The Czech Republic survived a vote of no confidence on Friday, whereas the Romanian government has fallen
. Both countries are implementing austerity measures which domestic leftist movements deeply oppose. (Sound familiar?) The Czech Republic has increased sales and income taxes and introduced modest university fees (which will likely never disappear, now that they have been successfully introduced - signaling an end to "free" college education). They have also proposed deep spending cuts.
Romania, on the other hand, has failed to accept austerity measures and courts political chaos.
Romania took a €20 billion ($26 billion) bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the World Bank in 2009 when its economy shrank 7 percent. The government has hiked the sales tax to 24 percent and slashed public sector wages by one-fourth in 2010 to meet the conditions of the loan, angering many Romanians.
The IMF and European Commission said in a statement they expected Romania to "continue to observe its economic policy commitments to its international partners."
Whether Romania will comply with the former government's international obligations is an interesting question. And whether Romania presents a potential trend of ruling party collapses is another interesting question. The Czechs seem to have barely avoided such a fate, but France seems likely to depose Sarkozy in light of the continuing fiscal crises and subsequent French unemployment. With Spain at 24% unemployment and Greece still circling the drain, Europe remains a fragile enterprise.