Romanian government collapses amid public outrage over austerity - The first of many to come.
- From: rst9 <rst9wxyz@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2012 09:12:51 -0800 (PST)
Romanian government collapses amid public outrage over austerity
February 6, 2012 | 3:50 pm
The Romanian government collapsed Monday after weeks of protests over
biting cuts meant to keep outside funding flowing to the troubled
Prime Minister Emil Boc said he and his Cabinet were resigning “to
defuse political and social tension,” the Associated Press reported.
Opposition leaders are calling on President Traian Basescu to step
down as well. Crin Antonescu, who heads the opposition Liberal Party,
called it “the most corrupt, incompetent and lying government” since
the 1989 revolt against communism, the report said.
Austerity has become the watchword in Europe, where governments have
been cutting back and trying to rein in debt to help restore faith in
the battered euro currency. Spain, for example, crafted a nearly $20-
billion package of cuts and tax increases and even cut back on
puentes, an extra vacation day slipped in when holidays fall on a
Tuesday or Thursday to make a long weekend, Lauren Frayer reported for
Such austerity cuts are often a tit-for-tat for strapped nations'
financial survival: Romania made sweeping cuts to secure a $26-billion
loan from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the
World Bank to keep paying salaries as its economy shrank. Sales taxes
were hiked from 19% to 24%. Government workers took a 25% pay cut.
But in Romania and elsewhere, such deep cuts are deeply unpopular.
Italy was racked with strikes in December before its lawmakers hiked
taxes and put off pension payments. In Greece, workers clad in black
are holding marches almost daily, Anthee Carassava has reported for
The Times. Greeks argue that the austerity measures just aren’t fixing
its tottering economy:
"One minute we're being told to do one thing; then, they tell us
something else. Then, they modify that with something different, and
in the end, it's scrapped and replaced with something even more
brutal," said Nikos Tassos, a carpet salesman in Marathon.
"It's nerve-racking," he said. "Does anyone really know where this is
To get a sense of the anger over the cuts in Romania, take a look at
this video, shared several weeks ago by the Associated Press, of the
protests rocking the country:
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