Europe is considered developed compared with other continents, but there are large differences between countries in terms of infrastructure, income or wealth. But compared with other European nations, Romania still looks like a feral country in terms of infrastructure, with only around 770 km of motorways, or 3 centimeters per inhabitant.
Romania is the 7th largest among EU member states in terms of population, but it has only 770 kilometers of motorways, less than Bulgaria, which is about half the size of Romania.
But even the small Romanian motorway network, which looks like a nonsensical puzzle to the unaccustomed eye, is split in two and the country has little chance to connect the two sides within the next decade.
The difference compared with the rest of the EU is even larger if you compare the size of the motorway network with the population.
Romania, the 60th nation in the world by population, with 19,5 million inhabitants, has 3 cm of motorways per inhabitant, compared with 19 cm per inhabitant in Hungary (more than 1,900 km of motorways), Romania’s western neighbor.
In the EU, Spain has currently the largest motorway network, of 15,444 km at the end of 2017, equivalent to around 33 cm per inhabitant, followed by Germany (12,996 km) and France (11,612 km).
In relative terms, the most significant motorway expansion between 2007 and 2016 took place in the Romanian region of Sud-Est (Muntenia), followed by the Bulgarian region of Yugoiztochen and Lódzkie in Poland.
But these impressive growth rates are explained by the very limited motorway networks in these regions in the 2000’s, according to Eurostat.
The picture looks different when absolute changes over the same period are considered. Apart from the Irish regions Southern and Eastern (+452 km of motorways between 2007 and 2016) and and Border, Midland and Western (+195 km), five out of the ten regions that recorded the largest absolute change are located in Spain: Castilla-y-Leόn (+558 km), Andalucίa (+332 km), Castilla-la-Mancha (+ 328 km), Cataluña (+423 km), Galicia (+293 km) and Aragón (+184 km).
Eurostat indicates that the highest motorway densities are obviously found around European capitals and other big cities, in large industrial conurbations and around major seaports.
A recent study showed that Romania is the fifth largest spender on transport among the 28 European Union member states, but with poor results, being seen as the country with the poorest infrastructure in the EU.