Romania. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Romania is 19,237,702 people in 2020. Romania reached one of its most important foreign policy goals when it joined the NATO defense alliance at the end of March. By contrast, Romania was forced to stand alongside when the EU was enlarged on 10 May with ten new countries. Among the problems that the country must face before entering the EU are the trafficking of orphanages and the corruption that occurs in connection with adoptions. Following pressure from the EU, in June the Romanian Parliament passed a new law, designed to severely limit the ability of foreigners to adopt children and thus reduce the risk of child trafficking. The law gives priority to Romanian couples and allows international adoption only as a last resort.
In October, the EU Commission recommended in a report that Romania be admitted as a member of the EU in 2007, on the reform work in the judiciary and the measures to bring justice to, among other things. human trafficking and corruption continue as planned. The EU also pledged to give Romania over EUR 560 million in extra aid in the years following its accession. At least half of the money will go to enhanced border guarding against Ukraine, Moldova and Serbia.
During the year, the capital of Bucharest’s popular mayor and then opposition leader Traian Băsescu was prosecuted for corruption. The charges against Băsescu and a large number of former ministers and senior officials were linked to the sale of vessels from the state-owned shipping company Petromin to a Norwegian company. According to Băsescu, the charge against him was politically motivated and initiated by the government.
In November, parliamentary elections and the first round of the presidential elections were held between Prime Minister Adrian Nastase and opposition leader Băsescu. The ruling Social Democrats took home the victory in both elections. According to the Electoral Commission, Social Democratic Party (PSD) got 37% of the vote in the parliamentary elections, while the Liberal opposition alliance got 31%. The official figures also showed that Nastase won over Băsescu with 41% of the vote against 34%. The opposition accused the government of electoral fraud and demanded that both elections be reassigned, which was rejected by the Election Commission. But Băsescu, who promised to fight Romania’s widespread corruption, won the second round of the presidential election ahead of Nastase with 52% versus 48%. The newly elected president appointed his party brother Calin Tariceanu of the Alliance for Justice and Truth (DA) as prime minister. Tariceanu formed a center-right government just before New Year.
In 2003, the anti-corruption organization Transparency International placed Romania among the 3 most corrupt countries in Europe. The Romanians are e.g. have to bribe doctors and nurses in the hospitals to get them to operate relatives. The corruption also affects the government. In October, 3 ministers resigned: the minister of health because he had been thrown out of the university where he was teaching because he had written off from other medical works; The European integration minister had to leave because she had swindled the EU support for her family’s business; the third minister – without a portfolio – had to resign because several of his subordinates had received bribes.
The continued strikes among rail and mining workers against the dismissal of 20,000 workers reduced the likelihood that Social Democrats could win the election in late 2004.
Romania joined NATO, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in March 2004. Its strategic location, its naval and aircraft bases on the Black Sea as well as support for the US war on Iraq made the country attractive for NATO membership.
In October, Iliescu admitted Romania’s participation in the Nazi Holocaust during World War II, where thousands of Romanian Jews and Roma were also executed by the Germans.
The first round of the November 2004 presidential election was clearly won by Social Democrat Adrian Nastase over the opposition’s Truth and Justice (DA). But opposition leader Traian Basescu refused to lose, demanding investigation into a number of irregularities. However, the second round in December was won by Basescu with 51.2% over Nastase’s 48.8%. Nastase acknowledged the defeat shortly before the official result was announced. Basescu published a comprehensive reform package for implementation.
In April 2005, accession negotiations began on Romania’s accession to the EU. The population’s attitude to the issue was mixed, but a majority nevertheless felt that the benefits outweighed the disadvantages. Among the main drawbacks are the fact that the state subsidies for a number of services will lapse with the membership. The same applies to state support for the poorest in society and at the same time it is believed that unemployment will rise. The admission process aims at Romanian accession on January 1, 2007, if sufficient reforms are implemented to fight corruption, control of borders, strengthen the judiciary and clearer guidelines for state subsidies to industry.
Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu announced his resignation in January 2005, but changed the message to a vote of confidence in parliament. He won this vote of confidence at the end of the month.
In late 2005, Romanian Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu and his North American counterpart Condoleezza Rice signed an agreement to set up North American military bases in the country.
In May 2006, the EU set a number of demands for major reforms as a condition of Romania’s accession to the EU per year. January 1, 2008. This was mainly about judicial reform and the fight against corruption.
About 60 years after it was expropriated by the Communists, in June 2006, the Romanian government transferred one of the country’s major tourist attractions, the Castillo Bran castle to its original owner. The castle was the mythical residence of Count Dracula. The condition of the return was that the castle should remain open to the public for at least the following 3 years.
On a proposal from the Social Democrats – who were in opposition – in April 2007 Parliament suspended President Băsescu, accusing him of participating in questionable energy deals for many millions of US $. At the same time, Parliament wanted him to stand before a court of law. The Constitutional Court approved the day after Parliament’s decision. However, a referendum in May rejected 75.5% of the vote in parliament and Basescu returned to the presidential post. He was re-elected in 2009 with 50.33% of the vote, while his Social Democratic candidate got 49.66%. The opposition alleged electoral fraud, but the Constitutional Court rejected the charges and approved the result.
In the run-up to the European Parliament elections in November, President Băsescu sent a proposal to change the electoral system for a referendum. Acc. the proposal had to elect MPs over two rounds in their circles (as in France), so that the two candidates with the most votes participated in the second round. 81.4% of voters voted for the presidential proposal, but the voting percentage was only 26%, so the proposal dropped. Instead, a limited reform was implemented, so the electoral system is now a combination of constituencies and additional mandates in the style of the Danish one. It was first tested at the November 2008 parliamentary elections, which marked a marked improvement for the Liberal Party and the decline of the Socialist Alliance. In the elections for the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber, the Social Democrats gained 0.5% more votes than the Liberals, but because of the electoral system, the Liberals got 1-2 more seats. The Liberals formed the government and inaugurated Emil Boc as prime minister.