Now It's Cash-Strapped Rumania

The East bloc gives the West a new worry

As Western banks and governments are discovering, collecting overdue loans from Eastern European countries is an exercise in smothering fires that never quite die. Not only is the Polish government broke and in debt to Western creditors for upwards of $28 billion, but all of a sudden the Communist bloc has produced another potential billion-dollar deadbeat: Rumania.

With 22 million people, a reputation in better days for being the breadbasket of the Balkans, and a land area about the size of Oregon, Rumania has survived everything from occupation by Roman legions to the murderous...

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