France and Romania


Political relations

France traditionally benefits from a significant goodwill in Romania, which has its origins in Napoleon III’s support for the creation of the Romanian State, and later a lasting brotherhood of arms brought about during the First World War. Ties were maintained during the Communist period, with General de Gaulle visiting Romania in May 1968. Bilateral political dialogue has developed significantly since 1989 when France supported Bucharest’s dual candidacy to the European Union and NATO, and culminated in February 2008 with the signing of a strategic partnership agreement whose road map, renewed in 2013, was updated in 2016.


President Iohannis, who took part in the march in Paris on 11 January 2015 after the terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices, made one of his first official visits to Paris on 10 February 2015. President François Hollande made an official State visit to Romania on 12 and 13 September 2016. President Macron made a visit to Bucharest on 24 August 2017.

Prime Minister Cioloș, who held office from November 2015 to December 2016, made two official visits to Paris (20-21 January and 9-10 June 2016). His successor, Mr Grindeanu, was received by Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on 8 June 2017.

On 14 November 2016, the French and Romanian Foreign and Defence Ministers held their first ministerial strategic dialogue meeting (or “2+2” meeting). Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence, held a meeting with his Romanian colleague, Mr Meleșcanu, in the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on 17 February 2017.

There is even more frequent contact between Ministers and Secretaries of State for European Affairs. Minister of State for European Affairs Harlem Désir visited Bucharest three times (2 September 2014, 16 June 2016 and 30-31 January 2017) and received his Romanian counterpart, Ms Birchall, in Paris on 4 April 2017. Minister for Europe Loiseau met with, Minister Delegate Negrescu, in Bucharest on 24 August 2017.

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Economic relations

French investors have been investing in Romania over a sustained period and often for pioneering initiatives with a lively business community of around 2,280 companies (including 36 of the CAC 40, but also a majority of SMEs), which employ around 89,000 employees and contribute nearly 15% of Romania’s GDP. French FDI stock is stable (€4.2 billion in 2015) and covers a variety of fields including industry (most notably, Renault-Dacia and Airbus Helicopters), finance (Société Générale), telecommunications (Orange), large-scale distribution (Carrefour), urban services (Engie, Veolia), engineering and ICTs (video games).

After falling in 2012, trade between France and Romania took an upturn and in 2016 stood at €7.4 billion (up 8.1% on 2015). With exports to Romania worth €3.6 billion and imports worth €3.8 billion, France is Romania’s fourth-biggest supplier and third-largest customer. This trade, supported most notably by the presence of French manufacturers in Romania (importing components and equipment from France and re-exporting part of what they produce), for a long time made Romania one of few Central European countries to have a trade surplus vis-à-vis France (€343 million in 2013). This surplus has, however, dropped and became negative in 2016 (-€166 million).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France and Romania have long-standing cultural ties. The use of French developed among Romanian elites from the 18th century, and France has since welcomed numerous Romanian intellectuals and artists, particularly in the 20th century including Cioran, Brâncuși, Eliade, Ionesco, Anna de Noailles and Enescu.

Nearly a quarter of the Romanian population speak French and Romania has been a member of the International Organisation of La Francophonie since 1993, hosting the organization’s eleventh summit in September 2006. Teaching of French (second most widely learned foreign language after English) is based mainly on a network of some sixty bilingual high school sections (of which 11 have been awarded the FrancEducation label), the French lycée Anna de Noailles in Bucharest (inaugurated in 2013), and some 10 French-language university courses. France hosts some 4,300 Romanian students (third country of choice for Romanian students) and 1,700 French students are studying in Romania (third-largest foreign contingent in Romania), notably in healthcare fields.

The Institut Français in Romania has three branches in Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara and Iași, and is supported by 4 Alliance Française branches in Constanța, Brașov, Pitești and Ploiești. Cultural cooperation is a field where French excellence is highly visible. This vibrant cultural cooperation will be promoted during the 2019 France-Romania Season, which will be organised successively in the two countries from 1 December 2018 (centenary of modern Romania) to 14 July 2019 – and will coincide with the Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union (first half of 2019) – where great emphasis will be placed on innovative and multidisciplinary content.

France is Romania’s leading European scientific partner. Via the CNRS and French companies (Thales), France is taking part in the implementation at Măgurele of the Romanian “Extreme Light Infrastructure-Nuclear Physics” aspect of the European research programme in the field of lasers (ELI). The Hubert Curien (PHC) “Brâncuși” partnership finances some twenty joint research projects every year. The Franco-Romanian Law College was set up in 1995 by the Universities of Bucharest and Paris I and has been carrying out pioneering cooperation in legal sciences, with the awarding of double degrees, as well as a Francophone regional centre for advanced research in the social sciences (CEREFREA) which has been based at the Villa Noël in Bucharest since 2014.

Lastly, France is engaged in cooperation in the areas of administrative reform, social policy (including children’s rights and Roma integration), health care, education (vocational training), urban planning and rural development. The activities under this cooperation are supported by strong decentralized cooperation (240 recorded twinning programmes and Franco-Romanian partnerships).

  • Ambassador of France in Bucharest: Ms Michèle Ramis (June 2017)
  • Romanian Ambassador in Paris: Mr Luca Niculescu (January 2016)
  • President of the France-Romania friendship group in the National Assembly: Mr André Chassaigne
  • President of the France-Romania friendship group in the Senate: Mr Bernard Fournier

Updated: 18 October 2017