Romania Country Report
Romania's Social Democratic Party (PSD) leads a coalition government, following the general election in December 2016. The PSD will most probably implement measures that will obstruct anti-corruption activities and increase budgetary spending. Large anti-government protests are likely. Structural reforms, aimed at reducing the complexity of administrative procedures are likely to achieve modest success. Projects to improve Romania's transport infrastructure will likely continue, but risks of inefficiency of implementation remain. The government would most probably stay strongly pro-Western, with tense diplomatic relations with Russia over the Black Sea persisting. The planned, but stalled, privatisation process is unlikely to be revived. Growth in private consumption has been theprimary driver of economic expansion, boosted by stimulative fiscal policy. Economic growth decelerated to 4.0% in the first half of 2018.
Romania's workforce is well educated, with labour costs substantially lower than in Western Europe. Infrastructure is underdeveloped, but is undergoing modernisation, specifically expansion of the road network. With the government's plan for substantial investments, infrastructure and railway construction is likely to accelerate in next two years. Romania's EU accession encouraged steps towards a simplified tax administration and an improved legal system. Nevertheless, corruption will remain a challenge, with anti-corruption efforts likely to be stalled under the current government. Strikes will probably be driven by lay-offs in state companies or by public-sector employees.
The threat of home-grown radicalisation and terrorism is lower than in Western Europe and comparable to that in regional peers such as Poland and Hungary. There have been reports of individuals in Romania promoting terrorism online, but the intelligence service has intensified surveillance activities to detect potential threats. The deployment of US troops and military assets in Romania increases the risk of attacks, instigated by foreign groups. Jewish individuals and assets are also probable targets. Cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure and financial services are likely.
Relations with Russia are strained, but the risk of war is low. Nevertheless, Romanian-Russian relations are likely to continue to deteriorate following the opening of a regional NATO co-ordination unit and the activation of the US missile shield system in Romania, and corresponding plans to further intensify NATO maritime military drills in the Black Sea. The risk of cyber-attacks has increased. Possible disputes with neighbours over border delimitations and minorities are to be managed by diplomatic means. Relations with Moldova are unlikely to deteriorate to the extent of including any military confrontation.
Mass anti-government protests with elevated risk of low-level violence are likely to be staged in the one-year outlook, prompted by proposals by the government or the ruling majority in parliament to amend anti-corruption policies. With a record of effective political demonstrations, large, mostly peaceful demonstrations, with the ability to reverse political decisions, are highly likely to become a standing feature of Romania in the coming years. Peaceful protests against shale gas exploration or environmentally degrading industrial plants and other projects are likely near such complexes and in Bucharest.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Romania contains some of the most seismically-active zones found in Europe. Small earthquakes occur yearly and large earthquakes every 30 to 50 years. In 1977, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.4 killed 1500 people and caused significant material damage to downtown Bucharest.
Flooding is also a common occurrence. In September 2005, the country experienced its worst floods since 1970, in which 23 people were killed (Vrancea county; 14,000 people evacuated).
When traveling in the Romanian mountains, it is advised to take precautions for bear encounters. Do not approach bears by any means and give them enough space to run away. Do not make any sudden movement and do not scream. Tourists have often been hurt and killed by bears.
Outside of large cities and main highways, roads are generally in poor condition, often narrow and unlit. However, the road network is being renovated. There are two highways linking Bucharest to Pitesti or to Constanta. The roads in the Oltenia and the Moldavia regions are in poor condition. Thus, in these regions and in remote areas, extreme vigilance is advised at night due to the lack of proper street lighting. Horse-drawn carts, agricultural vehicles, cyclists, and vehicles without taillights or reflectors are common. Moreover, drivers can be very aggressive.
It is necessary for drivers to display a sticker (rovignette). This sticker is available at border posts, post offices and at some gas stations. Vehicles are required to be fitted with snow tires during the winter.
The railway network is thorough and in good condition. However, the comfort of the trains varies. Buses are a good alternative mode of transportation from town to town. They are comfortable, fast, and frequent.
To travel by taxi, travelers should only use formal taxis with a meter and with displayed prices. Taxis are usually inexpensive. Do not ride a taxi alone to go to remote areas. Travelers wanting to go to Bucharest from the airport by taxi should ask at the kiosk at the terminal exit.
Romania has a continental climate with significant temperature changes from season to season. Summers are hot, sometimes scorching in certain regions (Carpathian Mountains and Transylvania in particular); temperatures are milder along the coast of the Black Sea and in the mountains. Summers and autumns are short with pleasant temperatures during the day and cool nights. Winters are long, harsh, and dry (with the exception of regions around the Black Sea).
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