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When the world doesn’t need you

The Romanian government, many observers reckon, is playing a game of bluff. The IMF is told tales about privatization and restructuring while the populace is fed sops. The government, meanwhile is mired in inaction. Investors aren’t going to rush into such a market until they are offered deals that are sufficiently attractive to outweigh unexpected risks.

Adrian Nastase

Eleven years after Nicolai Ceaucsescu was dragged from his impromptu trial and shot, Romania is still trying to dismantle his economic legacy. And despite all the talk and good intentions, subsequent administrations have shown great hesitancy in taking the leap of faith needed for structural reform.

Unlike in Poland, where the early decision to submit to shock therapy has paid off, Romanian politicians seem unable to overcome the conflict between popular domestic demands and election-winning manifestos on the one hand and meeting the demands of the IMF and the EU on the other. Now, four months after Romanians woke up to a new government, there are those who feel it could be experiencing yet another false dawn.

In November 2000 president Ion Iliescu and the PDSR returned to power in Romania. Since then international investors and bankers have looked on - some with bated breath, some with idle curiosity and the rest with a cynical smile - and listened to yet more apparently positive noises being made.

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