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Romania struggles with poverty under austerity measures

Romania is the second poorest county in the European Union.

Related: Romania says poverty reduction is ‘impossible target’

Radu Sigheti / Reuters

Villagers gather to start community work for the school in Hreasca, northeast of Bucharest, November 17, 2011. Romania is the European Union's second poorest country, with an average wage of less than 400 Euro per month. The government imposed harsh austerity measures last year, including wage cuts and a value added tax hike, which have helped the country keep its debt under control but have made life ever more difficult for normal people. About 80% of the unemployed village population in Hreasca ekes out a living from state aid.

Radu Sigheti / Reuters

Villager Genoveva Nalbaru, 35, prepares her daughter Stefania for kindergarten in Hreasca, northeast of Bucharest, Nov. 17, 2011.

Radu Sigheti / Reuters

Villagers return with empty horse carts after they carried fire wood near Hreasca village, northeast of Bucharest, Nov, 16, 2011.

Radu Sigheti / Reuters

Villager Lenuta Panaite and her son Petrica plough their land in Hreasca, northeast of Bucharest, Nov, 17, 2011.

Radu Sigheti / Reuters

Villager Liviu Bucur carries fire wood collected from a nearby forest in Hreasca, northeast of Bucharest, Nov. 17, 2011.

Robert Ghement / EPA

Romanian cattle farmers blow their trumpets in front of Romania's Agriculture Ministry during a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Nov. 17. Farmers from all over the country, organized by their trade union confederation, gathered in Romania's capital to demand the promised state-subsidies for the backward agriculture system. Almost half of Romania's 22 million citizens live in rural areas, and agriculture generates up to 70 per cent of income in rural areas, according to a World Bank study.