Romanian president won’t sign IMF memorandum to protest gov’t fuel tax he calls unnecessary

BUCHAREST, Romania – Romanian President Traian Basescu says he won’t sign a letter of intent and International Monetary Fund memorandum to protest a government decision to hike fuel prices.

In November, the government said it would increase 1 litre (0.26 gallon) of fuel by seven eurocents (5 U.S. cents), which Basescu said was aimed at raising revenue for elections next year.

Basescu said Monday “this measure … harms Romania’s interests and economic recovery,” and will hit retirees the hardest. Basescu said the IMF’s mission will return to Romania in January and the government can renegotiate the tax. He said his refusal to sign the memorandum wouldn’t hurt Romania.

The IMF approved a 1.98 billion-euro ($2.68 billion) precautionary loan to Romania in September that the government said it will not draw on.