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A first step towards regulating the lobby in Romania: Government sets up the Single Register of the Interest Transparency

de Victor Bratu 29.9.2016

rutThe government approved on Wednesday the creation of the Single Register of the Interest Transparency (RUTI), decision aimed at “increasing the transparency of the interaction between decision makers from the government and specialized groups from civil society and business environment”.

The initiative belongs to the Ministry for Public Consultation and Civic Dialogue (MCPDC) and has resulted in the approval of a memorandum on this theme.

Details

The register will be basically a platform for storing the information (most of them available to the public, some only to the administration) that will be available within 2 weeks at www.ruti.gov.ro.

The mechanism involves an evidence of the interactions (face to face meetings) between decision makers and specialized groups by publishing the agenda of the decision makers from the top of the executive structure or the key information about the groups interested to persuade decision makers to adopt a certain public policy and / or modify an existing one.

What decision makers mean:

  • Prime – Minister
  • Head of the Prime Minister’s Chancellery
  • Secretary General of the Government
  • Ministers
  • Secretaries of State
  • Official leaders of other institutions or central bodies of public administration subordinated to the Government or Ministries

What specialized groups mean:

  • Companies with legal personality
  • Associations, foundations and federations
  • Cults or religious organization associated with a cult
  • Trade unions
  • Employers organizations, chambers of commerce
  • Associative structures of the local public administration
  • Other legally constituted organizations

Following categories are treated as specialized groups:

  • Self-employed persons
  • Individual businesses
  • Family businesses
  • Individual practices
  • Associated practices
  • Professional society, with or without legal personality

The register aims to make known, in a transparent and committed manner, the collaboration between the two parts.

The Government mentions that RUTI does not replace the consultation mechanisms with the public, as they are regulated by Law no. 52/2003 on decisional transparency within the public administration.

The RUTI’s aim, according to the Government, is to increase the quality of public policies initiated by the authorities, but also the new ones that can be taken over from outside the government area.

Public policies mean any government initiative with public impact:

  • Draft government decisions
  • Simple / emergency ordinances
  • Draft laws
  • Funding programs
  • Strategies
  • Other actions

“The government, following the MCPDC’s proposal, takes a first step in a broader project aiming to establish rules assumed in the interaction between decision makers from the government and the specialist groups from society (from business and NGOs) with the explicit aim to increase, by a transparent and assumed manner, the quality of public policies initiated or taken over by the government. We follow the European and US practices which have proven their positive impact on the quality of decisions regarding the public policy; the other regulations according to which citizens broadly know and comment on draft legislation (Law no. 52/2003) remain mandatory “, says the initiator, Minister Violeta Alexandru.

Mentioned as a preventive measure in the National Anticorruption Strategy 2016-2020 (specific objective 1.1 – Increasing the institutional and decision-making transparency), RUTI addresses civil society groups and businesses that already have activities aimed at persuading decision makers, by an assumed manner and legally, to initiate or modify a policy, but not to weaken the institutions’ efforts to fight corruption, says the Government.

“RUTI invites civil society and business to join the Government’s efforts to increase transparency in public decisions, calling at this first stage of an initiative that will certainly undergo changes in the coming years, on the will and reliability of the parties to enter data. We do not dismiss the option that the mechanism to include in the future other categories, other public institutions or even to have a new legal power”, announces a government statement.

RUTI provisions will enter into force within two weeks from the approval of the memorandum.

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