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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
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)

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Update No: 125 - (25/10/07)

Referendum on electoral reform suggested
Romania's President Traian Basescu called on October 23 for a national referendum on electoral reform to be held, together with elections for the European Parliament, scheduled for Nov 25.
The reform is aimed at making politicians more accountable to voters and changing the current system based on party lists, which pro-democracy groups say fuels corruption. This is Romania's number one problem; it is to be hoped that reform will triumph.

Basescu apologises for war-time deportation of Gypsies
President Basescu formally apologized for the country deporting thousands of Gypsies to Nazi death camps during World War II.

Basescu, in the first such apology to the Romany community, as Gypsies are officially addressed, said he was sorry for their persecution during the Holocaust.

Romania's leaders have already apologized for the role of the Bucharest regime against Jews during World War II.

At a ceremony on October 21 in Bucharest, Basescu conferred orders on three Romanies who survived the Holocaust. Basescu recalled that the Romanian regime some 65 years ago deported Gypsies from their homes to die in Nazi camps. As many as 500,000 Romanian Gypsies were killed during World War II. 

Official statistics say about 500,000 Gypsies live in Romania but minority experts believe their number is close to one million.

A tragic history
It is worth putting this in an historical context. Romania had a fascist dictator in the Second World War, Ion Antonescu, who allied his country with Hitler. He aligned its domestic policies with the Nazi regime too. 

Romania was a vital country for the Germans, their main dependable source of oil. Goering wanted three million tons annually to lubricate the German military machine and armed forces. 

The Nazi-Soviet Pact in August 1939 involved the surrender of Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia to the USSR. Antonescu was almost certainly put in the know that their loss would be only temporary, until the invasion of the Soviet Union.

A short time later German and Italian pressure obliged Romania to surrender Northern Transylvania to Hungary and Southern Dobruja to Bulgaria. These transfers saw the displacement of 260,000 German ethnic refugees, most of whom went to Germany, but 77,000 of whom were settled in Southern Bukovina and Northern Dobruja.

Some 50-60,000 German troops were stationed there for 'training purposes.' Their upkeep was paid for by seizing Jewish assets and by a flow of gold from Berlin in return for the oil.
In October 1940 all rural Jewish property was confiscated, as well as all Jewish bonds. In March 1941, with invasion of the USSR only months away, all Jewish urban property was expropriated. As the war developed adversely for Germany and its allies the anti-semitic programme was radicalised, indeed coupled with an anti-Gypsy one. Romania participated thoroughly in the Holocaust. 

A thorough apology for these dire events is indeed in order. 

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