The IMF Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
On Wednesday (a few hours ago, US time), tens of thousands of Romanian workers took to the streets in Bucharest to protest massive wage and job cuts by the Romanian government.
Approximately 40,000 people marched and chanted, “Down with the lying government!” “Shame on them!” and “You have pawned our future!”
The protests follow an announcement that Romania will be cutting all public salaries by 25% and pensions by 15% beginning June 1. Romanians fear debt will only continue to skyrocket while taxes increase. Romania accepted a $24 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union and World Bank last year in order to pay state wages.
Police officers, teachers, and health workers are calling for the government to resign. The unions are threatening a large-scale strike. Public jobs comprise 1/3 of Romanian employment, and such a strike would leave the country without health care or law enforcement.
But it is unlikely the protests or even a strike will change the government’s plans. The IMF will only give Romania the next portion of its loan when the country has enforced the wage and pension cuts. Romanian President Traian Basescu has continued openly seeking that installment, worth $1.15 billion.
Please continue to pray for Mia’s Children during this time of economic hardship in Romania. Our children depend on the public sector for school, safety and health resources. But we also try to provide such things privately to them through the mission. And as the dollar continues to grow in strength against the euro, please consider a donation to help cover the increasing costs in Bucharest.
(You can read more about the protests from the Associated Press.)