Combat Poverty in RomaniaIn an effort to combat the nation’s longstanding battle with poverty, the Romanian Government passed 47 measures in 2015/16 to combat poverty in Romania through to 2020.

Poverty in Romania

At the time these measures passed into law, 40.2% of Romanian people were at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Furthermore, absolute poverty in Romania increased from 23.4% in 2008 to 27.7% in 2012. Low educational attainment, intergenerational transmission of poverty and lack of inter-regional mobility all contribute to the integral causes of poverty in Romania.

However, the Romanian government set a substantial and significant new precedent on how the nation combats poverty by adopting The National Strategy and Strategic Action Plan on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction for 2015-2020. These measures hope to reduce the many causes of poverty in Romania.

Key Measures:

  • Increasing employment rate through labor market activation programs
  • Increasing financial support for low-income individuals
  • Improving social inclusion of marginalized communities
  • Improving the functionality of social services
  • Reducing school drop-out rates
  • Scaling-up of national health programs
  • Integrating social assistance benefits with social services, employment services and other public services.

These measures were an encouraging shift in political focus that revolved around social benefits and a more community-based and integrated approach that generated widespread support. The World Bank supports these measures, commenting that these measures will strongly contribute to narrowing poverty gaps in the country.

Impact of Poverty Reduction Strategy

Since the adoption of these measures, monthly income per person increased by 10% between 2016 and 2017 and by 16% between 2017 and 2018, in part due to the increases in public-sector wages and improved minimum wages and tax cuts. As a result, poverty rates fell from 28.4% in 2014 to 15.8% in 2017.

Currently, the employment rate at 68.8% is approaching the EU 2020 target and is just below the EU average of 72.2%. Additionally, the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the EU at 4.9%.

Implementation Delays Cause Concern

Although clear steps toward improving Romania’s struggle with poverty have emerged, these measures have received criticism as expectations have determined that many measures could have delayed or minimal results. These concerns were further exacerbated in 2017 when a change in government occurred. The political change delayed implementation and altered the original plan, putting full implementation in jeopardy.

In addition, more legislation is necessary to address the growing condition of the Roma minority group residing in Romania. A whole 78% of Roma are at risk of poverty compared to 35% for non-Roma citizens. Furthermore, 84% of Roma households do not have access to a water source, sewage or electricity. To successfully combat poverty in Romania, the Roma need to be prioritized.

Poverty Reduction Progress

While no single piece of legislation will be the end all be all to combat poverty in Romania, the anti-poverty measures passed in 2015/2016 have shown that a top-down, legislation-focused approach to fighting poverty can lead to progress, poverty reduction and improved social inclusion.

– Andrew Eckas
Photo: Flickr


Borgen Project

How to use this page: Here, you’ll find our legislative priorities for the 118th Congress (2023-2024). The first link under each issue contains a downloadable document that gives an overview of each bill. The other links will provide additional data, analysis and instructions on how to email Congress. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email [email protected].

Top Legislative Priorities

International Affairs Budget

The International Affairs Budget supports critical development and diplomacy programs globally. Programs funded by the International Affairs Budget create U.S. jobs by opening new markets to American businesses and protect national security by preventing conflicts. The International Affairs Budget is an investment that staffs U.S. embassies overseas, fights pandemic disease, provides emergency response after natural disasters, implements agriculture programs to promote stability and prevent hunger, saves millions of lives with HIV/AIDS medications and provides essential good governance assistance to emerging democracies.

The Problem: Over the last four years, millions of people were pushed into extreme poverty due to the consequences of COVID-19, erasing forward progress in poverty reduction efforts. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has exacerbated these challenges including igniting a global hunger crisis. Global food insecurity has now more than doubled since 2019. Due to these growing global challenges, it is critical that Congress support the International Af airs Budget.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the International Affairs Budget.”

READ Act Reauthorization

The Problem: Currently, 58 million primary school-aged children globally do not attend school and 260 million do not have access to quality education. Gender discrimination in school contributes to the illiteracy of over 500 million women in adulthood as well. These issues, along with frequent global conflicts, undermine the benefits of education. More specifically, the negative secondary consequences of COVID-19 have exacerbated these barriers over the last three years.

The Solution: On Sep. 8, 2017, the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act was signed into law. The bill emphasizes the value of education for economic growth and social mobility as it promotes educational programs around the world. Through the READ Act, partnerships for educational development will have greater oversight, coordination and a renewed focus on retention. H.R.681/S.41 reauthorizes the READ Act for an additional five years.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the reauthorization of the READ Act.”


The Issue: 1 billion people suffer from mental health conditions or substance use disorders worldwide and 75% of people living in low-and middle-income countries with mental health conditions do not receive any mental health treatment whatsoever. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the risk factors for mental health conditions globally, especially affecting children.

The Solution: Investments in mental health programs, including those focused on the well-being of children, can help break the cycle of poverty abroad. The Mental Health in International Development and Humanitarian Settings (MINDS) Act is the first bill to address mental health and psychosocial support in U.S. global development assistance.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the International Affairs Budget.”

End Tuberculosis Now Act

The Problem: The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious reminder of the detrimental effects infectious disease can have on the global population. As the world continues to deal with the negative consequences from the pandemic, there is increased concern about COVID-19’s impact on current tuberculosis (TB) control programs and the ramifications COVID-19 has had on people who have TB.  

The Solution: The End Tuberculosis Now Act significantly refocuses U.S. actions on resources to diagnose, prevent and treat TB. More specifically, it addresses virulent drug-resistant strains of TB and provides support for the latest best practices and technologies in the areas of diagnosis and treatment.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the Mental Health in International Development and Humanitarian Settings Act.


The Issue: The consequences from public health threats, worsening natural disasters and the conflict in Ukraine have been the top contributing factors to the hunger crisis. Fertile farmland and agricultural equipment have been destroyed, interrupting food production, supply, shipment and food security globally. So much so that families are having to leave their homes permanently to find enough food to feed their loved ones. In 2023, over 220 million people globally will most likely suffer from acute hunger.

The Solution: In order to create lasting global change that not only impacts the world but also creates change here at home, it is essential to invest in programs that curb hunger and malnutrition. As a global leader on the world stage with enough resources and tools to do so, the U.S. can step up to address this dire humanitarian crisis and utilize its global food aid funding in the most effective and safe ways possible.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the Securing Allies Food in Emergencies Act.



Passed Legislation in the 117th Congress (2021-2022)

Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act

Passed! Great work!

The Issue: Globally, 690 million people are undernourished including women and children. More specifically, women and expectant mothers’ nutrition is unacceptably low in the most vulnerable countries due to various factors, such as limitations to food access and gender inequality. All the while, 1 in 5 children suffers from malnutrition.

The Solution: In order to create lasting global change, it is essential to invest not only in education, health and economic empowerment, but to curb world hunger and malnutrition, especially for women and children. Improving women’s nutrition is imperative to ending malnutrition in all its forms. Providing these services and programs allows children the opportunity to contribute to their communities and become productive members of society in the future. Furthermore, for every $1 invested in global nutrition, there is an estimated $35 in economic return.

Global Food Security Reauthorization Act

Passed! Great work!

The Issue: In 2018, more than 795 million people globally suffered from chronic hunger. Unfortunately, the economic impact of COVID-19, conflict and extreme weather events are driving even greater hunger in 2022. Today, 828 million people are going to bed hungry and over 34 million people in 14 countries are facing emergency or catastrophic levels of hunger.

The Solution: The Global Food Security Reauthorization Act reauthorizes the Global Food Security Act and Feed the Future Initiative through Fiscal Year 2028. By sharing U.S. expertise in agriculture development and supporting programs that work in partnership with small farmers, progress continues in tackling hunger and malnutrition under the Feed the Future Initiative. This program helps families lift themselves out of poverty in order to access more nutritious food, education and proper healthcare.

View Recent Bills that Passed