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USL outlook on administration and regional development includes three stages till 2016

The outlook of the opposition Social Liberal Union (USL) on the public administration and regional development will be implemented in three stages, till 2016, but only after a referendum is held and the Constitution is amended, said Victor Ponta, chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), which is an USL member together with the National Liberal Party and the Conservative Party.

In 2012 they should start transferring tasks from the central government to the regions and the Ministry of Regional Development is dissolved. In 2014 the local authorities will elect a regional council, headed by a regional chairman, and there will be a transition period till 2016 in order to take over the funds control.

In the USL outlook the central government retains regulating and controlling tasks and everything pertaining to development must devolve on the provinces.

Every region must have a big university, a big hospital, an airport, a business centre and a cultural centre, suggests USL.

The PSD chairman said that this project must only be carried out after the Constitution was amended and after a national referendum was organized and changes would be made by observing a calendar agreed upon with the EU.
PDL's Flutur: Regionalisation should end this summer for the 2012 elections
First Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), major at rule, Gheorghe Flutur, told journalists on Friday that the PDL is currently discussing inside the ruling coalition the size of the regionalisation process, which he insisted is a necessary process because the current territorial administrative organisation of Romania dates back to 1968.

Flutur also said the regionalisation should come into force immediately, and just the size of it should be left to debates, given that there are some sensitive matters that will be settled through negotiations.

'I personally believe that we need reorganisation. This should be conducted very carefully and along the principles of decentralisation and making the regions or counties, or how they will be named under the Constitution, more responsible. It would be ideal if the Constitution could be modified now, because there are many things to be modified, but since it takes political will and two thirds of the MPs, and because political obstinacy is quite high, we will have, for the time being, to think about a reorganisation under the current Constitution and think about the size of the regions or counties so that they may be more efficient for European funds absorption to coordinate regional investment and development actions, which is very urgent,' said Flutur, adding that the regions should be highly autonomous as far as the prioritisation of the use of European money is concerned, because currently 'too many decisions are expected from somewhere else.'

Flutur voiced hope that a final form of the regionalisation process will be provided through negotiations and as soon as possible, so that the Government may know how to hold the elections next year. In his opinion, the new regions should have at least 1.5 million inhabitants, pointing to Poland, where regions have 4-5 million inhabitants. 'We need a well-thought about and well-prepared form,' Flutur underscored.

He added that negotiations should be sped up inside the coalition so that the regionalisation process may end ahead of the 2012 elections.

He did not rule out the possibility of the Government passing the reorganisation legislation by assuming responsibility for it before Parliament in case a consensus with the opposition is not reached over this matter.

Flutur also said that the provisions of the European Commission regarding the reorganisation process will be observed, since the European Commission warned Romania that is should reorganise its territorial administration if it is to increase the efficiency of European money absorption.
Capital cities for the new counties : Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, Timisoara, Craiova, Constanta, Iasi, Ploiesti, Bucuresti
The capital cities of the new counties, according to the draft of administrative-territorial organisation of Romania will be Cluj-Napoca, Brasov, Timisoara, Craiova, Constanta, Iasi, Ploiesti and Bucuresti, the general secretary of PDL, deputy Ioan Oltean, writes 9AM.ro.
Ioan Oltean said that the formula the present governers propose is to get from 41 counties to 8, which would place us in European parametres and answers the requests for absorption of the European funds in a higher rhythm and a more efficient valorification.
Ioan Oltean announced on Friday that the government could assume responsibility for the document regarding the administrative-territorial reorganisation of Romania in eight counties, sayint that the local elections of 2012 should take place according to the new law.
« Our desire is that the new elections to take place in June 2012 be made on the basis of the new adminstrative territorial formula. When I say « we » I refer to PDL and the present majority. We will try to pass the law by assuming responsibility of the government for the document » Oltean said.
Asked if a decision was taken in this sense, Oltean answered that it is still under discussion.
« It is not a unanimously taken decision. It is only under discussion, that of trying to adopt the draft law which aims at the amendment of the law regarding the administrative-territorial division by the responsibility of the government. I think there are no elements to lead to the blocking of the initiative of the present majority, but as long as we are at the stage of final decision we can have that kind of idea » he said.
Bela Marko: UDMR does not agree with PDL plan for 8-region administrative reorganization
Vice Premier Bela Marko on Friday said that the ruling coalition Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) did not agree with the plan for the administrative reorganization in 8 regions, regardless of its being adopted through the Government's responsibility assumption or through regular parliamentary procedure.

'UDMR does not agree with this solution and I do not believe we could accept such a project, regardless of its being adopted through responsibility assumption or other regulation forms. We can discuss the territorial-administrative reorganization, because it is necessary, but following some very thorough debates and analysis. We do not agree with the 8 region solution,' Bela Marko told Agerpres.

He argued that the 8 development regions were not functional in drawing European funds because they were too large.

'These entities were not functional as economic development regions either. It was proved they were artificially drawn and could not manage to work out economic development strategies and draw European funds. We have also said from the beginning that these regions are too large. If you do the math, you will see that in Europe there are many countries that are smaller than some of these economic development regions. So it is obvious they are not suited as administrative-territorial units, they are too large and too far from the citizen,' the Vice Prime Minister explained.

Moreover, in the case of the Hungarian ethnic people living in Romania, the current counties where they register a majority number, Harghita and Covasna (central Romania), would be diluted in a region where the Romanian nationality is overwhelming.

'In our case, we would not agree that the area where Hungarians traditionally live should be diluted into such an extremely large region, but this is the second argument,' Marko said.

In context, he underlined that the 8-region administrative-territorial reorganization solution belonged only to the ruling coalition Liberal Democratic Party (PDL).

'It is probably about an intention of the Liberal Democratic Party, but until this is not agreed upon within the coalition, we cannot talk about the Government's responsibility assumption, and the Government is made up of various political groups. Next week, on Tuesday, we shall have a coalition meeting and we shall discuss this issue,' the Vice Premier also showed.At the same time, he stressed that UDMR still supported its own 16-region territorial reorganization solution, but that it was also open to other proposals.
EC : we have not been officially informed about Romania’s reorganisation
The European Commission is aware of the domestic political debate in Romania connected to the reorganisation but they did not receive any official information or any notification in this sense, sources from the European Commission said, informs 9AM.roAt the same time, the Commission appreciates that Romania’s reorganisation on regions and not counties will not produce changes in the flux of European funds access. « Taking into consideration the advanced moment of the present programming and the necessity to accelerate the coming into effect of the regional development programmes 2007 – 2013 in Romania, we consider the Romanian authorities will concentrate all efforts on the implementation with success of operational programmes, in the present moment, within the present structures for which these programmes have been conceived and agreed upon with the European Commission » the answer of the representatives of the European Commission on regional policies.