The Association of Municipalities of Romania – ACoR, the Association of Local and Regional Authorities of Norway – KS and the Association of Municipalities of Romania – AMR, organized, on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, the Opening Conference of the project „Improving access and quality of services for citizens – a transparent, responsible and accountable local public administration”, PNP002 code. The funding, amounting to 3,277,088.00 Euro, is provided through the Norwegian Grants 2014-2021, under the “Local Development” Program.
The event, attended by over 170 representatives of local public administrations in Romania, the Republic of Moldova and Norway, had as main purpose the presentation of the project, its activities and the expected results following training sessions, experiences and analysis of case studies with which were confronted by the Norwegian authorities.
The implementation of the project, briefly referred to as E-TIC, aims to increase the awareness of the representatives of the local public authorities on issues related to integrity, decision-making transparency, incompatibilities and conflict of interests.To achieve this objective, training courses will be organized for 3300 representatives of the local authorities: 800 from the municipalities, 2000 from the communes and 500 new local elected ones (mayors, deputy mayors and local councilors).During the project study visits to Norway were set up, the establishment of an E-TIC information center, which will provide up-to-date information on the legislation in the field of conflicts of interest, integrity, transparency of decisions and incompatibilities, as well as the development of good practice guides.
“The purpose of our meeting today is to promote the project among the representatives of the communities in Romania, but also to get a little acquainted with the Norwegian experience. Three years from now we will have work. There will be many events organized in the territory, by development regions, where communes and municipalities will be able to be represented. The purpose of the project is to bring as many case studies as possible from the territory. At each event we will organize, both the trainer and the other experts in the project will try to draw from the participants the most successful examples, but also the negative ones, which will become material for our information center. Also in 2020, the colleagues from AMR will start the training part for the newly elected. There will be elections in June and probably a whole host of new local elected officials will appear on the political scene.
And they too will have to have knowledge about the administration, as well as about the four areas covered by the project, ethics, decision transparency, conflict of interests and incompatibilities ”, explained Adrian MIROIU-LAMBA, the project manager, from AcoR, the promoter E-tic.
Present at the opening conference, the President of ACoR, Emil DRĂGHICI, showed how important it is for the public administration in general for mayors of municipalities, cities and municipalities to cooperate.
„This project will definitely strengthen the relationships between local public administrations from municipalities, cities and municipalities. I have to be honest to say that I have acted chaotically and some of the others. By participating in this project you will see that it is better for all of us to act together,” said the president of ACoR.
The first vice-president of ACoR, Mariana GÂJU, the initiator of the E-TIC project, reiterated at the opening conference, the importance of the collaboration between the public administrations in Romania with the partners in Norway. Mariana GÂJU said that the Norwegian financing can be found in many of the Romanian localities, where a series of projects have been implemented, which have mainly helped to develop the Romanian village.
“The E-TIC project is of great importance for both the Association of Municipalities and our trusted partner, the Association of Municipalities, given the improvement of access and the transparency of decision-making in the local public administration. We will have trainers among us, civil servants, local elected officials who will be able to support local public administration. The exchange of experience between the local public administration in Romania and Norway represents another objective that will lead to the consolidation in Romania of a transparent public administration, and the decision should be started by the citizens, and we will have trained civil servants ”, said the vice president of ACoR.
The Romanian Municipalities Association was represented at the opening conference of the E-TIC project by Adrian MOCIONIU, the mayor of Slobozia and by Nicolae BARBU, the mayor of Giurgiu. They stated that for a mayor, especially in the first term, not familiar with the legislation that interests the public administration, it is essential to have the example of good practices from countries that have managed to solve the problem of conflicts of interest and incompatibility.
“Older mayors, newer mayors, all of us have been confronted in these years with problems regarding incompatibility, with big problems regarding conflict of interest, regarding decision transparency. t is very good that this project will be realized because maybe we have learned all this time to move through this unstable legislation, but we will come elected, mayors, local councilors, county councilors, who will come from different fields and then they will it will be very difficult first of all to study the law. It is a battle won, but the fight is great ”, said Nicolae BARBU, the mayor of Giurgiu.
Adrian MOCINOIU, the mayor of Slobozia, explained to the participants present at the E-tic project’s conference the importance of “the message and those policies reaching a level as close as possible to the citizen, to the one that interacts directly with the citizen, to the official public”.
The opening conference of the E-TIC project was honored by the presence of the Norwegian partner, the Association of Local and Regional Authorities of Norway – KS, represented at events by Gunnbjørg NÅVIK, KS international project senior advisor, Tora AASLAND, chairman of the former KS ethics committee Minister of Research and Higher Education of Norway, Lise SPIKKELAND, senior advisor to KS and Ingrid Elisabeth KÅSS, Director of Development and Cooperation in Porsgrunn, Norway.
Gunnbjørg NÅVIK pointed out that the institution he represents has collaborated with Romania on several issues since our country became a member of the European Union, in 2007. The main purpose of the Romanian-Norwegian cooperation is to exchange experience between the two countries on the most important issues of local public administration, including transparency and decision-making. Tora AASLAND, former minister of research and higher education in Norway, presented to the representatives of the public administration in Romania present at the opening conference of the E-TIC project, part of the secrets that could be the basis of a successful public administration.
Tora AASLAND, fost ministru al cercetării și învățământului superior din Norvegia, a prezentat reprezentanților administrației publice din România prezenți la conferința de deschidere a proiectului E-TIC, o parte dintre secretele care ar putea sta la baza unei administrații publice de succes. „Să nu te folosești de alți oameni doar pentru a-ți atinge scopul”, acesta este în opinia Torei AASLAND răspunsul cel mai bun la întrebarea: „Ce este etica?”
“Do not use other people just to achieve your goal”, this is Tora AASLAND’s opinion the best answer to the question: “What is ethics?”
“The basis of all that ethical discussions mean is to start with the laws and values you have in society, and the key word is” trust. ” If we don’t trust the leaders of the local communities, we have a big problem”, said Tora AASLAND.
The confidence of the citizens in the state institutions is therefore essential, according to representatives of the Local and Regional Authorities of Norway – KS. They have shown to their colleagues in Romania that in Norway they also had corruption issues 15 years ago, when several municipalities were “hit” by a series of scandals. As in Romania, the lack of legislation in the field of corruption and ethics was not the problem, but the awareness and understanding of the legal provisions was the biggest challenge.
“It is ultimately a problem of culture, not of structure,” concluded Lise SPIKKELAND, senior adviser to the Association of Local and Regional Authorities of Norway – KKS.
The experience of the Norwegian authorities will be found in the training courses of the 3300 representatives of the local administrations in Romania selected to participate in the sessions that will be organized throughout the country once the E-TIC project is implemented.