Strasbourg, 07.09.2023 – Romania has developed an institutional and legal integrity framework to promote integrity and prevent corruption in the top executive functions of the central government and in the law enforcement agencies. However, improvement is still needed in several areas, according to a report released today by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).
GRECO’s Fifth Round Evaluation Report on Romania evaluates the effectiveness of measures in place to prevent and combat corruption in top executive functions such as the President, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, Secretaries and Undersecretaries of State, Presidential Advisers, State Advisers, State Councillors and Ministerial Advisers, and in staff members of the Police and the Gendarmerie.
GRECO recognises that Romania has developed an institutional integrity framework consisting of the National Integrity Agency (ANI), the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA), and the General Anti-corruption Directorate (DGA) within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A National Anti-corruption Strategy (SNA) is also in place.
The legal framework related to integrity comprises several laws which contain provisions regulating conflicts of interest, incompatibilities, filing of declarations of assets and interests, acceptance and disclosure of gifts. A new Law on the protection of whistle-blowers came into effect in December 2022.
The report identifies a number of areas where improvement is needed and contains 26 recommendations to address them. The Government’s frequent use of emergency ordinances to legislate in exceptional cases is an issue of serious concern that the authorities should address as a matter of priority. In addition, an independent mechanism should be established with oversight over the authorities’ refusal to disclose public interest information that is not regularly published or updated online.
The existing legal integrity framework, which is spread out in various voluminous laws, needs greater clarity, coherence and stability. At the same time, the phenomenon of revolving doors for persons with top executive functions still needs to be regulated.
As regards the Police and the Gendarmerie, the authorities ought to take measures to address the widespread appointment of law enforcement officers to managerial positions, notably by virtue of the phenomenon of ‘empowerment’, which is predominantly left to the discretion of the direct hierarchical superior.
The report also recommends that regular integrity vetting should be strengthened and carried out throughout the career of law enforcement officers. The exercise of secondary activities is not subject to effective oversight arrangements, and rules need to be established to regulate the disclosure and management of conflicts of interest in the Gendarmerie.
The authorities are expected to report back to GRECO on the implementation of its recommendations by 31 December 2024, so it can assess the country´s level of compliance.
* * *
The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is a Council of Europe body that aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards. It helps states to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. It currently has 48 members: the 46 Council of Europe member states, Kazakhstan and the United States of America.