Romania is a country in Southeastern Europe. It shares a border with Hungary and Serbia to the west, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova to the northeast and Bulgaria to the south. Romania has a stretch of sea coast along the Black Sea. It is located roughly in the lower basin of the Danube and almost all of the Danube Delta is located within its territory.
Romania is a semi-presidential unitary state. As a nation-state, the country was formed by the merging of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859 and it gained recognition of its independence in 1878. Later, in 1918, they were joined by Transylvania, Bukovina and Bessarabia. At the end of World War II, parts of its territories (roughly the present day Moldova) were occupied by USSR and Romania became a member of Warsaw Pact. With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Romania started a series of political and economic reforms that allowed for Romania to join the European Union on January 1, 2007.
Romania has the 9th largest territory and the 7th largest population (with 22 million people) among the European Union member states. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest), the 6th largest city in the EU with almost 2.2 million people. In 2007, Sibiu, a large city in Transylvania, was chosen as European Capital of Culture. Romania also joined NATO on March 29, 2004, and is also a member of the Latin Union, of the Francophonie and of OSCE.
The oldest modern human remains in Europe were discovered in the "Cave With Bones" in present day Romania. The remains are approximately 42,000 years old and as Europe’s oldest remains of Homo sapiens, they may represent the first such people to have entered the continent. The remains are especially interesting because they present a mixture of archaic, early modern human and Neanderthal morphological features.
The earliest written evidence of people living in the territory of the present-day Romania comes from Herodotus in 513 BC. In one of his books, he writes that the tribal confederation of the Getae were defeated by the Persian Emperor Darius the Great during his campaign against the Scythians. Dacians were a branch of Thracians that inhabitanted Dacia (corresponding to modern Romania, Moldova and northern Bulgaria). The Dacian kingdom reached its maximum expansion during King Burebista, around 82 BC. Later, The region came under the scrutiny of Rome when the Roman province, bordering along the Danube, Moesia, was attacked by the Dacians in 87 AD during Emperor Domitian's reign. The Dacians were eventually defeated by the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan in two campaigns stretching from 101 AD to 106 AD, and the core of their kingdom was turned into the province of Roman Dacia.
Because the province was rich in ores, and especially silver and gold, the Romans heavily colonized the province, brought with them Vulgar Latin and started a period of intense romanization (giving birth to proto-Romanian). But in the 3rd century AD, with the invasions of migratory populations such as Goths, the Roman Empire was forced to pull out of Dacia around 271 AD, thus making it the first province to be abandoned.
Several competing theories have been generated to explain the origin of modern Romanians. Linguistic and geo-historical analyses tend to indicate that Romanians have coalesced as a major ethnic group both South and North of the Danube.
In either 271 or 275, the Roman army and administration left Dacia, which was invaded by the Goths. The Goths lived with the local people until the 4th century, when a nomadic people, the Huns, arrived. The Gepids and the Avars and their Slavic subjects ruled Transylvania until the 8th century. It was then invaded by Bulgarians, thereafter being incorporated into the First Bulgarian Empire (marking the end of Romania's Dark Age), where it remained part of until the 11th century. The Pechenegs, the Cumans and Uzes were also mentioned by historic chronicles on the territory of Romania, until the founding of the Romanian principalities of Wallachia by Basarab I around 1310 in the High Middle Ages, and Moldavia by Dragos around 1352.
In the Middle Ages, Romanians lived in three distinct principalities: Wallachia (Romanian: Tara Româneascã—"Romanian Land"), Moldavia (Romanian: Moldova) and Transylvania. Transylvania was part of the Kingdom of Hungary from the 10-11th century until the 16th century, when it became the independent Principality of Transylvania until 1711.
Independent Wallachia has been on the border of the Ottoman Empire since the 14th century and slowly fell under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire during the 15th century. One famous ruler in this period was Vlad III the Impaler (also known as Vlad Dracula or Vlad Tepes), Prince of Wallachia in 1448, 1456–62, and 1476. In the English-speaking world, Vlad is best known for the legends of the exceedingly cruel punishments he imposed during his reign and for serving as the primary inspiration for the vampire main character in Bram Stoker's popular Dracula (1897) novel. As king, he maintained an independent policy in relation to the Ottoman Empire, and in Romania he is viewed by many as a prince with a deep sense of justice and a defender of both Wallachia and European Christianity against Ottoman expansionism.
The principality of Moldavia reached its most glorious period under the rule of Stephen the Great between 1457 and 1504. His rule of 47 years was unusually long, especially at that time - only 13 rulers were recorded to have ruled for at least 50 years until the end of 15th century. He was a very successful military leader (winning 47 battles and losing only 2) and after each victory, he raised a church, managing to build 48 churches or monasteries, some of them with unique and very interesting painting styles. Stephen's most prestigious victory was over the Ottoman Empire in 1475 at the Battle of Vaslui for which he raised the Voroneþ Monastery. For this victory, Pope Sixtus IV deemed him verus christianae fidei athleta (true Champion of Christian Faith). However, after his death, Moldavia would also come under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
Michael the Brave (Romanian: Mihai Viteazul) was the Prince of Wallachia (1593-1601), of Transylvania (1599-1600), and of Moldavia (1600). Briefly, during his reign the three principalities largely inhabited by Romanians were for the first time united under a single rule. After his death, as vassal tributary states, Moldova and Wallachia had complete internal autonomy and an external independence, which was finally lost in the 18th century.
During the period of Austro-Hungarian rule in Transylvania, and Ottoman suzerainty over Wallachia and Moldavia, most Romanians were in the situation of being second-class citizens (or even non-citizens) in a territory where they were forming the majority of the population. In some Transylvanian cities, such as Brasov (at that time the Transylvanian Saxon citadel of Kronstadt), Romanians were not even allowed to reside within the city walls.
After the failed 1848 Revolution, the Great Powers did not support the Romanians' expressed desire to officially unite in a single state, forcing Romania to proceed alone against the Turks. The electors in both Moldavia and Wallachia chose in 1859 the same person – Alexandru Ioan Cuza – as prince (Domnitor in Romanian). Thus, Romania was created as a personal union, albeit a Romania that did not include Transylvania, where although Romanian nationalism inevitably ran up against Hungarian nationalism at the end of the 19th century, the upper class and the aristocracy remained mainly Hungarian. As in the previous 900 years, Austria-Hungary, especially under the Dual Monarchy of 1867, kept the Hungarians firmly in control, even in parts of Transylvania where Romanians constituted a local majority.
In a 1866 coup d'etat, Cuza was exiled and replaced by Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who became known as Prince Carol of Romania. During the Russo-Turkish War, Romania fought on the Russian side; in the 1878 Treaty of Berlin, Romania was recognized as an independent state by the Great Powers. In return, Romania ceded three southern districts of Bessarabia to Russia and acquired Dobruja. In 1881, the principality was raised to a kingdom and Prince Carol became King Carol I.
The 1878-1914 period was one of stability and progress for Romania. During the Second Balkan War, Romania joined Greece, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey against Bulgaria. In the peace Treaty of Bucharest (1913) Romania gained Southern Dobrudja - the Quadrilateral (the Durostor and Caliacra counties).
In August 1914, when World War I broke out, Romania declared neutrality. Two years later, under the pressure of Allies (especially France desperate to open a new front), on August 14/27 1916 it joined the Allies, for which they were promised support for the accomplishment of national unity, Romania declared war on Austria-Hungary.
The Romanian military campaign ended in disaster for Romania as the Central Powers conquered two-thirds of the country and captured or killed the majority of its army within four months. Nevertheless, Moldova remained in Romanian hands after the invading forces were stopped in 1917 and since by the war's end, Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire had collapsed, Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transylvania were allowed to unite with the Kingdom of Romania in 1918. By the 1920 Treaty of Trianon, Hungary renounced in favour of Romania all the claims of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy over Transylvania. The union of Romania with Bukovina was ratified in 1919 in the Treaty of Saint Germain and with Bessarabia in 1920 by the Treaty of Paris.
The Romanian expression România Mare (literal translation "Great Romania", but more commonly rendered "Greater Romania") generally refers to the Romanian state in the inter war period, and by extension, to the territory Romania covered at the time. Romania achieved at that time its greatest territorial extent (almost 300,000 km²), managing to unite all the historic Romanian lands.
During the Second World War, Romania tried again to remain neutral, but on June 28, 1940, it received a Soviet ultimatum with an implied threat of invasion in the event of non-compliance. Under pressure from Moscow and Berlin, the Romanian administration and the army were forced to retreat from Bessarabia as well from Northern Bukovina to avoid war. This, in combination with other factors, prompted the government to join the Axis. Thereafter, southern Dobruja was awarded to Bulgaria, while Hungary received Northern Transylvania as result of an Axis arbitration. The authoritarian King Carol II abdicated in 1940, succeeded by the National Legionary State, in which power was shared by Ion Antonescu and the Iron Guard. Within months, Antonescu had crushed the Iron Guard, and the subsequent year Romania entered the war on the side of the Axis powers. During the war, Romania was the most important source of oil for Nazi Germany, which attracted multiple bombing raids by the Allies. By means of the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, Romania recovered Bessarabia and northern Bukovina from the Soviet Russia, under the leadership of general Ion Antonescu. The Antonescu regime played a major role in the Holocaust, following to a lesser extent the Nazi policy of oppression and massacre of the Jews, and Romas, primarily in the Eastern territories Romania recovered or occupied from the Soviet Union (Transnistria) and in Moldavia.
In August 1944, Antonescu was toppled and arrested by King Michael I of Romania. Romania changed sides and joined the Allies, but its role in the defeat of Nazi Germany was not recognized by the Paris Peace Conference of 1947. With the Red Army forces still stationed in the country and exerting de facto control, Communists and their allied parties claimed 80% of the vote, through a combination of vote manipulation, elimination, and forced mergers of competing parties, thus establishing themselves as the dominant force. By the end of the war, the Romanian army had suffered about 300,000 casualties.
In 1947, King Michael I was forced by the Communists to abdicate and leave the country, Romania was proclaimed a republic and remained under direct military and economic control of the USSR until the late 1950s. During this period, Romania's resources were drained by the "SovRom" agreements: mixed Soviet-Romanian companies established to mask the looting of Romania by the Soviet Union.
After the negotiated retreat of Soviet troops in 1958, Romania, under the new leadership of Nicolae Ceausescu, started to pursue independent policies. Such examples are the condemnation of the Soviet-led 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia (being the only Warsaw Pact country not to take part in the invasion), the continuation of diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six-Day War of 1967 (again, the only Warsaw Pact country to do so), the establishment of economic (1963) and diplomatic (1967) relations with the Federal Republic of Germany, and so forth. Also, close ties with the Arab countries (and the PLO) allowed Romania to play a key role in the Israel-Egypt and Israel-PLO peace processes by intermediating the visit of Sadat in Israel. A short-lived period of relative economic well-being and openness followed in the late 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s. As Romania's foreign debt sharply increased between 1977 and 1981 (from 3 to 10 billion US dollars), the influence of international financial organizations such as the IMF or the World Bank grew, conflicting with Nicolae Ceausescu's autarchic policies. Ceausescu eventually initiated a project of total reimbursement of the foreign debt (completed in 1989, shortly before his overthrow). To achieve this goal, he imposed policies that impoverished Romanians and exhausted the Romanian economy. He greatly extended the authority police state and imposed a cult of personality. These led to a dramatic decrease in Ceausescu-popularity and culminated in his overthrow and execution in the bloody Romanian Revolution of 1989.
During the 1947-1962 period, many people were arbitrarily killed or imprisoned for political, economic or unknown reasons: detainees in prisons or camps, deported, persons under house arrest, and administrative detainees. There were hundreds of thousands of abuses, deaths and incidents of torture against a large range of people, from political opponents to ordinary citizens. Between 60,000 and 80,000 political prisoners were detained as psychiatric patients and treated in some of the most sadistic ways by communist doctors. Even though between 1962 and 1964 some political prisoners were freed in a series of amnesties it is estimated that, in total, the regime directly killed up to two million people.
After the fall of Ceausescu, the National Salvation Front (FSN), led by Ion Iliescu, took partial multi-party democratic and free market measures. Several major political parties of the pre-war era, such as the National Christian Democrat Peasant's Party (PNTCD), the National Liberal Party (PNL) and the Romanian Social Democrat Party (PSDR) were resurrected. After several major political rallies (especially in January), in April 1990, a sit-in protest contesting the results of the recently held parliamentary elections began in University Square, Bucharest. The protesters accused the FSN of being made up of former Communists and members of the Securitate. The protesters did not recognize the results of the election, which they deemed undemocratic, and were asking for the exclusion from the political life of the former high-ranking Communist Party members. The protest rapidly grew to become an ongoing mass demonstration (known as the Golaniad). The peaceful demonstrations degenerated into violence. After the police failed to bring the demonstrators to order, Ion Iliescu called on the "men of good will" to come and defend the State institutions in Bucharest. Coal miners of the Jiu Valley answered the call and arrived in Bucharest on June 14. Their violent intervention is remembered as the June 1990 Mineriad.
The subsequent disintegration of the FSN produced several political parties including the Romanian Democrat Social Party (PDSR, later Social Democratic Party, PSD), the Democratic Party (PD) and the ApR (Alliance for Romania). The PDSR party governed Romania from 1990 until 1996 through several coalitions and governments with Ion Iliescu as head of state. Since then there have been three democratic changes of government: in 1996, the democratic-liberal opposition and its leader Emil Constantinescu acceded to power; in 2000 the Social Democrats returned to power, with Iliescu once again president; and in 2004 Traian Bãsescu was elected president, with an electoral coalition called Justice and Truth Alliance (DA). The government was formed by a larger coalition which also includes the Conservative Party and the ethnic Hungarian party.
Post-Cold War Romania developed closer ties with Western Europe, eventually joining NATO in 2004. The country applied in June 1993 for membership in the European Union (EU). It became an Associated State of the EU in 1995, an Acceding Country in 2004, and a member on January 1, 2007.
Following the free travel agreement and politic of the post-Cold War period, as well as hardship of the life in the post 1990s economic depression, Romania has an increasingly large diaspora, estimated at over 2 million people. The main emigration targets are Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, UK, and the USA.
With a surface area of 238,391 km², Romania is the largest country in southeastern Europe and the twelfth-largest in Europe. A large part of Romania's border with Serbia and Bulgaria is formed by the Danube. The Danube is joined by the Prut River, which forms the border with the Republic of Moldova. The Danube flows into the Black Sea within Romania's territory forming the Danube Delta, the second largest and the best preserved delta in Europe, and a biosphere reserve and a biodiversity World Heritage Site. Other important rivers are the Siret, running north-south through Moldavia, the Olt, running from the oriental Carpathian Mountains to Oltenia, and the Mures, running through Transylvania from East to West.
Romania's terrain is distributed roughly equally between mountainous, hilly and lowland territories. The Carpathian Mountains dominate the center of Romania, with fourteen of its mountain ranges reaching above the altitude of 2,000 meters. The highest mountain in Romania is Moldoveanu Peak (2544 m). In south-central Romania, the Carpathians sweeten into hills, towards the Bãrãgan Plains. Romania's geographical diversity has led to an accompanying diversity of flora and fauna.
Bucharest is the capital and the largest city in Romania. At the census in 2002, its population was over 1.9 million. The metropolitan area of Bucharest has a population of about 2.2 million. There are several plans the further increase its metropolitan area to about 20 times the area of the city proper.
There are 3 more cities in Romania, with a population of around 310,000 that are also present in EU top 100 most populous cities. These are: Constanta, Iasi and Timisoara. Other cities with a population of at least 200,000 people are Craiova, Cluj Napoca, Galati, Brasov, Ploiesti, Brãila and Oradea. There are 25 cities with a population of at least 100,000. Until now, several of the largest cities have a metropolitan area: Constanta (550,000 people), Brasov, Iasi (both with around 400,000) and Oradea (260,000) and several others are planned: Timisoara (400,000), Cluj-Napoca (400,000), Galati-Braila (600,000), Craiova (370,000), Bacau and Ploiesti.
With a GDP of around $250 billion and a GDP per capita (PPP) of $11,989 estimated for 2008, Romania is considered an upper-middle income economy and has been part of the European Union since January 1, 2007. After the Communist regime was overthrown in late 1989, the country experienced a decade of economic instability and decline, led in part by an obsolete industrial base and a lack of structural reform. From 2000 onwards, however, the Romanian economy was transformed into one of relative macroeconomic stability, characterized by high growth, low unemployment and declining inflation. In 2006, according to the Romanian Statistics Office, GDP growth in real terms was recorded at 7.7%, one of the highest rates in Europe. The growth dampened to 6.1% in 2007, and is expected to be around 5.7% in 2008. Unemployment in Romania was at 3.9% in September 2007 which is very low compared to other middle-sized or large European countries such as Poland, France, Germany and Spain. Foreign debt is also comparatively low, at 20.3% of GDP. Exports have increased substantially in the past few years, with a 25% year-on-year rise in exports in the first quarter of 2006. Romania's main exports are clothing and textiles, industrial machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, metallurgic products, raw materials, cars, military equipment, software, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, and agricultural products (fruits, vegetables, and flowers). Trade is mostly centered on the member states of the European Union, with Germany and Italy being the country's single largest trading partners. The country, however, maintains a large trade deficit, which increased sharply during 2007 by 50%, to 15 billion euros.
After a series of privatizations and reforms in the late 1990s and early 2000s, government intervention in the Romanian economy is somewhat lower than in other European economies. In 2005, the government replaced Romania's progressive tax system with a flat tax of 16% for both personal income and corporate profit, resulting in the country having the lowest fiscal burden in the European Union, a factor which has contributed to the growth of the private sector. The economy is predominantly based on services, which account for 55% of GDP, even though industry and agriculture also have significant contributions, making up 35% and 10% of GDP, respectively. Additionally, 32% of the Romanian population is employed in agriculture and primary production, one of the highest rates in Europe. Since 2000, Romania has attracted increasing amounts of foreign investment, becoming the single largest investment destination in Southeastern and Central Europe. Foreign direct investment was valued at €8.3 billion in 2006. According to a 2006 World Bank report, Romania currently ranks 49th out of 175 economies in the ease of doing business, scoring higher than other countries in the region such as Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. Additionally, the same study judged it to be the world's second-fastest economic reformer in 2006. The average gross wage per month in Romania is 1411 lei as of September 2007, equating to €403.3 (US$597.3) based on international exchange rates, and $1001.1 based on purchasing power parity.
Romania has its unique culture, which is the product of its geography and of its distinct historical evolution. Like Romanians themselves, it is fundamentally defined as the meeting point of three regions: Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, but cannot be truly included in any of them. The Romanian identity formed on a substratum of mixed Roman and quite possibly Dacian elements, with many other influences. During late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the major influences came from the Slavic peoples who migrated and settled in nearby Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine and eventually Russia; from medieval Greeks and the Byzantine Empire; from a long domination by the Ottoman Empire; from the Hungarians; and from the Germans living in Transylvania. Modern Romanian culture emerged and developed over roughly the last 250 years under a strong influence from Western culture, particularly French and German culture.
The Romanian literature began to truly evolve with the revolutions of 1848 and the union of the two Danubian Principalities in 1856. The Origin of the Romanians began to be discussed and in Transylvania and Romanian scholars began studying in France, Italy and Germany. The German philosophy and French culture were integrated into modern Romanian literature and a new elite of artists lead to the appearance of some of the classics of the Romanian literature such as Mihai Eminescu, George Cosbuc, Ioan Slavici. Although they remain little known outside Romania, they are very appreciated within Romania for giving birth to a true Romanian literature by creating modern lyrics with inspiration from the old folklore tales. Of them, Eminescu is considered the most important and influential Romanian poet, and is still very much loved for his creations, and especially the poem Luceafãrul. Among other writers that made large contributions around the second half of 19th century are Mihail Kogãlniceanu (also the first prime minister of Romania), Vasile Alecsandri, Nicolae Bãlcescu, Ion Luca Caragiale and Ion Creangã.
The first half of the 20th century is regarded by many Romanian scholars as the Golden Age of Romanian culture and it is the period when it reached its main level of international affirmation and a strong connection to the European cultural trends. The most important artist who had a great influence on the world culture was the sculptor Constantin Brâncusi, a central figure of the modern movement and a pioneer of abstraction, the innovator of world sculpture by immersion in the primordial sources of folk creation. His sculptures blend simplicity and sophistication that led the way for modernist sculptors. As a testimony to his skill, one of his pieces, "Bird in Space" , was sold in an auction for $27.5 million in 2005, a record for any sculpture. In the period between the two world wars, authors like Tudor Arghezi, Lucian Blaga, Eugen Lovinescu, Ion Barbu, Liviu Rebreanu made efforts to synchronize Romanian literature with the European literature of the time. From this period comes also George Enescu, probably the best known Romanian musician. He is a composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, teacher, and one of the greatest performers of his time, in whose honor is held the annually in Bucharest, the classical music George Enescu Festival.
After the world wars, communism brought heavy censorship on almost all elements of life and they used the cultural world as a mean to better control the population. The freedom of expression was constantly restricted in various ways, but the likes of Gellu Naum, Nichita Stãnescu, Marin Sorescu or Marin Preda managed to escape censorship, broke with "socialist realism" and were the leaders of a small "Renaissance" in Romanian literature. While not many of them managed to obtain international acclaim due to the censorship, some like Constantin Noica, Tristan Tzara and Mircea Cãrtãrescu had their works published abroad even though they got jailed for various political reasons.
Some artists chose to leave the country entirely, and continued to make contributions in exile. Among them Eugen Ionescu, Mircea Eliade and Emil Cioran became renown worldwide for their works. Other literary figures who enjoy acclaim outside of the country include the poet Paul Celan and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, both survivors of the Holocaust. Some famous Romanian artists musicians are the folk artist Tudor Gheorghe, and the virtuoso of the pan flute Gheorghe Zamfir - who is reported to have sold over 120 million albums worldwide.
Romanian cinema has recently achieved worldwide acclaim with the appearance of such films as The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, directed by Cristi Puiu, (Cannes 2005 Prix Un certain regard winner), and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, directed by Cristian Mungiu (Cannes 2007 Palme d'Or winner). The latter, according to Variety, is "further proof of Romania's new prominence in the film world."
The UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites includes Romanian sites such as the Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, the Painted churches of northern Moldavia with their fine exterior and interior frescoes, the Wooden Churches of Maramures unique examples that combine Gothic style with traditional timber construction, the Monastery of Horezu, the citadel of Sighisoara, and the Dacian Fortresses of the Orãstie Mountains. Romania's contribution to the World Heritage List stands out because it consists of some groups of monuments scattered around the country, rather than one or two special landmarks. Also, in 2007, the city of Sibiu famous for its Brukenthal National Museum is the European Capital of Culture alongside the city of Luxembourg.
The Constitution of Romania is based on the Constitution of France's Fifth Republic and was approved in a national referendum on 8 December 1991. A plebiscite held in October 2003 approved 79 amendments to the Constitution, bringing it into conformity with the European Union legislation. Romania is governed on the basis of multi-party democratic system and of the segregation of the legal, executive and judicial powers. The Constitution states that Romania is a semi-presidential democratic republic where executive functions are shared between the president and the prime minister. The President is elected by popular vote for maximum two terms, and since the amendments in 2003, the terms are five years. The President appoints the Prime Minister, who in turn appoints the Council of Ministers. While the president resides at Cotroceni Palace, the Prime Minister with the Romanian Government is based at Victoria Palace.
The legislative branch of the government, collectively known as the Parliament, consists of two chambers – the Senate, which has 140 members, and the Chamber of Deputies, which has 346 members. The members of both chambers are elected every four years under a system of party-list proportional representation.
The justice system is independent of the other branches of government, and is made up of a hierarchical system of courts culminating in the High Court of Cassation and Justice, which is the supreme court of Romania. There are also courts of appeal, county courts and local courts. The Romanian judicial system is strongly influenced by the French model, considering that it is based on civil law and is inquisitorial in nature. The Constitutional Court is responsible for judging the compliance of laws and other state regulations to the Romanian Constitution, which is the fundamental law of the country. The constitution, which was introduced in 1991, can only be amended by a public referendum, the last one being in 2003. Since this amendment, the court's decisions cannot be overruled by any majority of the parliament.
The country's entry into the European Union in 2007 has been a significant influence on its domestic policy. As part of the process, Romania has instituted reforms including judicial reform, increased judicial cooperation with other member states, and measures to combat corruption.