Facing an economic crisis and rising debt at home, Romania turned to the IMF, the World Bank, and the EU in 2009 for $20 billion in emergency loans. The government, headed by Prime Minister Emil Boc, with the support of President Traian Băsescu, enacted extensive austerity measures to reign in the budget deficit, passing tax increases, spending cuts in public-sector wages and social benefits, and, in March 2011, a new labor code opposed by unions. By 2011, the economy had begun to grow again after years of austerity and difficult reform.
In October 2009, official estimates pointed to a budget deficit of 7.3 percent of GDP for the year in Romania, with the figure constantly climbing due to increasing unemployment and falling taxation revenues. In the second quarter of 2009, the Romanian economy had shrunk by 8.7 percent in comparison to the previous year, the worst rating for an economy in the region. The Romanian government had promised in 2008 that workers’ living standards would improve and their salaries would increase, but in 2009, the country saw a wage freeze or wage cuts for 85 percent of public service workers.