. The most important trading partners are Germany,
Italy and France.
Tourism and gastronomy
Tourism as a source of income has increased in importance
during the 2000s. Every year, almost 8 million foreign
tourists come, mainly from neighboring countries. On the
Black Sea coast are several resorts such as Mamaia, Eforie
and Mangalia, and the health-giving lake Techirghiol also
has many visitors. In the Carpathians there are
opportunities for hiking and skiing.
The scientifically interesting Danube Delta has a rich
fauna, while in the old-fashioned transylvania in the
central parts there are several notable city centers. A
specialty is the country's more than 150 health resorts and
The mixture of Turkish, Central European, Mediterranean
influenced and Russian cuisine applied in a mainly agrarian
society has resulted in spicy and refined simple dishes. The
tradition of eating what is available during the season and
preserving the rest for later use lives strong.
The meal is often started with a smaller sandwich table
of dried and smoked meats (always including mititei,
small spicy sausages), pickled vegetables (including strong
peppers, ardei iute) and cheese followed by soup (ciorbă,
on chicken, lamb or veal, often also domestic foods and
several vegetables). Sarmale is dolmar, often of
pickled cabbage or wine leaves. Carp and pike are available
in countless recipe variants, ciorbă de peşte is
sour fish soup. The main courses are usually served
mămăligă, cornmeal porridge, which fulfills
the function cooked potato and bread in the Swedish diet.
Another common accessory is salată de vinete,