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Influences of the transition period on administrative-territorial organization of Romania.

Any territory to be controlled must be divided. The division is an attribute of the exercise of power. Changing political code was almost everywhere accompanied by new rules and territorial divisions (1). Administrative division of a country, achieved through legislation, is an element of the superstructure of cardinal importance, because the system brings the subsystems of state and local government, within politics and organize territorial, economic and social life of the nation. Administrative organizational models adopted are always imposed by concrete historical conditions, geopolitical, economic and social (2).

Administrative-territorial structure, once created, acquired during a relatively homogeneous character are becoming economically and mental spaces of belonging. They are tools of statistical operation. Therefore, the economic and recorders, creating new administrative-territorial division frames usually generate economic rebound in the early stages of implementing tedious situations according to statistical information and regional comparisons (3).

1. Administrative-territorial organization of Romania's communist period

Established Communist Party to power in Romania in 1945 attempted seizure followed all state institutions of itself overthrow the existing constitutional, facts that led eventually to take over control of the entire political, administrative and economic.

The organization imposed by the Communist Party was not the original one, a result of concerns the improvement of the country, but rather was offered by the Soviet model, so that the new constitutional regime inaugurated in 1948 and 1952 Constitutions were just to copy organizational structures of the Soviet Union.

Introduced new principles, on which was intended functioning of state institutions, had nothing to do with constitutional rule, claimed constitutional provisions stipulating showing interest obligations and civic rights and to ensure effective control of the Communist Party administration (4).

In 1950, the communist authorities decided to change the root administrative organization of Romania, copying the Soviet model, with a structure on three levels: regions, districts and communes. Urban cities were divided into interest republican, regional or district (5). These provisions were contained in Law no. 5 of 8 September 1950 (6).

Region represents the economic administrative unit delimited territorial, on which the state bodies were support directly, being subordinate. The region was composed of district and regional subordination cities.

District was a territorial unit, operative economic, political and administrative, which consists of subordinate district towns and villages. District was directly subordinated to region.

Common represented administrative and economic unit delimited territorial and this consists of one or more villages close. The village was directly subordinated to the district.

Attitude changed at the mid 60's, the communists said the independent political PCR against the Communist Party of the Soviet Union amounted to a true statement of independent Romanian state against Sovietics. One of the many consequences of this transformation was the internally return to traditional territorial administrative units, this is ruled by Law no. 2 of 16 February 1968 (7), which restore county, town and village as the basic unit of territorial administrative organization of the country.

Return to the administrative tradition not only resumed but the reintroduction of counties, as in terms of territorial organization of communes, Law 2/1968 has undertaken a dramatic territorial restructuring for rural inhabitants. Thus, under the pretext of a systematic planning and localities, mainly aimed at increasing the efficiency of agricultural production were abolished many traditional villages, their inhabitants being displaced forcibly the territories of other localities (8).

Essential motivation to create new administrative-territorial structure was to create a more equitable and balanced distribution of productive forces in the territory.

In the explanatory memorandum of the law, the development was considered the need to harmonize the administrative-territorial qualitative changes occurred in economic development throughout the country and the changes that have taken place in the population structure, profile, extent and the life of towns and villages. In the terms of name of counties, were considered historical traditions and current importance of geographical areas or cities.

Article 1 of the Act (9) states that the Socialist Republic of Romania is organized in the following administrative territorial units: county, town and village. The counties are composed of cities and towns.

Bucharest, the capital city, is organizing on 8 sectors. The law established cities being municipalities, 45, which were added in June 1968 Ramnicul-Valcea.

Law no. 57 of 26 December 1968 local government regulated activity by the end of 1989.

With the general collapse of the socialist statist economy, after 1989, new counties established in 1968 have fallen sharply as economic, especially industrial. In contrast, traditional industrial districts and high-level central office, and know generally prospered relative demographic pressure from the concentration of investments, the fund urban infrastructure and traditions have generated and generate highly qualified workforce.

2. The main trends in European territorial administration

From the 60's, the general trend in European countries is to merge small towns larger local government units. Almost all countries in western and northern Europe have reduced the number of municipalities in the second half of the twentieth century.

Many European countries have opted for grouping developed towns and villages in the larger municipalities.

In most cases, this process took not the form of single episodes, number of administrative units gradually decreasing over the past 50 years. In some countries this process has been guided by economic objectives to increase efficiency of public services by channeling resources into public investment, opposed to subsidization of small municipalities. In others, territorial amalgamation was the result of reforms promoted by the central authorities. The few countries, although they encouraged fragmentation usually favored municipal cooperation for service on larger areas. Most studies on issues related to the size and efficiency of local government administrative units using population as the primary unit for analysis.

This is mainly due to the inevitable link between the level of local government revenue and service delivery costs per capita. Administrative-territorial area and population density and residential settlements, also influence the effectiveness of local authorities, but not to the same extent as the population.

According to traditions, geographical conditions, political interests and other important factors, average population size of administrative units of the first level in EU countries varies between 1510 (Cyprus) and 150 000 people in the UK.

Average population of a territorial-administrative units in the European Union is less than 5530 inhabitants what the optimum size often (5000 inhabitants), which allows achieving maximum efficiency in service delivery.

It is quite clear that to determine whether the general European trends in territorial governance can be applied in a particular country is necessary to analyze deeply the situation of that country. Even in a country the same factors that encourage or discourage building in different regions can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of each region.

Solutions to problems are always territorial fragmentation and adapted to specific country needs and implementing recipes from outside, even in apparently similar circumstances, is difficult. Such geographical, economic and political, such as size, shape, topography, altitude, the ethnic and economic profile of the country and the national settlement structure always have an impact on its administrative-territorial division.

3. The period of transition

After the collapse of communism in December '89, Romania has faced serious difficulties in adapting to the realities of capitalism.

First, the past, the economic, but also social and political, had a say in determining the course of transition. Of the former communist countries, Romania and Czechoslovakia had the most centralized organization. Romanian state control 95% of the economic sector, unlike other countries with the same political system. Second, Romania hasn't benefited from structural changes after the fall of communism. A radical transition model would have two advantages: pressure to capitalism and training institutions needed to prevent the formation of interest groups. A radical transition and promote rapid growth and ensure the maintenance of a reasonable level of inflation.

Unfortunately, in Romania the transition to a capitalist society has encountered a lack of information and people concerned about the change. At the same time, the shared political resistance to change. This is because included former Communist Party members and employees of state companies or members of trade unions, for which the previous regime was one comfortable. Propaganda slogans such as "we do not sell our country" and the nation by easing restrictions to attract support before 1989 had contributed to the adoption of a gradual transition program.

The opposite was the other former communist bloc countries, where liberalization was done suddenly. Although a gradual program of transition was more acceptable to public opinion as cost, even if high, would appear in a long period of time.

Last Romania's administrative reorganization, decided in 1968, was the result of two years of study. At least that Communist leaders in official documents of the time, even daring them to propose redistribution of Romania from day to day.

Counties were to include a territory smaller providing direct links to cities and towns that goes into them, thus creating conditions for the solution of operational tasks and authority of incumbent local governing bodies.

It was intended that each county to be a political subdivision of the complex economic, social and cultural, including cities, industrial centers, commercial and cultural routes of communication, they argued.

The current regime decision was taken quickly though that measure administrative-territorial reorganization is not recommended without a substantial analysis of the socio-economic impact. Characteristic of this period is the tendency administrative division of the communes and the promotion of new cities, political decisions have a great impact on urban development.

The tendency of the rural administrative division occurs amid a decline in rural population in 1998 compared to 1966 has reached alarming levels: decrease of 30-50% in 26.2% of the total number of common and decreases above 50% in 5% of all common according to Law no. 351/2001 (10).

The abuse promotion of new cities is the result of local political ambitions desire composing the central level to improve the current statistics, the large share of population living in rural areas placing Romania on the last places in Europe.

Between 2002 and 2004 a series of communes with some level of economic development and urban facilities were converted into cities. Most of them however are far from the standards imposed by law for urban areas.

We believe that this issue should be regarded with great reserve at least from three respects: first, from a budgetary perspective, the current fragmentation of some of the counties would be an expensive step.

Territorial reorganizations are usually in times of economic boom for the complex problems that appear to be supported financially.

Secondly, the question is how functional units would be newly created. Some local pride are masked by arguments which are not present, because the relative stability of the current administrative divisions, led to changes in time the relationship between administrative units, so it is questionable whether the return to the old territorial divisions would provide more rational solutions of administrative organization.

Third, the current debate about the favors higher territorial division, one of the regions, the current fragmentation of districts, as part discordant.

On the other hand, approaches a point outside the long-term strategic plan, risks generating administrative territorial units ephemeral and unsustainable.

The project on administrative-territorial reorganization of Romania is a very controversial project, which displeases the local government representatives in the territory.

Currently, about 2,100 are communes in Romania who are under 5,000 residents. This means that under the project, the joint would be about 2,100 villages subordinated to larger towns. It would not have mayors, deputy mayors, councilors and any budget. It depends on so-called common centers that would establish prefect.

The draft states that the mayor of the future will belong to villages will appoint one representative for each village belonged, would follow to issue various certificates and centralize the problems of citizens.

In terms of cities and municipalities, there is now one of 320, 117 are under 10.0001 inhabitants, so it should become common, according to the project. Other almost 60 municipalities are under 50.0001 inhabitants, so they should become cities.

Cities and villages in Romania have increased over the past 20 years, and in some areas close taxes come from people not even to pay salaries of the municipalities. In the last eight years have appeared over 200 cities, towns and villages. Number of cities increased very much and the joint too.

4. The current state administrative-territorial

The current administrative configuration of the country consists of 41 counties, plus Bucharest, 320 cities, 97 towns, 2860 communes and 13,089 villages.

The county is run by a prefect, who is central power territory. Economic power, in turn, is controlled by the County Council led by a president. This county council building and adopt budgets and coordinates the county investment policy. In the villages and towns mayor returned to the institution. It is directly elected by voters mass voting of the administrative unit. Local Council is the deliberative body composed of elected councilors.

More recently (after 2000), following a sharp fall in urban population, population decline due to general (process compensatory) was amplified the practice of declaring the "new cities". These are former municipal centers, which have some superior infrastructure, but are far from reaching qualitative parameters imposed by the rigors of contemporary urbanism. They are more the product of political influence of the ground.

Administratively, the capital, Bucharest city is divided into six sectors, each sector being led by a mayor and city council.

Given the complex issues facing urban municipalities, especially those of large cities, their work is carried on special commissions.

In addition to dividing the counties, Romania is divided into eight development regions corresponding to NUTS-2 divisions of the EU, but without administrative responsibilities. Developing regions refer to Romania's regional subdivisions created in 1998 and are used mainly for coordination of regional development projects. Developing regions are not administrative units, not having legal personality, the result of an agreement between the county council and local council. Development regions of Romania, named after geographical position in the country, are: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast, South, West, Centre, Bucharest and Ilfov.

5. Legal administrative-territorial reform

Administrative division of Romania is provided for both the Constitution and other laws. Article 3(3) of the Romanian Constitution (11) establishes an exhaustive list of forms of spatial Romania administratively as: common, city and county. Article 18 of Law no. 215/2001 (12) establishes, as well as common forms of territorial organization, city and county. Where to deduce that the only way possible administrative-territorial arrangement in Romania are set by the constituent and the only constitutional way to introduce new forms of organization of the territory consists of a revision of the Constitution. This review may take place following the procedure provided for in art. 150-151 of the Constitution (13), which invariably involves completion of certain stages. With this procedure initiated by the competent authorities (President of Romania, at least one quarter of the deputies or senators or at least 500,000 citizens with voting rights), Parliament adopted a law review by a qualified majority, which must be doubled later by a favorable vote by the electoral body consulted by the referendum (14).

Law no. 3/2000 (15) on organization and holding of referendum states in art. 2(1) (a) that the national referendum is the form and means of direct consultation and expression of the sovereign will of the Romanian people on constitutional revision. Also, in art.6 (2) provided that the organization and holding of a referendum on constitutional revision are bound by its outcome.

Use of any other techniques such as adopting a constitutional ordinance, government accountability, adoption of an organic law on the amendment forms of territorial organization and means violation of the Constitution is unconstitutional (16).

The administrative-territorial reorganization process, namely the administrative-territorial delimitation, in addition to legal criteria, mandatory, must take into account the compliance criteria and objective factors (17) such as:

--A geographical basis--a key element of administrative-territorial boundaries is the configuration of the landscape and water;

--Economic criteria, covering material and financial resources necessary for development -Demographic, administrative unit of population, its structure and employment potential;

--Historical criteria--administrative boundaries is envisaged that the joint work or the city over its history and economic results of social, cultural and spiritual achieved over time;

--Criterion specificity administrative unit, reflected particularly common traditions and customs.

6. Administrative "reform" or political strategy?

Administrative division of a state achieved through legislation, is an element of crucial importance, because the system brings the subsystems of state and local government, fall, territorial politics and organize economic and social life of the nation (18). Thus, territorial and administrative modernization is an extremely important process whose implementation requires a long time. Detailed studies are needed on the impact it could have a reform on population, on balance society, on the relationship between the representatives and those who are represented.

Also, it must been taken into account all advantages and disadvantages would require a reform in this respect. In politics, the media and in the literature are circulated many models regarding reorganization or improving the administrative-territorial system of Romania.

According to a model proposed by the current political class in charge of the State, administrative-territorial reorganization should be done by reducing the number of existing counties. Keeping counties as administrative-territorial entities, but their numbers decrease would constitute a "genuine reformadministrative". Arguments in support of this proposal is based on economic issues, among which is invoked attracting grants offered by the European Union in support of Member States. This, however, was denied by the European Commission on regional policy Romania considers that the reorganization will not cause changes in current flow of grant funds. This is due to the time when advanced development programs. Urgency is needed for effective implementation of development programs 2007-2013 in Romania.

It is expected to focus efforts on the successful implementation of operational programs in the current period, the current structures for these programs were designed and agreed between the Commission and Romania. Interesting arguments were represented by the fact that the current division of the territory in 42 counties would not meet the efficiency criteria required, it would encourage a ratio of non-subordination between central and local (as required by law) or not a suitable medium for local economic development (19).

"Reform" administrative-territorial should include widening the main objectives of local autonomy, distribution of powers within the local administrative units and creating the appropriate framework for their development. Political discourse finality skipped the whole process of reform, citizen. Is discussed constantly about the area and administrative units but there is no public consultation in this regard. Why omit the substance, core, the whole process? Also, decoupling administrative reorganization of constitutional revision was a successful strategy as reconfiguring a map, take into account, beyond doubt, the dominant political color of the current districts and new districts, higher will be configured so as to obtain desired color apolitical government as a whole new administrative territorial units (20).

Or maybe the question of reorganization, a torch was designed to disturb the public attention from real issues facing our country effectively.


(1) Sorin Damean, Ionu, Serban, Administrative division of Romania, History and evolution, the study poiltics Perspectives on Regional Development in Romania, at the University of Craiova, Department of History and International Relations, study in the "University-pole for innovation and development";

(2) Idem;

(3) Idem;

(4) Cristian Nicolae Apetrei, History of public administration, Istros Publishing House, Brala, 2009, pag. 94;

(5) Idem;

(6) Law no. 5 of 6 September 1950 for the territorial division--administrative R.P.R., published in " R.P.R. Official Gazette "no. 77 of September 8, 1950;

(7) Law No. 2 of February 16, 1968 The administrative organization of the territory Socialist Republic of Romania, published in Official Gazette no. 163-165 of December 20, 1968;

(8) Apetrei NicolaeI Cristian, History of public administration (course notes), University "Dunarea de Jos" Galati, Department for distance learning and part-time low, Galati, 2006;

(9) Article 1 of Law no. 2 of 16 February 1968 On the administrative organization of the territory Socialist Republic of Romania, published in Official Gazette no. 163-165 of December 20, 1968 stated: "The territory of the Socialist Republic of Romania is organized into administrative units: county, town and village";

(10) Law no. 351/2001 Approving the National Spatial Plan--Section IV of network locations, published in Official Gazette no. 408/2001;

(11) Article 3(3) of the Constitution: "...territory is organized administratively into communes, towns and counties. according to law some towns are declared municipalities";

(12) Article 18.

(1) Towns, cities and counties are administrative units for the exercise of local autonomy that is organized and functions of local government authorities;

(13) Article 150

(1) Revision of the Constitution may be initiated by the President on the Government proposal, at least a quarter of the deputies or senators and at least 500,000 voting citizens.

(14) George GirleSteanu, Political goverment and administrative-teritoriale reorganization of Romania, in volume Participatory democracy and informing local citizens, Universul Juridic Publishing House, Bucharest, 2011, op.cit. pag 31;

(15) Law no. 3/2000 on organization and holding of the referendum published in the Official Gazette no. 84 of 24 February 2000;

(16) George GirleSteanu, pag 31;

(17) Codrin Dumitru Munteanu, Territorial government, Universul Juridic Publishing House, Bucharest, 2010, op. pag. 118119;

(18) Nicoleta Miulescu, Contemporary theories of organization and functioning of public administration dimensions. Special on the European system, developed at the international conference study public administration at the beginning of the II millennium. Dissemination of best practice Japanese in Romania, Bucharest, 2005;

(19) Anca Ghinea, Republic of Moldova closer to the European Union in regional development. Example Romania. Paper published in the Public Policy Institute of Bucharest, the site www.;

(20) Dan Claudiu Danisor, Administrative reorganization of Romania--a successful diversion, in Pandectele Romane no. 7/2011, Wolter Kluwert Publishing House, Bucharest, page 15.

Florentina-Janina MITOIU, University of Craiova, Faculty of Law and Administrative Sciences

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Title Annotation:ORIGINAL PAPER
Author:Mitoiu, Florentina-Janina
Publication:Revista de Stiinte Politice
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EXRO
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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