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Backpedalling à la Romania?

The 50 percent salary increase promised to Romanian university lecturers last autumn (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe November 2008 edition) seems to have been more of an empty shell. The newly formed coalition government, including the Social-Democrat Party – the proponent of the 50 percent increase to begin with – decided that the 2009 budget cannot support an increase higher than 33 percent (and this in the best case scenario, as the percentage will generally be lower, depending on individual performance), despite the promises made before the electoral campaign and the crusade led against the former Prime Minister who deemed the 50 percent increase economically unsustainable.

The decision to lower the boost might not come as a surprise in these economically difficult times. What is striking through are the arguments brought to support the decision. Education Minister Ecaterina Andronescu explained that she was not aware of Romania’ budgetary deficit during the electoral campaign, hence the original 50 percent promise. It was also claimed that one cannot expect electoral promises to be implemented ad literam in real life. So this is what a decision that was passed as a law by the Romanian Parliament is now referred to.