Romania is a country located in Southeastern and Central Europe, North of the Balkan Peninsula, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea. Almost all of the Danube Delta is located within its territory. 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.
The territory’s recorded history includes periods of rule by Dacians, the Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire. 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 the USSR and Romania became a member of the Warsaw Pact. With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Romania started a series of political and economic reforms. After a decade of post-independence economic problems, Romania made economic reforms such as low flat tax rates in 2005 and joined the European Union in January 1, 2007. While Romania’s income level remains one of the lowest in the European Union, reforms have increased the growth speed. Romania is now an upper-middle income country economy.
Romania has the 9th largest territory and the 7th largest population (with 21.5 million people) among the European Union member states. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, the 6th largest city in the EU with 1.9 million people. In 2007, Sibiu, a city in Transylvania, was chosen as a European Capital of Culture. Romania also joined NATO on March 29, 2004, and is also a member of the Latin Union, of the Francophonie of the OSCE and an associate member of the CPLP. Romania is a semi-presidential unitary state.