Romania has fastest internet in the EU, produces most sunflowers, spends least on health

It’s 15 years since Romania joined the European Union which has opened new markets and led to billions of euros of investment.

In some areas, Romania is performing better than other European countries, such as in internet speed, or car and sunflower production. But it still lags on the economic front with second lowest minimum salary in the 26-member bloc. 

To mark Europe Day on May 9, Ziarul Financiar compiled a list of where Romania is at the top and where it need to improve its performance.

Sunflower and maize production

Top place. Romania is the largest producer of maize and sunflower in the EU. It has the the highest production of sunflowers in 2021–2,800 tons,  compared to France which produced 2,000 tons.

Romania is the fourth-largest wheat producer. It harvested more than 10 million tons of wheat from almost 2.2 million hectares. Only France, Germany and Poland produced more.

Romania still retains the enviable top spot for internet speed. It has a broadband speed of about 200 Mbps, compared to the EU average of about 100 Mbps.

 Wine production

Romania’s  produced more than 5 million hectoliters of wine in 2020, ranking sixth among European wine producers. The largest wine producers in the EU are Italy, Spain and France and each produces more than 30 million hectoliters annually.

Romania ranks 7th in the European Union as an automobile manufacturer. In 2020, it  produced almost 438,000 cars, more than Hungary (433,000) or Poland (221,000). Germany is Europe’s largest manufacturer with 3.4 million cars produced annually.

Romania has one of the lowest minimum wages in Europe, in the countries which legally set a minimum wage. The gross minimum wage, meaning the employer’s total  expenditure is 515 euros in Romania, placing  Romania in 19th of the 21 EU member States that actually have a minimum wage. At the other end is Luxembourg which has a monthly gross of 2,260 euros per month.


Although it has recovered at a much faster pace than other countries in the region, Romania has one of the lowest gross domestic products (GDP) in the European Union, one place ahead of Bulgaria.

At the end of 2021, it had a per capita of 9,400 euros, substantially higher than Bulgaria with a GDP/capita of 5,900 euros. The richest country is Luxembourg which has a GDP per capita of almost 87,000 euros.

Romania’s infrastructure is poor by EU standards, even if improvements have been made in recent years. At the end of 2021, it had 931 kilometers of motorways. Neighboring Hungary, which is much smaller than Romania and has a population half the size of Romania’s has a highway network of almost 1,700 km.


Romania is the sick man of Europe. It allocated just 5.7% of its GDP to health in 2019, the latest available statistics. The average health expenditure for EU countries is 9.9% of GDP. Germany and France are the top spenders on health, 11.7% and 11% respectively.

Investment, investment, investment (and structural reforms) needed to strengthen Romania’s economy, presidential adviser says


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