Romania: Environment, Crime, and Disease
Romania is a state from the united principalities of Wallachia and Moldovia. These two principalities used to be under the rule of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, which became autonomous in 1856. In 1859, the entire state became united, and in a few years later, it adopted the name of Romania. Romania can be found between Bulgaria and Ukraine in the Southeastern Europe, which borders the Black Sea. Romania became part of the European Union on January 1, 2007. However, as compared with its European neighbors Romania have to face more challenges. One of the most notable issues that the country has to address is the immigration and migration rate (Shah, 2008).
In relation to this, the main objective of this paper is to identify the factors that influence the current situation of immigration/migration in Romania. It will look at how the spread of Christianity made an impact on the Romanian society when it comes to immigration/migration. In relation to this, the paper will also discuss the way by which migration contributed to the ethnic composition of Romania. Lastly, it will also give due consideration to the other important societal issues like poverty and the economic situation of the country, which also have an impact in immigration and migration.
Immigration and Migration
In order to properly understand the phenomena of immigration and migration it is essential that these two terms are defined and discussed. As such, immigration pertains to “migration into a place especially migration to a country of which you are not a native in order to settle there” (Princeton University, 2006). On the other hand, migration is defined as “the movement of persons from one country or locality to another” and “a group of people migrating together” (Princeton University, 2006). Having these definitions in mind, it can be said that immigration and migration both connote the process wherein people move out from a particular territory to settle into another place. However, there is also a notable difference because immigration emphasizes moving into another country while migration can merely be relocating in certain region that is still within the country of their origin.
The Influence of Christianity
A debate has emerged regarding the way by which Christianity was brought to the modern-day Romania. The first belief asserted that the religious belief about Christianity was introduced by the Romans during their time of occupation in the territory that now composed the state of Romania. Another source of Christianity in Romania comes from a legend that explains that Apostle Andrew who preached in Scythia Minor, now known as Dobogea, introduced this faith. Nevertheless, when the Romanians formed themselves as one society, it is already clearly observable that they already follow the Christian belief. This is proven by the gathered archeological and linguistic evidence (Spicer, 2007).
The religion in Romania is dominated and heavily characterized by Romanian Orthodoxy. During the time of the First World War, the Romanian political scene saw the emergence of nationalist and xenophobic movements. These movements wanted to maintain a strict Romanian Orthodoxy in the country. This is the reason behind the forced granting of citizenship to Jews for the sake of national territorial aggrandizement, which paved the way for anti-semitic prejudices. In relation to this, the existence of non-Orthodox Christian minorities such as Hungarian Catholics, Lutherans, German Protestants as well as Romanian and Ukrainian Uniates heightened the fear that Orthodoxy will decline in Romania. Romanian nationalists wanted to define the Romanian ethnic spirit as an element of Orthodoxy, which did not coincide with a diverse state. When Romania was put under the rule of dictatorship, many religious and ethnic minorities – especially the Jews – experienced discrimination that forced them to migrate into different territories. In the same manner, this migration also took place during the Second World War when Hitler implemented the Holocaust that required many Jews in Europe to migrate to other continents (Spicer, 2007).
Ethnic Minority Groups in Romania
Romania is regarded as a diverse state as compared with its other European neighbors. This is due to the fact that the country’s percentage with regards to its ethnic minorities is among the highest in Europe (Ivlevs, 2007). According to the 2002 census of Romania, the ethnic groups of the country are composed of Romanian 89.5%, Hungarian 6.6%, Roma 2.5%, Ukrainian 0.3%, German 0.3%, Russian 0.2%, Turkish 0.2%, other 0.4% (Central Intelligence Agency, 2009).
The ethnic minorities of Romania are estimated to make up almost 15% of the population. This percentage of ethnic minorities poses another problem for the country especially since they are already a member of the European Union. Romania’s inclusion in the European Union on January 1, 2007 allowed its citizens to have greater access to other European states. As a result, a significant number of these ethnic minorities will move to richer countries like Britain and other Western European states (Ivlevs, 2007). Being the case, the Romanian government together with the European Union should implement a more efficient minority integration policy in Eastern Europe to make these people less discriminated because this is a good strategy that may limit migration (International Center for Policy Studies).
Poverty in Romania
As previously mentioned, Romania does not have a robust economy as compared with its European neighbors. This difference is greatly observable in the situation of most of its citizens that are in dire poverty. Many Romanians have to live in houses that have been made out of corrugate iron, old linoleum, and crumbling stone that are put together. Aside from the unhealthy living conditions, these people also suffer from hunger due to the lack of resources to support their basic needs. Healthcare is also another aspect that has not been properly provided to these people. Most of these people do not have access to quality healthcare and medicines, which often cause common and curable ailments to become terminal illnesses. Children and women are the most probable victims of such cases; and they have to bear with the hardships of life. These people cannot eat three times a day nor have a competent education due to gender inequality (Food and Agricultural Organization, n.d.). This kind of situation forced Romanians to look for a better life in other countries, which made migration as a common trend in this country (Ionescu, 2005).
Economy of Romania
Romania has to shift its largely obsolete economic framework which they had during the Communist era, towards a more export-oriented market. In 2000, the country emerged after the hardships it had to deal with the strong demand of the European Union export markets. In the recent years, the country experienced an increase in its Gross Domestic Product or GDP, because of domestic consumption and investment. However, this also produced large account imbalances that they currently have to deal with. Recently, the country’s macroeconomic gains caused a number of families to move into the middle cluster of the society, as well as allowing the government to address the issue of widespread poverty. However, prevalent corruption and red tape continue to put their business environment in a disadvantageous position. The strong GDP growth that the country had during the last quarter of 2008 moderated because of the global financial crisis. Furthermore, economic growth is expected to be weaker for Romania this year (Central Intelligence Agency, 2009).
The previous bad condition of Romania’s economy, as well as the prediction of a weak economy this year, forced most Romanians to migrate to other countries. Romanians migrate abroad to look for a better job that will sustain the needs of their family. They want to live in a country with a more stable economy, wherein the government is more capable of giving them their basic needs and other benefits. In the present time, territorial borders are more accessible than ever, which lures people to migrate to other countries more often.
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