Sept 2 - The tiny Romania town of Aninoasa has become the country's first to file for insolvency after crippling debt and the government's decision to close its coal mine, the town's sole employer six years ago has left the town fighting for survival. Hayley Platt reports.
Aninoasa is a coal mining town - at least it used to be. Six years ago the mine - its main source of employment - was shut by the Romanian government. The town fell deep into debt and has now filed for insolvency - the first Romanian town to do so. (SOUNDBITE) (Romanian) LOCAL RESIDENT, PETRICA VELOVICI, SAYING: "There are absolutely no places to work, you can't find anything, only in a shop as salesman or in a bar. That's it." Romania had high hopes when it joined the European Union. But seven years on living standards remain well below the bloc's average. The country's corruption record has prevented it accessing a 20 billion euro pot of development cash. A former mayor has been partly blamed - his replacement has filed a criminal complaint against him. (SOUNDBITE) (Romanian) DEPUTY MAYOR, ADRIAN ALBESCU, SAYING: "Our mayor likes to joke there are only two important insolvent towns in the world, one in America, Detroit and one in Europe Aninoasa." Some say the EU's integrity has been compromised by eastern European strugglers. Croatia and Bulgaria are also saddled with corruption and poverty. Romania has made progress almost doubling its economic output since taking up membership. But it still has the highest level of inflation in the EU and continues to struggle. Aninoasa may not be the last Romanian town to declare itself bankrupt.