English

– National platform open to civic groups –

Collaboration protocol

between

Aradul Civic, CIVICA (Iași), Evoluție în Instituție (#Insist), Grupul de Acțiune Civică Bacău, Inițiativa Craiova, Inițiativa România, Inițiativa Timișoara, Liga Civică Galați and Oradea Civică

WE,

  1. Aradul Civic, a civic group created after the street protests in Arad following the adoption of the Government Decree 13 in February 2017, represented by Călin Miclăuș;
  2. CIVICA Iași, a non-governmental organization established in December 2014 for a better governed Iași and a more involved community, represented by Alexandrina Dinga, as president;
  3. Evoluție în Instituție (EII), an watchdog NGO established in June 2016, whose purpose is to monitor public institutions (focus on decisional transparency, public money spending and public policies). EII has supported the street protests through the civic group #Insist and is represented by Cristian Dide;
  4. Grupul de Acțiune Civică Bacău, a civic group established in May 2017 for a better governed Bacău and a more involved community, represented by Mihaela Iordache;
  5. Inițiativa Craiova, a civic group established after the street protests in Craiova following the adoption of Government Decree 13 in February 2017, represented by Constantin-Cătălin Zamfir;
  6. Inițiativa România, a civic movement established in November 2015 after the tragedy in Colectiv Club, registered in Bucharest, represented by Elena Ghioc, as president;
  7. Inițiativa Timișoara, a civic movement established after the street protests following the adoption of the Government Decree 13 in February 2017 by the association of 10 non-governmental organizations from Timișoara:
  • Activ Civic
  • ACUMA
  • Ariergarda
  • Asociația ARAS – filiala Timișoara
  • Asociația Culturală Diogene
  • Asociația SPICC
  • LGBTeam
  • Organizația Studenților din Universitatea Timișoara (OSUT)
  • Pieces of Heaven
  • Yacht Club Timișoara,

represented by Laurențiu Ștefănescu;

  1. Liga Civică Galați, a civic group established in May 2017 for a better governed Galați and a more involved community, represented by Bogdan Damian;
  2. Oradea Civică, a civic group established after the street protests in Galați following the adoption of the Government Decree 13 in February 2017, represented by Sebastian Duma and Cristian Clapan,

DECIDE

To set up the platform CONTRACT ROMÂNIA, a national network of civic groups open to all formally or informally established communities that believe in individual freedom and act in support of and in the spirit of the liberal democracy, rule of law and human rights.

We create and we open this platform for formal or informal civic groups that want to redirect public and administrative decisions towards the citizen, that publicly and unequivocally support individual freedoms and rights, the rule of law and the Euro-Atlantic orientation of Romania.   

 

WHY?

Our organizations were created in the streets following the civic movements of the recent years as a reaction to political corruption, to the successive attempts to stop the fight against corruption and the infestation of dominant political discourse by the anti-Western and anti-liberal propaganda. Hatred and fear towards others (foreigners, ethnic, religious or sexual minorities, foreign companies, EU or NATO allies etc.), misinformation and manipulation have become key ideological instruments of the political discourse of the big political parties.

However, the needs of the Romanian citizens and of the country cannot find answers in authoritarianism and corruption, in interdictions for minorities, in lies, hate and hysteria. All these will perpetuate the real problems that affect people’s lives: the theft or waste of public money, the lack of transparency and accountability at the level of the local and national governments, the democratic deficit of the political parties, the monopoly of the political decision concentrated in Bucharest disregarding the local communities, the limitations of the individuals’ and communities’ freedom of association and of promoting their interests efficiently (e.g. restrictive electoral laws).

Therefore, we build the platform CONTRACT ROMÂNIA in order:

  1. To create for the free men and women with civic spirit a frame of collaboration and common action, coordinated at national level, and to consolidate the local action of the member civic groups;
  2. To give on the medium- and long-term a series of answers to the civic needs of the communities (e.g. supporting citizens’ initiatives, increasing transparency and participation in the public decisions, proposals of public policies);
  3. To be able to react coherently and consistently, at national level, every time the central or local governments abuse their powers.

 

WE BELIEVE IN:

❏    Freedom and democracy;

❏    Individual rights and freedoms;

❏    Rule of law and anti-corruption;

❏    Integrity, competence, transparency;

❏    Respect and trust, solidarity and tolerance, diversity;

❏    Private property and functional market economy;

❏    Romania’s European and Euro-Atlantic path.

 

OBJECTIVES                                                                                                                                         The signatory organizations were born and acted in the context of the institutional and legislative abuses of a governance captured by corruption networks and in the absence of a strong, coherent and determined democratic political opposition that unequivocally assumes the values of liberal democracy. The civic streets uprisings and the support from the Romania’s foreign partners were the only barriers against the derailment of the Romanian politics from democratic values and rule of law.

Our initial common objective was to defend the rule of law and the fight against corruption. However, the derailments of the political power went beyond the aim of seizing the judiciary. The government and a significant number of politicians threatened the very democratic values undertaken by our affiliation to the Euro-Atlantic space.

Thus, it is imperative that we create a politically independent, permanent national civic structure, whose role is not only to be a whistle-blower and to react to abuses, but also to assume medium- and long-term objectives:

  1. The creation and operationalization of a national network of civic groups in all the country’s counties and in Bucharest, as well as in the Diaspora, able to act and react to topics and projects of national interest[1];
  2. To defend the independence of the judiciary and the fight against corruption;
  3. To defend and to promote individual freedoms and rights, and the secular state;
  4. To advocate for the liberalization and the reformation of the electoral laws and of the financing of the political parties before the 2019 elections for the European Parliament.

 

HOW DO WE START

The platform CONTRACT ROMÂNIA will be an independent structure, a neural-type, decentralized and dynamic network, adjustable to the needs of the moment. The nodes of the network will be formal or informal independent civic groups connected by common values and objectives. By considering and encouraging the differences between our groups, the structure will be flexible enough to allow the participation or, as applicable, the abstaining from actions established jointly at national level, but without affecting the objectives or the public positions of the platform.

The first steps we will take this year are as follows:

  1. Drawing up and adopting an organizational document with the rules, procedures and instruments for decision and internal communication, as well as the criteria for the acceptance of new member groups of the platform;
  2. Preparing a civic kit of procedures and activities that will help local civic groups create, organize and act efficiently at local level and coherently at national level;
  3. Affiliation of new member groups to the platform, according to the established procedures;
  4. Organizing a national meeting, marking the first general assembly of the member local civic groups;
  5. Developing and adopting IT&C instruments that facilitate the aggregation and the action of local civic groups;
  6. Opening the dialogue and negotiations with parliamentary parties and groups for implementing the roadmap drawn up by the platform CONTRACT ROMÂNIA, which represents the common position of the affiliated civic groups on the country’s priorities.

 

THE ROADMAP. THE CONTRACT for ROMANIA that we propose to the political class.

By the middle of the next decade, Romania must become a country where power truly belongs to the citizen, in which the public decisions and budgets are transparent and as close to people as possible, at the level of the local communities.  The state must be limited to being a neutral arbiter that protects and gives to the free citizens equal chances to welfare and happiness.

To live in the country we dream of, we will militate and take actions for:  

  1. The consolidation of the judiciary’s independence and the continuation of the fight against corruption on the coordinates of the judicial reform begun in 2005. In only 10 years, Romania has become a regional and European model of penal anti-corruption. The legislative and executive powers, as well as the political parties must cease immediately the attacks against the independent justice system, and against prosecutors and judges that enforce the law, regardless of the nature and motivations of these attacks.
  2. Constitutional reform that consolidates i) the individual freedoms, ii) the integrity of the public office and iii) the respect of the fundamental rights. The Constitution must create a framework that opens the possibilities for individual development and pursuit of happiness and must not become an instrument of discriminations, interdictions and limitations. For this purpose, we want and we promote:

❏    The consolidation of the individual rights and freedoms that prevent the tyranny of the majority, and the consolidation of the secular state. All citizens must have equal rights, regardless of ethnicity, religion, language, sexual orientation or skin colour;

❏    The reformation of the MPs’ immunities regime, as to limit it only to political statements;

❏    The election of the Ombudsman through a transparent and competitive selection procedure, preceded by a mandatory public debate;

❏    The appointment of Constitutional Court judges through a transparent and competitive selection procedure, preceded by a mandatory public debate.

  1. The reform of the electoral laws and of the financing of the political parties towards a liberalized, competitive and transparent political market. The removal of the restrictions for establishing political parties has led only to a small extent to a more dynamic and open political competition. There are still in place major legal restrictions that prevent the participation in elections and the adequate representation of the communities. The restrictions are doubled by the lack of transparency in the financing of the political parties and of the electoral campaigns, which is an important cause of political corruption. This is why we support:

❏    The return to the two rounds election system for mayors and presidents of county councils;

❏    The removal of the electoral threshold for the local and national elections for a better representation of the local communities and to stop the tendencies towards authoritarianism and the concentration of political power;

❏    The reduction of the number of supporters (signatures), which the political parties and independent candidates are obliged to have to participate in the political competition, from 1% to 0.25% for parties and, respectively, to 0.1% for independents from the total number of voters from the constituency, without other restrictions or exceptions;

❏    The remote electronic vote (via interne) for all types of elections, starting with the 2019 European Parliament elections (the Estonian model);

❏    The reform of the financing of political parties and electoral campaigns, so that the financial contributions (contributions and donations) are made exclusively by electronic payment, while the inflows and outflows of money from the accounts of the parties or from the electoral campaign accounts are published in real time (both during the electoral campaigns and outside the electoral campaigns).

  1. Open government. Transparency of the local and central governments, citizen participation in the public decision-making processes. In our opinion, the paradigm to follow and to replicate is the Estonian E-government model. The digitalization processes increase transparency, reduce corruption, improve public services and cut them off from the discretionary or abusive decisions of the public officials, ensure the financial and decisional traceability of all the actions of the administration, as well as of public procurements and investments, save the taxpayers’ time, energy and money. This requires the interconnection of data flows. Moreover, personal data (associated account personal code – E-ID) must be owned by the citizen, while any unauthorized access of such data by the state must fall under the provisions of the criminal law. This is why we want and we promote:

❏    The digital signature; the storage, sharing and digitally signing of the documents in the relation between the citizens and the state; the electronic register of enterprises; the electronic court (electronic management of court proceedings, as well as filing in online legal forms); the electronic medical prescription (centralized,  paperless system of issuing and processing medical prescriptions); the electronic medical record; the electronic residence; the electronic school (allows students, teachers and parents to collaborate in the education process); the electronic taxes; electronic Land and Real Estate Registry. The Estonian model has proven that the digitalization of governance is possible and beneficial;

❏    The remote electronic voting for all types of elections (local, parliamentary, euro-parliamentary and presidential) and local or national referendums;

❏    The publishing in real time and in an open, machine-readable format of all the public contracts (bids or direct acquisitions) on the Government’s specialized website (data.gov.ro), and on the websites of all the public institutions;

❏    The publishing in real time of all the public investment projects, including the execution phase and the related payments;

❏    The publishing of the assets declarations and declaration of interests in an open format that allows the automatic processing of data (machine-readable);

❏    The development by all the state institutions interacting with citizens of public, functional, interconnected, interactive and user-friendly web platforms;

❏    Creating institutional conditions for the real participation of the citizens, communities, NGOs, professional organizations, employers’ organizations and trade unions to the local and national public decisions (open meetings of the local councils, agendas published on the internet in good time, draft laws with consultation calendars etc.).

  1. Economy based on private investments and on a relaxed and predictable fiscal law. From its beginning, the Romanian state proved to be an irresponsible owner and a bad manager of public assets, and often prone to waste and theft of public money. Increasing the economic competences of the Romanian state remains a valid requirement, but the predictable progress will be modest. This is why the primary duty of the state, as fair and neutral arbiter, should be the protection and the encouragement of the entrepreneurship, as a form of economic freedom. This is why we want and we promote:

❏    A reduction of the labour taxes to stimulate investments;

❏    The fiscal decentralization and the gradual transfer of the responsibilities related to the management of public money to local communities;

❏    Simplifying the taxation for small and medium enterprises;

❏    A simple, predictable, coherent legislation that supports the entrepreneurs;

❏    The construction of motorways in an accelerated rhythm and the improvement of the railway infrastructure, which have a decisive role in the economic development of the country.

  1. The health reform by increasing transparency and competition. Ending corruption and feudalism in the health system, which are chronic diseases with dramatic consequences on the quality of medical services, cannot be achieved only with criminal justice means. The state must look after the health of its citizens, and the public policies in this field must be patient-focused. This is why we want and we promote:

❏    The appointment of hospital managers only by contests organized transparently and based on performance and professionalism criteria;

❏    Regulating the incompatibility of the manager position of a public health unit with any other employed activity, except for didactic activities. The work of a manager of a medical institution is an activity that cannot be performed part-time;

❏    Creating equal conditions of competition on the market for public and private hospitals, and for public and private ambulance services;

❏    Making the medicines’ and consumables’ market more transparent by public procurements and bidding technical specifications centred on the citizens’ interests and not on the interests of the companies affiliated to politicians;

❏    Liberalization of the health insurance contribution by removing the monopoly of the National Health Insurance House as the manager of the national health insurance system. The liberalization of this system can significantly improve the management of the funds provided by the health insurance contributions, allowing the citizen to choose between several health insurance companies.

  1. Education as training for life, education that motivates and inspires. Education is a means for success in life and for pursuing aspirations and happiness autonomously, without falling into the trap of manipulation and dependency. According to the European Commissions’ studies, in Romania more than a half of students are functionally illiterate, while in Finland only 5% of the students are in this situation. This is why we support three types of action by which education becomes a power source for the society.

The first refers to childrens’ access to school. The National Institute of Statistics showed in 2016 that a quarter of school or pre-school age children were not registered in education institutions. It is essential that all children have access to education.

The second type of action refers to preparing teachers to handle the problems that students face. Teenagers and the youngs often carry the weight of the dysfunctional environment in which they live. Because teachers are not prepared to adapt their pedagogical act to the personal needs of the students and do not understand their living environments, the rate of school abandonment and functional illiteracy is rising.

Last, but not the least, the curricula do not reflect any longer the reality, creating a gap between the knowledge and abilities acquired in school and the real needs of the labour market. This is why we want and we promote:

❏    The regulation of alternative educational systems;

❏    Re-opening arts and crafts schools and cultivating, through education, respect and appreciation for and towards work; supporting the apprenticeship institution (the German model);

❏    Setting up local or European regional university excellence centres in fields in line with the requirements of the present and the near future (encouraging the creation and supporting collaboration platforms between various local or international niche companies, on the one hand, and universities and local administrations, on the other hand);

❏    European civic education in the sense of justice, freedom, respect and responsibility;

❏    Active citizen education by which students understand the role of the citizen and of the institutions in democracy, how they can participate in the social undertakings, how they can defend their beliefs and rights, and how to assume citizen responsibilities;

❏    Sexual education; entrepreneurial education; juridical education; ecological education.

  1. Firmly and unequivocally maintaining our country’s Euro-Atlantic direction. The affiliation to the European Union and NATO is an assurance for our prosperity and security. These two international bodies are a select club of the freedom, rule of law and democratic values in which we were invited, although we were not fully prepared. We must honour our commitment towards this club by respecting these values at home. This commitment is not only a duty towards our allies, but it is, first of all, a duty towards the Romanian citizens. This is why we want and we promote:

❏    The continuation and the consolidation of our strategic partnership with the US and the assuming of a more active role in NATO;

❏    A more thorough integration within the European Union, and a more rapid adoption of Euro as currency;

❏    Romania’s active support for an European mechanism of monitoring and cooperation for observing the rule of law in the Member States and for the establishment and operationalization of an European Public Prosecutor’s Office;

❏    The maintaining of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism until the independence of the judiciary and the fight against corruption in Romania will become an irreversible phenomenon, immune to political interference.

  1. Environmental protection. The disaster of illegal deforestation and the Roșia Montană case have shown the lack of political will, the corruption and the incapacity of the Romanian state to enforce the laws that protect our children’s future, their well-being and our health. This is why we want and we promote:

❏    The restructuring of the national institutions that administer the Romanian forests and waters, on the principles of competence, free competition and merit;

❏    Toughening and effective application of laws against deforestation and pollution;

❏    Active promotion and concrete measures for selective collection of waste and recycling;

❏    The interdiction of hunting protected animals (bear, lynx, wild cat, etc.) and creating, in partnership with other EU Member States, a relocation plan in case of overpopulation.

 

We concluded today, May 22, 2017, in Bucharest, this collaboration protocol that establishes the national civic groups platform CONTRACT ROMÂNIA. The platform is made of equal partners, with the same rights and obligations, and it is open to all civic groups, formal or informal, who share the values and objectives of this collaboration protocol.  The platform is the contract between us, the current and future members of the network and, at the same time, the contract for Romania that we propose to the public institutions and to the political class.

[1] E.g. supporting and promoting local communities’ initiatives for open and transparent governance, education, health, economy or environmental protection, launching legislative projects of national or regional interest.

 

Aradul Civic,

represented by Călin Miclăuș

CIVICA Iași,

represented by Alexandrina Dinga

Evoluție în Instituție (#Insist),

represented by Cristian Mihai Dide

Grupul de Acțiune Civică Bacău,

represented by Mihaela Iordache

Inițiativa Craiova,

represented by Constantin-Cătălin Zamfir

Inițiativa România,

represented by Elena Ghioc

Inițiativa Timișoara,

represented by Laurențiu Ștefănescu

Liga Civică Galați,

represented by Bogdan Damian

Oradea Civică,

represented by Sebastian Duma and Cristian Clapan

1 E.g. supporting and promoting local communities’ initiatives for open and transparent governance, education, health, economy or environmental protection, launching legislative projects of national or regional interest.