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Britain's Prince Charles tells Romania to preserve rural life to help boost local economy

BUCHAREST, Romania - Prince Charles has called on Romania to preserve its rural traditions, saying it could help boost the economy in the poor Europe Union nation.

The royal, who has been enamoured with Romania's natural beauty for years, has been visiting since 1998. He owns properties in the fabled Transylvania region, known for its meadows, forests and wild brown bears and wolves.

"If traditions are preserved they will bring huge financial benefits to your nation," he told students at University of Bucharest, in a rare public speech made to Romanians. The university made him an honorary doctor Saturday.

Charles, a conservationist, said Romania's countryside was threatened by development and migration. About half of Romania's 19 million live in rural areas.

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