Friday

19th Aug 2022

Romanian PM resigns over anti-government protests

  • Emil Boc admitted the austerity measures have been 'painful' (Photo: Romanian government)

Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc on Monday (6 February) resigned together with the entire government in response to several weeks of anti-government protests.

"I decided to hand in the government's resignation," Boc announced in a press conference in Bucharest, adding that he took this decision in order to calm "social tensions" and so that the "economic stability of the country is not affected."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The ruling party lost its majority in the upper house last week, after two MPs defected to the opposition, making it impossible for Boc's government to pass further austerity measures.

Boc admitted the austerity measures his government had to take so far as part of an €20bn EU-IMF-World Bank bail-out have been "painful".

In 2010, his government slashed public-sector wages by 25 percent and increased VAT from 19 to 24 percent. But Boc insisted that the measures are paying off because Romania returned to economic growth in 2011 and is projected to have a higher growth rate in 2012 than eurozone countries.

For its part, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) on Sunday cut Romania's growth forecast for 2012 to 1.5-2 percent from 1.8-2.3 percent as earlier predicted "in light of the more difficult economic environment in the euro area."

Romania last year concluded a second, precautionary-type agreement with the IMF and the EU on a credit line of €5 billion to be drawn in case of emergency.

"Romania is better prepared than other EU countries to cope with the economic crisis," the head of the IMF mission, Jeffrey Franks said in a press conference on Sunday, before the government's resignation.

But for thousands of Romanians who took to the streets in the past few weeks, the reassurances are not enough. Initially sparked by a controversial health care reform which was later scrapped, the protesters vented their fury at politicians' incompetence, hard living conditions - a minimum wage of €161 a month and pensions which are often smaller than the expenses needed for medical treatment - extra taxes, inefficient public administration, widespread corruption and nepotism.

The Social-Liberal opposition is now calling for early elections and a transitional government under a technocratic leader.

"We are a drifting ship on a very turbulent sea," Socialist leader Victor Ponta said, adding that his party is open for "any responsible solution" for the country.

General elections were supposed to take place later this fall and opinion polls put the Social-Liberal camp well ahead of the ruling centre-right party, at around 50 percent of the votes.

Romanian anti-government protests turn violent

More than 30 people were injured over the weekend in the most violent clashes in Romania since the 1989 revolution, as protesters vented anger at austerity measures.

Romanian PM ignores court, heads to EU summit

EU leaders may be at odds over what to say at today's key summit, but Romanian politicians cannot even decide who should attend. A court ruling has not put an end to the squabbling.

Slovakia's government stares into the abyss

When a pro-western coalition swept to power in Slovak elections in 2020, many saw it as the start of a new era. Yet fast forward two-and-a-half years, and the four-party coalition is teetering on the brink of collapse.

Draghi's grip on power finally unravels

Italy looked set to lose its highly-respected prime minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, after his attempt to relaunch his grand coalition government ended with right-wing parties joining the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) in deserting him.

Column

Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.

Opinion

Finally, the victims of Utøya got a memorial

A legal battle between locals on the one hand and the state and the labour youth organisation on the other side postponed the inception of the memorial in remembrance of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

News in Brief

  1. China joins Russian military exercises in Vostok
  2. Ukraine nuclear plant damage would be 'suicide', says UN chief
  3. Denmark to invest €5.5bn in new warships
  4. German economy stagnates, finance ministry says
  5. Syria received stolen grain, says Ukraine envoy
  6. Truss still leads in next UK PM polling
  7. UN chief meets Zelensky and Erdogan over grain exports
  8. Fighting stalls ahead of UN visit, Ukraine says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. European inflation hits 25-year high, driven by energy spike
  2. No breakthrough in EU-hosted Kosovo/Serbia talks
  3. Letter to the Editor: Rosatom responds on Zaporizhzhia
  4. Could the central Asian 'stan' states turn away from Moscow?
  5. Serbia expects difficult talks with Kosovo at EU meeting
  6. How scary is threat to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
  7. Slovakia's government stares into the abyss
  8. Finland restricts Russian tourist visas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us