[2016-10-04, Bucharest] Michou Paraschevi on the Transparency Registry Developed by the Romanian Government

Today, the Romanian Ministry for Public Consultation and Civic Dialog organized an official meeting with Ms. Michou Paraschevi, the Deputy Secretary-General of the European Commission. The event took place at the Victoria Palace, the main building of the Romanian Government. The guest was accompanied by Ms. Violeta Alexandru, Minister for Public Consultation and Civic Dialog, and Mr. Adrian Baboi-Stroe, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Justice.

The topic of this meeting was “Participatory Democracy Based on Transparency and Accountable Decision Making Process”. At the event were invited the representatives of some NGOs (Center for Independent Journalism) Funky Citizens, CARMAE, Civil Society Development Foundation, Transparency International), bilateral chambers of commerce and similar organisations (AmCham, Foreign Investors Council) and some professional or industry associations (Romanian Lobbying Register Association). All these entities have participated in the public debate on the Unique Interest Groups’ Transparency Register (aka RUTI).

At this event, CARMAE was represented by Mr. Cristian Ducu. His intervention pointed out that, though this transparency mechanism is a giant leap forward since previous government, it can be reversed due to its form (i.e., a ‘memorandum’) and a considerable lack of institutional and political support. From this point of view and also for other considerations, CARMAE specialists are pessimistic regarding the impact of RUTI in the near future if the Romanian Government will not put in place several convergent actions/programs. One of these actions should concern a better promotion of RUTI not only at governmental level, but also for civil society organisations, journalists, politicians and the business community. Second, systematic and sound ethical training for civil servants should be compulsory both in the induction period and during employment. And this training should also include a presentation of RUTI and its use, but also regarding ways to uphold the highest level of transparency in public institutions. Third, CARMAE specialists believe that ethical training for lobbyists and NGO representatives is also a key element. These individuals should understand not only why transparency is so important in public decision making, but also how transparency works in their favor. Fourth, but not the last one, Romanian judiciary institutions must continue to prosecute and convict the corrupt people.

According to Mr. Cristian Ducu, transparency is not a panaceum, but just a mean for a better governance. If we miss this point and value transparency for transparency itself, then we will not improve the performance and the behaviour of the civil servants and public officials. We will never arrive at the level where we can discuss about the virtuous civil servant: an individual that does the right thing and performs well not because he/she gains something out of it, but because it is the right thing to do.

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