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Yearbook 1999

Romania. According to Countryaah official website, ten years after the fall of communism, Romania struggled with shrinking economy, growing unemployment and severe social unrest. To grant loans, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the budget deficit was reduced, and that the privatization of state-owned enterprises continued - a policy that led to the mass redundancies during the year. Over 140,000 railway workers lost their jobs, as did thousands of miners. Many of those who had to keep their jobs were forced to wait months for pay.

1999 Romania

The year was therefore marked by worker protests directed at the Christian Democrat-led government, and growing support for the socialist opposition. Thousands of miners marched in Bucharest in February - a protest operation that ended violently: one worker was killed and over 500 were arrested by police.

In the spring, a promise was made by the World Bank that a loan of approximately SEK 2.5 billion had been granted. The money would be used to privatize the crisis-hit banking system and cover the costs of closing down unprofitable government companies. The compensation would be paid to workers who lost their jobs when 29 state mines were closed down.

In June, new protests broke out among workers and now also among teachers. The most serious took place in Brasov, where 11,000 metal workers demanded their outstanding wages. The government was forced to make a promise to grant a loan to the truck and tractor factories in the city.

In July, two former ministers were sentenced to 15 years in prison as responsible for 72 people being killed and 253 injured when police opened fire during the People's Rebellion against the Communist regime in the city of Timişoara in December 1989. Both were believed to have ordered the police to open fire.

In November thousands of workers again demonstrated. In Bucharest and other cities, demands were made for the government's departure. Students conducted similar protests. A study showed that four out of five Romanians were dissatisfied with the government. The support of the opposition leader, former president and socialist leader Ion Iliescu, was nearly three times the support of incumbent Christian Democratic president Emil Constantinescu. Over 60% even stated that they were doing better financially under dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu. With average salaries of approximately SEK 800, the Romanians are among the poorest in Eastern Europe.

At the beginning of December, the railway workers went on a nationwide strike demanding higher wages and against the layoffs within the loss-making state railway company. Only through court intervention could the workers be forced back to work.

In December, at its Helsinki summit, the EU decided that Romania should begin negotiations on membership in the Union in 2000. The decision was partly seen as a thank-you for Romania's support for NATO's war against neighboring Yugoslavia during the spring Kosovo crisis. But the EU called for a rapid economic recovery and stabilization plan, as well as urgent action to improve conditions at the country's home for orphans.

Just returning from Helsinki, the president dismissed the head of government Radu Vasile, after Christian Democratic ministers revolted against his party brother. The government crisis led, among other things. to the IMF withholding planned loan disbursements.

Romanian central bank governor Mugur Isarescu was appointed new prime minister, and new foreign minister Petre Roman, head of government in the early 1990s after the fall of the Ceauşescur regime.

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