A. Public Authorities
As the subject is that of legislation it is no surprise that the majority of stakeholders are state actors
The Parliament of Romania is the main legislative body of the country and the main issuer of legislation and also has the role to bring changes to the constitution or, in the case of elaborating a complete constitution, it transforms into a Constituent Assembly that by decision can adopt the supreme law of the state. Both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies benefit from specialized portals where one can follow the course of the legislation through the various stages of the legislative flow. These portals centralize the public's reactions to the proposed legislation, mark the passage and approval of the draft laws by each commission and each plenary, inform about the existence of external opinions and approvals, until a project is signed into law (or its return to the plenary, in which case the procedure continues). From the institutional point of view, the secretariats of the two chambers have the powers to follow and prepare the opening of the legislative process, even in the case of the draft laws appeared by the citizens' initiative, in which case the secretariats ensure the correctness of the number of signatures required and introduce the projects in the legislative circuit.
The Government of Romania is in many cases the de facto initiator of the legislation, either through the legislative initiatives of the various ministries, or through government decisions or ministerial orders. Moreover, due to the excessive use of the capability to issue emergency ordinances, the Government of Romania often becomes the main body of legislation. From the point of view of the open legislation the ministries have the obligation to publish in the Official Monitor all the ministerial orders and the adjacent acts. However, an essential role is played by the General Secretariat of the Government, which, according to art.7 of Law no.52 / 2003 on decision-making transparency in the public administration, has the task of centralizing and publishing on its own site the documents on public policies and on normative acts submitted simultaneously to the preliminary interinstitutional consultation as well as to the public consultation.
The authorities that make proposals are, according to the functioning regulation of the General Secretariat of the Government:
“a) the ministries and other specialized bodies of the central public administration, subordinated to the Government, as well as the autonomous administrative authorities;
b) the specialized bodies of the central public administration subordinated or coordinated by ministries, through the ministries to which they are subordinated or coordinated;
c) prefects, county councils, the General Council of Bucharest, according to the law, through the Ministry of Administration and Interior; ”
The Legislative Council is a special advisory body of the Romanian Parliament whose role is to approve and standardize the Romanian legislation regarding its form. Apart from the role of approving the form of each normative act, approval without which the laws and ordinances cannot enter into force, the Legislative Council also has the attribution to keep the official record of the legislation. This archive is available on the Legislative Repertory platform.
The Ministry of Justice is responsible for public policies, strategies and action plans in the field of justice and regulates the normative and institutional framework of the judicial system. Its duties include respecting the legal order and the rights and freedoms of citizens and, at the same time, analyzing and endorsing, as the case may be, exclusively from the point of view of constitutionality, legality and legislative technique, the draft normative acts elaborated by other ministries . Where appropriate, the ministry may participate, according to its area of competence and in the process of finalizing other draft normative acts in the field of activity of other ministries or public authorities, but it also has the role of general legal assistance for the Government of Romania. The Ministry of Justice is the administrator of the legislative portal legislatie.just.ro, a portal where the normative acts issued by the Romanian state are published and consolidated, as well as portal.just.ro, the portal of jurisprudence and decisions of the Romanian courts.
According to the Constitution, the President of Romania ensures the observance of the Constitution and the proper functioning of public authorities. To this end, the President exercises the function of mediation between the state powers, as well as between the state and society. The institution of the presidency has an essential role from the point of view of access to legislation, namely to countersign every law after it has completed its legal path. The promulgation decrees given by the president are the last point of opinion before the laws are published in the Official Gazette (and thus their formalization as a normative act). The decrees are published in full on the Presidency's website.
The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) is the only authority with constitutional jurisdiction, completely independent of the state powers. From the point of view of legislative transparency, the CCR has an essential role, that of ruling on the constitutionality of the laws, ordinances or international treaties signed by Romania. This attribution also applies before the enactment of laws, but also during their existence as promulgated and applicable laws, the CCR being the only arbitration forum when exceptions of unconstitutionality are raised. From a legislative point of view, the CCR also has a series of attributions regarding the right to a legislative initiative executed by citizens, the institution validating the fulfillment of the legal conditions at the moment of submission of signatures collected by citizens for the initiation of a law.
The local administrative institutions have their own legislative circuit for the publication of local regulations, which consist mainly of mayoral decisions as well as local council decisions. These decisions have an impact at the level of the territorial administrative unit (UAT), but they can affect the lives of the citizens just like a law coming from the Parliament or from the international law. This is equally valid at the county level where the president of the Council and the County Council can issue regulations that affect the whole county. At the local level, the prefect exercises the role of control over the local or county legislation and can appeal a decision of the local/county council to the court (Court of administrative disputes) on the grounds of illegality. There is a legal obligation to publish local regulations, but these are often not open and are not publicly available on a reference website.
The Official Monitor is the reference publication of the Romanian state, which is subordinated to the Government, the place where all the official documents provided by the Constitution and the various normative acts are published, the total list being provided in the law of operation of the Official Monitor. The Official Monitor also has a series of administrative roles (such as the publication of transcripts of parliamentary meetings, reports of state institutions or collective labor contracts), but from the point of view of legislative transparency, it has the reference role regarding the final form of a law that went through the whole legislative process.
At the level of each county there are public services for editing the official monitors, which are organized under the subordination of the county council either as a separate compartment or as a separate legal personality. According to the law 75/2003 regarding the organization and functioning of the public services for editing the official monitors of the administrative-territorial units, "in the municipalities, the sectors of the Bucharest municipality and the cities, editorial departments can be set up in the own apparatus of the local council, which will ensure the editing of own official monitors ". The local monitors publish the normative decisions and provisions elaborated and issued by the public administration, and the publishing and dissemination procedures of the official monitor are at the county council's discretion.
As a result of Romania's membership in the European Union, a large part of the Romanian legislation consists of the regulations and directives issued by the EU and transposed or adopted directly into the national law. All EU legislative proposals are forwarded to national parliaments for consultation before being adopted.
Regulations are those legal acts that enter into force automatically and apply uniformly in all Member States. In the case of the Directives, they have the role of setting goals for the Member States, which means that each country must take measures to incorporate the directives into national law to achieve the expected results. Each directive has a deadline for transposition into national law, and exceeding these deadlines triggers a standard procedure that initially results in a request for additional information on the reason for the delay and then in an obligation to comply with EU law. In exceptional cases where a State does not submit to this request, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice.
B. Watchdog NGOs
Within the Romanian civil society, there is a suite of international organizations that have acted as watchdog, namely as an observer and guarantor of legislative integrity and adequacy in different sectors of activity. The following list is not exhaustive, but only by way of example.
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization whose purpose is to prevent and combat corruption at international level, through research, documentation, information, education and awareness raising activities. Transparency International is an organization founded in 1993 in Berlin with branches worldwide. Transparency International publishes annually a Barometer and a series of reports on corruption. In Romania, Transparency International operates as an independent subsidiary, Transparency International Romania. Transparency International follows closely and participates in the process of legislation with proposals in the field of fighting corruption.
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organization whose mission is to promote human rights and to ensure that they are not violated. Founded in 1961 Amnesty is an organization funded almost exclusively from donations, not accepting public money. In Romania, Amnesty is monitoring human rights legislation in particular.
Greenpeace is a non-governmental organization, advocating for environmental protection, founded in 1970, based in Amsterdam. In Romania Greenpeace follows the environmental legislation and organizes awareness activities to highlight the specific environmental problems of Romania.
Created in 1946 by the UN General Assembly, UNICEF is an international organization whose main purpose is the welfare of children and mothers, especially those living in precarious conditions. In Romania, UNICEF has exceeded its status as a watchdog, actively participating in the training of specialists and cooperating with the government and parliament members on legislative initiatives in the field of child protection. UNICEF continues to produce research reports and studies on the situation of children and adolescents in Romania.
Save the Children is an international organization with a branch in Romania. It operates independently, after an initial exchange of good practices. Save the Children Romania runs individual and group counseling programs for children who are victims of violence, as well as educational programs on the prevention of violence on children – in schools, inspectorates and DGASPC. The financing is obtained at national level, without direct support from the central organization. The main purpose of the association is to develop projects that bring substantial and long-lasting improvements for the benefit of children. In Romania Save the Children is an expert body and watchdog on legislative issues affecting children, publishing reports and developing educational programs.
The Association for the Defense of Human Rights in Romania - Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, established in 1990 in Romania, which acts for the protection of human rights and for establishing the balance when they are in danger or are violated. Although APADOR-CH is not an international organization per se, it benefits from international funding and takes its role as guarantor of citizens' freedoms and human rights from the perspective of local law.
Expert Forum is a think tank in Bucharest set up by well-known experts in public policy and administration reform. The areas it covers, often as a watchdog, include: administration reform and integrity; decentralization and public finances; justice and anti-corruption reform; social policies and pensions; energy and transport; health; electoral processes and active citizenship. Expert Forum is one of the recognized voices in the field of fair elections, transparency and open legislation.
The Pro Democracy Association (APD) is a non-governmental organization, established in 1990. The mission of the APD is to strengthen democracy at national and international level by stimulating civic participation. According to the APD, the areas of interest are: improving the relationship between voters and electors, correctness of the electoral process, civic education, participation of citizens in the process of public policy development, transparency of public institutions and control of civil society over them. APD currently has 31 clubs with over 1000 members.
The Foundation for the Development of Civil Society (FDSC) is an independent, non-governmental organization, established in 1994, as part of an initiative of the European Commission. FDSC played an active role in the workgroup that elaborated the new regulation of associations and foundations, Government Ordinance 26/2000 and has a permanent role of watchdog in the civil society legislation sector.
C. Federations and Professional Organizations
Beyond the bodies with the role of guarantor and observer of the legislation in a field there is a suite of organizations and federations whose members have collective interest in a particular field. Some of these are organizations with collective status, federations of NGOs, professional associations, while others are ad-hoc networks, without legal personality.
The Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations in Social Services (FONSS), consisting of "non-governmental organizations, legal entities of Romanian law, involved in providing social services for vulnerable groups" aims to promote the involvement of NGOs in Romania in providing social services, supporting NGOs. and raising awareness of the importance of social services in the community.
The VOLUM federation is the federation that supports the volunteer movement in Romania, acting as an umbrella association in the field of volunteering, with national representation. Established in 2010, VOLUM currently brings together more than 85 member organizations. VOLUM monitors the legislation that directly affects NGOs and has played a decisive role in adopting the law of volunteering.
The National Student Council (CNE) is a national structure for representing students from state and private pre-university education with an advisory role to the Ministry of National Education. Although the legal form of its organization is still undetermined, the CNE has a direct interest in the legislation affecting the students and can issue advisory opinions for the Ministry of National Education on it.
According to his own description “The purpose of the Romanian Youth Council is to act for the defense and promotion of the rights of Romanian young people in the country and abroad, as well as in order to increase their active participation in the life of the communities they belong to. The Youth Committee supports the common interests of its members at local, regional, national, European and international level." The organization has a number of consultative responsibilities within the committees of the Ministry of Youth and Sport.
The Coalition for Education is a federation of NGOs whose role is "to coagulate energies and resources to fulfill a courageous vision on teaching in Romania. The priority directions of the Coalition are: participation and equity, quality of human resources, decentralization, curriculum and evaluation, financing and good governance. ” The Coalition for Education centralizes efforts including on the legislative level, giving an opinion on the topics of education.
The Anti-discrimination Coalition is an informal federative structure whose purpose is to combat discrimination in all its forms. The Anti-discrimination Coalition is an interesting example of an actor involved in the legislative process because over time it has functioned as a cohesive structure, think tank and policy center for various minority groups and lobbied for changing anti-discrimination policies.
The College of Physicians, the Union of Notaries, the Order of Architects, etc. are professional organizations that follow and opinion on the respective legislative niches to the members belonging to them. Often these have advisory role on draft laws that impact their activity.
D. Other Actors in the NGO Sector
The Resource Center for Public Participation (CeRe) was established in 2006 and has the public participation as its main institutional direction, namely the consultation of citizens and organizations in the development of public policies and legislation, the use of the knowledge base in the territory. According to CeRe “... the mission we undertake is, together with citizens, organizations and communities, to build a fair, equitable and supportive world in which the voices of people are central to decision making.”
Funky Citizens is a non-profit organization in Romania that works in the field of public participation and legislative and institutional transparency. Over the last few years, Funky Citizens have run programs such as "Nu Vă Supărați", a platform to facilitate the obtaining of information of public interest under Law 544 / 12.10.2001 of access to information, "Civic Education", an online kit of civic education and the illustrated constitution of Romania, or "Honorable Court", which included a section called "The Dictionary of Legalese" by which they set out to draw attention to the difficulty of understanding the legislative jargon.
Founded in 2014, the Civica Association is a local NGO in Iași that advocates for transparency and good governance in the municipality. One of their priority programs is the transparency of the activities of the City Hall and the Local Council of Iași. The Civica Association has made a real local reform in Iași, by opening council meetings, publishing the draft decisions for consulting and increasing transparency of the budget execution of the municipality. Every week, the Civica Association sends information to all its subscriber base regarding the decisions of the local council and details about the normative acts adopted or in debate.
LiderJust is a non-profit, independent and apolitical organization, established in 2011 which aims to promote leadership and initiative in justice, promote the rule of law and democratic values and implement good practices in the field of legal education and participatory democracy. The organization is carrying out extensive projects in the field, such as "Compass in career", an annual mentoring program dedicated to law students, which prepares young people for the future legal profession or "The values of the rule of law - legal education in high schools", which intends to bring legal education to schools in order to promote civic culture and legal knowledge among young people.
The VeDemJust Association aims to promote freedom, strengthen democracy, uphold the rule of law, good governance, promote and defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. The association carries out both watchdog actions, but also runs a program that aims to introduce the subject "legal education" as a discipline in pre-university education.
E. Private Sector Actors
The first company in Romania to offer an electronic consultation solution for the legislation, Indaco is today the owner of the Lege5 platform, the newest version of its own ecosystem, accessible today for free (with the option of buying the consolidated form of the law). Law 5 is more than a platform of jurisprudence, it offers a series of modules for practical judicial search, company creditworthiness, etc.
Wolters Kluwer is a multinational company with extensive experience delivering digital management solutions for various fields such as Medicine, Taxes and Auditing or Legal. In Romania Wolters Kluwer has been present since 2005 when it took over a local platform: the Sintact legislative software platform. Meanwhile, Sintact has become a complex on-line and offline legislative analytics platform, and iDrept, Wolters Kluwer's online platform has become one of the most widespread consultations on consolidated legislation. Wolters Kluwer also offers other services such as extended legal practice, monitoring of case files, etc.
Ultra Tech Group is the developer of the Lex Navigator platform, Ultra Tech Group has been active in the field of consolidated legislation since 1993. The Lex Navigator platform is available on mobile phones and has a number of tools that make it easy for legal professionals to work.
ETO Software is an IT company from Timisoara with over 20 years experience in the field of databases. The Lex Online application consolidates the Romanian legislation from the Official Monitor and offers online access from any device
The avocatnet.ro platform is a website that explains the legislation for citizens, being the most visited portal with legal information in Romania at this moment. The platform allows two types of access, free of charge or paid, to articles written by journalists and editorial specialists. Adjacent to this platform is a community of readers, a forum consisting of over 450,000 members where conversations on legislative issues are initiated and where any citizen can ask for help. The platform also offers a liaison service with consultants and lawyers in the legal field.