Ahead of general strike, PM denies responsibility for austerity plan

Administration and education staff starts indefinite strike today. Solidarity actions are planned in healthcare system, transport, penitentiary and the private sector. Baccalaureate exams likely to go on as usual.

At least one million state employees start wide-scale protests all throughout the country against a tough austerity package that the government intends to enforce in order to cut budget expenses and curb the country’s deficit.

The massive protests seem however to be slowly losing momentum even before getting started properly as many unionists are afraid they would lose their jobs.

Education Minister Daniel Funeriu gave assurances over the weekend that today’s high-school graduation exam will go on as planned and that teachers would attend the examination.

Last night, the cabinet gathered in a special sitting to adopt the two draft laws detailing the controversial austerity measures.

Ahead of the crucial week of protests, PM Emil Boc denied responsibility for cutting public salaries and pensions, saying the cabinet was forced to take such measures.

The premier blames the global recession and Romania’s structural deficit crisis for the current economic situation. Boc also blamed it on the year 2007, when, according to him, “the government then made a lot of poisonous gifts to all citizens.”

The cabinet plans to assume responsibility in Parliament over the austerity package, so as to have them implemented immediately, but the opposition has already announced it would file a no-confidence vote.

The two chambers of Parliament could meet today in order to establish a calendar for the procedure.

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