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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: 128 - (28/01/08)

All roads lead to Rome – and some to Romania
The Romanians aspire to be Western. Their very name is Western, their tongue and their conjugations of it. The country was called Dacia in Roman times and was occupied by Roman legionaries, speaking of course Latin. 

But between the third century and the thirteenth AD there is a virtually a complete blank in the records. All we know is that, despite appalling goings-on, mayhem galore during the Dark Ages, a measure of continuity prevailed. At the height of the Middle Ages, circa 1300, the Romanians with their Latin language and Orthodox Christian religion, inherited from Byzantium, were still there.

President Traian Basescu has a name that tells one volumes. Trajan was the Roman emperor who annexed Dacia in the early second century. He is a Francophile like virtually all his countrymen, many of whom speak good French, and Italian as likely as not as well. All this has stood the Romanians in good stead. They were admitted to the EU with full French and Italian backing in 2006. Who better to be a signatory of the Treaty of Rome? It was the good fortune of the Bulgarians to get in if behind, in their wake.

Romania leads the way for the whole Balkans
Romania is to be the host to the next NATO summit in early April. This is a turning point, not just for the Romanians, but the entire Balkan region. Romania, a NATO member since 2004, has 500 soldiers in NATO missions in Afghanistan and 80 soldiers in Kosovo. There are also about 400 Romanian soldiers in Iraq.

Basescu said that Romania supports having Albania, Macedonia and Croatia join NATO. Basescu made the comment after meeting NATO'S secretary general, months before a summit in Bucharest, Romania's capital. "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 next few weeks 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. With the first two of those, both former ‘all- union republics’ of the Soviet Union, these deliberations will be closely watched from the nearby Russian federation and reactions are likely to arise during the May presidential elections there. Serbia’s prospects of an invitation will surely depend on the outcome of the Feb 3d run-off to the presidential election there. Kosovo and its independence being the burning issue in Serbis.

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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