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2004 | 2005


May - 2005


Making the most of wealth

As a small class of wealthy individuals emerge in Romania, The Diplomat looks at the ways in which they can manage their riches

What does a hard-working business person want to do once he or she has made a load of money? Stick it in a current account with an interest rate related to inflation? Or allow the money to start working for itself? Well, banks in Romania are beginning to offer this second service through more advanced finance products so that, in order for rich clients to manage their wealth, they no longer need to jump on a jet plane and travel to Switzerland, Frankfurt or the British Virgin Islands. The threshold to become a private banking client in Romania is between 75,000 and 100,000 Euro. In central and eastern Europe (such as in Prague and Budapest), the limit for private banking clients is the same, but in Austria the threshold is one million Euro. Around 50,000 citizens constitute potential clients for private banking services, according to an ING Bank survey. Most of them are concentrated in Bucharest and they do not make use of advanced financial products and services, such as bonds and titles, preferring to invest in real-estate, business assets and material treats such as yachts or cars.

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Journey's end?

Romania's route to EU accession has been fraught with dissent, confusion and compromise, and the destination is still to be reached.
After tough last minute negotiations Romania has signed the treaty for joining the EU, but there are still tests by the European Commission and each EU member state that must be passed before the Balkan state can secure entry. The European Parliament only approved the accession following the European Commission's assurance that the elected body would have power over accession budgets and closer consultation on whether to delay Romania's entry if the country fails to fulfil its promises


After spending her early childhood in Bucharest, Israeli Ambassador to Romania Rodica Radian-Gordon has returned to represent her country's diplomatic mission

Unlike many ambassadors, Rodica Radian-Gordon was born in the capital city where she now runs her embassy. “My current residence is half a kilometre away from the place I grew up,” she says. In the 1960s, during a period of great waves of Jewish emigration from Romania, mostly to Israel as part of the right to return, Radian-Gordon's family decided to leave Romania.

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Law and disorder

While ensuring judicial independence, accountability and effectiveness so the state can convict the powerful corrupt, newly appointed minister Monica Macovei tells The Diplomat she is meeting resistance.

“We have a country report saying the National Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office (NAPO) is not efficient and is not dealing with high-level corruption. Then there was the safeguard clause in the EU negotiations, then the Freedom House Audit which said the same. This is nothing new.


Which way to the West ?

In a country with less than 200km of motorway, two routes are under construction linking Hungary to Bucharest through Transylvania, but can the country afford it?

Mures County in Transylvania has low and undulating hills ideal for pastoral and arable agriculture and without any trace of a gold mine or oil field.
Yet the price of the land in certain areas has sky-rocketed.