OSW Report

Punching below its weight

Romania’s foreign policy dilemmas
Punching below its weight. Romania’s foreign policy dilemmas
Adriana Iacob / Shutterstock.com | Romanian postage stamp (des. Aurel Popescu)

Romania is the largest and most populous country in southeastern Europe and one of Europe’s fastest growing economies. Despite its potential, Romania’s foreign policy appears to be very passive and lacking in any far-reaching ambitions. It is focused on ensuring the country’s security in the narrow sense of the word: by cooperating as closely as possible with NATO, especially the US, and maintaining good relations with EU countries, particularly France and Germany, which form the EU’s core; the other priority is to continue the process of European integration. Generally, Romania has shown little interest in shaping the situation in its immediate neighbourhood, exhibited no ambition to take on the informal role of a regional leader, and has not initiated (or has been unable to do so effectively) any local formats of cooperation that would extend beyond the members of NATO and the EU that are closest to it. The only exception to this rule is Moldova, which Romania sees as an area of special interest and influence for historical, linguistic and cultural reasons.