Romanians claim that they are a Latin island in a Slav lake, with their cultural moorings in France . Two millennia ago, for two centuries, Roman legions were garrisoned here; some were from Catalonia in Spain and even Palestine . Their mixing with the local Dacian people gave the Romanian language its Latin character - in fact it is quite close to Italian, and even the Catalan dialect.
Romania is fortunately self-sufficient in oil and gas, unlike its neighbors. It has rich agriculture land and was known as the "bread basket" of the Balkans. But now only 60 percent of the land is cultivated and land ownership laws are not clear or fully implemented; nor has land been distributed, with collective farm mangers from the past still making hay. Except for the summer months when vegetables and fruits sprout from the rich fertile soil, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and other simple fruits and vegetables are imported from Holland, Greece, Turkey, Spain and Italy. If state farms could be leased to agriculture and horticulture entrepreneurs from Turkey , Israel or India , Romania could not only feed itself, it could flood Europe with its fruit, vegetables and flowers.
The massive tourist infrastructure built by Ceausescu has been eroded, dismantled and destroyed over the past decade. In the absence of maintenance, hotels parceled among cronies have fallen apart, but room rates are on a par with West Europe . This discourages businessmen and keeps tourists away from Romania 's legendary fresco-painted churches and monasteries, scenic sights, Black Sea beaches and winter holiday resorts. Before being admitted in 2007 in to EU conditionally (along with Bulgaria), mafias from neighboring countries like Greece, Italy, Turkey had infiltrated the country's economic and political life. Despite making some progress in fighting corruption and organized crime, both Romania and Bulgaria have been severely criticized in by EU over a catalog of failings, which could delay the two nations from joining Europe's passport-free Schengen travel zone. The objections are only to semiskilled and unskilled labor, not to their doctors and engineers.