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Country Information Romania


at a glance

destination Romania

civilization and culture





237 500 square kilometres


22.22 million (July 2009)

Capital city

Bucharest (1,9 million inhabitants 2007)

Official language

Romanian (other languages: Hungarian 6,7 % and Romany 1,1 %)

Gross national product per capita

US$ , 12 200 (2008) (PPP)

Population growth

-0.15% (2009)

Life expectancy

72,5 years (men: 69 years, women: 76,2 years) (2009)

Infant mortality

22,9 per 1000 live births (2009)

Rate of illiteracy

3 % (2007)




With the exception of some Black Sea holiday resorts, mass tourism has not yet really discovered Romania, but the country has much to offer, particularly for people interested in exploring on their own: whether hill walking among magnificent landscapes, or visits to historical monasteries and painted wood churches, castles and medieval towns, there are many attractions.

According to UNWTO in the year 2005 approximately 1,4 million guests came into the country and paid 845 million Euro. Tourism is gradually growing in importance and has considerable growth potential.


Commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism

Romania, and in particular Bucharest, is one of the key travel destinations in Europe for paedo-sexual offenders. The street-children are frequently victims. It is estimated that five per cent of the homeless children in Romania are forced into sexual exploitation. As a reaction, there has recently been an increase in the numbers of arrests, with foreign perpetrators receiving long prison sentences in Romania. 

The trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation remains a serious problem. The law against human trafficking passed in 2001 showed no immediate effects. Women and children are taken from Romania to various countries in Western and Eastern Europe, where they are sexually exploited. In particular street children are easy targets for the false promises of the people traffickers. There have recently been increasing numbers of reports of them being forced into prostitution in cities such as Hamburg, Berlin and Amsterdam.

Romania is also a transit country for victims on their way from a wide range of countries, such as  Turkey or Thailand, to other destination in Europe.



The sexual abuse of children in Romania is punished with prison sentences of up to fifteen years. Romania ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in October 1990, and in January 2002 it ratified the optional protocol on child trafficking, child prostitution, and child pornography.



According to estimates from UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, at the end of 2007 approximately 15.000 people in Romania were infected with HIV, including 7.000 women. How many children were infected could not be estimated. In the same year less than 1.000 Romanians died following infection with HIV.


Local Contacts


Save the Children Romania

(Organizatia Salvati Copiii )

Intrarea Stefan Furtuna 3

Sector 1

77176 Bucharest, Romania

Phone: +401 2126176

Fax: +401 3124486




South East European Child Rights Action Network


Metelkova 6,

1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Phone: +386 1 438 5250

Fax: +386 1 432 3383








The ancient country of Dacia became integrated in the Roman Empire, and this fact is reflected both in the current name and also in the language. Romania itself was formed in 1862 by the unification of Moldovia and Walachia, which had been tributary states to the Ottoman Empire.

Having sided with the Allies in the First World War, Romania doubled in size with the acquisition of Transylvania, Bukovina, and Bessarabia. In the Second World War, Romania was initially neutral and then sided with Germany. It was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1944, and became a Soviet satellite, and later a member of the Warsaw Pact. In 1947 the monarchy was abolished and the economy nationalised. In the 1960s, Romania established a degree of independence from the Soviet Union, especially in foreign policy, where it was often closer to China. The regime of Nicolae Ceaucescu was overthrown in 1989 and free elections were held in 1990. Since 2004 Romania has been a member of NATO. Negotiations are currently underway on accession to the European Union.


State and society

Under the 1991 constitution, the country has a French-style system with a Senate and an Assembly of Deputies. The President has many powers and is elected directly. The efforts of the government are now concentrated primarily on completing the reforms necessary to meet the requirements for accession to the European Union.

Romania is the only country in Southern Europe with a Romantic official language. The population consists of 91% ethnic Romanians. The largest ethnic minority are Hungarians (7% overall, but over 50% in some areas in the West). Parts of Transylvania also have German-speaking communities. In terms of religious affiliations, 87% are Romanian-Orthodox, 5%  Protestant, and about the same proportion Roman Catholic, with about 1% Greek Orthodox.

As a result of massive industrialisation in the 1960s, 56% of the population now live in towns and cities, which is a high level for the region, even though it is still low in a European comparison. 

The protection for minors in Romania is not always enforced, and Gypsies are socially disadvantaged in many ways.


The social problems in Romania are many, and they are usually linked with the poverty of much of the population. More than 40% are living below the poverty line, and this places an unbearable burden on large families in particular - domestic violence is an everyday occurrence. Children suffer in particular from poverty. In Bucharest there are more than 3000 street children. The situation is made worse by the fact that medical care is often inadequate, with the state failing to provide an adequate health system and social welfare.



The Romanian economy is growing strongly, despite facing major restructuring problems. There remains an urgent need to reform bureaucracy and make further advances in privatisation if the positive trend is to be maintained in the longer term.

Foreign trade is a key element of economic growth, especially in the mechanical engineering sector, the oil industry and the timber industry. The economy is also benefiting from the building boom, and from the drive to improve the infrastructure, funded in part by the European Union.