Public Debate – The Process of Regionalisation and Decentralisation in Romania, Romanian Academy, April 2, 2013

On April 2, 2013, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration together with the Romanian Academy organized a public debate on the subject of the Regionalization-Decentralization process in Romania. The event consisted in opening speeches by high-ranking Romanian officials and more specific, thematic presentations, held by scientists and experienced professors.

The opening session was launched by the President of the Romanian Academy, Ion Haiduc, who acknowledged the importance of the topic not only for central, regional and local authorities, but also for the civil society, academia and citizens. He also highlighted that the meeting, which has only an advisory purpose, creates a bridge between the scientific community and governmental institutions that can serve as a platform for exchange of ideas and information.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta mentioned that Romania has become an overly centralized state in the past few years and that, as a result, some of the prerogatives of the Government must be transferred to the regions, which would also lead to lower administrative cost and higher efficiency in attracting European Funds.

Vice Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea expressed his belief that the process of regionalisation and decentralisation would be not a purely political one, a process to be elaborated in the building of a ministry and based on some political discussions (where the seat would be, how regions would be made, how to have a political gain etc.), but a political decision of the Government and of the Parliament, a decision based on a serious, transparent public debate, on expertise and on civic participation.

The President of the Romanian Senate, Crin Antonescu, warned that some of the main risks of regionalisation is multiplying bureaucracy and overlooking the permanent equilibrium that must be maintained between a genuine, useful, efficient decentralisation and the unity of the Romanian state. The President of the Senate also highlighted that regionalisation must be carried out only if concrete principles and targets are set beforehand.

The opening remarks were followed by specific presentations on topics such as regional European profiles, the socio-economic functionality of regional structures or the identity and identity risks that regionalisation implies. Finally, the event was concluded by a debate sessions where local and regional authorities expressed their concerns or highlighted the opportunities of the regionalisation and decentralisation process.

The process of regionalisation-decentralisation in Romania

Romania must address an important gap between this country and Europe, to bring public services and decisions closer to citizens and to use existing resources more judiciously. Thus, a particular importance is devoted to the start of the regionalisation process and the continuation of the administrative and financial decentralisation.

The two objectives of the process are the administrative and territorial reorganisation by creating the institutional framework for the functioning of administrative-territorial regions; and the continuation of the public administration reform with a focus on increasing local communities` autonomy by the real unleashing of the decentralisation process, with respect for the principle of subsidiarity. These two goals can be implemented through a series of sustained measures, addressed concurrently under the process of decentralisation-regionalisation.

The mission of this process is to increase the legitimacy of the public authorities in the design and achievement of strategic objectives at regional level, in the economic, social, cultural fields, having an effect on the modernisation of the Romanian society.




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