From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Romanian ministers review cuts after protests
Monday 16 January 2012
by Tom Mellen
Romanian ministers were forced to review their plans to impose IMF and EU-mandated health-service cuts today as protesters continued their anti-austerity rallies.
Hundreds gathered in Bucharest’s central University Square, chanting: “The mafioso government stole everything we had.”
Before going into cabinet talks on redrafting an unpopular health Bill which proposes to privatise the ambulance service, Prime Minister Emil Boc said: “We understand the hardships Romanians are facing.
“The crisis has been harsher than we imagined. There is much room for dialogue, but no room for violence.”
President Traian Basescu’s government took a two-year €20 billion (£16.5bn) loan from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the World Bank in 2009 in return for savage spending and public-sector wage cuts.
Widespread anger over plunging living standards spilled onto the streets last Wednesday and Romanians have been out every day since, with 10,000 demonstrating on Sunday.
Riot police in the capital clashed with protesters, some of whom threw stones and petrol bombs, and arrested 29 people.
Several major banks had their windows smashed and some street lamps and bus stops were damaged.
A Romanian medical official says 59 people were hurt, 10 of whom were police officers.
Police official Aurel Moise said about 250 people had been fined for their conduct and 36 more will be investigated.
He claimed that a group of football fans bent on violence had infiltrated the protest.
The police may also join the protests soon, with their Pro Lex union warning Interior Minister Traian Igas that their members will take to the streets unless he coughs up unpaid wages and pledges not to scrap paycheque payment of union dues.
Pro Lex said that it had asked Mr Igas on December 22 to discuss the issues but hadn’t heard anything back.
Thousands of Romanian citizens marched in Bucharest this afternoon for one of the country’s largest demonstrations in years – crowning a week of militant rallies against the pro-EU government of President Traian Basescu: here.
Thousands of trade unionists and their allies took to the streets of Romania for the twelfth consecutive day over the pro-EU government’s austerity drive: here.
In Hungary Orban plays the nationalist card but the truth is that his government is completely dependent on the EU and IMF, and is intent on meeting their demands: here.