Romania’s transport minister has resigned over controversial comments he made criticising his countrymen living abroad.
Romania has three million people of the active work force abroad, in Western Europe. Around one million of them work as steel fixers, blacksmiths, so on. They work in construction, on motorways sites across Europe. They may earn some 1500 euros. I am saying it very directly: for that money, their children at home become punks and their wives, whores.
Ioan Rus caused uproar by saying that while three million Romanians worked as labourers in Western Europe, at home their children were becoming “punks” and their wives “whores”.
Romania is one of the EU’s poorest countries; it’s estimated a third of a million children are growing up with one of their parents abroad.
Rus has since apologised saying he wanted to highlight a serious situation.
The resignation came on the eve of a parliamentary confidence vote in Victor Ponta’s government.
The left-wing coalition’s large majority has already enabled the prime minister to keep his judicial immunity – effectively blocking a corruption investigation against him.
That move prompted criticism of Romania’s commitment to fighting corruption.
In a report published early this year, the European Commission praised progress made particularly in tackling high-level corruption in Romania, but added that much remained to be done.
Prosecutors have said they will continue a probe into alleged money laundering and tax evasion before Ponta became prime minister.
He denies wrongdoing.