Fri, Dec 28, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Romania to take over EU presidency

NATIONALISM:Romania, along with Hungary and Poland, is embroiled in disputes with the EU over controversial reforms that critics say undermine the rule of law

AFP, BUCHAREST

Political analyst Radu Alexandru describes Romanian society as “very polarized and divided.”

As well as being one of the EU’s poorest countries, Romania also suffers from huge inequality. EU membership has brought some tangible benefits to poorer regions of the country.

Romania has received 32 billion euros (US$36 billion) in EU cohesion funds, part of which went to supplying running water to 40 percent of rural homes — up from just 1 percent at the fall of communism in 1989.

However, as sociologist Iulian Stanescu of the ICCV research institute said: “EU membership can’t solve everything.”

Despite the benefits of being in the bloc and strong economic growth, Romania continues to suffer from chronic problems, including emigration.

“All around me I only see sad people and high-school students who want to leave,” said 60-year-old electrician Gica Bobe, a resident of Turnu Magurele, a town in Romania’s poor south.

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