SEATTLE — Romania is derived from the Latin word Romanus, which means “A Citizen of Rome”. It is a country situated in southeastern Europe, surrounded by the Black Sea on one side and Bulgaria, Hungary and Ukraine on the other sides. It was under communist rule from 1947 until 1989. It held its first free election in 1990 and gained stability as a democratic country in 1996. Romania is a popular tourist destination because of its history, art, scenic beauty and the interesting Dracula legends.
At present, corruption is a major issue in Romania, along with problems with healthcare, education, infrastructure and climate change. The World Bank and the European Union have funded various development projects in Romania. The top five projects that are currently operational and relevant to the major issues are detailed below.
Justice Services Improvement Project
This is one of the most important development projects in Romania, as it is believed that corruption in the judiciary system is affecting other sectors like educational access, employment opportunities, health services and the housing sector.
The estimated cost of the project is about $72.57 million and is expected to continue until 2023. The project targets the following objectives:
- Improve the efficiency of courts and institutions that are under Ministry of Justice authority and increase awareness of justice services in the community.
- Update the archive system in the National Trade Registry Office to an online electronic system so that business information is accessible to the public.
- Finance an integrated security system at the prosecutor’s office in the High Court of Cassation and Justice, which handles much of the sensitive prosecution work in Romania. This includes installing security equipment, video surveillance and access cards.
Romania Secondary Education Project
Inadequate budgets, poverty and corruption contribute to the poor education system in Romania. There is a high rate of high school dropouts as well as students with an incomplete college education.
The Romania Secondary Education Project, with an estimated cost of $243.1 million, is the largest development project in Romania. It aims for a successful transition of students from secondary to tertiary education through tutoring, counseling, internships, summer programs and other extracurricular activities. It targets low-performing schools and colleges and prepares students for the labor market or advanced education. It also offers training and technical assistance to teachers and educational staff.
Health Sector Reform Project
Insufficient funding is one of the greatest problems with health services in Romania. This in turn results in inadequate medical equipment, lack of primary and outpatient care services and insufficiently trained medical practitioners.
To address these problems, the World Bank created the Health Sector Reform Project with a budget of $338 million, which will continue until 2020. The objective of the project is to improve the overall quality and efficiency of health services in Romania in these ways:
- Reorganizing and strengthening the hospital network.
- Improving primary and outpatient care services so that more patients can be treated at a much lower cost.
- Upscaling multifunctional and long-term health care services at the community level so that they can provide basic medical facilities, reducing hospital admission rates.
- Providing support for governance and stewardship so that national health policy objectives can be achieved.
Integrated Nutrient Pollution Control Project
The estimated cost of this project is $81.6 million, and it is expected to continue until 2022. It is one of the longer-term development projects in Romania, and aims to reduce the discharge of substances like nitrogen and phosphorus into the water bodies of Romania. It also focuses on campaigns and public awareness programs so that water quality is protected in the 10 river basins and 11 counties of Romania, helping with sustainable agricultural production.
Cleaner Waste Water Collection and Treatment in Bucharest-Ilfov
This is a European Union-funded project with an investment of €196 million over a four-year period. The project aims to improve the sewage system so that it can provide wastewater collection and treatment services in Bucharest and surrounding areas of Ilfov County. The project will help minimize liquid waste discharge into the water bodies in that area, thus reducing environmental pollution and improving public health.
Romania is going through a prolonged period of political unrest, public protests and corruption, affecting almost every facet of government operations. Hopefully, these development projects in Romania will help improve the infrastructure, healthcare and administration of the country.
– Mahua Mitra