Does this sound weirdly familiar? “It was very easy to keep on lying. As finance minister, I tell you we could have lied six more months, we could have borrowed money six more months, we would have made an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to give us six more months and then we would have waited to see what would happen”
It reminds us of a certain Hungarian prime minister a few years back, but this time, it’s Sebastian Vladescu, the Romanian finance minister admitting the government had been too afraid to admit the truth about the perilous state of the economy.
Now, however, it’s found the courage to speak openly about the situation. Possibly because the IMF wouldn’t hand over the next installment of funds if it doesn’t make some serious inroads into country’s budget deficit. The austerity measures the government is implementing would see the wages of public workers cut, but they’ve sparked strikes and are certain to be deeply unpopular.
In case you were wondering, no, this is not good news for Romania’s retail sector. At CEDER in Bucharest yesterday (big success, by the way), it was mentioned that some chains are once again reviewing their expansion plans. If you missed the event, here are 25 reasons you made a mistake. The 26th reason is that it was a private, press-free event, meaning no coverage of the interesting discussions that went on.