How the US Benefits from Foreign Aid to Romania


SEATTLE — The U.S. and Romania have had a storied diplomatic relationship that has experienced multiple ebbs and flows throughout history. Diplomatic relations with Romania formally began in 1880. In 1941, two years into World War II, Romania broke relations with the United States in favor of Nazi Germany. This largely occurred due to a military coup led by Ion Antonescu’s Iron Guard.

With Germany’s defeat in 1945, Romania’s future relationship with the U.S. continued to be in jeopardy. Although relations were re-established in 1947, Romania was by then an official satellite state of the Soviet Union. Therefore, the diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and Romania remained relatively rocky. It was not until 1989 that Romania became an emphatically pro-Western ally of the United States.

Post-Cold War Cooperation Has Strengthened U.S.-Romania Relations

In the following decades, the U.S. has worked with the Romanian government in furthering economic and political development. In addition, the U.S. has assisted Romania in fighting transnational crime and bolstered its defense capabilities. Adding another ally to the battle against transnational crime is one way the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Romania.

In 2011, the U.S. and Romania issued the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century Between the United States of America and Romania. This initiative sought to deepen economic and political relations, increase energy security and increase cooperation between law enforcement. The joint declaration was re-instituted in 2016 in the wake of the five year anniversary of the first agreement.

Romania’s Participation in NATO One Way the U.S. Benefits from Foreign Aid to Romania

Romania entered into the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) in 2004 and has remained a capable and willing ally of the United States. In the past and present, Romania has committed military personnel to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Adding to its contribution to NATO, Romania created the NATO Force Integration Unit, which allows for the rapid deployment of NATO troops across the globe. Romania’s effort to strengthen NATO’s capabilities is a major way that the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Romania.

Since Romania’s emergence as a pro-Western nation in Eastern Europe, the U.S. has seen great benefits from this relationship. NATO is the West’s largest bulwark against Russia’s increasing military aggression in both the Middle East and Eastern Europe. As the U.S. continues to provide key support to Romania’s military, an even stronger ally will emerge.

U.S. aid to Romania remains relatively low, however. For the fiscal year 2019, the U.S. plans to provide $1.5 million in foreign assistance to Romania. All of these funds are focused on peace and security. Romania has also lent support in developing NATO’s ballistic missile defense capabilities, which still is a hot-button issue in relations with Russia.

U.S.-Romania Relations Look to Remain Strong in the Future

The U.S. has greatly aided Romania in economic development as well. Currently, Romania is a member of the European Union and holds a bilateral investment treaty with the United States. In addition, Romania’s relatively low cost of living and the tech-savvy population have drawn large U.S. investment. Romania’s pro-capitalist economic policies and membership in the EU provide a solid economic partner for the United States. Continued trade with Romania is another way the U.S. benefits from foreign aid to Romania.

Although Romania is not a large recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, it still provides great value as an ally. Further U.S. support through military development and economic investment will pave the way for a bright relationship between the U.S. and Romania.

– Colby McCoy
Photo: Flickr


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