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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: 130 - (26/03/08)

No to Kosovo
The biggest issue in Balkan politics right now is the proclaimed independence of Kosovo. Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on February 17, which was rejected by Serbia as illegal. The situation in Kosovo has remained tense since its declaration.

Romania's decision of not recognizing the independence of Kosovo remains unchanged, Foreign Minister Adrian Cioroianu said on March 20. Romania will not change its stand, even though Serbia's closest neighbours, Bulgaria, Croatia and Hungary, have officially recognized Kosovo as an independent state. Romanian President Traian Basescu and other Bucharest officials have repeatedly said Romania will not recognize the independence declared unilaterally by the Pristina-based ethnic Albanian authorities. 

Romania has its own secessionist provinces in Transylvania, grabbed from Hungary after the First World War and populated mostly by Magyars.

"Romania has clearly said that, in the absence of a UN resolution and in the absence of the observance of the international law, especially of the concept of territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, it cannot acknowledge Kosovo's independence. It is not easy for us to be in this position, but it is one of national interest," Basescu had said in December at the winter European council in Brussels. 

"Romania is against a solution that is not accepted bilaterally both by Belgrade and Pristina," Cioroianu said soon after Kosovo's declaration of independence. "We have showed support, in principle, to a bilaterally accepted solution," he said. 

NATO summit imminent
Actually there is an even more significant event in Romanian politics right now the hosting of the next NATO summit.

This takes place over April 2-4. It is an almost inconceivable occasion. Who twenty years ago would have thought that Bucharest would host a meeting of NATO?

Romania, a NATO member since 2004, has 500 soldiers in NATO missions in Afghanistan and 80 soldiers in Kosovo. There are also about 400 soldiers in Iraq. 

President Traian Basescu said that Romania supports having Albania, Macedonia and Croatia join NATO. Basescu made the comment after meeting NATO'S secretary general months before the summit in Bucharest. "Romania unreservedly supports (NATO) enlargement with Croatia, Macedonia and Albania," Basescu said. "Beyond enlargement, the summit wants to bring Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro closer to the alliance." 

Basescu was echoing comments made by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who said the 27 allies would decide in the near future whether to invite Croatia, Albania and Macedonia to join NATO at the summit in Bucharest. 

De Hoop Scheffer also said that the alliance is considering closer ties with Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia and Bosnia. The NATO secretary general was in Bucharest for one day to oversee preparations for the April 2-4 summit. US President George W. Bush and the government leaders of other NATO members will attend the summit, which will be the largest in the alliance's history.

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