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Friday, 17 April, 1998, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
New Romanian government takes office
The government building in Bucharest
The government building in Bucharest
The new Romanian government, under the Prime Minister, Radu Vasile, is formally taking office, following months of political crisis.

Mr Vasile, a Christian Democrat, has promised to speed up the pace of economic reform and prepare Romania - one of the poorest countries in the region - to join NATO and the European Union.

After the formalities of swearing in, the cabinet is to go into session this weekend, before the start of the country's Orthodox Easter celebrations.

Mr Vasile's plans for privatising the nation's telecommunications and other sectors this year may give some Western European firms new business opportunities.

The government also promises to pass new laws to show Romania's progress in areas from opening up markets to blocking former Communist power-brokers from holding public office.

But a BBC correspondent in Bucharest says it is far from certain that the prime minister can see through his pledges at the head of a coalition which fell out last month over similar policies by his predecessor, Victor Ciorbea.

However, the nation's leaders share a concern that the European Union and Nato are not taking Romania's requests for membership as seriously as its strategic position and economic potential demand.

See also:

30 Mar 98 | Europe
Romanian Prime Minister resigns
31 Mar 98 | Analysis
Romania: Can the centre hold?
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