The Conference of INGOs is publishing a report on a follow-up visit to Romania that it organised on 3-5 December 2018. During the visit, special attention was paid to the evolution of the legal environment in which NGOs are operating in Romania and on the interactions between NGOs and public authorities. Two meetings with more than 30 NGOs were held. The NGO participants represented varied profiles: advocacy-oriented organisations, umbrella organisations representing social workers and teachers, grassroots NGOs from outside Bucharest, women and a children’s rights umbrella organisation. The delegation of the Conference of INGOs proceeded to the exchanges of views with representatives of the Parliament: Chair of the Committee for Legal Matters, Discipline, and Immunities, Vice-Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies and an MP, at that time, in charge of relations with the Venice Commission. The meetings were held with the representatives of the Directorate for Open Governance and Civil Society Relations under the General Secretariat of the Government and the representative of the Ministry for Cooperation with the Parliament. The delegation also exchanged views with the Presidential Advisor from the Department of Relationship with Public Authorities and Civil Society. The exchanges were completed by the meeting between the President of the Conference of INGOs and the representative of the National Office for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering, accompanied by the representative of the Ministry of Justice during their visit to Strasbourg.
This follow-up visit was very instructive for the delegation in order to understand the tensions that underlie the interactions, or even oppose, the NGO sector and the representatives of the democratic institutions on certain themes set out in this report. The reinforcement of democratic mechanisms is necessary to increase citizens’ trust in democratic institutions. This process cannot be achieved without a strong NGO sector and an enabling environment for their operation.
The delegation warmly thanks the Permanent Representation of Romania to the Council of Europe for their cooperation in the preparation of the visit as well as all representatives of NGOs and public authorities for the open discussions and exchanges. The Conference of INGOs is particularly grateful to the Civil Society Development Foundation (FDSC), which served as a partner for the organization of this visit, for their support and longstanding partnership.
The Conference of INGOs strongly hopes that this report, as well as the formulated recommendations, will contribute to a common understanding and policy respectful of the Council of Europe norms and standards.