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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 60,358 44,428 38,700 52
GNI per capita
 US $ 2,310 1,850 1,720 100
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Romania


Update No: 120 - (30/05/07)

There are three 'p's that matter in Romania - the parliament, the president and the people. The two former are at loggerheads; but the two latter are together against the parliament. Such is the verdict of a crucial referendum, held on May 19th.

Hegel thought that the world revolved around the negation of the negation. Well at least Romanian politics now does. 

Romania faces new political landscape after referendum win
Romania is facing a realignment of its political forces after the vast majority of the electorate voted not to depose President Traian Basescu on May 19th. Basescu has returned to the office he had to leave during the referendum campaign with a strengthened mandate, after three quarters of the public voted not to impeach him. 

The five parties from the government and opposition that had pushed for Basescu's impeachment are now considering the consequences of their defeat. Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu must pay the price for the very unsatisfactory plan by parliament to try and shut out Basescu. Leading politicians from Tariceanu's National Liberal Party (PNL) have demanded that he resign. 

Tariceanu and his allies accused Basescu of violating the constitution by interfering in the running of the government. The Constitutional Court rejected these claims. 

The voters were not convinced by the moves either and saw Basescu as a kind of knight in shining armour battling against corruption, the big issue in the country. 

Tariceanu and parliament were against Basescu because the industrial mafia wanted it, the president had said. Basescu said that he was for effective judicial reforms to combat the mafia.

The unpopular parliament 
Basescu also benefited from his victim status, which cast him in a good light compared to the traditionally unpopular parliament. A very large majority of the 322 members of parliament had voted for the referendum to impeach the president. 

The result was that it looked like a conspiracy against gifted populist Basescu, who knew exactly how to exploit its emotional message with the people. 

Heads could also roll at the opposition Socialist Party (PSD): one faction within the PSD, the so-called Group from (the Transylvania city of) Cluj, had been against any impeachment of Basescu from the start, but they had been unable to push past the ex-communist faction of former PSD chairman Ion Iliescu. 

Iliescu, who was president from 1990 to 1996 and again from 2000 to 2004, forced current PSD head Mircea Geoana to initiate the impeachment proceedings against Basescu in parliament. 

Tariceaunu for the chop?
Events could now rebound on the premier. He wanted to oust the president. The boot could now be on the other shoe. Speculation in Bucharest is mounting over whether Basescu will align himself with the Group from Cluj within the PSD to launch a no- confidence campaign to topple Tariceanu. 

Basescu can also rely on the middle-class Democratic Party (PD) which had been a part of the government until Easter when Tariceanu threw them out of the ruling coalition as part of his long-standing fight with Basescu. 

It was still unclear how the other smaller parties that had joined the campaign against Basescu would react as massive numbers of grass- roots supporters of the ultra-nationalist Romania Mare (Greater Romania) Party, the Conservative Party (CP) and the Hungary Party (UDMR) voted for Basescu in the referendum, as did many supporters of Tariceanu's PNL and the Socialists. 

All of these parties' supporters registered protest votes during the referendum, and even before the vote, opinion polls showed a massive drop in support for them. Basescu's PD, meanwhile, climbed by 18 percentage points in the opinion polls over six weeks to reach 51.9 per cent in the most recent ones. 

The trend and the resounding referendum victory suggest that Basescu could reconfigure not only the government, but also the opposition. 

German official: Romania needs early elections urgently
Germany has a huge influence on events, holding as it does the EU presidency. German Christian-Democratic deputy Elma Brok, member of the European Popular Party board, told Deutsche Welle on May 21st that the result of the May 19 referendum that had President Traian Basescu return to power proves the urgent need for early elections in Romania.

He believes that the pro-presidential vote shows the backing of Romanian voters for the continuation of the fight against corruption and of reforms in the Justice system. Brok said early elections would help turn the will of the Romanian people into future legislation.

He also said that in the event of early elections, he would immediately call the European Commission to put up a report describing how Romania must fulfil accession criteria. "Otherwise, the safeguard clauses provided in the [accession] treaty must be applied", he warned. 

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Raiffeisen Bank Romania to expand network to 370 units

Raiffeisen Bank Romania plans to expand its network to 370 units by the end of 2007. The bank plans to expand in major and medium size cities, whereas a rural strategy will be followed at a point by which this target will have been conquered, Nine o'Clock reported.
"Big cities continue to generate large volumes and activity grows fast in such areas," said Razvan Munteanu, Raiffeisen Bank Romania Vice-President in charge of retail. The bank currently owns around 40 agencies based in rural areas.

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Greece eyes Romanian electricity deal

Greek Development Minister, Dimitris Sioufas, on April 19th announced that a team of Greek experts would visit Romania in to discuss, with local agencies, the prospective purchase of electricity from the newest EU member-state.
Sioufas spoke to reporters after a meeting in Bucharest with Romanian minister of economy and commerce Varujan Vosganian.
The two ministers also discussed prospects for further boost bilateral relations, as well as Greek businesses' significant presence in Romania, as Greece is the third largest foreign investor in Romania.
Efforts to increase bilateral trade and economic ties even more will be discussed during a visit by Vosgonian to Greece in the coming months. The Greek minister's next stops will be Bulgaria and Turkey, for talks on mostly energy issues.

Petrom to acquire two local Royal Dutch Shell comanies

Romanian national daily Ziarul Financiar reported recently that oil company Petrom decided to exercise its pre-emption rights to acquire a majority stake in two local businesses of Royal Dutch Shell, Shell Gas Romania SA and Trans Gas Services SRL, Interfax News Agency cited. 
"The acquisition will allow us to strengthen our position on the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) market in Romania," Tamas Mayer, member of the Executive Board of Petrom, was quoted saying, adding: "This transaction gives rise to synergies with our existing LPG business and will allow us to increase our market share, which is now approximately 17 per cent for gas cylinders distribution and two percent for car gas."
Petrom will acquire 55.3 per cent of Shell Gas Romania and 60 per cent of Trans Gas Services SRL following the decision of Shell to exit the LPG business in Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. Petrom's website reveals that the company has already been operating on the LPG market in Romania through its own bottling and distribution network while it had already possessed a 44.7 per cent stake in Shell Gas Romania and a 20 per cent stake in Trans Gas Services SRL.
Shell Gas Romania is the largest gas cylinder distributor in Romania, while Trans Gas Services is a propane supplier. Petrom has 593 filling stations in Romania and operates a total of 211 filling stations in Moldova, Bulgaria and Serbia. Revenues of the company reached 3.7 million Euro in 2006, it was reported.

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Romtelecom to invest 500m Euro in Internet network

Romtelecom plans to invest more than 500 million Euro in a Next Generation Network and high speed Internet, the Romanian government said in a release, according to 
Romtelecom CEO, Yorgos Ioannidis, and Executive Legal and Corporate Affairs Manger, Catalin Dima, met Romanian Prime Minister, Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, and Communications and Information Technology Minister, Zsolt Nagy, on April 24th, when the telephony operator's executives told the ministers the investments will be made from Romtelecom's own funds entirely, stressing that a correct and predictable regulatory framework, enabling the company to recoup the planned investments, is very important for the conduct of such a plan, it was reported.
"The new investment will allow the clients to benefit from the highest-quality services related to access to the Internet, multimedia content and telephony, at more competitive prices," the release said. Romtelecom, in the period ahead, will present the government with detailed information regarding its capability to provide Internet access in the Romanian schools, so that the executive may decide whether special projects should be worked out by which the government should ensure the Internet connection of all schools throughout Romania, said.
Tariceanu was cited as saying that providing Internet access to all Romanian schools is a priority project and the government is willing to forge a partnership with the specialised companies interested in achieving this project. As a result, the Romanian premier decided to set up a technical working group made up from representatives of Romania's Education, Research and Youth Ministry, the Communications Ministry and railway operator CFR that should find a solution for schools' Internet connections. Tariceanu stressed that one of the government's priorities is to provide a predictable and transparent investment climate in Romania.

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Alumil Rom Industry to invest 9m Euro in next 3 years

Aluminum profiles producer Alumil Rom Industry will invest in the next three years some nine million Euro to build a logistics centre and new production lines in Filipesti, Prahova county and also deposits in Baia mare and Slatina, recently said.
Following the investments, the unit will reach a production capacity of 9,000 tonnes a year, compared to currently 4,500 tonnes a year. Alumil Rom Industry owns a distribution network of 23 cities and administrates production capacities, storage and offices spaces with a total surface of 26,000 square metres.

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