An absent generation

Ben Horton on why young Romanians seek their fortune in western Europe

The World Today Updated 2 November 2020 Published 5 December 2019 3 minute READ

The buildings lining Bucharest’s Victory Square tell the story of Romania’s recent past. On one side stands the imposing neoclassical grandeur of the Palatul Victoria, which housed the Romanian foreign ministry throughout the Communist era and became the seat of the first post-Communist government in 1990. The buildings opposite are dominated by high-rise tower blocks and advertising billboards that hint at the rapid societal changes brought about by globalization and the move to a free market economy at the turn of the 21st century.

It does not take long for visitors to Bucharest to realize there is a disconnect between the glossy life displayed on billboards and the reality of daily existence. While over the past three decades the economy has grown consistently, Romania’s population has fallen by almost 20 per cent.

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