Romania. "Welcome to Europe!" Romanian President Traian
Băsescu greeted thousands of cheering Bucharest residents as
the country entered the EU at the New Year seventeen years
after the fall of the Communist dictatorship. But the cheer
soon fell silent when the President accused Prime Minister
Calin Popescu Tariceanu of trying to hide economic crime.
CountryAAH, the prime minister denied and backed off by accusing the
president of undermining the government and himself being
the center of shady business. The Prosecutor General was
linked and the coalition government was shaken by the
conflict between the Democratic Party which supported the
President and the National Liberal Party which supported the
Prime Minister. The Social Democrats in opposition, who were
the country's largest party, demanded that President Băsescu
be brought before national law and that Tariceanu resign.
But among the population, Băsescu was popular among others.
for his sharp statements against the corruption among the
country's politicians. According to the German-based think
tank Transparency International, the new EU member Romania
was the Union's most corrupt country.
In February, Foreign Minister Răzvan Ungureanu was forced
to leave the government. He was the president's man. When
Prime Minister Tariceanu nominated a new foreign minister,
the president opposed him, creating a deadlock in which the
new EU country was held without a foreign minister for a
In April, Parliament decided to suspend President Băsescu
from office until further notice. He was charged with abuse
of power and bribery, which could lead to national law. The
question of national law was decided in a referendum in May,
when Băsescu was supported by three-quarters of the voters.
In doing so, he escaped national law and was able to
re-enter his office.
In a June report, Romania was criticized by the European
Commission in order not to fight corruption vigorously
enough. The Commission called for an action plan to
Romania was hit hard by the extreme weather in Europe
this summer. The heat in June took over 30 lives, and in
Bucharest a record temperature of 45 degrees was measured.
In August, a new heat wave came, demanding at least 18
casualties in the country. In September, heavy rainfall
followed, as several people perished in floods and many had
to leave their homes.
The political stalemate continued and in October the
opposition aroused distrust of the government in Parliament.
The government won the vote, but its minority position made
it paralyzed when it came to important reforms.
A foreign policy crisis erupted in the fall when Italy
decided to expel a large number of Romanians after notable
crimes that Romanians suspected were behind. Half a million
Romanians were estimated to be in Italy, many of whom had
come after Romania's EU entry and lived in great poverty.
In November, Romania held its first election to the
European Parliament and appointed the country's 35 members
there. However, the election was mostly seen as a domestic
political struggle, and the result showed strong
dissatisfaction with the government. The winner of the
election became the Democratic Party, which supported
President Băsescu and had been ousted by the government
earlier this year. The party got about a third of the vote,
while the Socialist Democratic Party communists got about 20
percent. Prime Minister Tariceanu's National Liberal Party
stopped about 15 percent.
With Romania's EU membership, visa restrictions were
imposed on Moldavians, which led to the Romanian mission in
neighboring Moldova being flooded with visa applications. In
addition, hundreds of thousands of Moldavians applied for
Romanian citizenship in connection with Romania's EU entry.
Romania wanted to open two new consulates in Moldova, but
the government there said no and relations between
neighboring countries deteriorated.
At the end of the year, Moldova accused Romania of
"aggression" and expelled a couple of Romanian diplomats.
Romanian Foreign Minister Tudor Chiuariu resigned in
December after being subjected to investigation into