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Bulgaria and Romania. The Economies. Romania. GDP per capita (2004) 7000 euro (in PPS), or 31.4% of the EU average(Source: Eurostat, http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int/pls/portal, 22.04.2005). Economic growth 5% in 2002; 5.2% in 2003; 8.3% in 2004 Inflation rate (2004) 11.9% (interim HICP)

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  • GDP per capita (2004) 7000 euro (in PPS), or 31.4% of the EU average(Source: Eurostat, http://epp.eurostat.cec.eu.int/pls/portal, 22.04.2005).

  • Economic growth 5% in 2002; 5.2% in 2003; 8.3% in 2004

  • Inflation rate (2004) 11.9% (interim HICP)

  • Unemployment rate 6.8% in 2004

  • Currency Lei (plural form for Leu) 1 leu = 100 bani.

  • Romania switched to “new leu” as from 1/7/05. Symbol of new currency: RON

  • Average exchange rate in October 2005: 1 EUR = 1 € = 3.6503 RON

  • Government budget balance -1.4% of GDP in 2004

  • Current account balance End of 2004: -7.5% of GDP

  • Debt 18.5% of GDP in 2004

  • Trade with EU25 (2003) Exports to the EU: 74% of the total

  • Imports from the EU: 68% of the total (Source: EU bilateral trade and trade with the world, DG TRADE, 29.04.2005.)

  • Source: European Commission, Candidate Countries' Economies Quarterly (CCEQ), 1st quarter 2005

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More on the economy

  • Romania is the EU’s 14th largest trading partner. In 2004 Trade was worth 32.Billion Euro.

  • EU is Romania’s most important trading partner

  • Marco economic situation is stable and has improved over the last ten years

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  • Economic Growth as fuelled a trade imbalance caused by domestic demand

  • Monetary Policy tweaked to counter growth in borrowing

  • Unemployment 7.1% FDI steady inflation falling (9.1%)

  • Major privatisation is under way but has not been smooth

  • A corrupt Judiciary is currently being reformed.

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Bulgaria domestic demand

  • GDP per capita € 6324 per capita (in purchasing power standards), or 30.8% of the EU-25 average in 2004

  • Economic growth 4.9% in 2002; 4.5% in 2003; 5.6% in 2004

  • Inflation rate 6.1% in 2004

  • Unemployment rate 11.9%

  • Currency 1 lev = 100 stotinki

  • 1 Euro = 1.95583 leva (BGN)

  • Government budget balance 2004 budget surplus of 1.3% of GDP

  • Current account balance (2004) -1452.8 million euro or 7.4% of GDP

  • Foreign debt 55.9 % of GDP in 2004

  • Trade with EU (2004) Exports to the EU: 54.2% of total exports

  • Import from the EU 48.2 % of total imports

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  • Considered a functioning market economy since 2002 domestic demand

  • Believed to able to withstand competition with out E.U states

  • Economy is stable but unpopular structural reforms are faltering

  • Large trade deficit

  • Slow Growth in GNP per capita

  • Unemployment fell to 10% in 2004

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  • FDI at 10% but slowing down as reforms slow down domestic demand

  • Currently receiving generous funding from the international monetary fund and European Bank of Development and reconstruction

  • The economist predicts slight fall in growth, inflation increase due to flooding and a shrinking deficit as oil prices stabilise and consumer spending drop

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Human Rights domestic demand

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HR – Political History domestic demand

  • 1946-1989, Part of the soviet Bloc, with the longest serving soviet leader, Todor Zhivkov.

  • 1990s, a decade of political turmoil.

  • 1992 saw the first democratically elected president, Zhelyn Zheler.

  • In 1993, mass privatisation heralded the end of the soviet era.

  • 1994, however, the Socialist party returned to power.

  • 2001, monarchist party wins elections.

  • 2005 we see a Socialist-led coalition in power.

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HR - General domestic demand

  • Abuses against mentally disabled people, especially concerning living conditions, use of force in restraint, and arbitrary detention.

  • Complains of ill treatment by law enforcement officials including unlawful use of firearms resulting in several deaths every year.

  • Racist assaults on minority groups.

  • Police raids on places of worship.

  • However, there was a step forward in the abolition of the death penalty in 1998.

  • Many refugee problems especially concerning the migration between Bulgaria and Turkey.

  • Concerns that all minority groups, but mainly Gypsies and Turks, are seen as a threat by ethnic Bulgarians. Deliberate use of this by nationalist movements especially in those regions most affected by economic problems.

  • Source – Amnesty International reports on Bulgaria 2004, 2005

  • Source – Seminar ‘Aspects of the Ethnocultural situation in Bulgaria’, International Migration Review 1992

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Women’s Rights domestic demand

  • Since 1989, the twofold transition to both market economy and liberal democracy has led to fundamental changes in Romania, affecting women in both the public and private spheres. These transformations are due to both internal and external pressures. As an external factor, the impact of the European Union's position on equal opportunities has led Romania to bring about changes in its legal and institutional framework.

  • However, while undoubtedly beneficial, the influence of the European Union is also limited to a specific range of issues, namely those prioritised in EU legislation and policy-making (primarily employment and social policy). This is where factors internal to Romanian society and politics come into play. It is suggested that real progress involves addressing inequalities in both public and private spheres, in contradistinction to the overall emphasis placed by the European Commission on the public sphere alone.

Taking Women Seriously: Equal Opportunities and Romania's Accession to the European Union

Cristina Chiva

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Women in public and private life domestic demand

  • The public political sphere is predominantly masculine, as indicated by the systematic under-representation of women in the Parliament and government, as well as by "the absence of an outlook based on gender equity" from political parties. The economic sphere witnesses the same phenomenon: from 1991 to 1998, rising unemployment has constantly affected women more than men, while women are over-represented in the lowest wage sectors of the economy (especially agriculture, healthcare and education).

  • In the private sphere, four fifths of the total number of single-parent households in 1998 were headed by women; abortion constituted the main means of birth control, with a staggering rate of over 300 abortions per 100 live births in 1990, receding to just over 100 in 1998; the maternal mortality rate in 1997 was over five times the average in Europe. Furthermore, both women's and men's understandings of gender roles is framed by patriarchal assumptions and practices: respondents to the 2000 Gender Barometer agree to an overwhelming extent that women are housekeepers and primary caretakers, while men are breadwinners for their families. Moreover, a staggering percentage of those questioned (over 80%) said that household tasks such as cleaning, cooking or ironing are performed exclusively by women.

By Svetla Dimitrova for Southeast European Times in Sofia

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The EU’s Role domestic demand

  • The limits of the EU's democratising influence quickly become apparent. Two of the most recent reports of the European Commission locate the requirements for reform primarily in the field of Chapter 13 of the accession programme, dealing with social policy and employment. These requirements concern three distinct areas:

  • 1) legislative change (particularly the need for Romania to "transpose into national law" the nine Community Directives concerning equal pay, pregnancy and maternity, parental leave, social security and sex discrimination);

  • 2) institutional change (developing structures to implement and enforce equal opportunities);

  • 3) tackling "economic, social, political and cultural" inequalities. Throughout the reports, overwhelming emphasis is placed on the first two areas, while in the third, more general area, reference is made primarily to employment, political decision-making, domestic violence and trafficking in women.

Taking Women Seriously: Equal Opportunities and Romania's Accession to the European Union

Cristina Chiva

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The EU’s Role domestic demand

  • With the significant exception of domestic violence, the European Commission's approach is mainly concerned with the public (political and economic) sphere. This denotes relatively little acknowledgement of the ways in which women's equal opportunities in the public sphere are affected by inequalities in the private realm, so that "the progress reports do not sufficiently address gender equality issues". This is indeed a matter to be reconsidered by the European Commission, insofar as its enlargement strategy is concerned.

  • Nevertheless, it is necessary to keep in mind that implementing equal opportunities should not be merely an instrument for furthering Romania's accession to the EU. Rather, promoting and achieving gender equality is an intrinsic part of a consolidated democracy. This is why the aim of attaining equality between men and women in Romania cannot and should not depend in its entirety on the EU's political conditionality.

  • Therefore, the comprehensive framework suggested above entails two complementary types of transformations: 1) those required by the European Union; 2) those pertaining to domestic initiatives. In other words, while undoubtedly necessary, the changes called for by the EU are not sufficient for efficient implementation of equal opportunities in Romania.

Taking Women Seriously: Equal Opportunities and Romania's Accession to the European Union

Cristina Chiva

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HR – the Roma Community domestic demand

  • Bulgarian Roma community: 4.7% of the total population (7.5 million).

  • Romanian Roma community: 2.5% of total population (22.3 million).

  • EU accession has imposed conditions on Bulgaria and Romania to improve the situation of minorities especially the Roma community.

  • In Bulgaria, 1999, the government adopted ‘The Framework Programme for Equal Integration of Roma in Bulgaria Society’.

  • In Romania, 2001, established ‘The National Strategy for Improving the Situation of the Roma’. Both programs address problems of their economic situation, healthcare, justice, education and social security.

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HR – the Roma Community domestic demand

  • Reports published by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance on Bulgaria (2004), Romania (2006) outlined several issues including unemployment, education and use of force and firearms.


  • In Romania (2003) a labour code was adopted which included a provision against discrimination, but did not include any Roma-specific objectives. Roma unemployment is estimated at 25% (National Average 6.5%).

  • In Bulgaria Roma unemployment estimated at 51% (National Average 11.5%). In certain Roma districts this figure may be up to 90%.


  • Romania (2004), the ministry of Education and Research banned all forms of segregation in Romanian schools, but Roma children still find themselves in schools of a lower standard. In 1998-99 primary education enrolment for Roma = 64% (General Population 98.9%).

  • In Bulgaria, a high percentage of Roma children are sent to schools intended for children with mental disabilities. ECRI report found that government initiatives were insufficient and most of the work in this area was carried out by NGOs.

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HR – the Roma Community domestic demand

Use of Force and Firearms:

  • In Bulgaria, surveys indicate that Roma are 3 times more likely to suffer physical violence in police stations than people of Bulgarian origin. 2000: a specialised Human Rights committee was set up within the National Police department to train officers in Human Rights and International standards, but no independent body has been set up to investigate claims of ill-treatment.

In both country programs the ECRI found there was insufficient funding for initiatives and the authorities appeared to lack the political will to ensure their success. For example in Romania until 2003 only the EU was financing National Strategy projects.

Source – European Commission against Racism and Intolerance

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Conclusions? domestic demand

  • Bulgaria and Romania on track to join EU in 2007, although infringements create the possibility of a delay of up to a year.

  • Generally the economies of both countries are improving but standards of living remain low.

  • Ongoing problems with abuse of power, Human Rights violations, and lack of punishment of senior officials.

  • Source www.bbc.co.uk

  • Should they be allowed to join? What effect would this have on both these countries and on the EU itself?