Romania. In April, Romania, together with Bulgaria,
received the EU Parliament's accession to the EU in 2007.
But before that, Romania must further reform the judiciary,
fight corruption, cut government subsidies and secure the
rights of the Romanian minority, otherwise the EU entry may
be delayed by one year.
At the end of the year, a currency reform was
implemented, when four zeros were removed from the currency
lei. The exchange rate against the euro was previously
36,000 lei, but after the reform it was 3.6 lei. Romania
hopes to introduce the euro by 2014.
countryaah, the spring flood hit southern Romania hard, and thousands
of people had to be evacuated from their homes as the Timiş
River flooded its banks. The devastation was the worst in 40
years. During the summer, Romania was haunted by repeated
storms and heavy rains with floods. The natural disasters
took a total of about 40 people's lives.
In July, Prime Minister Calin Popescu threatened
Tariceanu to resign, after the Constitutional Court stopped
a law that would allow the government to dismiss former
employees in the judiciary to be able to make new
appointments in order to fight corruption. According to the
EU, entry into the Union would be delayed one year if the
reform was not implemented.
In the devastation following the floods, however,
Tariceanu decided to stay at his post to lead the
reconstruction work. In August, he made extensive government
reform in an attempt to speed up reforms.
In October, bird flu was detected in some villages in the
Danube Delta. Tens of thousands of poultry were killed,
hunting and markets were banned and the population of the
area was vaccinated. Tests showed that it was a dangerous
virus form H5N1, which can spread to humans and which
previously required fatalities in Southeast Asia.
At the end of the year, there were reports that the
United States had detained suspected terrorists imprisoned
in Romania, which was denied by President Traian Băsescu.
When US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Romania
in December, an agreement was signed that gave the US
permission to establish military bases in the country. It
was the first similar agreement between Washington and a
former communist country in Eastern Europe.
Klaus Iohannis becomes new president
At the November 2014 presidential election, Social
Democratic Prime Minister Victor Ponta voted as a candidate
and received 40 percent of the vote in the first round.
Together with Klaus Iohannisfrom the National Liberal Party,
which gained 30 percent, he went on to the second round. It
was surprisingly won by Klaus Iohannis, who received 55
percent of the vote. The turnout was 64 per cent. Iohannis (Johannis
in German) belongs to the now very modest German minority in
Romania, and many considered it unlikely that someone who
was not ethnic Romanian could win a presidential election.
After the election, the Hungarian party UDMR withdrew from
the government. In the most compact Hungarian-language parts
of Romania, about 80 percent voted for Iohannis in the
second round of the presidential election and only about 20
percent on the Ponta coalition partner. Klaus Iohannis took
office as President on December 21, 2014.
Popular protests against corruption culture are becoming
a political force
Ponta continued as prime minister until November 2015.
The departure was not due to a vote of no confidence or new
elections, but came after a large number of youths were
killed in a fire in a club room in Bucharest, and large
street demonstrations subsequently accused the political
system of a culture of corruption. Contributing to the
departure were also dissatisfaction with Ponta's
unwillingness to resign on previous occasions, such as when
it was shown that parts of his doctoral thesis were
plagiarism (2012), or when corruption investigations were
initiated against him (2015). The great dissatisfaction with
the "political class", a phrase widely used in the many
demonstrations in a wide range of cities, led President
Iohannis suggested a government that had not left the
parties but should have their support.
New Prime Minister from November 17, 2015 became Dacian
Cioloș, former member of the European Commission and
partyless. The government consisted of professionals
("technocrats") in various disciplines, not by leading party
politicians. It received a vote of confidence with a large
majority in parliament and aimed to prepare and sit for the
next ordinary parliamentary elections in the fall of 2016,
while intensified fighting against corruption was high on
The 2016 election
In the parliamentary elections, held on December 11,
2016, turnout was low, at only 39.8 per cent. The Social
Democratic Party (PSD) got the largest support with 45.6
percent of the vote, the National Liberal Party got 20.2
percent. In third place came a new party, the Union Save
Romania (Uniunea Salvaţi Romānia, USR) with 8.9 percent. It
has marked itself as an anti-system party with a desire for
openness in politics, the fight against corruption, the
stronger development of business, the bureaucracy, the
commitment to viable local communities. It is a supporter of
the EU and NATO. Many of its members are relatively young
and well educated.
After the election, a coalition government was formed by
the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Alliance of
Liberals and Democrats (Partidul Alianța Liberalilor Demi
Democraților, ALDE), a smaller party led by former National
Liberal Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu). Prime
Minister became the relatively unknown Sorin Grindeanu and
not the leader of the Social Democrats, Liviu Dragnea. He
could not become prime minister because of a 2001 law
prohibiting sentenced prisoners from sitting in a Romanian
government. Dragnea had a conditional prison sentence from
2016 for fraud in a referendum in 2012. Another case against
Dragnea was concluded in May 2019 with an unconditional