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I've read this question about why Romania and Moldova don't unite.
How did they become separate in the first place?
Since they are two adjacent countries with basically the same language and ethnicity*, I assume they were once a part of the same nation? If yes, what nation were they united under? For what period of time were they united before splitting? How did the split occur?
I'm aware that they were unified between 1918 and 1940. However, surely that relatively recent, short union is not the answer. There must have been some period further back in history where the two nations were one?
* = In this assumption I consider (perhaps simplistically) Moldavians and Romanians to be a single ethnic group since they speak the same language and share common ancestry and culture. While there are probably differences between the two groups, they do seem to have a lot in common, more than other pairs of groups that are considered to be one ethnicity do.
I am also aware that the minority populations differ in the two countries. Moldova seems to have more people descending from former Soviet republics, while Romania seems to have more Hungarians and Romani people. However, my assumption is regarding the majority ethnic group, the Moldavians/Romanians.
First of all a simple clarification of terminology (with some more details farther below), but that needs to be put forward:
Why "Moldavia" and "Moldova"? Are they two different things? No. "Moldova" is the name of the region in the Romanian language, which is spoken in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. "Moldavia" in English comes from the French name of the region (Moldavie); "Moldova" has become used in English since the independence of ex-Soviet Republic of Moldova (the name of which might very well have been "Republic of Moldavia" in English, like in French).
Republic of Moldova and Moldavia/Moldova: are they two different things? In a way yes: to put it shortly, the first is a part of the second. Moldavia/Moldova was a principality that existed between 1359 and 1859. In 1812 Russia took a part of it, namely the region East of the Prut river, and created the governorate of Besserabia. That name was initially referring only to the south of the conquered region (see maps farther below), called thus because until 1367 it was a possession of the Wallachian princes of the Basarab dynasty. (To make things even more blurry: that southern region was taken by the Turks from Moldavia in the 16th century, renamed Budjak, and is now in Ukraine. - See maps below.) Meanwhile, the principality of Moldova/Moldavia (with the capital and most cities situated West of Prut river) continued to exist until its unification with Wallachia in 1859 under a new state called Romania, which in 1918 was able to take back from Russia the rest of Moldavia (the part that had become known as Besserabia). The URSS recuperated Besserabia between 1940-41 and 1944-1991, where it created the Soviet Republic of Moldova (largely on the same territory, with some exceptions: the south went to Ukraine, some territory east of Dniester was added).
Wallachian and Romanian - is there a difference? Yes and no. Wallachian may mean "from Wallachia" in English (while not all Romanians are from Wallachia), but with that meaning it is used in Romanian only in academic/historical context; otherwise it is rarely used and, if it is, the term "Valah" doesn't mean "people from Wallachia", but "Romanian": it's Wallachia that means "country of the Wallach/Vlach/Valah". Similarly, "Romania" appeared only in the 19th century to name the country (whose people only then started to be called "Romanians" in foreign languages), but in the Romanian language it is the name of the people ("Român") and of the language ("româneşte", "limba românească") that gives the root for the name of the country. "Wallachia" comes from "Valach" or "Vlach", a Germanic term (used also by Slavic and other people) to name the "foreigner", the non-German (which also gave Walloon and even Welsh), more specifically the Latin, then the neo-Latin speakers in general, that is - in Eastern Europe - the Romanians. The people themselves didn't called themselves Wallachian, but "români" nor their country Wallachia, but "Tara Romaneasca", meaning Romanian Land. In opposition to Moldavia, it was called "Muntenia". In official medieval documents written in Slavonic and Greek, Wallachia was sometimes called "Ungro-Vlahia" (Wallachia close to Hungary) while Moldavia was called "Moldo-Vlahia" (meaning the Moldavian Wallachia). The unification of Wallachia and Moldavia in 1859 resulted in a new state called Romania, with the capital in Bucharest, that is the former Wallachian capital. Besserabia was added only between 1918-1940, and 1941-1944.
Romanian and Moldavian - is there a difference? The situation is similar to the one described above, but also more complicated by the fact that there are here two Moldova-s/Moldavia-s (one in Romania and one outside it). While Wallachian capital became the capital of Romania one might imagine a sort of conquest of Moldavia by Wallachians or something similar: it is not at all the case. The first ruler of the unified Romania was a Moldavian nobleman, and Moldovan/Moldavian nobility and elites were very present in ruling Romania. But, like in all cases of new national states in the 19th century, the trend of centralization has produced (like in Italy and Germany) a process of homogenization in which the capital and its region became the cultural focus. The Moldavian capital, Iaşi, could have hardly become the capital of the new state, because, as a result of Russian conquest of Besserabia, it was situated almost on the very Russian frontier. - After the independence of the (former soviet) Republic of Moldova in 1991 the terms "Moldavia/Moldova/Moldavian/Moldovan" are used more and more for that region, and sometimes in contrast to Romania/Romanian, to the point where foreigners (that is: frankly ignoring the history of the small principality of Moldavia) may imagine Moldavia/Moldavians as something different or exterior to Romania/Romanians. - While only the accent ever separated the languages of Wallachia and Moldavia, the Russian occupation of the Moldavian region east of the Prut river resulted in a process of Russification of the language (and colonization of the territory) there, which played both as a cause and as an argument in favor of the propagandistic idea of the existence of a Moldavian language different from Romanian. During most of the 19th century, when Romanian underwent a process of re-Latinization & modernization under the influence of French, Besserabia was under Russian rule. But that process affected all speakers of Romanian of the cultural elites, while the majority of the people was not influenced either way (not to mention that Tsarist elites were also speaking French). Things changed after WW2, when the creation of a soviet Moldavian republic was doubled by an effort of proving that a specific nation with a specific language different from those of Romania corresponded to that republic. The practical result was not a difference between "Moldavian" and Romanian, but a poorer quality of the spoken Romanian and a less number of people speaking it, as many were deprived of access to proper schooling in their own language in favor of Russian.
The OP says: "Since they are two adjacent countries with basically the same language and ethnicity, I assume they were once a part of the same nation? If yes, what nation were they united under? For what period of time were they united before splitting? How did the split occur?"
I think that the question raised and the Tom Au's answer suffer from a confusion that needs clarification. It's a confusion about the very terms involved (Moldavia, Moldova, Romania) and even about the historical background.
First, it is not evident that two states that share the same ethnicity must have been in the past part of the same unified state. It is the unified modern state that may be based on common ethnicity of former separate states. Such is the case with some European states, like Italy and Germany. Romania follows this trend and was created in the same period through the unification of Wallachia and Moldavia. On the other hand, the modern states of Romania and Moldova were at some point united; that is, present Republic of Moldova covers a territory that in the past was part of the principality of Moldavia which itself became part of Romania.
From the context I think the OP is referring not only to Romania and Republic of Moldova, but also to Wallachia and Moldavia, and that there is a confusion between them. Historically we have four state-entities involved in this discussion: the older principalities (or voievodate-s) of Wallachia and Moldavia, the Romanian modern state (on the territories of Wallachia and Moldavia, of the Principality of Transilvania, and other territories of Austria-Hungary and Ottoman Empire), and the present independent Republic of Moldova (a former Soviet republic).
Therefore I will list the main historical data that I hope will both clarify the question and provide an answer as to why the states involved became separated at some point. Also, the maps in the posted links will greatly help clarifying things.
Romania is the name of the modern state created with the 19th century unification of two older separate entities: the "principalities" of Wallachia and Moldavia, which in the 18th century started being called the Danubian Principalities. - Only in 1918 it integrated also Transilvania, then part of Hungary, to cover largely the territory of the three principalities that in 1600 had been for a very short period under the personal union of the Wallachian prince Michael the Brave.
[By Anonimu at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=706080]
Wallachia and Moldavia appeared on the map of Europe as separate entities ruled by separate dynasties, but they were very similar:
- shared the same language and the same Orthodox Christianity;
- started as vassals to the kingdom of Hungary (who was instrumental in the very creation of the principality of Moldavia during their fight against the Mongols);
- gained independence in the 14th century, largely enjoyed independence in the 15th century, but later had great difficulties in keeping their full independence against their stronger neighbors; they counted on constantly switching allegiance between Hungary, Poland and Ottoman empire to safeguard independence and became clearly dominated by the Ottoman empire in the 16th century when the Hungarian and Polish influence receded;
- had the same type of ruling system that imitated the Byzantine rule; the monarch (called in both principalities Voievod or Domn - from Latin, Dominus) was seen in the catholic West rather as a prince than a king, but exercised in fact the same Byzantine-styled absolute authority over his nobles as other rulers of the Orthodox world, the tsars of Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia).
- the two countries started to irreversibly lose independence in the 16th century, but were never dissolved; they were part of the Ottoman Europe, but (unlike Bulgaria, Serbia or part of Hungary) they were never integrated as a governorate into the empire as such (excepting for Budjak in Moldavia and the main Wallachian ports on the Danube), their internal organization was not changed, Orthodox Christianity was not hindered in their territories - where, remarkably, preaching Islam was forbidden, and no Turkish colonization ever occurred - , and they continued to be governed by the local dynasties until the 18th century, when the intervention of Russia and Austria tempted again the local rulers to switch allegiance, which convinced the Turks to replace Romanian dynasties with Greek Byzantine dynasties from Contantinoples (the Phanariotes); these Greek ruling families shared the same religion, had already intermarried with the nobility of the two countries, and largely adopted the local language; unlike previous local rulers, the same Phanariote princes (in separate periods) or members of the same families ruled in both countries - thus creating a trend that continued after them, which contributed considerably to bringing the two states even closer together; they became active in the Greek (as well as Romanian) Enlightenment and in the Greek national movement; the Greeek war of independence started in part on the territory of the Romanian principalities; as a result, the Ottomans replaced back the Greeks with Romanian rulers (after 1821).
[By Aoleuvaidenoi - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12493021]
Republic of Moldova (sometimes simply called Moldova) is a recent state which became independent at the fall of the Soviet Union largely on the territory between the rivers Prut and Dniester that was part of the principality of Moldavia and was occupied in 1812 by the Russian empire. This territory started to be called Besserabia when it became disputed and caught the attention of European geographers, but the name doesn't reflect any previous separation from the rest of Moldavia. Unlike the previous Turkish domination, Russian occupation meant full integration into the empire with the creation of a governorate, which didn't mean local autonomy as much as a politics of Russification and colonization. (The main part of the country, the capital, most of the main cities and the main population were on the western side of the Prut river and by the unification with Wallachia became a new state: The United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, as a personal union in 1859, full union in 1862, and then the Kingdom of Romania in 1881.) After the First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution, Romania occupied the territory of the Besserabia Governorate. Soviet Union took it back after World War Two and created the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.
The very term Moldova needs some clarification: "Moldova" is simply the name of "Moldavia" in Romanian language, which is spoken both in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Romanians commonly use the term "Besserabia" to refer to the Republic of Moldova and use the term Moldova to name the eastern part of Romania. Romanian officials prefer the term "Republic of Moldova" instead of just "Moldova" to name their eastern neighbors, but in English "Moldavian" and "Moldovan" are starting to be used both in relation to the present republic of Moldova. "Moldova" is also starting to be used in English for the whole historical region and namely the part of Romania that in English was traditionally called "Moldavia". There is a disambiguation page on Wikipedia.
[ By Spiridon Ion Cepleanu - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17314546]
And now I'll try to formulate an answer to the initial question "how the two have become separate in the first place".
Why the two older principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia have existed for so long as separate states? Because they had been created separate, just like the German or the Italian states. They might have been united earlier if they had been stronger. (In 1600 a Wallachian prince was strong enough to create a personal union for a short moment.) Keeping their relative independence was already a task that took all available resources for hundreds of years. When the immediate pressure from powerful neighbors like Russia, Austria and Turkey receded through the intervention of France and England and through the logic of European equilibrium (after the Napoleonic wars) new conditions for independence and unification have appeared. These conditions improved further after the Crimean War, when Turkish and Russian intervention was replaced by the more distant French and British influence, which opened the path to unification.
Why Romania and the eastern part of Moldova (Besserabia) were separated in the first place? Because at the moment when the modern Romanian state was created by the unification between the Wallachia and Moldavia (1859), the present territory of the Republic of Moldova (the eastern part of Moldavia) had been already taken by Russia (1812). Unlike other territories under Russian rule, namely Poland or Finland, this was not really an entire country and was not treated as such, but underwent a process of colonization and Russification. As an ally to the WW1 victors, Romania regain control of this territory in 1918-1919 but then lost it again to URSS in 1945.
As for the question why are they not united now, there is a question with rather good answers here.
The reason appears to be that Modova "traveled" with an adjacent region called Bessarabia.
Romania and Moldova were under "common" rule for several hundred years, but only under the Ottoman Empire. There was a lot of "back-and-forth" in the 19th century between Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and the locals. In 1859, when Romania (basically Wallachia) obtained nominal independence from the Ottoman empire, Russia occupied Bessarabia, and claimed Moldova. In 1878, during the Congress of Berlin Romania ceded Moldova to Russia in exchange for access to the Black Sea (the northern Dobruja region).
Romania "outlasted" Russia in World War I, and was able to recover Moldova and Bessarabia after the war. The Soviet Union seized them back in 1940. Romania recovered them both for 1941-44, and lost them back to the Soviets.
The Moldovans don't want to be part of "Russia," but neither do they have any particular desire to be part of Romania, either.
I'm going to try to clarify this stuff from the beginning, since I see a lot of inaccuracies/ misinformation in the previous answers (sorry guys!).
So, today's Moldova is just the eastern half (roughly) of what was once the Principality of Moldova (1346 - 1859). The western part of the former Principality of Moldova is now the Moldova (Moldavia in English) region of Romania. The two parts of the former Principality of Moldova are divided by the River Prut, which now represents the border beteew Romania and the Republic of Moldova.
Interestingly, the territory of today's Republic of Moldova was the 'less important half' in the context of the Principality of Moldova, since all the capitals, princely courts, most of the famous churches etc were located in the Western half of the Principality of Moldova. This, and the fact that the Principality of Moldova continued to exist after Tsarist Russia' annexation of its eastern half (today's Republic of Moldova's territory), is important in clarifying that, while the Republic of Moldova can claim (and it's obviously entitled to) Medieval Moldovan heritage, it cannot claim successorship of the Medieval Principality of Moldova. This is somewhat less important today, since the two countries pretty much agree at an official level on historical issues, but it was more of an problem in the past, since the Soviet authorities used to speculate a lot on these issues (promoting a distinct Moldovan identity, even claiming the Moldovan region in Romania,etc).
In short (I had previously wrote a huge post, but my tablet ran out battery just before posting ---DAMN!!), while Moldova did decide to unite with Wallachia in 1859 to form Romania, it did so while missing its eastern part (which had been annexed by Tsarist Russia some decades earlier).
tl;dr Moldavia fragmented along with the Habsburg empire and in the context of conflict between the Russian and Turkish Empires. Ultimately the Treaty of Paris codified the two countries. After a personal union, diplomatic pressure forced the establishment of two separate countries.
… [The Paris Convention] failed to note whether the two thrones could not be occupied by the same person, allowing Partida Naţională to introduce the candidacy of Alexandru Ioan Cuza in both countries. On January 17 (January 5, 1859 Old Style), in Iași, he was elected prince of Moldavia by the respective electoral body. After street pressure over the much more conservative body in Bucharest, Cuza was elected in Wallachia as well (February 5/January 24). Exactly three years later, after diplomatic missions that helped remove opposition to the action, the formal union created the United Principalities (the basis of modern Romania) and instituted Cuza as Domnitor (all legal matters were clarified after the replacement of the prince with Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen in April 1866, and the creation of an independent Kingdom of Romania in 1881) - this officially ending the existence of the Principality of Moldavia. source Emphasis added
Romanian Culture: A World of Its Own
Romanian culture sets itself apart from others in the Eastern European region just as it shares some elements with them. For example, the legend of Dracula and the Dacian history are unique to Romania.
On the other hand, Romania's Easter egg traditions and folk costumes bear some similarities to those of nearby countries. Folk costumes are not entirely just for celebrations while most of the residents of cities dress in modern-day Western attire, many in rural areas still wear traditional dress.
Roma, or Gypsies, are regarded as outsiders and generally live separate from the rest of the population on the outskirts of urban areas. They, too, dress in more traditional and colorful garb.
An overview of some of the aspects of Romanian culture such as Romania's flag, its ancient history, and folk art will show you how unique this country is. You'll get ideas for souvenirs you might find when you visit Romania and learn about other aspects of Romania that you'll encounter on your visit.
17 fascinating facts about Romania, home of the world's heaviest building
Romania's answer to the Sistine Chapel Credit: Balate Dorin - Fotolia
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T o mark Romania's independence day (each year on May 10 it celebrates freedom from the Ottoman Empire, earned in 1877) here are a few quirky facts about the country.
1. It’s home to the world’s heaviest building
Bucharest’s vast Palace of the Parliament, begun during the final years of Nicolae Ceaușescu’s rule and not finished until 1997 (seven years after his death), is 240 metres long, 270 metres wide, 86 metres high (12 storeys), and cost a staggering €3 billion (£2.5bn) to build.
The other numbers are remarkable. As many as 100,000 people worked on the site, hundreds of whom are thought to have perished. It has 1,100 rooms (the vast majority of which lie empty) and an annual heating bill of $6m (£4.63m), equivalent to that of a small city. There are eight underground levels, as well as a nuclear bunker linked to other government buildings by 20km of tunnels.
It all adds up to an area 365,000 square metres, second only to The Pentagon as far as administrative buildings are concerned, and it has a volume of 2.55 million square metres, a shade more than the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Inside you’ll find 3,500 tonnes of crystal, 480 chandeliers and 1,409 ceiling lights, while 700,000 tonnes of steel and bronze was used for monumental doors and windows. Guinness World Records recognises it as the heaviest building on the planet.
2. And the world’s most beautiful road
In his search for the “world’s best driving road” Jeremy Clarkson declared that he had found it in the middle of Romania – in the form of the Transfagarasan highway. Whichever way you look at it, it is an extraordinary feat of engineering: a stretch of tarmac packed with tunnels, viaducts and bridges and which takes the skill of navigating hairpin bends to new heights. The road was another Ceaușescu creation. He wanted to ensure that in the event of a Soviet invasion there was a speedy way of escaping through the strategic (and scenic) mountain passes of the Southern Carpathians (not that it was ever used for that purpose).
3. They love a drink
Romania is the fifth booziest country in the world, behind four more Eastern European states: Belarus, Russia, Moldova and Lithuania. As the map below shows, the average Romanian consumes 14.4 litres of pure alcohol each year, compared to 11.6 litres in Britain.
The country places 16th when it comes to wine consumption (not a surprise given that it’s one of the largest wine producers in the world) and 10th for beer.
4. Visitors might spot Europe’s largest mammal
Tipping the scales at 1,400lbs, the European bison was nearly hunted to extinction, but in recent years has been reintroduced to several Eastern European countries, including Romania.
“We encountered a herd in a forest clearing near the village of Armenis, in the Tarcu range of the Carpathian Mountains,” wrote Mark Stratton for Telegraph Travel back in 2014. “Staring towards us in docile fashion, tails metronomically swishing at flies, they were protectively encircling a newborn calf. Beneath tassels of shaggy fur their powerful, beefy shoulders and bulbous humps elevated them from family saloon cow to V8 turbocharged bovine.”
The country also has Europe’s largest population of brown bears.
5. It’s the real home of Borat
In Sacha Baron Cohen’s film, scene’s purporting to show Borat’s Kazakh hometown were shot in the village of Glod, Romania, while its Roma residents were cast as extras. Those same extras later took (unsuccessful) legal action claiming they were unaware of the film’s subject matter.
Other films shot in Romania include Cold Mountain and, er, Anaconda III starring David Hasselhoff.
6. Bucharest has one of the world’s prettiest bookshops
Cărturești Carusel opened in 2015 in a restored 19th century building. It contains more than 10,000 books, 5,000 albums and DVDs and a top floor bistro.
7. Its 4G network is the envy of the world
Romania is one of the best places in the world for 4G speed, occupying an impressive fourth place out of 78 nations, according to OpenSignal. Users in the country can expect speed of 35.61 Mbps, on average, compared to just 21.16Mbps in the UK.
8. The rail network is also impressive
Romania's 22,298km network is the 15th most extensive on Earth, even though it is only the world's 81st largest country in terms of total area.
9. There’s a dead ringer for the Arc de Triomphe
Who needs Paris? Bucharest has got its own.
10. And an answer to Mount Rushmore
This sculpture, on a rocky outcrop at the river Danube’s Iron Gates gorge, was made between 1994 and 2004 and depicts Decebalus, the last king of Dacia, who fought against the Roman Empire.
11. It also ripped off the Hollywood sign
Brasov and Rasnov have LA quaking in its boots.
12. It’s the surprising birthplace of good coffee
Francesco Illy, the founder of the Italian coffee roasting company, was actually born in Timișoara, Romania. He later moved to Vienna, and then the Italian city of Trieste. He didn’t make a 2006 list of the 100 Greatest Romanians, however, which was topped by Stephen the Great and featured the likes of Nadia Comăneci and Gheorghe Hagi.
13. They made the world’s largest flag
A five-ton flag that measured 349 metres by 227 metres, and used 44 miles of thread, was unfurled in Romania in 2013. Well, why not?
14. And can boast a few other quirky records
Romania was also responsible for the world’s longest sausage. How long? You wouldn’t believe us if we said 39 miles – but it’s true. It will take a determined butcher to break that record.
Guinness World Records also recognises the Chestnut Festival in Baia Mare, Romania, for creating the largest bowl of goulash (7,200 litres), and Romanian firm ING Asigurari de Viata for printing the world’s largest legal document (nine metres x six metres).
15. They’ve invented plenty
And not just long sausages. Nicolae Paulescu discovered insulin (though two Canadian scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for their studies on the hormone), Henri Coandă has been credited with inventing the modern jet engine, and Petrache Poenaru created the fountain pen.
The country has four Nobel prize laureates: George Emil Palade (medicine), Elie Wiesel (peace), Herta Müller (literature) and Stefan Hell (chemistry).
16. Its churches are spectacular
Romania has seven Unesco World Heritage Sites, including the eight churches of northern Moldavia, covered in wonderful frescos (the Voroneț Monastery has been dubbed Romania’s Sistine Chapel), and the wooden churches of Maramureş, of which there is also eight, including Sapanta Peri, which claims to be the tallest wooden church in the world.
17. And there’s one very strange cemetery
The Merry Cemetery in Săpânța eschews sombre memorials in favour of colourful tombstones.
National Flag Of Bulgaria
Bulgaria has a population of about 6.9 million people. The country was a member of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War. In 1990, however, the country’s communist regime gave up power. Since the fall of communism, Bulgaria has transitioned to a capitalist, market economy. It has also moved away from Russian influence and into the West’s sphere of influence. Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004, and in 2007, became part of the EU.
What followed were 29 separate reigns of 11 separate rulers, from 1418 to 1476, including Vlad III thrice. It was from this chaos, and a patchwork of local boyar factions, that Vlad sought first the throne, and then to establish a strong state through both bold actions and outright terror.
There was a temporary victory in 1448 when Vlad took advantage of a recently defeated anti-Ottoman crusade and its capture of Hunyadi to seize the throne of Wallachia with Ottoman support. However, Vladislav II soon returned from crusade and forced Vlad out.
It took nearly another decade for Vlad to seize the throne as Vlad III in 1456. There is little information on what exactly happened during this period, but Vlad went from the Ottomans to Moldova, to a peace with Hunyadi, to Transylvania, back and forth between these three, falling out with Hunyadi, renewed support from him, military employment, and in 1456, an invasion of Wallachia—in which Vladislav II was defeated and killed. At the same time Hunyadi, coincidentally, died.
The Romanian economy contracted by 3.9 percent in 2020, reflecting a better-than-expected fourth quarter performance of -1.4 percent year-on-year. The fiscal deficit surged to 9.8 percent of projected GDP at the end of 2020 on the back of COVID-19-related expenditures and lower revenues due to the economic downturn and tax relief. The impact of the stimulus pursued at the European Union (EU) level will play a critical role in the recovery, given the limited fiscal space. Poverty is anticipated to increase in the short term as the protracted impacts of COVID-19 affect domestic income sources and remittances.
The World Bank classified Romania as a high-income country for the first time, based on 2019 data (per capita income of $12,630). This is an important development for investment rating decisions and for accession negotiations to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB) officially became an emerging market as of September 21, 2020, when the first two Romanian companies were included in the FTSE Global Equity Index Series (GEIS). The two Romanian companies to be included in the FTSE Global All Cap Index and three other indexes are lender Banca Transilvania (TLV) and energy producer Nuclearelectrica (SNN).
Number of Active Projects
Under the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for FY19-23, the World Bank supports Romania’s efforts to accelerate structural reforms and convergence with the EU. The Bank uses the full range of instruments for financial and technical assistance.
In the past year, the Bank has worked to adapt to the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and restructured the existing portfolio. The Health Sector Reform Project was reorganized to help authorities procure emergency supplies and equipment.
Also, the Romania Secondary Education (ROSE) Project was restructured to deliver equipment and materials to 1,100 high schools and to provide over 60,000 vulnerable students with access to online education. The ongoing Performance and Learning Review will provide small adjustments to the CPF to reflect the current challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak.
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Engagement over FY19-23 has the overarching goal of strengthening Romania’s institutions, advancing poverty reduction, and promoting shared prosperity through three pillars:
- Equal opportunities for all
- Private sector growth and competitiveness
- Resilience to shocks
The Romania program consists of nine lending projects and 59 Advisory Services and Analytics (ASA) tasks, out of which there are:
- 42 tasks corresponding to 34 Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) agreements that are signed and under implementation
- five RAS agreements under preparation
- four non-RAS ASA (Bank budget-funded)
- seven non-RAS ASA (EU-funded Trust Funds)
- 1 EU-funded Trust Fund under preparation
The active lending portfolio of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) amounts to $1.98 billion and covers such sectors as: education, health, disaster risk management, justice, and the environment.
The health program has been expanded and now includes the Health Sector Reform Project and the Health Program for Results (Health PforR). The Health PforR of €500 million will help the Government increase the coverage of primary health care for underserved populations and improve the efficiency of health spending by addressing underlying institutional challenges.
The RAS program - one of the largest in the World Bank at $114.12 million - is focused on priority areas for Romania’s EU convergence, such as improved strategic planning and budgeting, evidence-based policy making, protection of the vulnerable, disaster risk management, human development, and strengthened capacity for monitoring and evaluation. It also features engagements supporting a number of municipalities, including Bucharest, Brasov, and Cluj, as well as other subnational authorities, to enhance their capacity for planning and prioritizing investments and urban regeneration.
The ASA program includes technical assistance projects financed directly by the European Commission through a Trust Fund framework in areas, such as: early school leaving, social inclusion of the Roma minority, business development/entrepreneurship, civil service reform, and flood risk management.
International Finance Corporation
The International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) committed own account portfolio in Romania ranks second in the Europe and Central Asia region after Turkey. Since the start of operations in Romania in 1991, IFC has invested approximately $3.5 billion, including over $700 million in mobilization, in over 112 projects.
As of February 28, 2021, IFC's committed portfolio in Romania was $735.41 million, of which 64 percent represented investments in financial institutions (banks, non-bank financial institutions) and the remaining 36 percent investments in the real sector. The outstanding portfolio is US$691.5 million. In FY20, IFC’s commitments in Romania totaled $334 million, including mobilization.
Recent Economic Developments
The Romanian economy contracted by 3.9 percent in 2020. Trade and services decreased by 4.7 percent, while certain sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, remained heavily affected. Industry contracted by 9.3 percent, reflecting weakened external demand and supply chain disruptions. The biggest contraction was seen in agriculture, linked to persistent droughts affecting crops. The unemployment rate reached 5.5 percent in July 2020 before edging down to 5.3 percent in December.
Rapid household assessments of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic showed a substantial rise in the share of the population at risk of poverty in April 2020, which gradually declined until January 2021, as temporarily inactive workers returned to work. Poverty levels at the start of 2021, however, remain elevated, linked to the combination of the sharp agricultural contraction and the persistence of the pandemic.
The Government provided a fiscal stimulus of 4.4 percent of GDP in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis. In the first COVID wave, poor and vulnerable households were less supported by the fiscal response measures, which extended more directly to those in formal employment structures subsequent programs for daily wage and seasonal workers extended protections to typically more vulnerable segments.
The economy is projected to grow at around 4.3 percent in 2021. The strength of the recovery will depend on the success of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the policy response to the health crisis, as well as on developments in the EU. In view of the limited fiscal space, the impact of the EU-level stimulus will play a crucial role in the economic recovery. Romania is expected to receive €79.9 billion from the EU by 2027 under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021–2027 (€49.5 billion) and the economic recovery plan (€30.4 billion).
A substantial reduction of the fiscal deficit in 2021 is improbable, as the Government will have to support the economic recovery process. Over the medium term, the deficit will follow a downward trajectory but is likely to remain above 3 percent throughout the projection period. The widening fiscal deficit would push public debt to 62.2 percent in 2023 from 37.3 percent in 2019. However, public debt remains one of the lowest in the EU.
Poverty is projected to remain elevated due to the triple-hit in incomes facing poorer segments of the population in the form of the persistent pandemic, the poor agricultural year, and declining remittance incomes.
Government. The president is the head of state and is elected by popular vote for a four-year term. He appoints the prime minister, who serves as the head of government. The prime minister appoints a cabinet called the Council of Ministers. The legislature is bicameral. The Senate ( Senat ) has 143 members, and the Chamber of Deputies ( Adunarea Deputatilor ) has 343 members. All legislators are elected by direct popular vote for four-year terms.
On the local level, the country is divided into forty districts administered by mayors and councils elected by the people. The head of each region is a prefect appointed by the central government.
Leadership and Political Officials. The 1991 constitution established a multiparty system. Sixteen parties are represented in the government, and there are several smaller ones that have not won seats. These parties are composed of former communists who favor gradual change, democrats pushing for faster reform, and groups representing the interests of the different ethnic minorities. After the corrupt and often brutal policies of Ceaucescu and other leaders, the people are wary of government officials in general.
Social Problems and Control. The majority of the crimes committed are nonviolent. Economic crimes are a significant problem corruption, speculation, hoarding, and black market activities are all prevalent. Juvenile crime is also a concern. The legal system, previously a combination of civil law and communist legal theory, is now based on the constitution of France's Fifth Republic.
Military Activity. The military consists of the Army, the Navy, the Air and Air Defense Forces, the Paramilitary Forces, and Civil Defense. In 1996, Romania spent $650 million annually on the military, or 2.5 percent of the gross domestic product. During Ceaucescu's reign, paramilitary forces often were used to suppress uprisings or dissenting activity, and the security police tapped telephones, persecuted religious authorities, and instilled fear in the populace.
25 quirky facts about Europe's least touristy country
The Nativity Cathedral in Chisinau, Moldova's capital Credit: AP
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T o mark 26 years since Moldova declared independence from the Soviet Union, here are a few things you probably didn't know about the country.
1. It’s the least visited country in Europe
If you do venture to Moldova for your holidays, you won’t be jostling for space with other tourists: only 121,000 foreigners are reported to have entered the country in 2016 (so says the UN World Tourism Organisation), making it the least visited in Europe. On a global scale only Bangladesh and Guinea are less touristy destinations (taking into account number of visitors per resident), according to Priceonomics.
2. It keeps a fine cellar
The venerable folk at Guinness World Records recognise the Mileștii Mici wine cellar in Moldova is the world’s largest with nearly two million bottles of plonk in its darkened vaults. In case you’re wondering, the most valuable tipples in its collection sell for a reported €480 each.
3. Its wine is banned in Russia
Traditionally Moldova’s biggest export market was Russia, which consumed up to 90 per cent of its wine. However, a diplomatic dispute in 2006 resulted in a Russian ban on Moldovan and Georgian produce, which has been devastating for its economy. Nevertheless, it remains the 20th largest wine-producing nation on Earth (as of 2014).
4. There are some magnificent monasteries
Moldova’s most important (and, arguably, most beautiful) historical site, Orheiul Vechi is a crumbling open-air monastic complex that dates back more than 2,000 years. The rambling ruins feature ancient fortifications, baths and monasteries, which you’ll have largely to yourself.
5. It went nearly three years without a president
In 2012, after nearly three years of political deadlock, Moldova elected the veteran judge, Nicolae Timofti, as president – for the first time in 917 days, the country had a leader.
6. Most Moldovans are bi- or tri-lingual
Moldovans speak either Romanian, which is the native language, Russian or Gagauz. Some speak all three.
7. It has a critically endangered language
However, Moldova’s second language, Gagauz, is in danger of dying out. Spoken in the Autonomous Region of Gagauz, the Turkic language is classed as critically endangered by Unesco.
8. It’s poor
Moldova has the dubious distinction of being the poorest country in Europe with a per capita GDP of just $5,327, according to the IMF. The second lowest is Ukraine's, at $8,305 (Moldova's neighbour's is $20,326, while the UK's is $42,480).
9. It's home to Europe’s most unlikely tourist attraction
Despite being surrounded by poverty, rich residents in the town of Soroca have taken to flaunting their wealth by building flamboyant homes inspired by landmarks such as St Peter’s Basilica and the Bolshoi theatre. Consequently, the town, dubbed Gypsy Hill, has become something of an tourist attraction, with people coming to admire the madcap architecture.
10. The capital was destroyed in 1940
Having been invaded by the Red Army in June 1940, Chisinau suffered a deadly earthquake in October of that year which measured 7.3 on the Richter scale and destroyed much of the city. As if that wasn’t enough, the following year the Luftwaffe arrived and blew what was left of the city to smithereens.
11. It has a breakaway territory
The region known as Transnistria declared independence from Moldova in 1990, precipitating the War of Transnistria which secured a de facto independence for the territory. However, the region, which has its own currency and border controls, is not officially recognised by any member of the United Nations.
12. It’s the second booziest nation on Earth
According to the World Health Organisation, only Belarus tucks away more alcohol than Moldova, with each inhabitant drinking an average of 16.8 litres of booze per year (excluding under 15s).
13. It’s landlocked
Well, technically. In a bid to gain access to the Black Sea, Moldova did in fact make a territorial exchange with Ukraine in 2005, giving the country access to a 600m stretch of the River Danube, which flows into the Black Sea.
14. There’s a beach
Despite having no access to the sea, Moldova does have a slither of sand to speak of on Chisinau Lake, which is located in the capital, Chisinau. Okay, so it’s a man-made beach and it’s in a city, but if you close your eyes you could almost be on the coast. Sort of.
15. It’s great for twitchers
Moldova is home to an impressive array of birds, with roughly 300 different species calling it home. Some are year-round residents, some come to breed, some simply pass through en route to warmer climes, and others come to escape harsh winters further north. All of which is good news for birders.
16. The national animal is a big cow
Or an auroch, to be precise. These beefy bovines are now extinct, but have been immortalised on Moldova's flag, which features the head of an auroch mounted on a shield (probably why they’re extinct, if they kept mounting them on shields). Zimbru Stadium, the country's main football stadium, takes its name from the Romanian word for bison.
17. It debuted at Eurovision in 2005
Which remains Moldova’s most successful year with Zdob și Zdub finishing sixth.
18. It's super cheap
A one-way ticket on Chișinău's tramway costs 2MDL – a mere 7 pence. A monthly pass will set you back £7 – that's for a whole 30 days of unlimited travel. Take note, TfL.
19. The national dish is porridge
Ubiquitous on Moldovan dinner tables, Mămăligă is a porridge made out of yellow maize flour and often considered the country’s national dish. It’s traditionally served as an accompaniment to stews and meat dishes, and is commonly garnished with cottage cheese, sour cream or pork rind.
20. It has a whole day dedicated to wine
Actually, it's more of a two-day event. Wine producers open up their homes and vineyards to the masses on October 3-4 for National Wine Day, in a country-wide celebration of local hooch. Wine tastings are cheap, and there's even a free bus to shuttle you between wineries.
21. Its history stretches back for millenia
Ancient tools dating back 1.2 million years have been found in some of Moldova's key archeological sites. The flint relics were added to the national hoard of Paleolithic and Neolithic artefacts that includes jewellery, weapons and cooking utensils.
22. It likes to make a song and dance
As with its languages, Moldovan music is greatly influenced by Romania. Miorița, a traditional Romanian ballad about sheep, is a Moldovan favourite – so much so, that the first two verses are printed on its banknotes.
23. They're strong
Nicolae Birliba is a world champion weightlifter, nine times over. In 2011, aged 49, he rasied a 16kg kettlebell 2,575 times. Here he is, in action.
24. You'll have to take your shoes off
When you're entering someone's home, it's considered impolite to leave your shoes on. Leave them at the door. The house rule applies in most formerly Soviet countries, for hygiene reasons. Guests are almost always provided with slippers.
25. It loves Christmas
Moldova celebrates Christmas from December 24 to 26, unlike its Russian-Orthodox neighbours (their main event is in January). Traditional preparations start in November, with the baking of cakes and the slaughtering of pigs, and culminate in three days of feasting, parties and gift-giving. The Russian Father Frost fairytale was banned after Moldova gained independence: these days, children's presents are delivered by Mos Craciun – who looks remarkably like our Santa Claus.
U.S. Relations With Romania
The United States established diplomatic relations with Romania in 1880 following Romania’s independence, and 2020 saw the 140th anniversary of this relationship. The two countries severed diplomatic ties after Romania declared war on the United States in 1941 and re-established them in 1947. Relations remained strained during the Cold War era while Romania was under communist leadership. After the 1989 revolution ended communist rule, however, Romania’s policies became unequivocally pro-Western. In the decades that followed, the United States and Romania deepened relations by increasing cooperation on shared goals including economic and political development, deterrence and defense, and non-traditional threats such as transnational crime and non-proliferation.
In 2011, the United States and Romania issued the “Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century Between the United States of America and Romania.” The two countries identified key areas for enhanced cooperation, focusing on our political-military relationship, law-enforcement cooperation, trade and investment opportunities, and energy security. The United States and Romania are mutually committed to supporting human rights, strengthening the rule of law, and increasing prosperity in both countries. Romania and the United States are bound together through myriad people-to-people ties in business, the arts, scholarship, and a host of other exchanges, including the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) for high school students and a robust Fulbright program managed by the bilateral Fulbright Commission. In 1993, Romania became one of the first states to join the State Partnership Program, partnering with the Alabama National Guard. In May 2020, Romania deployed a 15-member medical team to support COVID response in long-term care and nursing home facilities. Over its history, the partnership has yielded over 200 bilateral engagements with focus ranging from F-16 operations and maintenance to construction of European weapons ranges and training sites in support of USEUCOM Exercise Atlantic Resolve. Romania’s promotion of greater cooperation among its Black Sea neighbors in the areas of defense, law enforcement, energy, economic development, and the environment complements the U.S. goal of enhancing stability in this sensitive and important region.
Romania joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004 and has established itself as a steadfast ally of both the United States and NATO. The country continues to improve its capabilities for NATO and multinational operations and has repeatedly deployed forces and assets in support of shared national security interests, including significant contributions of troops, equipment, and other assistance in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Kosovo. Romania hosts the NATO Multinational Division Headquarters South East, which is NATO’s fully operational command and control node for the region – a NATO Force Integration Unit, and a fully operational Multinational Brigade South East. In July 2020, Romania established the headquarters of the Multinational Corps South-East, a NATO military command charged with supporting security in Europe’s southern flank.
Romania hosts a key element of the U.S. European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) missile defense effort for NATO. The fully operational system was integrated as part of NATO’s ballistic missile defense at the Warsaw NATO Summit in July 2016. The two countries signed a ballistic missile defense agreement in 2011. In October 2014, the U.S. Navy formally established Naval Support Facility-Deveselu – the United States’ first new Navy base since 1987 – where the EPAA Aegis Ashore missile defense site has been constructed. The base houses over a hundred U.S. sailors and Navy contractors on a persistent, rotational basis.
In 2005, the United States and Romania signed the Defense Cooperation Agreement, the framework for our military engagements. The agreement established several (currently seven with more being contemplated) joint-use facilities. The Roadmap for Defense Cooperation for 2020-2030, signed in October 2020, outlined strategic priorities for the bilateral relationship and included collaboration in cybersecurity, military modernization, and multi-domain operations in the Black Sea. Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase near Constanta is an important multi-modal transportation hub for U.S. forces and currently houses several hundred U.S. soldiers on a persistent rotational basis under Operation Atlantic Resolve. The other joint-use facilities are Babadag training area and railhead, Campia Turzii air base, Cincu training range, Campu Media training range, Targu Mures military base, and Smardan training range.
The United States and Romania continue to work on issues of defense and security cooperation, combating corruption and strengthening rule of law, and increasing energy independence as well as economic and commercial ties.
U.S. Assistance to Romania
U.S. security assistance supports Romania in its ongoing military modernization, improving its interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces, and increasing its expeditionary deployment capabilities in support of NATO’s collective defense as well as coalition operations with the United States. Other programs include U.S. Department of Justice assistance to strengthen the rule of law, including combatting corruption and human trafficking, and strengthening intellectual property rights and cyber-security. The United States also assists in preserving Romania’s unique cultural heritage. For example, in 2019, Romania received the largest Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation grant in the world, $500,000, for the restoration of a 14th Century fortified Saxon church in the village of Alma Vii .
Bilateral Economic Relations
Following the 1989 revolution, Romania’s economy began a transition from state control to capitalism. The country worked to create a legal framework consistent with a market economy and investment promotion. Romania became a member of the European Union (EU) in 2007. In 1992, the United States and Romania signed a bilateral investment treaty (BIT), which came into force in 1994. In 2003, prior to Romania’s accession to the EU, the United States and Romania amended the BIT, which remains in effect. Romania attracts U.S. investors interested in accessing the European market, with relatively low costs and a well-educated, tech-savvy population being major draws. In 2019, the United States ranked as the fifth largest foreign investor in Romania when European subsidiaries of American companies were taken into account.
In Romania, major U.S. firms operate in the energy, manufacturing, information technology and telecommunications, service, and consumer products sectors. Top Romanian exports to the United States include machinery, vehicle parts, steel and metallic items, and fertilizers.
Romania’s Membership in International Organizations
Romania and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, among others. Romania is also a co-founder of the Three Seas Initiative, which is aimed at building infrastructure, technology, and energy assets in Central and Eastern Europe. The United States is an observer of the Three Seas Initiative. Additionally, the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy Cooperation (P-TEC) was launched in September 2018 in Bucharest to complement the Three Seas Initiative and enhance energy security and resilience.
Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List .
Romania maintains an embassy in the United States at 1607 23rd St., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-332-4846).
More information about Romania is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
Pathé Before British Pathé: 1896 to 1910
The earliest footage in the British Pathé archive today dates from as early as the 1890s. Much of it is short and features little in the way of plot. Nevertheless, many are well worth a watch as typical examples of early cinema. Film was still new, the first motion picture images having been captured by Louis Le Prince in 1888 in Leeds. Short, every-day subjects still had the power to thrill (such as in the famous Lumière film The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station). But this was also an era of great experimentation and innovation, as can be seen in the rather marvellous work of Georges Méliès and Robert W. Paul.
It was in this context that Charles, Emile, Théophile and Jacques Pathé founded Société Pathé Frères in France in 1896 and began film production. The glimpses of Victorian and Edwardian life they captured are as fascinating today as they were when they were shot – then because the technology involved was so new, and today because the footage is so old. The Victorian era was the first to be documented in moving images, yet still with a rarity that makes viewing them an awe-inspiring experience.
In 1897, Société Pathé Frères went public under the, rather lengthy, name Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Pathé Frères Phonographes & Cinématographes (or CGPC). Doubt remains about some of the clips in the archive from the early CGPC era in terms of their locations and dates. Records were either not made at the time or have been lost. The material which can be identified with at least some confidence is often of great historical interest. There is the funeral of William Gladstone, footage of the Boer War, and the coronation procession of Edward VII. The archive also contains film of Queen Victoria at a garden party, her Diamond Jubilee, and her funeral. Material from the Edwardian period includes the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and the 1908 London Olympics.
CGPC continued filming for many years, distributing films and expanding its theatre empire across much of the Western World. It was not, in fact, until 1908 that the company invented the newsreel. The first was Pathé-Faits Divers in France, though it was renamed Pathé Journal in 1909. The following year, CGPC launched an American newsreel arm to produce Pathé News, as well as opening a newsreel production office on Wardour Street in London. The first UK newsreel was thus produced, under the Pathé’s Animated Gazette brand, in February 1910. The French, British, and American newsreel arms would often share footage with their colleagues overseas. For this, British Pathé can be thankful, for it placed pre-1910 material in the hands of the UK newsreel staff, who often made good use of it by producing retrospectives.
The proposal for an international agency dedicated to renewable energy was made in 1981 at the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy, held in Nairobi, Kenya. The idea was further discussed and developed by major organisations in the field of renewable energy, such as Eurosolar.
As global interest in renewable energy steadily increased, world leaders convened in several settings to focus on renewable energy policies, financing and technology. Key meetings included the World Summit for Sustainable Development 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the annual G-8 Gleneagles Dialogue, the 2005 Beijing International Renewable Energy Conference, and the 2004 Bonn International Renewable Energy Conference.
The Bonn conference&rsquos concluding resolution included support for the establishment of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), supported by the International Parliamentary Forum on Renewable Energies. It would take just a few years more for the idea to become reality.
IRENA&rsquos first Preparatory Conference (Berlin, 10-11 April 2008)
With demand for energy growing rapidly and climate-change concerns rising, the meeting of the &ldquoIRENA Initiative&rdquo came at a critical juncture. A total of 170 representatives from 60 states expressed their overall support for the founding of a IRENA as early as possible, increasing political momentum. Whilst the basic instruments of such an agency were to be agreed upon at a later stage, the objective was clear: IRENA should be become the first intergovernmental organisation dedicated to promoting renewable energy.
Preparatory Workshops (Berlin, 30 June &ndash 1 July 2008)
Two preparatory workshops were convened in Berlin from 30 June 2008 to 1 July 2008. More than 100 representatives of more than 44 states attended, and addressed the founding treaty of IRENA (the IRENA Statute), the financing mechanisms, and the outline of an initial work programme. The workshops were yet another important step in the establishment of IRENA.
IRENA&rsquos final Preparatory Conference (Madrid, 23-24 October 2008)
The Final Preparatory Conference took place just a few months later, underlining the strong global commitment to the new agency. More than 150 representatives from 51 states gathered to discuss the key issues that would ultimately enable a IRENA to start operating in the form of a preparatory commission by January 2009. A draft of the IRENA Statute was agreed on, as were important matters such as financing, the criteria and procedures for selecting the Interim Director-General and interim headquarters, and the planning for the initial phase of IRENA&rsquos work. More states soon joined the initiative.
IRENA Founding Conference (Bonn, 26 January 2009)
IRENA was officially founded in Bonn, Germany, on 26 January 2009. Its Founding Conference remains a significant milestone for world renewable energy deployment. Governments worldwide made clear their commitment to changing the global energy paradigm, with 75 states signing the IRENA Statute at the time.
Considering the magnitude and urgency of the tasks ahead, the agency was required commence activity as quickly as possible. A preparatory commission was established the next day, to act as an interim institutional body until the ratification of IRENA&rsquos Statute by a quorum of at least 25 states.
IRENA Preparatory Commission Sessions (2009-2011)
The Preparatory Commission for IRENA, consisting of representatives from signatory states, had a key role in preparing the institutional structures for this new intergovernmental organisation and made further progress on implementing decisions taken the Final Preparatory Conference.
Five sessions of the Preparatory Commission for IRENA were held between 2009 and 2011. At the second session in June 2009, Abu Dhabi, of the United Arab Emirates, was selected to host the interim headquarters of IRENA. Helene Pelosse, a French citizen, was appointed Interim Director-General.
- First session (January 26, 2009)
- Second session (Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, June 29-30, 2009)
- Third session (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 17, 2010)
- Fourth session (Abu Dhabi, October 24-25, 2010)
- Fifth session (Abu Dhabi, 3 April 2011)
Commission attendees created an administrative Committee to assist the preparatory commission in preparing its next sessions, support the necessary next steps, and ensure efficient internal and external communication.
Following the entry into force of the IRENA Statute on 8 July 2010, preparations began for the first Assembly of IRENA. On 4 April 2011, only three years after the first conference to discuss IRENA&rsquos formation, the preparatory commission was disbanded and IRENA was officially born.