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Regional restructuring and decentralization has kicked off in Romania.

Romania's Minister for Regional Development Liviu Dragnea announced the administrative restructuring process had started in Romania. The project is the largest initiative of its kind after the demise of the communist regime in 1989. Minister Dragnea said the project entailed no costs and would bring savings in expenses pertaining to employment and public services. Dragnea invited all political parties, trade unions, NGOs, national and foreign experts to take part in the project. The strategic objective of Romania's administrative restructuring and decentralization is to assign a specific jurisdiction to each region in such fields as economy, business, EU funds, infrastructure, education, healthcare, environment, agriculture, social protection, culture, tourism, emergency situations, territorial planning, youth and sports. In order to manage and oversee this process, the Government has set up a Consultative Council and a Technical Interministerial Committee. Based on the new project, the new regions will each have a council headed by a president elected by popular vote. The new bodies and officials will manage local budgets and EU and state funds and enjoy an extended sphere of competency as compared to the current county authorities. According to estimates the project is due to complete by the end of 2013, which is why the leadership of each region will be held in the form of a three-year interim mandate until the next local elections. The number, configuration and operation of the new territorial units will be finalized following public consultations. Minister Liviu Dragnea explained: Liviu Dragnea: "No citizen will have to make an additional effort or incur additional costs after the process has ended. On the contrary, counties will not be deprived of any of their current jurisdictions. Instead, all jurisdictions the government now takes charge of will be transferred to regions, counties or local authorities, as the case may be". In another move, Romania's Minister Dragnea said the administrative restructuring of Romania did not seek to implement a territorial division based on ethnic criteria. Cases in point are the Harghita, Mures and Covasna counties, with a majority Hungarian population. Liviu Dragnea: "The regional restructuring is not a political process, nor is it an ethnic one. Harghita, Covasna and Mures counties will not be reorganized under one single region". Political pundits have noted numerous re-centralization attempts within the EU, but also some decentralization initiatives, as is the case of Romania. They say the responsibility of selecting a model of territorial organization, which ensures a more vibrant development, falls with each separate country. Source; Radio Romania International
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Publication:Balkan Business News
Geographic Code:4EXRO
Date:Feb 25, 2013
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