BBC announced on Wednesday the closure of its Romanian language service, BBC Romania, starting August 1. BBC Romania is the last section of the BBC World Service that broadcasts in a language other than English among EU countries, according to the announcement, which says the decision follows a review of the BBC WS structure for 2008-2011 from a budget perspective, as agreed with the British Government in fall 2007.

The announcement says this is the only closure planned for this budgetary framework and was approved by the BBC board with the Foreign Office following a review of audiences, changes on the media market and the weaker impact of the BBC in Romania.

BBC will continue to broadcast in Romania and the Republic of Moldova - but only in English.

The announcement says competition on the radio and mass-media market as a whole has intensified especially since the EU accession of Romania, while a series of mergers and acquisitions on the radio market determined several networks to drop rerunning BBC programs.

The decision affects 46 employees - 30 in Bucharest, 4 in Chisinau and 12 in London and would lead to savings of 1.3 million pounds, the announcement says.

The news comes two and a half years after BBC axed its programs for most CEE countries including Bulgaria. At the time, it also reviewed the situation in Romania but said it was still good enough for BBC Romania to continue its operations.

Besides broadcasts in English and languages of the ex-Soviet countries, BBC still broadcasts in Europe in languages such as Albanian, Macedonian, Serbian and Turkish.