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Living in Romania
It may be one of Europes poorest countries but Romanias future is bright, and with EU accession on the horizon, it has much to offer those seeking to relocate few years.

This beautiful country is experiencing something of an economic boom, and the full accession to the EU on January 1st 2007 should provide the property market with the boost it needs. Indeed, the economy has improved considerably over recent years, meaning that Romania is now a genuinely viable option for those seeking to relocate. The scenery in Romania is stunning and unspoilt, the cost of skiing is very low compared to the rest of Europe, the coast is superb and the Romanians are very welcoming.

Religion
The most popular denomination in Romania is Christian Orthodox, which accounts for nine out of ten members of the population. A further 5% are Roman Catholic, while the remaining 5% is made up of Protestants and Jews.

Language
The official language of Romania is Romanian, which is a Romance language derived from Latin. It has two dialects, both formed following an influx of the Slavic peoples into the country following the decline of the Roman Empire in the 6th century. It is the northern Draco-Romanian dialect that is spoken in modern day Romania. It contains over 100 words of Albanian, as well as many Slavic, Greek and Turkish words.

Politics
Romania is a parliamentary democracy, although in the not-too-distant past it was ruled by a Communist regime. From 1965 to 1989,Nicolae Ceaus escu ruled the country,but in December 1989, both he and his wife were executed, making way for the National Salvation Front, now amalgamated into the Social Democratic party. Today the President is Traian Basescu and there is a real feeling that greater stability, clarity and cohesion has been introduced since 2000.

Economy
Economic recession and financial scandal have been rife in Romania since the fall of Communism. In 1989, Romania became a democracy and began the long road to becoming a free market economy, although the GDP growth rate remains close to 1989 level of 4.5%. Despite the fact that foreign investment remains low, since 2000 the government has been working on re-invigorating industry and it has privatised a number of previously state-owned enterprises. However, the economy has seen strong growth over the last few years, expanding at 5% annually, while 2006 expected growth is 5.2%. The forecast is bright, given that there has been a growing demand for Romanian exports, particularly machinery, and unemployment remains low, at 5. 5%. All this can only strengthen foreign investment in the housing market. With the government working hard to stabilise the economy, the future is looking promising.

Currency
The Romanian currency is the leu, which consists of 100 banis. On 1 July 2005 Romania introduced the new leu with approximately 5. 3 leu to the pound (previously it was 62, 000). This has brought stability to the currency which in the past has experienced tremendous fluctuations against the pound, the euro and the dollar. Dollars or sterling are welcomed in Romania and they can be readily exchanged in most of the countrys towns and cities.

Education
In 1948, after the onset of communist rule, education was organised by the state as a unitary, highly centralised structure. However, the growth of higher education was inhibited, both technically and in terms of material resources. After the overthrow of Communist rule in 1989, the higher education institutions initiated major reforms. As a result, the number of students that have enrolled in the various study programmes available in Romania has been on a constant increase in the last decade, reaching 353, 228 for the 1999-2000 academic year. This huge increase was also triggered by the introduction of a new scheme that enables citizens to pursue studies based on a system of tuition fees. Foreigners and Romanians living abroad have access to all levels of education in Romania, and their applications are vetted by a special service in the International Relations Department within the Ministry of Education.

Healthcare
Medical care in Romania is not up to western standards and basic medical supplies are limited, especially outside the major cities. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Property market
Low employment costs and a strengthening of the currency against the euro and the dollar, combined with the relocation of several multinational companies into Romania, have given investors a real sense of optimism for the future. Add to this the entry of Romania into the European Union in 2007 and it becomes clear that the country is sitting on the cusp of an economic and real estate boom. The real estate market in Romania has, in fact, been moving fast since 2003. Some properties have been seen to change hands every two to three months, with buyers taking advantage of rapid appreciation. Weak regulations, low property prices and an increasing awareness of the market have also contributed to the frenzy of property purchases. Foreign investment still tends to take the form of rentals rather than permanent purchase, which is dominated by the local market. There has, however, been a rapid development in the sales market and there are a large number of new projects planned for the next couple of years. The forecast is for a growth in both supply and demand, and with EU accession looming, it wont be long before there are no restrictions for foreigners in terms of land and property ownership.

Visas
UK residents dont need to have a visa to enter Romania unless they intend to stay for a period longer than 90 days. However, if you plan to take up temporary residence in Romania for example, for work purposes, teaching, press activities, or for church or charity projects you must register at the nearest Romanian passport office within 15 days of your arrival in the country. The passport office will then register your status and issue you with a residency permit that is valid for a maximum of one year. This can be extended at the end of this period. A temporary residency visa can last for between three to six years, depending on the situation of the individual applicant, and after this its possible to apply for permanent residency. ?

COST OF LIVING
In terms of cost of living, Bucharest is Europes cheapest capital
Bread 1kg 0.09
Milk 1ltr 0.08
Oranges 1kg 0.15 to 0.25
Coca-Cola 0. 25ltr 0.10 to 0.15
Beer 0. 5ltr 0.10 to 0.40

ROMANIA FACTS
Romania covers an area of 237, 500 square kilometres
The population stood at 22.3 million people in 2005
The population growth rate is -0.12%
Life expectancy at birth is 71.12 years
Ethnic groups: Romanian 89. 5%, Hungarian 6.6%, Roma 2.5%
The GDP real growth rate stands at 4.5%
It will cost a massive 19.1 billion to repair Romanias roads
The average net monthly salary is 155