Joining EU

Monday, 15 January

Enhancing political and economic governance and a strengthened judiciary system - to do list:

The Government of Romania considers the months ahead, preceding the next Association Council EU - Romania, as critical for achieving concrete, substantive results in the preparation for accession.

 

While having as general framework the Plan of priority measures for European integration 2003-2004, the Government will focus its approach on achieving decisive progress in a number of key, sensitive areas, which are considered to be of outmost priority for enabling Romania to close negotiations in 2004 and become a full, effective member of the European Union in 2007.


In this respect, the Government of Romania is committed towards achieving the following concrete results, by June 2004:

 

Political criteria

 

Reform of the judiciary:

 

  • Adoption of the legislative package for the reform of the judiciary, by June 2004 - (i.e. Law on the judicial organisation, Law on the statute of magistrates, Law on the Superior Council of the Magistracy);
  • Continuing a wide, open public debate on the draft package, especially with professional magistrates organisations and civil society, so as to ensure consensus;
  • Ensuring a focused, coordinated approach through the main legislative acts, so as to ensure the independence of justice, based on:
    • Redefining the role of the Ministry of Justice;
    • Strengthening the decision making autonomy of the Superior Council of the Magistracy;
    • Consolidating legal guarantees against all possible political intervention in the act of justice; 
  • Adoption of an Implementation Plan of the legislative package, including the reorientation of the budget of the Ministry of Justice and the necessary political support in the Parliament for speeding up the adoption process;

Anti-corruption measures

  • Increasing the efficiency of the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor?s Office (NAPO) and the capacity to fulfil its mandate, through measures aiming at:
    • Ensuring the appropriate necessary staff and financial resources;
    • Ensuring the autonomy of the NAPO in exercising its responsibilities.
    • Establish a common platform with international and non-governmental stakeholders on the basis of the OECD Pilot project on corruption (i.e. European Commission, World Bank, EBRD, Transparency International, domestic NGO?s);
  • Setting up a "special hotline" in the General Secretariat of the Government for a direct link between citizens and the institutions involved in fighting corruption and bureaucracy. The information obtained will be used as input by law enforcement agencies and administration; 
  • Launching a public awareness campaign on petty corruption;
  • Generalizing to the whole administration system the methodology of using the integrity tests, so as to enable timely and efficient anti-corruption testing;
  • Further improve the business climate, through monitoring of the enforcement of the silent approval procedure, progress in control procedures;
  • Bankruptcy Law will adopted before Parliamentarian summer break.

Freedom of the press

  • The elimination from the Criminal Code of those specific provisions which have been identified by representatives of media organisations as infringing on the freedom of the media; 
  • Systematic training and awareness programs for civil servants to ensure the actual enforcement of the provisions of the Law on the free access to public information;
  • Robust law enforcement activity in cases of assault on journalists.

 

Child protection

  • Adoption of the legislative package for the protection of the child, based on full acceptance of the recommendations of the panel of experts of the European Commission, as mentioned in the recent letter of Commissioner Verheugen. The Government of Romania will submit this package by mid March; 
  • Drafting and adopting the secondary legislation, in cooperation with the Panel of Experts and the EC;
  • Adopting the Strategy for the implementation of the primary and secondary legislation by the end of June;
  • Institutional "shake-up", and individual performance appraisal in the Child protection Agency.

 

Public administration reform (PAR)

  • Adoption of a revised, updated PAR Strategy, preceded by a public debate, based on a "White paper". The Strategy shall focus on the main aspects of civil service reform, policy coordination and formulation at central government level and accompanying decentralisation. The Strategy will subsequently be adopted as a framework Law.
  • Clear identification and separation of competences of the various strategy units at central level: Chancellery of the Prime Minister, General Secretariat of the Government, Ministry of Administration and Interior.
  • The Strategy will ensure the pivotal role of National Institute for Administration and the cooperation with ministries and public authorities.
  • Submission of the Law on the statute of professional core of prefects to the Parliament;
  • Submission of the Law on decentralisation to the Parliament;
  • Full support will be given to the successful implementation of the Young Professionals scheme;
  • Solid diagnostic and prepare options for salary Law to be included in Fiscal Year 2005 draft budget.

 

Economic criteria

  • Macroeconomic developments
    • Macroeconomic developments will observe the commitments which will result from the new agreement with IMF covering 2005-06. Romania will prove in 2004 that it has a track record in macroeconomic stability.
    • Strict measures in order to ensure diminishing of inflation.
    • Improving the legislative and administrative frame to develop the SMEs sector.
  • Arrears
    • Gradually reducing arrears in the economy and preventing the accumulation of new arrears. For 2004 a reduction of arrears up to 0.5% GDP will be achieved.
  • Competition
    • Strengthening and improving the administrative capacity for the enforcement of the competition and state aid policies in order to ensure a competitive environment capable to cope with the EU internal market forces.
    • The Competition Council will become fully operational in March.
  • Energy
    • Finalisation of privatization of two electricity distribution companies, Banat and Dobrogea. Also, completing the privatisation procedures for Electrica Oltenia, Electrica Moldova, Distrigaz Nord and Distrigaz Sud will be considered.
    • The tendering process for PETROM privatization has been launched and will proceed within the timeframe agreed with W.B. and IMF;
    • Pursuing the gradual opening of the electricity and gas markets, according to the calendar provided in the Road map for the energy sector;
    • Ensuring a high level of bill collection rates at Electrica, Termoelectrica, Distrigaz Nord and Distrigaz Sud.
  • Fiscal Policy and Administrative Capacity 
    • Strengthening the administrative capacity of the fiscal authorities by improving the VAT reimbursement system and diminishing fraud on VAT refunding.
    • The Fiscal Code is enforced starting with the beginning of 2004 and the Code of Fiscal procedures up to the end of 2004; a monitoring procedure of the enforcement will be put in place by the Ministry of Public Finances.
    • Preparing for establishing the specialised commercial courts and training the magistrates in the field of commercial law.
    • Finalise the integration of the three existing administrations for collection, auditing and enforcement of social security contributions in the Ministry of Public Finances.

 



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