Throughout the accession process, Romania has widely been perceived as the laggard among the aspiring new member states (though Bulgaria entered competition for this dubious distinction during the final spurt before the two countries finally joined the EU on 1 January 2007).
Without doubt Romania – as well as Bulgaria – had bigger problems at the start than the other accession countries. Though it still faces more challenges than most of the other new member states from Central Europe, Romania has changed dramatically over the past decade.
In a forthcoming study ESI will examine one of the difficulties which Romania is said to not to have yet overcome: the absorption of EU funds. In the meantime, you can read about Romania's path to EU membership or watch the ESI-inspired documentary Timisoara.com. For more background on the documentary, part of the award-winning "Return to Europe" series, click here.