ROMANIA'S TRANSITION TO A MARKET ECONOMY HAS NOT BEEN EASY, BUT IN THE LAST DECADE THE COUNTRY HAS UNDERGONE GENUINE REFORM, HELPED BY A RESTRUCTURING PROGRAM COVERING ALL SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY. WITH THE ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT OF FOREIGN PARTNERS, ROMANIA IS NOW ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO ACHIEVING ITS LONG-CHERISHED HOPE OF EU AND NATO MEMBERSHIP
|KNOCKING ON EUROPE'S DOOR|
than ten years after the fall of Ceaucescu, Romania is finally beginning
to see the benefits of its far-reaching liberalization
program launched in 1996. The country is now pressing on with economic
and social reforms that are set to make it a rising star within the European
Union (EU) and a welcomed partner of the NATO military alliance.
Integration into the European Union, a demanding and exclusive club that sets high economic, political and social criteria for candidate members, has been a tougher nut to crack. After failing the first EU entry exam in 1997, Romanias government and opposition forces jointly agreed on a short and medium term economic strategy that wiped away years of recession and led to 2% economic growth in 2000, the same year Romania got the long-awaited invitation to begin accession negotiations with the EU. Economic growth for 2001 is expected to reach 5%. And the recent stabilization program the government hammered out with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is another clear sign that Romania's economic transition is on the right track.
goals for this year are to bring down the inflation rate and to continue
to modify legislation in order to create a friendlier business environment
for investors, explains Romanian Finance Minister Mihai Nicolae
recently met with several American business people at the residence of
former U.S. ambassador Jim Rosapepe.
We discussed their concerns about doing business in Romania and the bureaucratic
hurdles, which is the main target of the legislative reforms, the
finance minister points out.
According to Romanian President Ion Iliescu, the current government is well equipped to bring about real changes that will improve the lives of all Romanians. Despite the huge challenges we face, this government is blessed with a strong team filled with conviction and enthusiasm, notes Mr. Iliescu.
Through training and guidance we hope to create better political and social infrastructure within the country and especially a feeling of solidarity. We have to unite the people in order to build an efficient and competitive economy based on new technologies and we have to develop our ties with Europe and the United States in order to help support the economic modernization effort, he states.