Expatriates working in western Europe have been praised by Romanian president Traian Basescu for not returning home and putting additional pressure on the welfare system.
Reports from the private news agency Mediafax quoted Mr Basescu’s interview with television station TVR as suggesting that a mass return of Romanian expatriates would have been an extra burden on the state.
‘Imagine if all two million Romanians working in Italy, Spain, France and Germany returned to collect unemployment assistance … [when] funds for the unemployed are already sparse,’ he posited, adding that these expats should be thanked for what they are doing for Romania.
The country’s economy contracted by seven per cent last year as a result of the global financial crisis, which resulted in a bail-out of 20 billion euros from the EU, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Last year, the proportion of people aged between 15 and 64 who were employed or practised a business activity in Romania stood at 58.6 per cent, figures published by Eurostat revealed this week.
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