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Romania

https://www.idea.int/democracytracker/

December 2023

Schengen integration removes internal air and maritime controls

A decision by the European Council accelerated the integration of Romania into the Schengen area, starting with lifting border controls for people traveling by air and sea between Romania and other Schengen countries. The change will enter into force in March 2024. Discussions on possibilities to lift controls at land borders are expected to continue in 2024. The European Commission first confirmed Romania’s readiness, having fulfilled the technical requirements, to join the Schengen area of free movement without border controls in 2011, and pilot projects were launched to improve external border management. The decision was facilitated by a political agreement reached earlier in the month with Austria, which had previously vetoed Romania’s accession to Schengen in 2022.

Sources: European Commission, European Council (1), European Council (2), Euractiv, RFE/RL, Libertatea

July 2023

Care home abuse scandal leads to resignations

Revelations of severe abuses at care homes for the elderly and disabled have led to resignations in Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu’s one-month old government, including Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Marius Budai, and Minister for Family Affairs, Gabriela Firea. Prosecutors have indicted 26 suspects for human trafficking, fraud and organized crime in a scheme to illegally collect the benefits of the elderly and infirm, pocketing the funds instead of using them for their care. Acting on reports from NGOs and neighbours who had seen residents begging for food, authorities raided three nursing homes near Bucharest, uncovering inhumane treatment, physical abuse, and deprivation of food and medical care. Subsequent nationwide controls of over 1,000 care homes led to the closure of 13 homes, and the suspension of a further 43. Investigative journalists have shown that the government and state agencies had long been warned about the mistreatment and delayed action.

Sources: DW, RFERL (1), RFERL (2), Euractiv (1), Euractiv (2), Reuters, DIGI24

EU court overturns Constitutional Court rulings dismissing corruption cases

The Court of Justice of the EU (ECJ) found that decisions by the Romanian Constitutional Court which led to the closure of thousands of corruption cases in 2022 violate EU law by creating a “systemic risk of impunity” for fraud. In 2018, the Constitutional Court removed the legal grounds for “interrupting” the statute of limitations, and legislators were slow to pass amendments to fill the gap. As a result, the more lenient interpretation of the law (which allowed the statute of limitations on fraud cases to expire) was applied retroactively for the period 2018-2022. This led to the termination of criminal proceedings pending before Romanian prosecutors and criminal courts, considering that defendants were no longer criminally liable, including for high-level corruption cases. The ECJ decision finds that Romanian national courts should “disapply” the decision to use the more lenient interpretation for this 4-year period of legal ambiguity.

Sources: Reuters, Romania Insider, Mondaq, Digi24 (1), Digi24 (2), Digi24 (3), Romania Journal, Court of Justice of the EU

Parliament votes to tighten sexual consent laws

Parliament approved amendments to the criminal code, pertaining to Article 221 on sexual corruption of minors, which increases the age at which minors can give sexual consent from 14 to 16. The amendments separately criminalise the rape of a minor, punishable by imprisonment of between 7 to 12 years, and expand the scope of sexual crimes against minors, including messaging underage children with the intent to engage in sexual acts. The amendments take into account the vulnerability of the victim, according to economic or social situation. The changes were introduced further to calls from human rights and anti-human trafficking NGOs to raise the sexual consent age limit. In March, 35 domestic and international NGOs called for the European Commission to activate an infringement procedure against Romania for violations of the protection of minors.

Sources: Council of Europe, Romania Insider (1), Romania Insider (2), Euractiv, Digi24 (1), Digi24 (2)

June 2023

Marcel Ciolacu becomes Prime Minister amid long-awaited reshuffle

Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă (National Liberal Party, PNL) resigned along with his cabinet as part of a power-sharing deal within the ruling coalition, originally slated for 25 May but delayed by teacher strikes. Marcel Ciolacu, leader of the Social Democratic party (PSD), was appointed the new Prime Minister following a vote in Parliament. The coalition agreement reached in 2021 between the centre-right PNL, the centre-left PSD and the ethnic Hungarian Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) group included a rotation system, which provided for Ciucă to switch places with a PSD nominee. Following negotiations this month, UDMR refused to approve the new government and resolved to leave the coalition. PSD holds ten ministerial positions in the new government, while PNL has nine ministers. The cabinet retains several key ministerial positions (including the Defence Minister, Education Minister, Minister of Health, and Minister of Transport) while replacing others.

Sources: Politico, Romania-Insider, Euractiv, Financial Times, Adevarul

May 2023

European court finds Romania is violating same-sex couples’ rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Romania violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, protecting the right to private and family life, after a total of 21 same-sex couples brought complaints to the court over the lack of legal recognition of their relationships between 2019 and 2020. The ruling finds that Romania must make domestic legislative changes to recognise same-sex relationships in line with its commitments as a Council of Europe member state, while the exact nature of the legal regime is to be determined by domestic legislators. Romania’s civil code currently specifies that marriage should be between a man and a woman; the country has had a civil partnerships bill pending in Parliament since 2019. A recent report from LGBTQIA+ rights group ILGA-Europe ranked Romania in the bottom ten countries in Europe for human rights protections of LGBTQIA+ communities.

Sources: European Court of Human Rights, Novinite, France24, The Pink News, ILGA-Europe , G4Media

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GSoD Indices Data 2013-2022

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Basic Information

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Population Tooltip
19 115 150
System of government
Semi-Presidential system
Head of government
Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu (since 2023)
Head of government party
Social Democratic Party (SPD)
Electoral system for lower or single chamber
List Proportional Representation
Women in lower or single chamber
19.2%
Women in upper chamber
17.8%
Last legislative election
2020
Effective number of political parties Tooltip
5.36
Head of state
President Klaus Iohannis
Selection process for head of state
Direct election (two-round majority)
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) date
02/05/2023
Latest Universal Periodic Review (UPR) percentage of recommendations supported
82.86%
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Human Rights Treaties

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State Party State party
Signatory Signatory
No Action No action
United Nations Human Right Treaties
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
State Party
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
State Party
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
State Party
Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
State Party
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
State Party
Convention on the Rights of the Child
State Party
International Convention on Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
No Action
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance 
Signatory
International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
State Party
International Labour Organisation Treaties
Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention
State Party
Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention
State Party
Equal Remuneration Convention
State Party
Abolition of Forced Labour Convention
State Party
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention
State Party
Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment
State Party
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention
State Party
Regional Treaties
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 4 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 6 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
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Protocol No. 7 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
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Protocol No. 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
State Party
in
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Performance by category over the last 6 months

Representation neutral Representation
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Representation neutral Rights
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Representation neutral Rule of law
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Representation neutral Participation
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Global State of Democracy Indices

Hover over the trend lines to see the exact data points across the years

Explore the indices
Representation
Representation
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/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rights
Rights
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Rule of Law
Rule of Law
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/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4
Participation
Participation
0
/1
high 0.7-1.0
mid 0.4-0.7
low 0.0-0.4

Factors of Democratic Performance Over Time

Use the slider below to see how democratic performance has changed over time

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