Less than a year ago, the ruling coalition decided to replace their existing Minister of Finance with an old PSD party stalwart named Eugen Teodorovici.
On the surface, it seemed to make sense. Eugen studied economics in Bucharest and had previously served as the Finance Minister under Ponta, although he was pretty forgettable in that role. He only lasted six months before resigning when Ponta did after the Colectiv fire.
Nonetheless, some brave citizen came up to him and asked him why he was agreeing to work for a known criminal (Liviu Dragnea).
Despite Romania having a huge budget shortfall in 2018, Eugen made it crystal clear that the masked goons of the police and military would most definitely not be suffering any cuts to their budgets.
In fact, they got a lot more money in 2018.
But if the “security” budget wasn’t going to suffer, who was going to pay for the shortfall?
Oh, of course, the dirty Romanians who have left the country!
Luckily, his plan to tax all overseas Romanians failed. Probably because the government is too stupid to figure out how to implement such a law.
After the Romanian diaspora clashed with police in Bucharest on August 11, 2018, the PSD had a pathetic “counter demonstration” slash “party meeting” that nobody attended out of their own free will.
Eugen got yelled at a bit. Of course, that didn’t change his mind about anything.
In an utterly bizarre move, Eugen proposed that Romania should force its citizens to get permission from the government in order to travel or work in the EU.
Bonkers! I know.
Later, Eugen changed his mind. But clearly, the Romanian government is panicking because all of their highly skilled workers (and taxpayers) are fleeing the country as fast as they can.
For whatever reason, Eugen began agitating to get rid of the leadership of the ANAF, Romania’s tax authority (equivalent to the IRS in America).
What’s extra weird is that the ANAF had a really good year and collected more taxes than ever before.
When that didn’t work, Eugen then wrote a dirty little “emergency decree” to raise taxes across the board, a move that caused the Bucharest stock market to collapse and the market to end on a net loss for the year.
Nonetheless, despite all the controversy, the ruling coalition passed Eugen’s “emergency ordinance.”
This morning, Eugen said outright that the head of the ANAF should be fired because ANAF should be doing an even better job at collecting taxes.
UPDATE: The head of ANAF was indeed fired today.
So, where’s all this pressure coming from? Ah…
On top of everything else, the government of Romania needs to pay $1 billion euros in interest this year.
Romania borrowed 20 billion euros way back in 2009, and now the note is coming due. That’s because Romania’s economy got destroyed due to sheer idiocy all around, and the only way to prop up the budget was to borrow vast sums of money.
So… the hatchets are out, and taxes are going to rise at the same time that inflation is increasing.
Meanwhile, the Romanian currency is only barely managing to survive thanks to temporary moves by the Central Bank, something that won’t be able to hold back the tide forever.
That means that all those much-vaunted “minimum wage increases” that took effect on January 1 this year are essentially worthless in real terms.
Eugen also wants to punish journalists who publish any fact that isn’t “verified,” whatever that means.
Despite his dapper looks, Eugene is clearly a Communist. Censoring the press, trying to stop people from leaving the country, and taxing the shit out of poor people while increasing the military, police, and secret services budget? That’s about as old-school Communist as you can get.
Look, I hate to say this, but Romania is driving at full speed towards a cliff. Unless a miracle occurs, Romania is in danger of becoming a second Greece.
And nobody wants that.