On Monday, 18.02.2019, I attended the meeting of the Youth Affairs Advisory Council (CCPT) at the Ministry of Youth and Sport (MTS). Before attending this meeting, I tabled the request to initiate the public debate process on the 10 methodologies proposed by MTS. Our reasons briefly targeted the following:

  • Failure to comply with the provisions concerning the public consultation-the proposals for normative acts were not accompanied by a substantiation note, explanatory memorandum, reference to necessity (violation of ART. 7 para. 2 of law 52/2003)-all of which are intended to indicate Amendments to the methodologies adopted last year, their justification and the analysis underlying the arguments concerning the amendments.
  • Failure to comply with the rules, purpose and principles underlying the decision-making (laid down in Art. 1 and 2 of Law 52/2003), as provided for by Law No. 52/2003 on the transparency of decisions in the public administration-the arguments The intention of the MTS to make this process as unparticipatory as possible (congestion of potential contributors with 10 projects at once, in a very short time-unprecedented case from MTS, organising a meeting lacking the agenda- It shall be transmitted after the expiry of the registration period and only to those registered, as well as the points referred to in the preceding paragraph).

As a result, our request concerned two aspects:

  • Publication of the substantiation notes, explanatory memorandum and other documents referred to in article 7. para. 2
  • Triggering the public debate process, as set out in article 7 para. 10, 11 and 12 of law 52/2003.

Minuta meeting in which MTS is organising the public debate

(Minte drafted by MTS)

After a week of waiting, yesterday I received the minutes of the meeting from 18.02.2019 where we discussed with the MTS representatives about the need for public debate. The minuta does not render all the ministry's resistance to this process. Only the negative interventions of secretary of State Remus Munteanu and his cabinet director Ştefania Cojocariu were drafted. Miraculously, those of the minister-perhaps the most vehemently against the debate-were omitted. But we have enough evidence to show the difficulty of determining the representatives of the MTS to initiate an open debate process. At the meeting, this topic was approached 4 times, and the answers were as follows:

  • We no longer put them in public debate, they are 2 weeks on the site, there is no time. (Remus Munteanu-Secretary of state)
  • The problem is we're going to be late with the projects and we're going to be in the situation we found out last year. And you're going to say, "Don't give us more money," We're going to tell you that you're not spending it. (Remus Munteanu-Secretary of state)
  • You know what we do, we organise the public debate, the budget is approved, and I promise you that all youth projects close them on 15 September [in November, like in the past years] and deposit the statement in 10 days, to see what it's like to lengthen deadlines and lose ourselves Time. (Ştefania Cojocariu-director of the SS cabinet).
  • I've been here for 11 months, I've never worked on any methodology. (Remus Munteanu-Secretary of state).

After long insistence, the positive intentions began to emerge:

  • [on the organisation of the debate] We'll set up a day and send it to you. (Remus Munteanu-Secretary of state).
  • If I'm doing the foundation today, I'm showing on the site that Thursday I want to do the public consultation, it's perfect. (Lelia Priestasa-General Director of Youth).
  • But why are we discussing methodologies if public debate is wanted? We make public debate as they wish! (Ştefania Cojocariu-director of the SS cabinet).
  • I said we'd discuss the methodologies in public debate. (Ştefania Cojocariu-director of the SS cabinet).
  • Make proposals to modify the methodologies. (Remus Munteanu-Secretary of state).

The end of the minuta transmitted by MTS is as follows:

Finally, Secretary of State Remus Munteanu thanked those present for participation and expressed hope in future meetings, setting the date for the next ccpt. There have been several opinions about the form in which the public debate will take place on methodologies, social inclusion and the law of young people.


MTS changes his mind and writes that he rejects the request

On 26 February 2019, on the eve of the International NGO Day and seven days after the CCPT meeting in which they decided to accept our request and that they would organise the public debate, MTS responds. Outraged that we appreciated the days that they offered us to analyze and formulate opinions and proposals for 10 (ten) methodologies, MTS gives us an "example of professionalism" by allocating a week to formulate 20 rows. The address is signed by Minister Constantin-Bogdan MATEI and communicates the institutional response, but, however, omitting it to legally base it. In a deeply discretionary manner, MTS chooses to only partially respond to our application as follows:

  1. Reject our request as "tardive." The MTS opinion (because no legal basis is indicated that would support its assertion) is that I asked too late. To be clear, it is the fact that Law 52/2003 (Art. 7 para. 2) imposes on the public authority a period of at least 30 days devoted to the whole decision-making transparency process: public consultation (collection of opinions, proposals, suggestions) + Public debate ( Collection of recommendations, words, the compulsory presence of specialists who have drawn up the substantiation note, the explanatory memorandum and the necessity Reference). The project was published on 1.02.2019 and our request to organise the public debate was also filed at the registry (after it had been sent in electronic form) on the 18.02.2019 date. Furthermore, article 7 para (9) provides only that the public authority concerned is required to decide to organise a meeting in which the draft normative act is publicly debated, if this has been requested in writing by a legal association established or by a Other public authority. The law does not provide for any other time when the request for a debate can be filed, other than, of course, the one allocated to the decision-making transparency phase (at least 30 days).
  2. Reject the application as "inadmissible" because of the reason. In support, MTS does not invoke any legal basis, but only qualifies at the institutional level that the public consultation period cannot be the reason for the public debate procedure and also says that you were required to draw up recommendations to articles Methodologies that may be subject to public debate. We were incredibly surprised to read so many erroneous elements in one paragraph. A) as we indicated in the preamble, we invoked 2 (two) reasons, in contrast, MTS chose to answer only one. In addition to the fact that the unprecedented MTS launched for "consultation" 10 proposals that we should analyse in just 10 working days, these proposals were not even accompanied by a substantiation note, explanatory memorandum, necessity-essential conditions, Provided by law. b) The law does not provide for the obligation to motivate the request for public debate. In this case, MTS does nothing but simply add to the law. c) MTS acknowledges that the articles in the methodologies may be discussed. This assertion, along with the next point, generates at least strange contradictions and causes great confusion.
  3. The ministry has a revelation-we close the door to the front and explain to us why not dialogue with US-Timiş County Youth Foundation (Fitt), namely: methodologies are not proper normative acts, they are not of general application, addressing only legal persons of private and Youth law, established under OG No. 26/2000 (the Ministry knows very well that Fitt was not established on the basis of OG 26/2000, but of a special law). This message is a shocking one for us! Furthermore, it omits the fact that we have called for the public debate to be organised for all 10 methodologies, not just for the project competition. Does the same logical construct apply to MTS and the methodology for accreditation of legal entities and natural persons authorised to organise camps? However, we are clear: MTS induces the idea that it was not supposed to organise any attempt at public consultation, much less the public debate. Basically, just from courtesy, in the past years, MTS has organized consultations and debates, and this year it just shows us fugitive about what and how it wants to do with public money.

We are deeply distressed that the youth ministry is affected by an enormous setdown. If in the contents of the 2016-2018 agendas we found both consultations and debates, the year 2019 takes us 30 years back:

  • 2016: Consultation: Methodology of financing Project contests (conducted: 09 – 29 February): 8 regional meetings for consultation with the Secretary of State-Bucharest, Pitesti, Iaşi, Galaţi, Timisoara, Cluj, Sibiu, Craiova-432 young people, over 200 Youth structures; 52 relevant themes were proposed.
  • 2017: Consultation (17 February-19 March) + debate (carried out-22 March): 2 Methodologies: Methodology for national/local Youth Project Contest and Methodology national contest of Student projects consultation (published-March 10th): 6 Consultation methodologies (published-20 March): 1 methodology
  • 2018: Consultation 5 Methodologies (published-13 December 2017); Consultation 3 Methodologies (published-January 10, 2018) + Public debate (29 January): Youth centres methodology P1; Methodology contests projects; Own projects methodology
  • 2019: Simulation Consultation 10 methodologies + refusal of public debate! 

Our grief is strengthened also by the context of Romania's exercise of the Presidency at the Council of the European Union, especially since the description of the Romanian presidency programme at the Council of the EU 2019-the youth component begins as follows: Romanian presidency The Council of the European Union will aim to contribute to increasing the quality of the dialogue between public and young authorities at all levels (local, regional, national and European), by promoting the active participation of young people in Union action European Union, including young people from disadvantaged economic environments. We find with disappointment the ease with which we promote abroad principles that we, inside, violate!

Happy Birthday, dear fellow NGOs!