Balkans, candidate countries, Financial sector, Middle East and North Africa, External Publications, Romania, Trade, economic integration and globalization

The Social Dimension in Selected Candidate Countries in the Balkans: Country Report on Romania

This country report surveys the economic and social development of Romania. It shows that most of Romania's social indicators lag behind those of the EU. Persistent macroeconomic imbalances have slowed the real and nominal convergence process. The economy is still affected by low levels of competitiveness, incomplete restructuring, modest productivity in agriculture, a high level of employment in subsistence agriculture and slow disinflation.

Regional disparities have grown and amplified social inequities, mainly between urban and rural areas and between large cities and small, mono-industrial towns. Rural areas are affected mostly by a lack of access to utilities and infrastructure.

The healthcare system faces problems in terms of access to medical services for low-income groups and limited coverage in rural areas and small towns. The pension system suffers from inequities in pension levels, a low number of contributors, a reduced coverage rate and insufficient resources. Social assistance, unsuccessfully reformed in 1995, was replaced in 2002 by a minimum guaranteed income.

The book was published in result of a study conducted by a consortium composed of of TARKI Social Research Institute (Hungary), CASE - Center for Social and Economic Research (Poland) and CEPS - Centre for European Policy Studies (Belgium).   Contracted by the European Commission the consortium analysed the socio-economic developments and the process of structural reforms in Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Turkey and identified major challanges in the current demographic, social and economic context, which can be considered most pertinent for determining candidate countries' capacity to function in the Union.

The project assessed recent reform efforts and major current issues for further reform that will allow the candidate countries to participate in the process of economic and monetary integration and to become active members of the Union in all aspects of the civil society, political and cultural life. One of the outputs of the project is the following publicaiton consisting of four country studies and a synthesis report, which provide a comprehensive overview of the social situation in the countries in question.

The Social Dimension in Selected Candidate Countries in the Balkans: Country Report on Romania, was published by CEPS as an ENEPRI Research Report No. 40 is available at