Cruising to Romania

Background

The principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia - for centuries under the suzerainty of the Turkish Ottoman Empire - secured their autonomy in 1856; they united in 1859 and a few years later adopted the new name of Romania. The country gained recognition of its independence in 1878. It joined the Allied Powers in World War I and acquired new territories following the conflict. In 1940, it allied with the Axis powers and participated in the 1941 German invasion of the USSR.

Three years later, overrun by the Soviets, Romania signed an armistice. The post-war Soviet occupation led to the formation of a Communist "people's republic" in 1947 and the abdication of the king. The decades-long rule of dictator Nicolae CEAUSESCU, who took power in 1965, and his Securitate police state became increasingly oppressive and draconian through the 1980s. CEAUSESCU was overthrown and executed in late 1989. Former Communists dominated the government until 1996, when they were swept from power by a fractious coalition of centrist-right parties.

In 2000, the center-left Social Democratic Party (PSD) became Romania's leading party, governing with the support of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR). The opposition center-right alliance formed by the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Democratic Party (PD) scored a surprise victory over the ruling PSD in December 2004 presidential elections. The PNL-PD alliance maintains a parliamentary majority with the support of the UDMR, the Humanist Party (PUR), and various ethnic minority groups.

Although Romania completed accession talks with the European Union (EU) in December 2004, it must continue to address rampant corruption - while invigorating lagging economic and democratic reforms - to fulfill the requirements for EU accession, scheduled to take place in 2007 or 2008. Romania joined NATO in March of 2004.

Geography

Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Ukraine
Geographic coordinates: 46 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 237,500 sq km

Coastline

225 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate

Temperate; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow and fog; sunny summers with frequent showers and thunderstorms

Terrain

Central Transylvanian Basin is separated from the Plain of Moldavia on the east by the Carpathian Mountains and separated from the Walachian Plain on the south by the Transylvanian Alps

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
Highest point: Moldoveanu 2,544 m

Economy

Romania began the transition from Communism in 1989 with a largely obsolete industrial base and a pattern of output unsuited to the country's needs. The country emerged in 2000 from a punishing three-year recession thanks to strong demand in EU export markets. Despite the global slowdown in 2001-02, strong domestic activity in construction, agriculture, and consumption have kept GDP growth above 4%.

An IMF standby agreement, signed in 2001, has been accompanied by slow but palpable gains in privatization, deficit reduction, and the curbing of inflation. The IMF Board approved Romania's completion of the standby agreement in October 2003, the first time Romania has successfully concluded an IMF agreement since the 1989 revolution. In July 2004, the executive board of the IMF approved a 24-month standby agreement for $367 million. IMF concerns about Romania's tax policy and budget deficit led to a breakdown of this agreement in 2005. In the past, the IMF has criticized the government's fiscal, wage, and monetary policies.

Meanwhile, macroeconomic gains have only recently started to spur creation of a middle class and address Romania's widespread poverty, while corruption and red tape continue to handicap the business environment. Romanian government confidence in continuing disinflation was underscored by its currency revaluation in 2005, making 10,000 "old" lei = 1 "new" leu.

Transportation

Airports: 61 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 25
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 36
Heliports: 1 (2005)
Pipelines: gas 3,508 km; oil 2,427 km (2004)
Railways: total: 11,385 km (3,888 km electrified)
Roadways: total: 198,817 km

Waterways

1,731 km; includes 1,075 km on Danube River, 524 km on secondary branches, and 132 km on canals (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 24 ships (1000 GRT or over) 204,803 GRT/255,382 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 16, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 3, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Italy 2)
Registered in other countries: 41 (Georgia 8, North Korea 16, Malta 3, Panama 9, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Syria 3) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Braila, Constanta, Galati, Tulcea

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Albania - Algeria - Bulgaria - Croatia - Cyprus - Egypt - France - Georgia - Gibraltar - Greece - Israel - Italy - Lebanon - Libya - Malta - Monaco - Morocco - Romania - Serbia and Montenegro - Slovenia - Spain - Syria - Tunisia - Turkey - Ukraine

Further Reading

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