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Romania has a long history of migration and expatriation. The rates grew considerably in 2007 when Romania joined the European Union, allowing hard-working Romanians the opportunity to travel throughout Europe for work. As a new member, though, restrictions were put in place, finally being lifted this year and giving Romanian workers the same rights as every other EU member.
Romania’s acceptance into the EU has been tremendously beneficial for the country. One of the poorer European countries, jobs can be hard to come by in Romania, especially in more rural areas. No wonder then that many Romanians opted to leave their mother country and seek work elsewhere.
In the UK alone there are an estimated 100,000 Romanians, with a total of 3 million Romanians living abroad at present. While some of these expats have left home to seek adventure, many more have moved away to escape poverty and find reliable work. Many now send money home to poor relatives, helping to keep the rural Romanian economy in the black.
For a country so reliant on migration the recent Presidential elections represent something of an embarrassment for the government, not to mention a major frustration for Romanian expats the world over.
Whether living at home in Romania or not, all Romanian citizens were entitled to vote at the recent elections, a proud source of democracy for all the world to see. Sadly, however, the reality turned out to be rather different to the theory.
In the end, thousands of Romanians all round Europe were unable to vote thanks to technical difficulties. The frustration has led to a surprise win by contender Kalus Iohannis after anger seems to have been directed at his predecessor over the fiasco.
Perhaps even more surprisingly, two different foreign ministers have resigned one after the other in recent weeks, as a result of the problems experienced by Romanian expats. Quite who will step up to become the third foreign minister in as many weeks is anyone’s guess, though we can only hope they remain in the job rather longer than their predecessors.
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