Economy of Romania
Nota: 5.28 (1362 note)
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din 26 Februarie 2009
Before World War II, the Romanian economy was primarily agricultural. In 1948 the Communist government came to power and took control of nearly all aspects of the economy. Through a series of five-year plans, the Communists transformed Romania into an industrial nation. The economy grew considerably during the first part of the Communist period, but by the 1980s it had slid into decline, and shortages of consumer goods and degradation of the environment had become widespread. After the Communist government was overthrown in 1989, the Romanian economy virtually collapsed. Although dominated by former Communists, the new government began taking steps to reform the economy in the early 1990s. These steps included devaluing the national currency, removing government subsidies on most consumer goods, and converting some state-owned companies to private ownership.
The Romanian economy declined considerably in the early 1990s. After several years of decline, the gross domestic product (GDP) increased by about 1 percent in 1993. In May 1994 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued the Romanian government a $700 million loan, which helped to lower the country’s inflation rate by 1995. Although Romania’s private sector grew considerably, especially in the area of services, most of the country’s industrial production remained in state hands in 1995. This provoked concern among international lenders, with the IMF suspending further loans, and hindered Romania’s efforts to attract foreign investment.
In June 1995 the Romanian parliament passed a mass privatization program with the goal of transferring more than 2,000 companies to private ownership. Due to the continued slow pace of economic reform, however, the IMF did not resume disbursing loans to Romania in 1996, and foreign investment remained negligible. In 1997 the Romanian government promised to institute rigorous reforms and the IMF responded by awarding the country a $430 million loan. However, the government only succeeded in lifting price controls before privatization bogged down again. In January 1998 the IMF froze disbursement of loans to Romania once again. Most companies remained in state hands as of early 1999.
Romania is currently a member of the IMF, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Romania became an associate member of the European Union (EU) in February 1993, and in December 1997 the EU invited Romania to begin the process of becoming a full member. No timetable was established at that time for when it would join. A free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association went into effect in May 1993.
Unemployment has been a significant problem in Romania since the collapse of Communism in 1989; 6.3 percent of the population was unemployed in 1998. Some 40 percent of the labor force is employed in agriculture, forestry, or fishing; 29 percent in manufacturing, mining, or construction; and 31 percent in services.
22 percent of the working population belongs to one of a number of new trade organizations in Romania.
The regulations governing trade unions were liberalized after the collapse of the Communist government, and significant labor unrest occurred in the early 1990s, particularly among miners. Approximately 22 percent of the working population belongs to one of a number of new trade organizations in Romania. The largest such organization is the National Free Trade Union Confederation of Romania (or, CNSLR-Fratia), which was formed by a merger in 1993 and has headquarters in Bucharest.
Farm in Romania More than two-fifths of the land in Romania is used to grow crops. During the Communist period much of the land was organized into collective farms. Since the end of Communist rule in 1989, the Romanian government has returned most of the country’s farms, such as this one located near the Carpathian Mountains, to the original owners or their heirs.Walter S. Clark/Photo Researchers, Inc.
Field crops or orchards occupy 43 percent of land in Romania. In the mid-1980s more than 80 percent of farms in Romania were either owned by the state or organized as collectives; in collective farms, workers received wages, farm products, and a portion of the farm’s profits. Because of the Communist government’s emphasis on industrial development, agricultural improvements and investments were neglected, and food shortages developed in the 1980s.
After the Communist regime was overthrown, Romania’s new government began the process of dissolving collective farms and distributing land to individual farmworkers. Although state farms were not broken up, farmworkers whose land had been incorporated into state farms were compensated. By 1994 about 46 percent of agricultural land had been returned to its original owners or their heirs, and by 1995 more than three-fourths of Romania’s farm...