Romania’s interior minister has been forced to quit three days after a police protest against big pay cuts infuriated the country’s president.
Vasile Blaga’s resignation highlights deepening problems Romania must overcome to gain economic health.
After standing down Blaga told reporters: “The Ministry of Interior and Domestic Affairs is at a crossroads, reaching the most important goal after EU integration namely entering the Schengen area. There should be no suspicion hanging over the ministry at this time.”
He said his resignation was a matter of honour. The prime minister has already appointed Blaga’s successor.
6000 police marched in Bucharest on Friday, angry at a 25 percent pay cut. It is part of a wider austerity plan which is a precondition for an IMF-led aid package worth 20 billion euros.
President Traian Basescu immediately dismissed the police from any role in his personal protection.
But the turmoil is playing into the hands of the left-wing opposition. They are planning to topple the government with a vote of no-confidence in parliament next month.