The Romanian language, which originates from
Latin, is at the heart of Romanian culture. The portal
figure in literature is the 19th century author Mihai
Eminescu. The satire has an important place; The
playwright Eugen Ionescu (French spelling Eugène Ionesco)
was, with his surrealism, typically Romanian, although
he, like many other known Romanians, appeared in exile
Other Romanian writers who became known abroad during
the 20th century are Zaharia Stancu, Tristan Tzara,
Tudor Arghezi, poet Nichita Stanescu and Herta Müller,
who after more than 20 years in German exile received
the Nobel Prize in literature in 2009. In recent years,
Mircea Cărtărescu has been noted, mainly for the
romantic trilogy Orbitor.
Latest population statistics of Romania, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Romania's most renowned sculptor, Constantin Brăncuşi,
worked in Paris from 1903 to 1957 and is represented
with his creation The Newborn ("The Egg") at the Modern
Museum in Stockholm.
The country has a rich heritage of folk music. A
number of Romanian composers have been inspired by folk
music in both operas and symphonies as well as chamber
music. The famous musician Gheorghe Zamfir has made the
pan flute widely known. During the interwar period,
composer Georghe Enescu achieved international
reputation. Enescu was also a teacher of renowned
pianist Dinu Lipatti. Most famous among Romanian
conductors is Sergiu Celibidache, who in the 1960s
worked for Sweden's radio symphony orchestra.
In recent years, the Romanian film has begun to
attract attention, and directors Cristi Puiu and
Cristian Mungiu have won awards at the Cannes Film
Festival in the 2000s. The "new Romanian wave" has been
characterized by an everyday realistic style and often
satirical settlements with both the Ceauşescu
dictatorship (see Modern history) and flaws in the
Although the law guarantees freedom of the
press and opinion, problems sometimes arise for mass
media who want to report freely and critically.
Political and economic pressures from local politicians
and businessmen, as well as pure threats, exist,
especially against regional media that have written
about corruption and other abuses of power.
Freedom of the press has primarily been limited by
the provisions of the Criminal Code which could result
in imprisonment or high fines for insult, slander and
news that could damage the country's honor and
interests. After several legal trips during the 2000s,
the Supreme Court (HD) in 2010 ruled that slander in the
media is not punishable. In 2013, however, the
Constitutional Court said that the HD decision violated
the Constitution. As a result, there was uncertainty
among the country's media workers about what they could
write and say.
There have been tendencies for government agencies to
try to stifle media scrutiny of their activities. The
Supreme National Defense Council, an authority composed
of the country's leading politicians and military, in
2010 cited critical scrutiny of journalism as a threat
to the country's security. During a power struggle
between the government and the president in 2012, the
government accused a number of named journalists of
damaging the country's international reputation by
reporting on the government's attempts to manipulate the
constitution in order to oust the president.
In the country there are 60-day newspapers and
considerably more magazines. Since the turn of the
millennium, ownership of both press and ethereal media
has become increasingly concentrated to a few large
media groups, including those who are active in
politics. The regional press is important. In all
provincial cities, one or more newspapers are published,
while many have their editorial office in Bucharest. A
number of newspapers and magazines are printed in a
minority language. A couple of leading media groups are
Swiss Ringier and Romanian Intact.
Of the leading nationwide newspapers published in
Bucharest, and which often contain both more or less
serious information, Libertatea is the
largest. Among the closest competitors are
Jurnalul National, Evenimentul Zilei,
Adevarul (former Communist Party body
Scinteia), Cronica Română and
România Liberă. Two major sports magazines are
ProSport and Gazeta Sporturilor.
Ziarul Financiar is a leading daily
business newspaper while Capital is
published once a week and contains financial material.
The newspaper Nine O'Clock is
In the 2010s, most magazines' editions have dropped
significantly and advertising revenue has plummeted. As
a result, many local newspapers, in particular, have
been closed down and thousands of journalists have lost
State television broadcasts nationally,
internationally and regionally and is financed through
licenses, directly from the state budget and with
advertising. Among the 15 nationally owned privately
owned TV stations, ProTV and
Antena have the largest number of viewers. In
addition, there are a large number of local TV channels
as well as satellite channels and a well-developed
network for cable TV. The state radio has nationwide,
regional and local channels. In addition, there are more
than 100 privately owned, local radio stations.
More than half of the residents used the Internet
in the mid-2010s, most of whom connected via mobile
FACTS - MASS MEDIA
Percentage of the population using the
71 percent (2018)
Number of mobile subscriptions per 100
The Ponta government remains in power after elections
The ruling party alliance Social Liberal Union (USL) wins the parliamentary
election with 59 percent of the vote against 17 percent for the conservative
alliance ARD and 14 percent for the populist party PP-DD. However, turnout is
low, just under 42 percent. After much hesitation, President Băsescu commands
his arch-rival Prime Minister Ponta to re-form government.
Băsescu and Ponta in meeting on IMF loans
President Băsescu and Prime Minister Ponta meet for the first time after a
power struggle between them. At the meeting, the two leaders agreed that Romania
should apply for a new loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The EU freezes development aid
The EU is holding back development aid to Romania because of suspicions that
money is not being used properly. In the first place, the disbursement of EUR
500 million will be stopped, which would replace Romania for earlier investments
in improved transport and environmental projects. An investigation shows that
since the EU accession in 2007, Romania has used only a tenth of the Union's aid
in a cost-effective and correct way. The investigators point to causes such as
corruption, poor competence within institutions and authorities and lack of
knowledge about how the EU system works.
The opposition forms electoral unions
The large neo-liberal opposition party PD-L, together with a few small
parties, form the electoral union Romanian Right Alliance (ARD) to strengthen
their chances in the parliamentary elections to be held on December 9 of the
Băsescu is given the right to represent within the EU
The Constitutional Court notes that the president will represent Romania at
the EU summits and that the country's parliament is not entitled to make
judgments on the issue, which underlies a serious power struggle between Prime
Minister Ponta and President Băsescu.
Băsescu re-elected President
The Constitutional Court again states that the referendum to put President
Băsescu before the national court was invalid because of too low turnout.
Parliament accepts the court's ruling and Băsescu re-enters the office of
Ministerial defection in the wake of a referendum
Interior Minister Ioan Rus resigns in protest against what he describes as
unacceptable political pressure from both sides in the conflict over the
validity of a referendum (see March 2012). The minister
responsible for organizing the referendum also resigns.
Invalid referendum on national law against the president
Around 87 percent of participants in a referendum vote to put unpopular
President Băsescu before national law, but the vote becomes invalid when voter
turnout is too low. More than 46 percent of the eligible voters participated,
while 50 percent was required for a valid referendum. Băsescu's arch-rivals
Prime Minister Ponta claim that voting lengths are outdated and that the number
of eligible voters has decreased as the population shrinks. Ponta argues that
the Constitutional Court should therefore declare the referendum valid.
The government is trying to oust the president
The government wants to try to oust President Băsescu through a judicial
procedure. Băsescu is accused of exceeding his powers in connection with the
severe cuts in the state budget in 2010. The president is also accused of
violating the principle of separation of powers and interfering with the actions
of the authorities. By decree, the government prevents the Constitutional Court
from stopping a national court procedure. Parliament votes to put Băsescu before
the national court, but the decision must be approved in a referendum. Băsescu
is temporarily suspended from office and is temporarily replaced by Senate
President Crin Antonescu. The EU, the Council of Europe and the US are
expressing concern about democracy in Romania and the country's leadership is
urged to follow the constitution.
Oppositional presidents are replaced
The Ponta government replaces the opposition speakers in both parliament's
chambers as well as the country's ombudsman, replacing all with government-loyal
people. The opposition party PD-L talks about a "coup d'état".
Ponta is accused of plagiarized dissertation
A group of academics accuse Ponta of plagiarizing much of her doctoral thesis
in law. Ponta rejects the allegations as politically motivated and claims that
President Băsescu is behind them. The Ministry of Education's Ethical Council
explains that Ponta has written her dissertation in accordance with academic
standards. Ponte's supervisor was now corruption convicted former Prime Minister
A power struggle ensues between Ponta and Băsescu
There is a serious conflict between Prime Minister Ponta and Liberal
President Băsescu. The contradiction applies to who has the right to represent
Romania at the EU summits. The Constitutional Court states that it is the
president's job, a decision that Ponta ignores on the grounds that the court is
biased in favor of Băsescu. Parliament considers itself entitled to settle the
dispute and appoints Ponta for the assignment.
The government parties are moving forward in local elections
The parties within the governing alliance of the Social Liberal Union (USL)
receive more than half the votes in local elections. The USL parties also win
the mayor posts in major cities, including Bucharest. The former government
coalition receives just under 14 percent of the vote, and as a result former
Prime Minister Emil Boc resigns as leader of PD-L. Boc is succeeded by Vasile
Blaga. The newly formed populist People's Party-Dan Diaconescu (PP-DD) becomes
the third largest party in the local elections.
New law on representation in parliament
The Legislative Assembly decides that individual representatives of political
parties should be able to sit in Parliament, even if the party does not reach
the five percent limit. The opposition warns that ultranationalists can now
enter parliament, but the government says the decision reduces the risk of the
emergence of extremist parties.
Some relief from the IMF
Following negotiations with Prime Minister Ponte's new PSD-led government,
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) accepts that salaries of civil servants
from June 1 will be raised again to the level that prevailed before the cuts in
2010. In addition, a medical tax is refunded to pensioners.
Another change of government - PSD takes over
The Liberal government, which took office in February 2012, is leaving after
two months, after losing a vote of confidence on proposed new budgetary
tightening. Social Democratic PSD leader Victor Ponta becomes prime minister of
a government alliance, called the Social Liberal Union (USL), with Social
Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives.
Protests lead to a change of government
The economic crisis in the country is increasing when the cold winter calls
for increased gas imports to heat housing. Over 70,000 people receive social
assistance, child support or family support with the motivation that they have
exempted from property tax and car tax. Extensive protests against the severe
budget cuts finally lead to the government resigning. Mihai-Răzvan Ungureanu,
former Foreign Minister and head of the intelligence service, is appointed new
Prime Minister. He forms a government coalition with the same parties as the
outgoing government: the Democratic Liberal Party (PD-L), the Hungarian
Democratic Union (UDMR) and the National Union for Romania's Development (UNPR).
Năstase is sentenced to prison
Former Prime Minister Adrian Năstase is sentenced by the Supreme Court to two
years in prison for using state funds for his 2004 presidential campaign.
Năstase denies the charges. His critics see the verdict as an important step
forward in Romania's fight against corruption. Năstase has previously received a
conditional judgment for irregularities in connection with the import of
construction products from China.
Violent demonstrations against the government
Demonstrations are held against changes in health care, against corruption
and against increased taxes and reduced pensions. More than 50 people are
injured and 40 are arrested when the protests become violent. The protesters
demand the resignation of the government and the president. Protests against the
government continue for about a week. Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi is
dismissed after commenting on the protesters.
Nine EU countries exclude Romanian workers
Nine EU countries announce that their labor markets will remain completely or
partially closed to Romanians for another two years. The Romanian government
expresses disappointment and declares that it will promote the free movement of
Romanian workers throughout Europe.