CONTENTS THE ROAD BACK OF THE WONDERING SONS: ROMANIAN EMIGRANTS FROM SPAIN AND ITALY AND THEIR DECISION TO RETURN TO THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN ........................................................................................................................ 5 (CLAUDIU IVAN) INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................6 FORMS OF MIGRATION, THEORY AND WORKING HYPOTHESIS ...............................................8 DATA USED IN RESEARCH, INDICATORS....................................................................................12 RESULTS OF THE RESEARCH ......................................................................................................17 CONCLUSIONS................................................................................................................................25 BIBLIOGRAPHY ...............................................................................................................................29
ON THE MACROECONOMIC IMPACT OF CURRENT REMITTANCES ................. 31 (CRISTIAN M. LITAN) INTRODUCTION ..............................................................................................................................31 ECONOMETRIC DATA AND MODELS............................................................................................34 BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES: ...................................................................................................40 ANNEX A ..........................................................................................................................................42 ANNEX B ..........................................................................................................................................47
MIGRATION AND INTEGRATION OF THE ROMANIANS FROM THE DIASPORA 51 (ASTRID HAMBERGER) INTRODUCTION ..............................................................................................................................51 METHODOLOGY..............................................................................................................................51 DATA COLLECTION ........................................................................................................................52 THE CASE ........................................................................................................................................53 EAST-EUROPEAN REFUGEES, A SPECIAL SITUATION .........................................................53 LITTERATURE ABOUT ROMANIAN REFFUGEES ....................................................................54 HISTORY OF THE ROMANIAN REFUGEES FROM DENMARK................................................55 CONCLUSIONS................................................................................................................................60 BIBLIOGRAPHY ...............................................................................................................................61
DIASPORA’S VOTE – A RIGHT DENIED ................................................................. 64 (MIRUNA CAJVANEANU) INTRODUCTION ..............................................................................................................................64 WHICH IS THE ELECTORAL POOL OF THE DIASPORA AND HOW DO THEY VOTE? ..............66 PARTICIPATION OF THE ROMANIANS FROM THE DIASPORA AT THE LAST POLLS..............68 OUR OWN SURVEYS ......................................................................................................................69 Problems of the Romanian voters from the diaspora..............................................................77 Republic of Moldova ...............................................................................................................80 Reactions and debates ...........................................................................................................82 Four proposals for a new regulation on the vote of Romanians from abroad .........................87 BIBLIOGRAPHY ...............................................................................................................................93
ANALYSIS OF THE MODIFICATION OF THE ROMANIAN ELECTORAL SYSTEM95 (KISS CSABA ZSOLT) INTRODUCTORY REMARKS ..........................................................................................................95 IMPORTANCE OF THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM..............................................................................95 BASIC ASPECTS OF THE ANALYSIS.............................................................................................98 METHODOLOGY..............................................................................................................................99 RESULTS OF THE SIMULATION ..................................................................................................103 PROBLEMS AND PROPOSALS OF POLICIES.............................................................................106 FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS / MODIFICATION OF THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM ......................109 BIBLIOGRAPHY .............................................................................................................................110
ORGANIZATIONAL REDESIGN IN THE ROMANIAN SYSTEM FOR THE COORDINATION OF EUROPEAN AFFAIRS.......................................................... 113 (BOGDAN NASTASE) INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................113 FRAMEWORK – ANALYSIS: FORMAL VS. INFORMAL ...............................................................118 PERSONAL CONTRIBUTIONS......................................................................................................133 CONCLUSIONS..............................................................................................................................142 BIBLIOGRAPHY .............................................................................................................................144
A NEW BEGINNING? .............................................................................................. 159 (MIRELA OPREA) INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................159 SHORT HISTORICAL REMARKS ON THE RELATIONS BETWEEN ROMANIA AND THE “THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES”. THE SOCIALIST PERIOD AND THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE DEVELOPMENT AID......................................................................................................................159 ROMANIA AND ITS COOPERATION FOR DEVELOPMENT IN THE TRANSITION YEARS: 1989 – 2007 ................................................................................................................................................168 DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION IN ROMANIA: THE LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK ................................................................................................................................178 THE ‘NEW’ MEMBER STATES AND DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION. SHORT INCURSION INTO TWO TIME PERIODS: PRIOR TO 1989 AND THE TRANSITION YEARS ..........................183 ROMANIA AND THE OTHER ‘NEW’ MEMBER STATES IN RELATION TO THE DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION POLICY. PRESENT CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT PAST EVENTS....................194 INSTEAD OF CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICIT RECOMMENDATIONS AND ONE FINAL QUESTION ........................................................................................................................................................202 ACRONYMS ...................................................................................................................................204 SMALL GLOSSARY OF TERMS....................................................................................................205 BIBLIOGRAPHY .............................................................................................................................206
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SOCIAL POLICIES BETWEEN THEORY AND PRACTICE............................................................................................................... 209 (ROXANA CARMEN GIRIP) INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................209 SOCIAL SERVICES CONTRACTING IN THE UNITED STATES ..................................................211 CONTRACTING PRACTICES. MODELS, CHALLENGES AND IMPACT .....................................217 THE CONTRACTING OF SOCIAL SERVICES IN ROMANIA........................................................233 RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................................................... 264 BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................................................................................ 268
Introduction “For our own <problems> we receive a great deal of resources from the European Union, but I believe that in a growingly… globalised context, <our> fight against poverty only has a meaning if correlated with <their> fight against poverty. I learnt about all these things and values related to international solidarity from my studies abroad.” (Mirela Oprea - graduate of studies attended abroad, beneficiary of the Open Society Fellows Program). Since 2003 the Soros Foundation has been developing the Open Society Fellows Program dedicated to those over 1000 graduates of academic, post-academic and research scholarships granted by the Foundation in the period 1997 – 2005. In the last 3 years we decided to open the program to other scholars, as well as, to give to as many people as possible the opportunity to participate in our activities. The programs aims both at creating a community of graduates and a climate of cooperation among them and at putting to good use the knowledge they gathered during their studies abroad, to the benefit of the civil society and of the key public institutions. Since the beginning of this program, the Foundation granted financing to non-governmental organizations to employ over 20 graduates. Citizen participation, human rights, volunteering education, civic trust, diversity, Romanian migration, non-formal education, PR and communication, fundraising, assessment of public policies, community development, social services contracting, the macroeconomic impact of current remittances – these are domains to which the graduates of abroad studies, beneficiaries of the Open Society Fellows program, brought their contribution to give an extra something to the development of the Romanian society. We chose to support Romanian scholars studying abroad because we believed it is essential to provide them with an alternative in the country, a milieu for development where they can apply the experience gained and build a career. The provision of alternatives for young people having graduated above should be a point of interest for as many non-governmental organizations as possible, for the Romanian companies and public institutions. This report comprises works put together in 2007 and 2008 by the winners of the competitions organized within the Program; the subjects were both at choice and imposed (Romanian migration). The works express opinions and results got following the research carried out in fields which are acute for the current Romanian reality: the migration of the Romanians, the Romanian electoral system, the provision of social services in the area of child protection. Fellows Proposals wishes to promote opinions which will bring an added expertise in the fields covered by the works. These studies show the opinions of their authors and do not reflect in any manner the official position of any of the institutions mentioned.
THE ROAD BACK OF THE WONDERING SONS: ROMANIAN EMIGRANTS FROM SPAIN AND ITALY AND THEIR DECISION TO RETURN TO THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN1 Claudiu Ivan Through this study2 we wish to tackle the phenomenon of emigration in Romania at a level that has been neglected so far: the determining factors of the Romanian emigrants’ decision to return to the country of origin and the profile of those who intend to come back. We investigated this phenomenon thanks to some polls taken among the Romanian emigrants from Spain and Italy by the Transylvania Agency for Governmental Strategies and Metro Media at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 20083. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the abovementioned agency for having put these databases at our disposal. Spontaneously, one may assume that once moved to a foreign country, the emigrant usually becomes a permanent resident therefore it is useless to tackle the phenomenon of return to his/her country of origin. This assumption, however, is flawed because of the following reasons: 1) the experience of migration in Europe has shown that a significant part of the emigrants do return home (the case of Greek emigrants to Germany, of the emigrants from Switzerland or from Great Britain); therefore, there are reasons to advance the hypothesis that the Romanian migration phenomenon, which is still in an incipient stage, will follow a similar pattern in the years to come; 2) data indicate the intention to return home in the case of 38% of the Romanian emigrants from Italy and Spain, according to the abovementioned polls. There is a series of determining factors of the decision to return for good to the country of origin; these factors were highlighted with the help of the logistical regression analysis. The results indicated the fact that the approximately 38% Romanian emigrants from Spain and Italy who declare that they intend to return to Romania for good in the following two years are different from those who wish to remain in their host countries; this difference appears in the occupational status, the level of studies and the intensity degree of the relation with their relatives and close ones from the country (variable calculated based on the frequency of sending money home and of visiting their families back home and on the appreciation of the importance of family in their lives). There is no difference – as we might have expected due to the media “effervescence” triggered by the Mailat case4 – between the Italian and the Spanish communities in what concerns the scope of the intention to return to Romania for good; however, there is a difference, under certain aspects, 1
The article was drawn up as an application during the Open Society Fellows Program undertaken by the Soros Romania Foundation – the contest entitled “The Migration Phenomenon in Romania”. 2 The author would like to express his special thanks to professor Dumitru Sandu, Emil Tărâlă, Mălina Voicu and Bogdan Voicu for their suggestions and pertinent observations on the margin of the article and also to professor J. Hagemaars from the Tilburg University (The Netherlands) for the mentorship he offered in using the statistical analysis of the category data and for his methodological advice related to this article. 3 The results of these studies may be found at the address: http://www.publicinfo.ro/pagini/sondaje-deopinie.php 4 The polls data were collected in the field in the “climax” period of the Mailat media scandal.
in the profile of the emigrants established in the two countries, depending on their intention to return to their country of origin for good. This study completes those approaches of Romanian migration which focused exclusively on the reasons on Romanian emigration with a complementary approach which sounds out the reasons why Romanians return to their country of origin. In the light of this new data, the start of a more ample discussion on the implications of the emigration phenomenon for the relevant public policies becomes necessary.
INTRODUCTION The issue of migration is a central topic of the public agenda and of the preoccupations of the academic environment, but the studies performed so far in Romania were focused almost exclusively on describing the reasons why Romanians emigrate, on indicating the intensity of migration in different areas of the country, the variation of the migration phenomenon at the level of certain specific social groups and its effects (Sandu, 2004, 2005, Serban and Toth, 2007). As far as the effects for migration are concerned, they are both positive and negative. The positive effects of migration were analyzed in the specialized literature, highlighting its support for economic growth both in the country of destination thanks to cheap labor and in the country of origin thanks to the money sent by the emigrants to those in the country, the reduction of unemployment in the country of origin, the increased life standards of the migrants and of their families etc. (Portes, 2008; Castles, 2004; Massey et al., 1998; Serban and Toth, 2007). The relevance of migration also has a negative meaning for Romania; thus, there are discussions about the lack of labor, about the lack of this resource for investment and future development, about the need to import immigrants from poorer regions of the world. The negative consequences also cover the social sector â€“ children growing up without their parents, broken families (Voicu et al., 2007). However, there is another question that interests us here, which has been given a clear answer so far: Will Romanian emigrants abroad return to their country of origin? And if so, which are the ones most predisposed to return for good? This way we are trying to complete the previous approaches â€“ those which focused on interrogations such as why are the Romanians leaving and which Romanians are leaving â€“ with a new research dimension: whether, why and which are the Romanians which return from migration. The maturity reached by the emigration phenomenon in Romania supports these questions. Then, the questions have a practical stake for the creators of public policies in Romania as they could estimate the labor for the coming years and suggest certain measures to stimulate the return home. It is obvious that it is preferable to stimulate emigrant Romanians to return home in order to ensure the necessary labor force rather than to stimulate African or Asian migrations which come with social integration issues and so on. Studies carried out by Metro Media Transylvania at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 allowed some answers to these questions. First of all, according to 6
the 2 surveys conducted among the Romanian communities from Italy and Spain, approximately 37-38% of the emigrants declare that they intend to return for good to their country of origin in the next 2 years. This is a high percentage which we must confess we did not expect. Of course, one may argue that this is just a statement of intention and there is a long way to go to the actual return. It is hard to say to what extent this statement may anticipate the actual return of the respondent, but it is clear that this puts the respondent in a group with a higher potential to return than the one who was categorical in saying that s/he does not intend to return to Romania for good in the next 2 years. There are no unequivocal statistics of the degree to which Romanian emigrants returned to their country – there are not even any exhaustive statistics characterizing the phenomenon of emigration as such. The assessment of the degree of return of the emigrants to their country of origin is difficult and it interferes with phenomena such as establishment abroad for studies, visiting a foreign country as a tourist, establishment in a foreign country based on a fixed-term employment contract and so on. (Dustmann, 1997, 2001, 2003, Dustmann and Kirchkamp, 2002, Borjas and Bratsberg, 1996). These are specific types of migration which we will clarify below. The lack of statistics on the extent of repatriation of Romanian emigrants is somehow justified also by the fact that Romanian emigration abroad – as a social fact – is a relatively young phenomenon, still undergoing the first stages of its development. Practically, it started growing 8 years ago, when travelling visas to the EU space were abolished5. In this context, we may look at the experience of other types of emigrants which existed in the European history. Thus: • Of the approximately 1 million Greek who emigrated to Federal Germany between 1960 and 1984, approximately 85% returned to their country of origin (Glytsos, 1988 in Dustmann and Weiss, 2007); • In 1987, Bohning (in Dustman and Weiss, 2007) reported that more than 2/3 of the foreign workers from the Federal Republic of Germany and approximately 4/5 of those from Switzerland returned to their country of origin; • For the case of Great Britain, Dustmann and Weiss (2007) found that out of the total number of immigrants which spent at least one year in the UK, almost 40% of the men and 55% of the women returned to their country of origin five years later. There are some differences depending on the emigrants’ country of origin and ethnic group (Africans have a lower degree of repatriation compared to Europeans). The return mainly occurs in the 5 years following the arrival to the host country. This empirical evidence selected from the specialized literature supports us in launching the idea that a similar pattern of evolution of the emigration phenomenon shall develop for the Romanian immigrants from Spain and Italy, as well. For lack of data, we cannot test this hypothesis now. Nevertheless, we do have a means to approximate the future dynamics of the Romanians’ return to the country of origin by asking what their opinion on definitive repatriation is. It is one of the dimensions investigated in the studies carried out by Metro Media Transylvania, as well. More 5
Of course, significant values of Romanian emigration to the EU could also be seen before, especially between 1996 and 2001.
importantly, we will be able to describe the group of the Romanian emigrants from Spain and Italy who intend to return to the country for good compared to those who do not have this intention. We shall start by providing some conceptual clarifications on the phenomenon of returning to the host country several consecutive times after the emigration itself, we shall put forward theoretical grounds for the empirical act performed and we shall advance working hypothesis.
FORMS OF MIGRATION, THEORY AND WORKING HYPOTHESIS Guiding ourselves after the intensions of this study, we selected from the specialized literature (Dustmann and Weiss, 2007) a classification of the different forms of migration depending on the reasons which are at the basis of this act (see Diagram 1 below). In practice, we leave from the presumption that there are two large categories of motives which generate the migration act: socio-economic motives6 on the one hand and motives related to natural disasters or persecutions (the political persecution is one of them which generate refugees, etc.). We shall not insist on migration generated by the latter category as it is not of interest for us now. We also note that moving to a foreign country to study for a specified period of time or for tourist purposes is not an act of emigration as the concept is understood here. There is another important detail which must be mentioned here. Although there are significant differences between the emigration motivated by the “economic” interest – for instance the desire to make money - and the emigration motivated by social interests – for instance the intention to reunite with one’s family, it is not the purpose of this study to analyze these differences. We only wish to describe, through these terminological details, which are the potential categories of Romanian migrants from abroad and what side of the emigration phenomenon we will treat in this article. The socio/economic motives are the ones providing the explanation for a second large category of emigration. This has, in its turn, two subtypes of migration: temporary migration and permanent migration. Temporary migration is defined here as the situation of the individual who left his/her country of origin but will return to it after a certain time period7. Permanent migration refers to the situation of that individual who settles in the host country for good. An issue raised here is that we can never be 100% sure that an emigrant is settled in the host country for good, 6
Dustmann and Weiss refer strictly to “economic motivations” in their scheme. We enlarged the category by creating the phrase “socio-economic”, considering that the decision to emigrate often has, besides the economic component, another very important, social one – the desire to change the status one has in the community of origin, a form of inter-group or inter-family comparison within the community, the desire to reunite with one’s family, action triggered by social networks etc. 7 The definition of temporary migration is a thorny subject but we do not wish to clarify it here. Worldwide, migration is defined as the situation of the individual residing in a foreign country for more than 12 months. Dustman and Weiss suggest that it would be useful to define temporary migration as the situation of the individual leaving his/her host country before the age of retirement. A question is raised here: are we speaking about the age of retirement in the country of origin or in the host country? We shall not insist, as this is not the purpose of our article.
therefore theoretically permanent migration is a concept whose real object cannot be indicated – the permanent emigrant. A solution might be to define permanent migration as the situation of the individual who retires in another country than the country of birth, thus being integrated in the social insurance system of the host country (therefore we include here people who successively change the host country of emigration) – this fact is a strong argument that the individual in question took the option of settling in the host country definitively although this is not necessarily always true. In consequence, this definition raises some conceptual issues, as well. We shall not insist more on these conceptual limitations as – with the risk of repeating ourselves – this is not our purpose here; we only intend to “scan” the emigration phenomenon before analyzing in detail one of its specific dimensions. Temporary migration is, in its turn, subdivided in several types. There may be circulatory migration i.e. that type of migration in which the individual returns in the host country of emigration periodically for an activity known to take place for a specific time period. Seasonal migration in agriculture is an example of such a migration. Another type is transitory migration, i.e. the situation of the individual who, after having left his/her country of birth, establishes his/her residence successively in several host countries depending on his/her current interests. What these individuals have in common is that the move in foreign countries for socio-economic reasons. Contract-based migration refers to moving one’s residence in a foreign country with the purpose of working or providing certain services for a previously established time period, based on a contract or residence visa. Finally, migration followed by permanent return to the country of origin refers to the situation of the individual who, after having migrated abroad for a certain period due to socio-economic reasons, decides to return for good to the country of birth based on his/her own free choice; for simplification, we shall name this type of temporary migration a “re-migration”. The types of temporary migration defined above do not have a rigid border between them but they share some degree of overlapping.
Diagram 1 Forms of migration
Migration due to socioeconomic motives
Re-migration (migration followed by permanent return to the country of origin
Migration due to natural disasters or persecution
Diagram adapted after Dustmann and Weiss (2007) We shall now focus on remigration8 as a specific dimension of the emigration phenomenon. Studies preoccupied with the problem of definitive return to the country of origin of the emigrants identified a series of explanatory mechanisms which may be grouped in the following categories; 1. Emigration as a stage of personal life quality management in the country of origin – “life project hypothesis” (Vicente and Egea, 2006, Borjas and Bratsberg, 1996). In this vision emigration is seen as a deliberate and planned act of an individual in the management of his/her own life with the purpose of increasing his/her life standard in the country of birth. According to this vision, emigration is beforehand estimated by the emigrant as being temporary; it is seen as a means to accumulate consistent savings and to put some money aside to support a higher living standard. The difference in costs and the purchase power between the host country and the country of origin plays a fundamental role in this case together with the emigrants’ preference to consume in the country of origin. This perspective originates in the theory of the neoclassic economy in which the economic mechanisms of explaining the migratory behavior prevail (Constantinescu M., 2002, Blangiardo et all). 2. Emigration as a chance to accumulate human capital – abilities, competences, qualifications – which may be later used in the country of origin to be converted into resources (Borjas and Bratsberg, 1996, Dustmann and Weiss, 2007). In this case we are speaking of abilities considered rarities in the country of origin which can be sold very expensive on the labor market. The holder of such abilities has an increased motivation to return to the country of origin. We see that in this case there is less emphasis on accumulating financial resources as a stimulus to return to the home country and more on accumulating human capital. Such capital may be a foreign language, various specializations in the use of advanced technology. 8
For clarity reasons, we mention that remigration may in its turn be either temporary or permanent.
3. Insufficient and incomplete information about the conditions from the host country chosen as a destination (Borjas and Bratsberg, 1996). In this case we are speaking about remigration caused by conditions encountered in the host country which do not correspond to the emigrant’s expectations, which generates a return home. What is also relevant in this case is the degree of social integration of the emigrant in the country of destination. 4. The social relations with the country of origin are another extremely important dimension (Vincente and Egea, 2006). In this case, the family members left home, circle of friends, social networks and social capital held by the emigrant in the country of birth are factors which motivate remigration. What also matters is the high social status which may be acquired upon return home after a successful migration experience. All these explanatory mechanisms must be settled in a wider framework in which it is important to note the characteristics of the welfare status in the country of destination but also in the country of origin, the international context and the events which might occur (financial crisis, persecutions in the host country etc.), the level of development of the country of origin, the culture of the ethnic group which the emigrant is a part of and the effects of the policies adopted by the governments to stimulate the return home of the emigrants – Germany, France and Switzerland are countries which adopted such policies in the 70s and are still doing it today. Moreover, they shall not be treated separately as it is obvious that there is interconditionality among them. Based on the previous researchers’ contributions whose ideas were synthesized above, we may launch a series of work hypothesis for our study. The accumulation of resources takes time therefore we believe that the decision to return home is more probable among those who have a longer stay in the host country. Still, we expect that after a very long time period, the decision to return should start to fade. Dustmann and Weiss (2007) showed that in the case of Great Britain emigrants they are more likely to return in the first 5 years after their arrival in the host country. After 5 years of residence in a foreign country the probability to return drops dramatically. In the same chapter we anticipate that those with higher incomes are more likely to return to their country of origin than those with lower incomes. Another hypothesis comes from the fact that emigrants having close relationships with people from the country of origin, who are in regular contact with their family or friends from the country of birth are more inclined to return to their country than those who do not have any relations or have very distant relations with individuals from the country of origin. We anticipate that those who emigrated at an older age have higher chances to return to their country than those who emigrated at a younger age – the older ones have had time to build a vaster, more solid social network in their country of origin. Dustmann (1996) found a strong similar relation for emigrants from Germany. At the same time, we anticipate that those who are married have a higher probability to return for good compared to those who do not have this status. The statement stands especially for those whose life partner resides in the country of origin.
The accumulation of specific competences which are rare on the labor market is a factor which may stimulate re-migration. This fact is rather valid among those with higher education, i.e. those who practice jobs with a high degree of complexity. We anticipate that they intend to return to Romania for good to a larger extent than those with high school or secondary education. A high degree of social integration into the host country is another factor which should stimulate permanent migration. This social dimension may be grasped through indicators such as degree of knowledge of the host country language or frequency of interactions with citizens of the host country. Economic integration is grasped through the occupational status of the emigrant: permanent employee with contract and documents, employee without documents (illegal), unemployed etc. The economic difficulties of the region of residence from the country of origin may inhibit definitive return. We expect, given the higher degree of poverty from Moldova, that emigrants originating from here have less desire to return to their country for good compared to those from Transylvania, Muntenia or Bucharest; emigration is a means to minimize the risk of poverty by diversifying the sources of income (the new migration economy theory, Constantinescu M., 2002). Based on the same logic, we anticipate that emigrants who offer support more often to those remained in the country by sending them money shall be less inclined to return home than those who send money more rarely. An argument for this hypothesis is also the fact that if one sends money home frequently one cannot accumulate too much savings, which stimulate return, as underlined above. The specificity of the host country on coordinates such as type of social welfare promoted, social integration support provided or aversion against emigrants may stimulate or inhibit re-migration. The data we had at our disposal allow us to compare emigrants from Spain with those from Italy. Considering the reverberation caused by the Mailat case – the polls were made when the case was part of the Italian public agenda – we expect the emigrants from Italy to show a more pregnant re-migration tendency compared to their Spanish co-nationals.
DATA USED IN RESEARCH, INDICATORS We shall use in our research two databases resulted following the performance of two polls in Italy (November – December 2007) and in Spain (March – April 2008) among the Romanian emigrants from these countries. These polls were made at the initiative of the Governmental Strategies Agency (ASG) together with Metro Media Transylvania (MMT). This study represented a pioneering9 initiative in the analysis of Romanian emigration, considering that so far all studies on the Romanian migration experience were focused on the estimation of the rate of emigration in certain socio-demographic 9
At approximately six months from the ASG study (in September 2008) another remarkable study similar to that carried out by ASG and MMT was developed, with the help of the Soros foundation and under the coordination of professor D. Sandu; this study was focused on the Romanian emigration in 4 communities from Spain – see: http://www.soros.ro/ro/comunicate_detaliu.php?comunicat=85#
categories or cultural areas or on the opinions of those who lived in Romania at the moment of the study but had a migration history. One of the main problems of the study was the establishment of the sampling framework so that the results may approximate with a certain degree of trust the opinion of the Romanian communities from Spain and respectively Italy. The inexistence of a sampling database and the lack of statistical data on the Romanians residents of the two countries were a major obstacle. Finally, the sampling method used consisted in the combination, on the one hand, of the random probabilistic selection of the towns (administrative units) by stratification based on the type of the Romanian community and on the cultural area with, on the other hand, the actual selection of respondents through snowball sampling. In Spain, the type of communities with emigrant Romanians was divided in 4 categories: small communities with maximum 50 Romanians, average communities with 51-200 Romanians, large communities with 201-1000 Romanians, and very large communities with over 1000 emigrant Romanians. The cultural area was relative for each of the two countries where the studies were carried out, respectively the cultural areas Nielsen in Spain – 7 cultural areas: Noreste, Levante, Sur, Centro, Norte, Noroeste, Islas. The sample was validated based on the data provided by Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, Paseo de la Castellana – Madrid on 1 January 2007. 75 towns were selected probabilistically. In Italy the type of communities with emigrant Romanians was again divided in 4 categories, but defined differently: small communities, with maximum 10 Romanians, average communities with 11-100 Romanians, large communities with 101-1000 Romanians and very large communities with over 1000 emigrant Romanians. The regions considered for stratification in Italy were the 20 existing ones but, due to the small number of Romanians from some of them, a part of them were excluded (Basilicata, Calabria, Molise, Puglia, Sardegna, Valle D’Aosta). 60 administrative units were selected randomly (comuni). The actual selection of respondents inside each layer was carried out as already stated through the snowball sampling method. Starting from a household with Romanian emigrants, the closest household with Romanians was selected (where at least one Romanian emigrant lived). At least 2 households of Romanian emigrants were selected from each house and there were maximum 5 households from each street. Then they selected one individual from each household – an adult Romanian emigrant – where there lived several Romanian emigrants, the birth date rule was used. In Spain, the sample counted 1207 people having a maximum accepted margin of error of +-2,9% which corresponds to a 95%10 level of trust. In Italy the sample counted 1066 people having a maximum accepted margin of error of +-3%, which corresponds to a level of trust of 95%. The data collection period was 20 November – 15 December 2007 for Italy and 20 March – 30 April 2008 for Spain. The margin of 10
The specificity of the accuracy data of the results obtained suggest that we had a probabilistic sample. However, the sampling method used – fact due to objective constraints – does not allow stricto senso such an assumption. The research has a limit – see the following discussion, also.
error makes sense in spite of the subjects being selected through the snowball sampling method, as the grouping effects generated by it are blurred by the probabilistic selection of towns and the stratification based on the type of communities of Romanians and on the region. Obviously, there still are limits of the sample representativeness as it is impossible to estimate exactly the degree of counterbalancing between the agglutination of the two methods of establishing the sample. We take these upon ourselves11. To carry out the analysis a common database12 was created, containing the results of both polls. Only the items used identically in both polls were maintained. Taking into account the fact that the dependent variable is a categorical one with two categories of answers (“For the next two years do you personally plan to return to Romania for good?” with choices of answers: yes, no or NR13) the analysis method used was logistic regression (Agresti, 1996). For the independent categorical variables used in the analysis dummy variables were built. The comparison of the results for the case of Spain, respectively for that of Italy was carried out by testing the significance of the “host country” variable with two categories – Spain, respectively Italy. Results were also compared for each of the two countries considered. Indicators14 which will be used in the analysis as predictors are the following: • Age. Variable recodified in categorical form, with 2 categories: 18-34 years, over 34 years15. • Education level. Variable recodified in a categorical form with 3 categories: people with at least 10 classes or technical school, people with high school or posthigh school studies and people with higher education. • The region of residence. The analysis considered 3 regions of origin of the emigrants: Moldova, Muntenia and Transylvania. Bucharest was not considered separately due to the small number of emigrants coming from this area, also reflected in the database. It was included in the category of emigrants coming from Muntenia. • The occupational status in the host country. For the analysis they recodified the variable which identified the occupational status of the emigrant in the host country into a new categorical variable with the following categories: 1) unemployed or housewife, 2) worker with documents or owner with employees, 3) worker without documents, without authorization or day worker 4) other category 5) NR. We chose 11
Professor D. Sandu suggested to use multilevel modeling to improve some clustering problems in the logistic regression. We totally agree with this possibility, we shall develop it in the future. 12 The initial databases for Italy, respectively Spain did not need any weighing. 13 We must treat with some precaution the capacity to measure the emigrants’ intention to return based on just one question; this might be refined in the future by using an assessment scale with probabilistic levels of the intention to return or several research indicators strongly correlated with the remigration intention as a basis to estimate each respondent emigrant’s probability to return to the country of origin. 14 All registered non-responses were codified as missings. 15 We chose these categories due to the age distribution among emigrants (it is a very “young” group compared to the population of Romania). There was the risk that, using as a separate category the emigrants of over 50 years old, we could have had cells with missing cases in the association tables. We did not use this variable in its continuous form due to the risk that based on it the distribution of the intention to return might be nonlinear.
this classification as we wished to grasp the stability on the labor market as an indicator of the degree of economic integration of the emigrant. Those who do have work documents or own their own businesses show an increased degree of economic integration compared to the uncertain status of those working without documents, without authorization or by the day and especially compared to those who are unemployed or housewives. We eliminated from the analysis pupils, students and pensioners. • Year of arrival in the host country. We recodified a new variable with the following categories: 1) emigrants who arrived in the host country in the year 2000 or before, 2) emigrants who arrived in the host country between 2001 and 2003 including, 3) emigrants who arrived in the host country between 2004 and 2005 including and 4) emigrants who arrived in the host country in the year 2006 or after that year16. • Subjective life standard. The question about the way in which emigrants appreciate the current incomes of the household in relation with the needs was recodified in the following categories: 1) the income is not even enough for the bare necessities or is hardly enough 2) the income is enough for a decent living 3) they manage to buy even more expensive goods or they may have whatever they want 4) NR. • Frequency of sending money home. Variable recodified with the following categories: 1) monthly or 7-10 times a year; 2) most often 6 times a year and at least 2 times a year; 3) once a year, more rarely or not at all, 4) NR. In this case we must keep in mind the circularity effect – the intention to remain abroad being caused by a frequency of givings. Its relevance in our regression model is rather as an indicator of the intensity of the relation with the relatives remained in the country and also at the predictive rather than at the explanatory level. • Rural/urban residence environment in the country of origin. This variable was not distinctly registered at the time of the polls. We recodified it based on the town where of residence from Romania as declared by the respondents. • Host country. Codification as dummy variable, the residents from Spain were the reference category. • Age of arrival in the host country. We decided to include this variable as previous research had showed that this is highly significant for the emigrants’ decision to return home (for instance Dustman, 1996 for the emigrants for Germany). We calculated this variable as a difference between the age of the emigrant and the number of years of residence in the host country. Later we recodified the variable as a categorical one again, with 2 categories of age: 15-34, 35 or over. We shall exclude from the analysis emigrants who were 14 or younger when they arrived in the host country. The reason for this is that those who were younger than this at the time of 16
One may argue that the inclusion in the same category of those arrived in 2006 and of those arrived after 1 January 2007 is inadequate because of the different arrival terms. The observation is pertinent from a sociologic point of view, but we decided to create this category due to the disproportionality between the number of cases of those arrived after 1 January 2007 compared to those arrived before in the database – the study in Italy was carried out in the autumn of 2007.
their arrival in the foreign country did not conclude the secondary education cycle and we could assume that there are deficiencies in the way they appropriated the culture of the country of origin. • Self-awarded degree of happiness. Continuous 10 degrees variable where 1 – very unhappy, 10 – very happy. • Degree of trust in people. Continuous 10 degrees variable where 1 – very little trust and 10 – a lot of trust. • Importance of family. We recodified the original variable into a new variable with 2 categories: 1) Very important 2) Important, a bit important or not important at all. In this case, the grouping of the categories chosen for recodification also followed the logic of avoiding the cells with few cases (only 2.1% of the respondents declared that family is a bit important or not important at all). • Marital status. We recodified the initial variable in three categories: 1) married emigrants or emigrants who live in cohabitation and 2) emigrants who are divorced, separated or not married 3) NR • Degree of knowledge of host country’s language. This is an important variable which indicates the emigrant’s degree of social integration, the ease of economic integration etc. To bring to a common denominator all respondents from Spain, respectively Italy, we had to create a new variable, taking into account the degree of knowledge of the Italian language in the case of emigrants from Italy and respectively the degree of knowledge of the Spanish language in the case of emigrants residing in Spain. We decided to cumulate those who know the language of the host country very well and well in one category and to include the rest in the category of those who have a limited knowledge of the host country’s language. • Frequency of visiting the family from Romania. Variable recodified into the following categories: 1) at least 2 times a year; 2) once every 2 years/more rarely, 3) they do not have a family in Romania, not applicable, 4) NR. • Degree of interaction with the citizens of the host country. We recreated a new categorical variable in which we cumulated those who declared that they visit each other or party with citizens of the host country on various occasions rarely, often or very often in one category and the emigrants who declare that they visit or party with citizens of the host country very rarely or not at all into another category. • Opinion about the citizens of the host country. The general question on the emigrants’ opinion about the citizens of the host country is recodified into the following categories: 1) very good or good, 2) neither good or bad, 3) bad or very bad, 4) NR • Opinion about Romanians in Romania. Recodification was similar to the previous question.
• Degree of pride of being a Romanian citizen. The original categories of the variable shall be used in the analysis: very proud, proud, rather proud, not very proud, NS/NR. • Emigration with the spouse. The research items allowed us to identify emigrants accompanied by spouses in the host country. • Emigration with at least one of the parents. We could also identify in the database emigrants accompanied by at least one of the parents in the host country. • Emigration with child/ren. It is important to check to what extent the interest for the children’s situation influences the decision to return to the country of origin. This is why we created a variable which differentiates emigrants based on this criterion.
RESULTS OF THE RESEARCH We shall report the following results17 in this study (see table 1): A. Results of binary logistic regression in which we include the cases of emigrants interviewed both in Spain and in Italy. We also introduced the categorical variable “host country” into the regression to see whether the emigrants from Spain have a higher inclination to return to their country compared to those from Italy (or vice versa). Taking into consideration the events from Italy from the period when the media was having intense conversations about the Mailat case and the greater difficulties of integration encountered in Italy compared with Spain as reported in the media, we expect to see a higher rate of intention to return to Romania among the emigrants from Italy. For the results to have a scientific validity and to prevent any “spuriousness relationship18 between variables we controlled (or held constant) the effects of other variables on the relation between the host country and the Romanian’s intention to re-migrate. We also tested the influence of “extreme values”19. B. Another type of results show the same data but only for the case of Spain, respectively for that of Italy. Table 1 Profile of emigrants from Spain and Italy who intend to return to their country of origin for good
A special mention must be made about the way in which we treated non-responses. The results presented here were obtained by eliminating the cases which had at least one non-response to one of the variables included in the logistical regression model (listwise elimination). These added up to 36% of the total 2210 cases from the common databases resulted from pooling together the Italy and Spain data. 18 “Spuriousness relationship” is the apparently significant relation between two – or several - variables due not to the causal link between them but to the influence of a 3rd variable exercised concomitantly on the former two. 19 Extreme values or “outliers” are aberrant cases which deviate drastically from the consistency of the variables proven on the database. For our case the procedures carried out showed that the outliers’ influence on the results is negligible therefore there was no need to eliminate them.
0 â€“ they return, 1 â€“ they do not return
Emigrants over 34 years old
Emigrants with high school education
Emigrants with higher education
Emigrants from Moldova
Emigrants from Transylvania
Emigrants with work documents
Status in RO: pupils/students
Status in RO: unemployed
Status in RO: worked with documents
Arrival period: 2001-2003
Arrival period: 2004-2005
Arrival period: 2006-2008
Income: decent living
Income: very good living
Sends money to the family often
Sometimes sends money to the family
Age > 34 upon arrival
Family very important for him/her
Visits the family in Romania often Interacts often with citizens of the host country
Has a good opinion about the Spanish/Italian Has a good opinion about Romanians in RO Neutral opinion about the Romanians in RO
Very proud to be a Romanian
Proud to be a Romanian
A little bit proud
Residents of rural Romania
Trust in people
Accompanied by spouse
Accompanied by one parent
Accompanied by child/ren
Emigrants from Spain
Degree of happiness (1 – unhappy) Limited knowledge of the language
* Significant at a level of 0,1 (p<0.1) *** Significant 0.01
** Significant 0.5
When we consider together the data of the emigrants from Spain and Italy, the results show the fact that the explanatory variables which are significant for the emigrants’ decision to return to their country for good are education, occupational status held by the emigrant before emigrating for the first time, frequency of sending money home to the family, importance of family in their life, age of emigrant upon arrival in the host country, frequency of visits to Romania, feeling of pride for being a Romanian, degree of self-characterization of own happiness and level of knowledge of the host country. The variable “host country” is not significant, which means that, contrary to all expectations, the intention to return for good to the country of origin does not differ significantly between the emigrants from Spain and those from Italy. We shall comment in turns on the sense of the relation between the significant variables and the Romanian emigrants’ decision to return for good to the country of origin in the next 2 years20. 20
Categories of reference: emigrants younger than 34; emigrants having studied at least 10 grades or a technical school; emigrants having lived in Muntenia; feminine gender; worker without work documents, self-employed without authorization or day worker in the country of emigration; worked without work documents, self-employed without authorization or worked as a day worker before emigrating; emigrated before 2001; income is not even enough for the bare necessities or is barely enough; send money home once a year, more rarely or not at all; was under 34 upon arrival in the
• Level of education. The odds ratio21 for the dummy variables of the variable level of education compares the emigrants of each of the average or higher education category with the primary and secondary education emigrants. Let’s take a look at the category of emigrants with higher education from the table. The value of 1.926 represents in fact “the odds ratio”. This means that the odds of not returning to the country in the case of higher education emigrants are 1.9 higher than for those who have at least 10 grades or at maximum a vocational school, keeping under control the effects of the other variables included in the regression model. In other words, the estimated odds for remaining in the countries of migration are 92% higher for the group of emigrants with higher education compared to those with studies of maximum 10 grades. This conclusion is issued controlling after all the other variables included in the logistic regression or, in other words, keeping them at a constant value. In a more accessible language, the inclination to return to the country is more conspicuous at people with low education compared to people with medium or higher education. The difference is more conspicuous when we compare people with higher education to those with low education. This is probably explained through the easier economic integration of people with higher education. A significant difference is also seen when we look at the association between the intention to re-migrate and education only in Spain, respectively in Italy. The difference is maintained, but only between those with higher education and those with lower education and it is bigger in the case of emigrants from Italy. • The historic region of origin of the emigrants is also important. Emigrants from Transylvania are more inclined to return to their country compared to those from Muntenia (we included here Dobrogea, Muntenia, Oltenia and Bucharest) but this is valid only for Spain, not for Italy. Between the emigrants from Moldova and those from Transylvania, respectively Muntenia, the differences are not significant when it comes to the intention to return to the country of origin. • The emigrants’ occupational status before arrival to the host country is also relevant. Thus, those who were pupils/students and also emigrants who stayed at home (housewives) before emigrating have a greater tendency not to return to their country of origin compared to emigrants who worked without work documents or were day workers before emigrating. This is explicable if we consider that the status host country; family is important, a bit important or not important at all to them; divorced, separated or not married emigrants; visits his/her family once every two years or more rarely; emigrants who declare that they visit or party with citizens of the host country very rarely or not at all; bad or very bad opinion about the citizens of the host country; bad or very bad opinion about Romanians; not too proud to be a Romanian; resident of urban Romania; very familiar with the language of the host country; did not emigrate with the spouse; did not emigrate with at least one of the parents; did not emigrate with at least one child; emigrant in Spain. For the model which presents the data cumulated for both countries we have: R2 (Cox & Snell) = 10.1%; R2 (Nagelkerke) = 13.7%; sig. X2 (omnibus test)=0.000; sig. X2 (Hosmer and Lemeshow Test)=0.957. 21 “Odds” as a statistical term is difficult to translate into Romanian literally – an approximate translation is “sanse”. It is a statistical method used to characterize the tables of association of categorical variables, being actually a ratio between two weights (percents) of the distribution of a category of the independent variable between two categories of an independent variable. “The odds ratio” is a faithful measure used to characterize the association of two categorical variables, which represents a proportion of two “odds”. A value of 1 for odds ratio indicates the independence between two variables, i.e. the inexistence of the association between them.
of pupil/student entails a more intense acculturation process immediately after movement to another country – the majority of pupils/students continued their education in the host country. The explanation in the case of housewives probably resides in the fact that they emigrated to follow a relative or life partner; family reintegration in the host country is a factor which favors the decision not to return to the country of birth. We would be tempted to believe that the younger age is the variable which generates the tendency of the pupil/student emigrants from Romania to be more reluctant to returning to Romania compared with those who worked in the country of origin – a case of spuriousness relationship. This is not the explanation as by including the dummy variables based on the age in the logistic regression equation we maintained constant the age effect on occupation and intention to remigrate. • Age upon arrival in the host country. It is clear that older people strengthened their social relations more deeply in the country of origin, their place in the social structure is more settled than that of a young man or woman. Indeed, results indicate the fact that the age upon arrival in the host country is significantly associated with the intention to return to their country: people aged over 34 upon arrival in the host country are more inclined to return to Romania for good compared to those aged below 34; however, the relation of association is much stronger in the case of Italy. This confirms one of our initial hypotheses. As already shown, a richer social capital accumulated in the country of origin and more solid social relations with the country of birth – natural derivatives of an older age – explains this. There is, however, something to point out. The regression registered after we reduced non-responses through the multiple imputation procedure led to an insignificant value for this variable on an accumulated base, but it was maintained in the case of Italy. How to explain the relevance of the arrival age for the decision to return to the country of origin in the case of Italy but not in that of Spain? Probably the context of the public “turmoil” related to the Mailat case strengthened the predisposition of those social categories more inclined to return to their country. This explanation is only an hypothesis and should be considered as such. • The importance of family, the frequency of visits paid to the family in Romania, the frequency of sending money home to the family from Romania. We anticipated that closed links to the country of origin are a factor influencing a predisposition to remigration. The data allowed us to test the importance of family relations for the remigration behavior of the emigrant Romanians from Spain and Italy, thus identifying a central role of the family in the remigration behavior. The data also show that emigrants maintaining close relations with the family from Romania are more inclined to return to Romania for good compared to those whose relations to their family are more distant. Thus, emigrants who send money to their family more often are more inclined to return to their country of birth compared to those who send money more rarely; those who visit their family more often have a more pregnant tendency to return to their country compared to those who visit Romania more rarely and also those who consider the family to be more important tend to return to Romania definitively compared to those for whom family is less important. Here we can clearly see the fundamental role the family plays in the migrating behavior of Romanians from Spain and Italy. The role pattern of the Romanian family expressed in the frequency of the visits paid to it is maintained both in the case of the emigrants from Spain and in that of those from Italy when analyzed separately (more strongly in
Country of emigration
the case of Spain22) but there are two important differences in relation to the behavior of sending money to the family and the perceived importance of the family. Thus, the frequency of sending money home is significant for remigration only in the case of Italy, but not in that of Spain. This is explained through the fact that “Spanish” emigrants send money home more often because they visit less – due to the double distance which separates Romania from Spain compared to the distance to Italy. It is easy to notice this in the association obtained based on the crosstabulation function of SPSS – Chiq < 0.001: How often do you send money to your family in Romania? More monthly 7-10 4-6 2-3 approx. rarely Not at or more times a times a times a once in than Total all often year year year a year once in a year 164 95 121 169 64 54 346 1013 Italy 16% 9% 12% 17% 6% 5% 34% 100,00 247 107 154 118 85 72 299 1082 Spain 23% 10% 14% 11% 8% 7% 28% 100,00
One should notice that the importance of family discriminates less in the case of Spain between those who wish to return to Romania definitively and those who do not. Therefore it would be an error to consider that for the emigrants from Spain family is less important than from those from Italy. In fact, things are precisely the other way around, like expected, actually. The bigger distance and the more rare visits make the emigrant from Spain miss his/her family and their support more acutely and to consider it more important – when we no longer have something vital we really start to feel how much we miss it. It is precisely the bigger importance of the family among emigrants from Spain compared to those from Italy that make it discriminate less when it comes to the intention to return for good to their country of origin. The table below showing the association between the host country of the emigrants and the importance of the family is revealing – Chiq < 0.001: Please tell us how important are the following in your life … Family
Italy Country of emigration
Very important 823 78% 1009 89%
Rather important 206 19% 115 10%
Little important 32 3% 10 1%
0 0% 5 0,4%
1061 100,0% 1139 100,-%
• Perception on sufficiency of income23. The relation between this variable and re-migration, both for the topic of migration and for a statistician is an interesting 22
In the case of Italy, the association relation is not significant if we consider the significance test in the calculation (Chiq>0.1), but the high value of the coefficient B indicates a relation of association between the frequency of the visits to Romania and the intent to return to the country of origin. 23 The variable concerning the perception on the sufficiency of the income was suspected of multicolinearity. We tested this and the statistical indicators did not prove this suspicion.
case. Treated together for Spain and Italy, the relation appears insignificant. We would be tempted to invalidate the initial hypothesis according to which a higher income which allows a larger accumulation would create predisposition for return to the country of origin. But, if we look at the significance of the regression coefficient and of the “odds ratio” we notice an example which may be taught to students at the course of statistics: for Spain, emigrants who see their income as enough to buy more expensive stuff or to buy everything they want incline not to return for good to Romania compared to those who barely cover the bare necessities or not even that with the income at their disposal. In Italy, the relation is also significant but viceversus: those who make enough to buy expensive stuff or everything they want are more inclined to return to Romania for good compared to those who barely make a living. One explanation may be the effect of the Mailat media scandal from Italy which took place when the data was collected; as a result of this, Romanian emigrants from this country who saved some money and have a good life would much rather be safe from the troubled situation by returning to their homeland. The needy ones do not afford this luxury because the status of migratory individual is more of a palliative for the poverty from home. Another explanation might be related to the relative price difference between Romania and Spain compared to that between Romania and Italy. If Italy is more expensive compared to Romania when it comes to costs, then it is only natural for emigrants to prefer to spend what they saved in the last country mentioned. In Spain, the difference may not be as clear. • The feeling of being proud to be a Romanian. Interestingly enough, this variable is significant for the intention to remigrate. Those who feel very proud to be Romanians are more inclined to return to their homeland definitively compared to those who do not feel this at all or feel it to a very little extent. The explanation for this probably resides in the social psychology manuals; the in-group / out-group dynamics and the feeling of self-respect may explain this phenomenon. The pride to be a Romanian reflects, in the case of the individual who is strongly identified with the group to which s/he belonged by birth, a strong connection with the community of origin and a self-respect which has as a main coordinate the national group to which s/he belongs. Those who are proud of their national origin also have an acute sense of difference from the host community and may also show maladjustment or problems of integration in the community in question. This is a topic which may be developed in the future, but we shall stop here with the speculations. • Knowledge of the language of the host country. Those who are familiar or very familiar to the language of the host country are inclined, as anticipated, to show a weaker intention of remigration compared to those who only speak enough to manage or do not speak the language at all. This is an indicator of one’s ability of social and economic integration. What is somehow curious is the fact that at the level of Spain and respectively Italy taken separately, this variable looses its significance. In the simple association through the contingency table at the level of each country taken separately we have a strong significant variation (chiq<0.001) in what concerns the distribution of the intention to return to Romania for good among those who speak the language and those who do not. Nevertheless, if we check after the variables included in the logistic regression equation in the case of the two countries taken separately the regression coefficient becomes insignificant. The explanation probably resides in the false causal effect between the occupational status, the knowledge of the language of the host country and remigration – students/pupils have more
chances of speaking the language of the host country, housewives have fewer such chances; for this last category there was no need to speak the language of the host country as they came to support their life partner; if we eliminate from the equation the variables which describe the emigrant’s occupation before coming to the host country, but also at the time when the data was collected, for Italy the variable concerning the knowledge of the Italian language becomes significant in determining the remigration behavior. The conclusion is that this variable has a certain power to influence one’s intention to remigrate but there is also a strong covariation with the occupational status. • Emigration with child(ren). The analysis indicates the fact that emigrants who are accompanied by children in the host country have the tendency to remain there rather than to return to their home country compared to Romanian emigrants who do not have their children with them. The relation is not strong and is only valid in the case of Italy. Such a relation may be explained through the fact that separation from the children is a reason of discontent which may push for the decision to return to the country and, on the other hand, parents may wish to hold their children in the host country for them to benefit from better education – probably, at least at the level of perception, the western educational system is considered superior. Note that emigration with at least one of the parents is a favoring factor for the intention to settle in the host country in the case of the Romanians from Spain24. • Degree of interaction with citizens of the host country. It is very interesting that in the case of Italy (but not in that of Spain) Romanian emigrants who declare that they visit or party on different occasions with citizens of the host country show the tendency of not returning to the country of origin compared to those who develop fewer interactions with the locals. The interaction developed with the citizens of the host country is an obvious indicator of the emigrants’ higher degree of integration and it is understandable that this leads rather to the intention of settling in the host country for good. • Degree of happiness. Data support the idea according to which the happier emigrants from Spain are, the lower the probability for them to return to their country of origin. This is not confirmed for Italy. • Final remarks concerning the partially confirmed or unconfirmed hypotheses. At the beginning we estimated that the year of arrival to the host country is important for the intention to remigrate. We based our presumption on the one hand on the logic of the theories from the field which state that the accumulation of resources stimulates the return and, on the other hand, on some empirical evidence which demonstrated the same thing – the example of England. This fact was not confirmed for Romanian emigrants from Spain and Italy. Otherwise said, it does not matter that Romanians emigrated 6 or 1 year ago, the intention to return definitively to the country of origin is similar. The explanation probably resides in the fact that the Romanian emigration phenomenon is still young; after a longer period, the time lapsed since arrival shall put its imprint on the intention to remigrate. Then, money sent home on a constant basis by a large part of the migrants – also taking into account the importance of the family as highlighted herein – limits the ability to 24
Although Chiq is not significant, the value of the B coefficient and that of the “odds ratio” support a significant relation.
save this money and the start of the incentive to return home. Nor is the region a variable as significant as we would have thought. We estimated that emigrants coming from poor regions are less inclined to return to Romania. This was confirmed only partially for emigrants from Spain, i.e. emigrants coming from Transylvania show a bigger tendency to return home compared to those from Muntenia. There are no differences related to the intention to return to their homeland between emigrants from the rural and urban environment, either. Men – again only in the case of Spain – manifest a greater tendency – little significant – compared to women to remain in the host country. Romanians aged over 34 at the time of this study, residents of Italy, show a lower tendency to return home compared to the young population. Finally, a remarkable conclusion, with a solid statistical significance, Romanian emigrants from Italy who interact more often with Italian citizens – through visits or common participation at parties – show a lower tendency to return to Romania compared to those who interact more rarely. This is a natural fact which reflects the degree of integration but which is not confirmed in the case of Spain.
CONCLUSIONS Through this study we wished to bring an additional contribution to the understanding of the characteristics of Romanian emigrants from abroad. We complemented the topics covered in Romania so far which focused almost exclusively on the identification of the reasons for emigration with a new approach which investigated why do Romanian emigrants from abroad take the road back to the homeland. We identified the central role played by family and by the links with the people who remained home in the decision to remigrate of the Romanians from Spain and Italy. Also, we emphasized the role played by the pride to be a Romanian in the wish to repatriate as a probable reflection of a dynamics of membership to the national group. The study also tested and confirmed the evidence of other studies from Europe which showed that the age at which the emigration occurs conditions the intent to return to the country for good; this means that the older the age, the greater the possibility to return to the country of origin. The level of education is also a differentiator of the Romanian emigrants’ behavior of returning to the homeland. Those with higher studies are less inclined to return to Romania compared to those who have only 10 grades or a vocational school at the most. Finally, the happier they are, the weaker the emigrants’ intention to return to the country; this was noticed especially in the case of emigrants from Spain. We also emphasized the variations in the profile of emigrants from Spain and Italy, thus clarifying the fact that there is no significant difference between Romanian emigrants from the two European countries when it comes to their intention to return to the country of origin. In the case of emigrants from Spain, the effect of the region of migration – emigrants from Transylvania show a stronger tendency to return compared to those from Muntenia and the gender effect – women are those who show a greater tendency to return - show some specific features.
For emigrants from Italy, the current age is relevant for the remigration behavior: Romanian young people show a greater tendency to return to their home country compared to those aged over 34. The occupational status prior to emigration is also significant. Thus, emigrants working with proper documents or carrying out a legal activity are less decided to return to Romania for good compared to those working without proper documents, performing day jobs or working without legal documents. A specific element for Romanian emigrants from Italy is that those who interact more often with citizens of the host country – visit each other more often, spend more time together – are more inclined to remain abroad rather than to return to their country of origin compared to Romanian emigrants who developed fewer interactions with Italian citizens. Another element differentiating emigrants from Spain from those from Italy is the different effect of the perception of income sufficiency on the remigration behavior; those from Spain who see their income as more than sufficient tend to remain in the host country while emigrants from Italy who see their income as more than sufficient tend to return to their country of origin compared to the emigrants who consider that their income does not cover the bare necessities or barely does so. The mechanisms of the remigration behavior of Romanians from Spain and Italy cancel the spontaneous belief of those who believe that Romanian emigrants shall never return to their country of origin. The answer is that it is rather probable for a good part of them to return home but those who will do so have a specific sociodemographic and value-related profile. The most important explanation which anticipates the definitive repatriation of a part of the Romanian emigrants is built on family and coagulation – yet – around it as a fundamental landmark of one’s existence. After having functioned as a veritable safety net for the risk of poverty in the hard times of the early 90s taking over most of the burden of social protection from the state, we now see the family acting in relation to the remigration behavior as a magnet which brings the emigrants back to their home land. The role of the family in the issue of emigration may need a specific approach in the future. One may counter-argue – and doubtlessly some will – that from the intention expressed by the emigrants to the actual act of remigration is a long way to go. This is true, the intention only grasps the existing potential, but the actual enactment of such intention, if so desired, must be stimulated at an institutional level. The sensitive points where to stimulate the mechanism were revealed. Before concluding, we believe that it would be useful to compare the results of our analysis of the Romanian emigrants from Spain to those of another study carried out by the Soros Foundation which focuses on a similar issue25. The reasoning is commendable because it shall represent a source of validation of the results obtained by the Agency for Governmental Strategies (ASG) and Metro Media Transylvania (MMT). In the case of the Soros study, Professor Dumitru Sandu drew up the chapter on the remigration of Romanians from the Spanish communities.
Reference is made to a poll carried out in September 2008 which focused on Romanian emigration in 4 communities from Spain. When the first draft of the article was made, we did not have access to the results of this study therefore our analysis evolved independently from that carried out by the Soros team coordinated by Professor Dumitru Sandu.
When questioning this comparison we must keep in mind that the two studies were carried out in different moments – the ASG/MMT study in March-April 2008 and the Soros study in September 2008. The time difference is important because the economic crisis started to show its presence more strikingly only in the second half of 2008. Besides, one must take into account the fact that the Soros study only focused on 4 Romanian communities from Spain. Finally, we must also bear in mind that the team managed by professor Sandu used slightly different items to measure the variables considered for his research. When analyzing the data of the two studies, one may first notice the similarity between the weight of the emigrants who intend to return to their country. In the case of the ASG/MMT study approximately 38.1% of the Romanians from Spain declared that they wanted to return to Romania for good in the next two years; in the case of the Soros study, the percentage of Romanian emigrants who declared that they intended to return to their country in the next five years was of 47% but out of these, only 39% were sure or very sure that they would do so. We may argue that one of the expected effects of the worsening of the economic crisis is the increase of the percentage of those who intend to return to their home land and the Soros study was carried out at a moment in time closer to that of the maximum magnitude of the effects of the economic crisis in Spain and Romania26. As for the profile of the emigrant who intends to return to the homeland, the conclusions of the ASG/MMT study are similar to those of the Soros study at almost all levels. Thus, both studies conclude that people who show a higher degree of social integration in the Spanish society are less inclined to remigrate. For the degree of integration of the emigrants the Soros team used similar indicators to those of ASG/MMT such as for instance the degree of knowledge of the language of the host country or the frequency establishing relations with the Spanish citizens. In the same line the intention to return to the country for good is more intense for the categories which possess a poorer human capital – poorly educated people, non-intellectual professions etc. Similarly to the ASG/MMT study, the Soros study emphasized the important role played by the emigrant’s family in the decision to return home. Emigrants accompanied by children or parents are less inclined to return to their country compared to those who emigrated alone. In the ASG study we saw that those who consider family to be important, those who visit their family from Romania often and send money home are more inclined to return than the rest. Similarly, the Soros study emphasized the fact that to the extent to which the emigrant makes a positive assessment of the migration effect on the family, the intention to return to the country is diluted. Both studies showed that the state of mind influences one’s decision to return to the country of origin. Those who are more unhappy (the ASG/MMT study) and have a poorer health condition than in the country or are more dissatisfied with their life in Spain compared to their life in Romania (the Soros study) are more inclined to 26
We do not know if we reached this point of maximum magnitude of the effects of the economic crisis but the statement will remain valid whenever this manifests – if it manifests in the future.
repatriate for good. A better opinion about the Romanians (the ASG study) and about the Romanian institutions or about the future of jobs (Soros study) favors the tendency to return to the home country. In the same line, the Soros study shows that those who are more attached to their home town from Romania or to Romania in general incline to return more often than those who do not show such states of mind. There is, however, a point of relative divergence between the results of the two studies. The ASG/MMT study shows that people who see their own income as more than enough – enough for more expensive goods or enough to have everything they want – are more inclined to remain in Spain than to return to their home country. The Soros study indicates the reverse – that Romanians from the Madrid region with high incomes or who have accumulated important resources as emigrants intend to return to their home land to a greater extent than those with lower incomes. Where does this difference come from? First it is about the different indicator used. We avoided using the “net income earned” indicator for our analysis as it is well known that this is not recorded correctly since people are rather reluctant at disclosing their own income27 – for reasons of embarrassment, for fear they might become target of a robbery, for reasons of difficult self-assessment in the case of an irregular income or of another income than the salary etc. Then the perception on one’s income is again a flawed indicator due to the subjectivity involved and to the inclusion in the equation of the level of variable necessities from individual to individual. Secondly we must also bear in mind the characteristics of the moments when the two studies were carried out. The ASG/MMT study was carried out at a time when the crisis had not manifested yet and no one had anticipated the worsening of the economic situation. At the time of the Soros study the crisis was already there and the specific effect of collapse of the real estate sector and of increase of unemployment rate could be anticipated. This change in the health of the economy might have also generated the mutation in the intention to return to the home country. Those with significant savings could have considered that it was time to repatriate to avoid the threat of unemployment and a deterioration of their personal situation. Those with lower incomes and without any savings could have considered that the strategy to avoid the crisis meant precisely to remain in Spain as the limited opportunities from Romania were well known to them. This time dynamics suggests a specific strategy adopted by the emigrants when the situation in the host country deteriorates. The “needy” ones remain, but those who “lead a good or very good life”, have some savings and a better personal situation repatriate. A similar pattern was highlighted by the ASG/MMT study from Italy where indeed emigrants who considered their income as being more than enough intended to return to Romania sooner than others – in Italy the situation of Romanian emigrants had deteriorated as a consequence of the media scandal related to the Mailat case. It remains, however, to reflect on this difference between the ASG/MMT study and the Soros study.
Those who use quantitative studies know that it is one of the indicators which generate the most non-responses.
In conclusion we say that the ASG/MMT study has major potential implications for the public policies related to the issue of migration and acts as a source of inspiration and a basis for the measures which consider governmental intervention in the issue of emigrant Romanians from Spain and Italy. Thus, if what is desired is a policy aimed at rebuilding the labor force thinned by the decreased birth rate and by the migration of the Romanians, besides attracting immigrants from less developed areas of the globe, one may also consider the repatriation of emigrant Romanians as an options with chances of success. We might expect the recovery of poorly skilled labor force focused on family, especially in Transylvania rather than in Moldova, of women (in Spain) of young age and of workers who are rather not legally institutionalized (Italy). We intend to go deeper into the issue of re-migration in the following period. The worsening of the economic crisis will probably affect the behavior of returning to the home country of the Romanian emigrants from Spain and Italy; the economic development from Romania may also have relevant effects. The quantity of studies must be completed by quality, to go deeper into the option to return and into its motivations at the level of different categories of Romanian emigrants. The research may also be refined through the organization of a panel research with Romanian emigrants from European states, fact which would represent without any doubt a bold but extremely fertile attempt at a scientific and practical level. All these are future projects which arouse interest for as long as we accept, as we should naturally, that we are linked to the Romanian emigrants in Europe both through our Romanian and European citizenship and, as a consequence, through our responsibility for their situation.
BIBLIOGRAPHY • Agresti, Alan, (1996). ‘An introduction to categorical data analysis’. Interscience publication, New York. • Blangiardo, G.C., Fasani F., Speciale B. ‘Consumption, savings and remittance behavior of undocumented migrants in Italy’. Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, University College London. • Bolognani, Marta (2007). ‘The myth of return: Dismissal, Survival or Revival? A Bradford example of transnationalism as a political instrument’. Journal of ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 59-77. • Borjas, G. J. and Bratsberg, B. (1996). ‘Who leaves? The outmigration of the foreign-born’. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 87 (1): 165-76. • Castles, Stephen. (2004). ‘the Factors that Make and Unmake Migration Policies’ International Migration Review 38 (Fall): 852-884. • Constantinescu, Monica (2002). ‘Teorii ale migratiei internationale’. Sociologie romaneasca nr. 3-4. • Dustmann, C. and Kirchkamp, O. (2002). ‘The optimal migration duration and activity choice after re-migration’. Journal of Development Economics, 67 (2): 351-72. • Dustmann, C. (1997). ‘Return migration, uncertainty and precautionary savings’. Journal of Development Economics, 52 (2): 295-316. • Dustmann, C. (2003). ‘Return migration, wage differentials and the optimal migration duration’. European Economic Review, 47 (2): 353-67. 29
• Dustmann, C. and Weiss Y. (2007). ‘Return migration: Theory and empirical evidence from the UK’. British Journal of Industrial Relations. 45:2, pp. 236-256. • Dustmann, C. (2001). ‘Return decisions of immigrants’ In D. Djajic (ed.), International Migration: Trends and Policy and Economic Impact. London: Routledge, pp. 229-68. • Dustmann, Christian, and Preston, Ian P. (2007) ‘Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration’. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol. 7: Iss 1 (Advances), Article 62. • Dustmann, Christian. (1996). ‘Return migration: the European experience.’ Economic Policy, 22: 215-50. • Friedberg, R.M. (2000). ‘You can’t take it with you? Immigrants assimilation and the portability of human capital’. Journal of Labor Economics, 18 (2): 221-51. • Massey, Douglas, Arango, Joaquin, Hugo, Graeme, Kouaouci, Ali, Pellegrino, Adela Taylor, Edward J. (1998). Worlds in motion. Understanding international migration at the end of the millennium, Oxford: Clarendon Press. • Portes, Alejandro. (2008) Migration and Social Change: some conceptual reflections http://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/pdfs/alejandro-portes-migration-and-socialchange-some-conceptual-reflections/view • Rubin, D.B. (1987), ‘Multiple imputation for Nonresponse in surveys’, New York, J. Wiley & Sons. • Sandu, Dumitru (2004). ‘Cultura si experienta de migratie in satele Romaniei’. Sociologie romaneasca nr. 3. • Sandu, Dumitru. (2005). ‘Pattern of temporary emigration: experiences and intentions at individual and community levels in Romania.’Paper prepared for the Workshop on Development and Patterns of Migration Processes in Central and Eastern Europe, Migration Online Project and Faculty of Humanities, Charles University of Prague. • Schafer, J.L. (1997), ‘Analysis of incomplete multivariate date’, London, chapman & Hall/CRC. • Serban M. si Toth A, (2007). ‘Piata fortei de munca in Romania si migratia’, Bucuresti, Fundatia Soros. • Vincente R. si Egea C., (2006). ‘Return and Social environment of Andalusian emigrants in Europe’. Journal of ethnic and Migration Studies. Vol. 32, no. 8, pp. 1377-1393. • Voicu, Ovidiu, Toth, Georgiana, Toth, alexandru si Stefanescu, Mihaela (2007). “Efectele migratiei: copii ramasi acasa.” Fundatia Soros Romania
ON THE MACROECONOMIC IMPACT OF CURRENT REMITTANCES28 CRISTIAN M. LITAN29 This note investigates the impact of current remittances at an aggregate level on private consumption and investments in Romania. We estimate separately an equation of the investments i.e. an equation of the private consumption, using a ARDL type model (‘Auto Regressive Distributed Lag’) for each equation. The study provides solid arguments against the most disadvantaged hypothesis on the impact of current remittances i.e. that in Romania these current remittances have a positive influence on consumption and a negative one on investments. In an optimistic interpretation of our results, these capital flows have a positive influence on investments and a negative one on consumption, ceteris paribus.
INTRODUCTION In the context of the acceleration of the labor force migration phenomenon internationally, the study of the role played by current remittances of workers from abroad in the development and economic growth of the countries of origin becomes of the utmost interest both for the economic research institutions and for the institutions which implement the economic policies (amongst which the central banks, the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or the World Bank). Thus, Chami et al.  open a series of recent articles at the IMF on the topic of emigrants’ remittances, proposing a model which makes the connection between the motivation for these remittances and their effects on the economic activity from the country of origin. They start from the premise that the relation between emigrant and family is characterised by altruism, therefore his/her utility depends on the utility of his/her family. This premise leads to the conclusion that remittances are destined to family to avoid temporary poverty created by a poor economy or simply by unfavourable individual circumstances. Therefore, remittances play a compensating role and they should fluctuate against the economic cycle. Another premises used as a starting point by Chami et al. is that members of the emigrant’s family participate on the labor market in the home country. The salaries and the GDP from the home country answer to the aggregated behavior of its workers which in its turn is influenced by remittances from abroad. Therefore, current remittances have an impact on the domestic product of the home country but the latter also influences the probability to need remittances, as explained in the previous 28
The author would like to thank to his colleagues Anca Galatescu, Bogdan Radulescu, Cornel Todirica and also to dorinei antohi, respectively Cezar Botel for suggestions and comments. The ideas expressed in this note do not represent the official position of the National Bank of Romania. The author takes full responsibility for any errors. 29 This article was written in the period spent by the author in the Directorate for Monetary Policy and Macroeconomic Modeling, the Service for Macroeconomic Assessment Models, National Bank of Romania, Email: email@example.com.
paragraph. Under these conditions the problem of moral hazard between the addressees and the senders of the current remittances flow may also occur based on the informational asymmetry between the two markets. The remittances addressees could start to have a lower participation on the labor market, to limit their effort to look for a job or to work or may engage in riskier investment projects. Regardless of the manner in which the problem of moral hazard manifests itself, it may determine the addressees to act in a manner which tends to diminish the domestic product of the home country. These arguments strengthen the initial conclusion (based on the presumption of altruism) of the counter-cyclic dynamics of current remittances. Chami et al. test the hypothesis on ‘panel’ data covering approximately 130 countries along a time period of up to 29 years. Their results indicate a negative effect of remittances on the economic increase and the existence of a severe moral hazard problem30. However, Giuliano and Ruiz-Arranz reach a different conclusion; they put forward the idea that current remittances may substitute the lack of an efficient financial system in a developing country. Thus, current remittances may limit the restrictive effect which crediting constraints have on investments, generating economic growth through this channel. Auditors test the hypothesis on ‘pooled cross-section’ data covering approximately 100 developing countries, among which Romania, also. The empirical analysis shows that current remittances promote economic growth through the channel of investments in less developed countries from a financial point of view31. Lueth and Ruiz-Arranz also put forward the idea of current remittances procyclicity, testing this hypothesis in an econometric model of error correction (VEC), estimated on Sri-Lanka data. In the authors’ vision, in this island current remittances lose a lot of their compensatory and insuring character against macroeconomic shocks. These results question the universal validity of the presumption according to which emigrants’ remittances to the home country are mostly motivated by altruism. From an econometric perspective, Lueth and RuizArranz try to overcome the limitations of other studies which look for a relation between current remittances and a certain set of macroeconomic variables (some studies do not take into consideration the stochastic properties of the temporal series used or do not treat the endogeneity and simultaneity problems specific to the econometric model etc.). The cyclic properties of the capital flows represented by current remittances, the emigrants’ motivation to make remittances to the home country and also their impact on investments seem to become of major interest for the ECB as well. Thus, as Schiopu and Siegfried  state, ECB sees remittances as an important element in the development of emergent economies; it encourages the understanding of their role, channels them through the formal financial system but also takes measures aimed at directing a growing percentage towards investments. (At the level of the European Union (UE), in May 2003 the Council invited the European Commission to investigate the ways to cut costs and increase the safety of workers living in the EU). Schiopu and Siegfried  analyze the importance of the altruist motivation of remittances compared to the investment motivation on ‘panel’ data which contain bilateral flows from 21 European countries to 7 neighbor countries of the EU, among which 30
The econometric methodology used includes standard estimation instruments on ‘panel’ data. In the econometric estimations the generalized moments method (GMM) is used, which is checked statistically and for the endogeneity between remittances and development of the financial system.
Romania (which is not yet part of the EU). The authors’ conclusion is that the significant positive correlation between the gross domestic product (GDP) differential per capita and the current remittances per emigrant prove the importance played by the altruism in this phenomenon32. On the other hand, the interest differential is insignificant, indicating a poor investment motivation. This note subscribes to that part of economic literature on migration which seeks to establish correlations between current remittances and macroeconomic variables for a single country of origin, Romania in this case. Since our country turned into a big exporter of labor force after 1990, we believe that the study of the impact of current remittances on the Romanian economy subscribes to the price stability objective of the National Bank of Romania (NBR). For instance, let us assume that current remittances of Romanian emigrants are significant flows of capital used only for consumption. (This is the conclusion of most of the empirical studies on the use of remittances. See Taylor et al.  for a detailed review of the specialized literature.) In consequence, a growth of remittances will determine the increase of the aggregate demand through consumption. If the problem of moral hazard debated by Chami et al.  adds to this, there is no way that this increase may be beneficial from the perspective of price stability. The equalization of the internal demand by the offer will only be possible based on the increase of the inflationist pressures and of the importation of consumption goods. However, assuming that remittances are also channeled towards productive, entrepreneurial activities, then their impact may be completely different, as also stated by Leon-Ledesma and Piracha . The equalization by the offer of a growing internal market shall also be done based on the increase of the productive capacity and will reflect less in inflationist pressures. On this note we intend to make a short inspection of the impact of current remittances on the Romanian economy. We estimate separately an equation of investments, respectively an equation of private consumption using an ARDL (‘auto Regressive Distributed Lag’) type model for each equation. As far as we know, this study is a first attempt to establish a relation at an aggregate level in the case of Romania between the remittances of workers from abroad and the two macroeconomic variables, using techniques specific to the analysis of temporal series. Thus, we tried to take into account in our analysis the stochastic properties of the considered variables. The estimation of the two equations was made in the following circumstances: the results of the tests ‘Augmented Dickey-fuller’ (ADF), respectively ‘Kwiatkowski, Philips, Schmidt and Shin’ (KPSS) on the stationarity of the variables used in the two equations are, for certain temporal series, contradictory and volatile in the face of small modifications of the period or at the chosen level of significance. Therefore the analysis of the equations is done based on two opposed scenarios – that of the stationarity of all variables and that of the non-stationarity of some of the variables. The study may be criticized that it suffers from certain deficiencies which will be discussed in the last section. Nevertheless, in our opinion the study provides some solid arguments against the most disadvantaged hypothesis on the impact of current remittances, i.e. that in Romania they have a positive influence on consumption and a negative one on investments. On the contrary, in an optimistic interpretation of our results, these capital flows have a positive influence on investments and a negative one on consumption, ceteris paribus. 32
The econometric methodology used includes standard estimation instruments on ‘panel’ data.
The note has the following structure. The section below shows the data and analytical form of the investments and consumption equations. Section three shows the results and section four discusses these results, draws the conclusions and establishes directions of investigation for the future.
ECONOMETRIC DATA AND MODELS 1. Data The data used in the econometric analysis correspond to the period comprised between the first quarter of 2000 and the second quarter of 2008. These data include the temporal series of the GDP, private consumption, investments, current remittances, direct foreign investments, real rates of interest for deposits and credits and a productivity indicator for the entire economy. We shall not show here the most important descriptive statistics of the temporal series used; in exchange in Table 1 of Annex A we show the notation used for each variable as well as a few details concerning the way they are calculated33. Annex B shows the chart of the main temporal series used in the investments and private consumption equations. 2. Investments and private consumption equations The investments and private consumption equations have the following general analytic form:
Series v1 is considered ‘white noise’ and is not correlated with the past values of the dependant variable regressors
and with the past and present values of the independent The stochastic process u1 is also considered ‘white noise’
and is not correlated with the past values of the dependant variable the past and present values of the independent regressors
and with in the current
specification, NW = Nx = 3 and the regressors from the equation (1) are
Primary data sources are The National Institute of Statistics, respectively the Statistics Department of the National Bank of Romania. The quarterly data files and the calculations files are available on demand (‘Excel’, ‘Matlab’ files, ‘EViews’ work files etc.).
respectively the regressors from equation (2) are
From the perspective of the economic theory, this specification may be seen as coming from a proper formulation of the issue of maximization of the representative consumer. The representative agent makes the investment decision taking into account the real interest rates, the financial capital flow represented by current remittances and also the flows represented by the direct foreign investments. Within its consumption decision, the representative agent takes into account the current remittances flow, the real interest rates and its productivity evolution34. It is obvious already that such an approach subscribes to the framework provided by the representative consumption theory. However, in such a framework the consumption and investment decision may be parts of the same decision making process. Therefore, we may motivate the independent estimation of the two equations only if we base our rationale on the presumption that the consumption decision does not determine the investment decision bi-univocally and thus there may be different determinants for these two macroeconomic variables35. In a theoretical framework of the representative consumer built in the sense that we tried to outline above, a ceteris paribus analysis may trigger different responses of consumption and investments to the adjustments of the current remittances flow. Different combinations of these responses may be given by the values taken by fundamental variables such as: the coefficient of substitution of the current consumption with the future consumption characteristic to the representative agent, permanent factors of consumption habits, the representative agentâ€™s aversion to risk, possible permanent limitations of his entrepreneurial and managerial capacity etc. However, for now a comprehensible theory of the macroeconomic impact of current remittances subordinated to the theoretical framework of the representative consumer remains a project for the future as it is not the immediate object of this work. There is a strong correlation between the modifications of credit interests, and those of deposits interests. This is why, econometrically speaking, one has reasons to use only one of the two rates in the equation. We considered that in Romania investment decisions depend more on credit conditions and constraints than on the opportunity cost represented by the deposit interest rates. For consumption we considered that the reciprocal is valid. As far as direct investments are concerned, they may be seen in two alternative ways: either as financial capital flows going directly into investments or as bringing about changes in the economic environment, translated at the level of the representative agent through an increase of his/her ability and entrepreneurial 34
The statistical analysis of some data available to us concerning the evolution of the net average real income per economy shows that its adjustments are well correlated with the labor productivity adjustments. Thus, it is enough to use only one of these two variables in our econometric investments concerning consumption. 35 Not to be understood that possible endogeneity, respectively simultaneity problems are completely ignored in this work; such issues are discusses later on within this study and are a topic of research for the future.
appetite36. In both equations the dependant variable ‘lags’ are introduced to capture its inertial aspects. Besides, it is believed that independent variables may influence the dependent variable with certain delays. A very important remark must be made at the end of this section. Theoretically, in a time vicinity V [0, ∞), the variables involved in both equations must be stationary, i.e. integrated of order zero37. However, a simple graphical inspection shows the presence of an integration of a higher order than zero for most of the variables considered during the available period. For a correct statistical analysis, one must consider the stochastic properties of the available temporal series. Thus, the following section shows the detailed results of the so-called ‘unit root’ tests, i.e. those tests which discriminate between a stationary / trend-stationary trend and a series which is stationary in differences (non-stationary). The section also includes a presentation of the estimation results and of the analysis of the significance of the two equation regressors, depending on the different scenarios suggested in the ‘unit root’ tests. 3. Results Short analysis of the private consumption equation. The analysis of this equation is made for the entire period for which observations are available, i.e. 2000Q1 – 2008Q2. ‘Unit root’ tests
The ADF test for variable rejects the null hypothesis of non-stationarity at a 1% significance level (therefore implicitly also at the level of 5% or 10%) while the KPSS test does not reject the null hypothesis of non-stationarity at any standard level of significance (10%, 5% or 1%). (To be noted that we applied the ADF test according to the algorithm described in Enders ). A similar result is obtained for W3 = prod, except that in this case tests suggest the trend-stationarity of the temporal series. These results are robust to small modifications of the analysis period.
As far as variables and are concerned, the reslts of the ADF and KPSS tests are somewhat contradictory. Following the same Enders algorithm, the ADF test does not reject the null hypothesis of non-stationarity of the Z variable temporal series (at a 10% significance level). However, if we cut the sample by two observations only, at the 2000Q1 – 2007Q4 period the ADF test rejects the null nonstationarity hypothesis (5% significance level). The KPSS test does not reject the null hypothesis of trend-stationarity at 1%, but it does reject it at 5%. Similar and just as 36
Privatizations, for instance, mean more than the money paid upon takeover. They mean a new organizational culture, restructuring, modernization investments etc. The same is valid for businesses taken over by foreign non-residents. The representative agent goes through changes which are related to his/her increased managerial ability; thus, entrepreneurial actions and the development of the production capacity are favored. 37 This is because the analysis includes real interest rates and the GDP weights of some components which in a long term balance should vary around a fixed average value.
little solid results are obtained for the W1 series. In conclusion, ‘unit root’ tests cannot discriminate clearly in the case of Z and W1 variables. Estimation and inference The results of the equation regression by levels (1) are shown in Table 2.1. If we consider that all variables are trend-stationary (stationary in the case of the W2 variable) then estimation and inference may be made by using the series wherefrom the trend was extracted, according to the standard asymptomatic theory both in relation to the short and long term properties of the model (see Wickens and Breusch and Pesaran and Shin). Since the results of the regressors significance in Table 2.1 are susceptible of falling under the incidence of the ‘spurious’ regressions theory, in Table 2.2. we show results of the estimation and inference when we work with the temporal series the trend was (linearly) extracted from. It may be noticed that the results from Table 2.2. are similar to those from Table 2.1 (including the number of ‘lags’ considered for the independent variables, which is an endogenous element of the ARDL estimations). In both regressions, the significant coefficients of the ‘lags’ of variable W2 and W3 have the expected sign from the point of view of the economic theory38. Moreover, the long term coefficients of the two variables have the expected sign (for the Wj variable), the long term
coefficient is given by the formula . Concerning the variable of utmost interest for our study, i.e. current remittances, they have a significant negative influence at the first ‘lag’ and the long term coefficient is negative. Nevertheless, in the case of both estimations, applying the Wald test (in fact the Delta statistic method) to find out the significance of the long term coefficient of current remittances, we get a result according to which this is not significant at standard levels (see Table 2.3). Therefore, there is no strong evidence of the negative impact of current remittances on private consumption, ceteris paribus. Wickens and Breusch  propose different methods of estimation and inference in the case of long term properties of an ARDL model, methods which may prove to be better than the Delta method when it comes to sampling with few observations. The use of the methodologies suggested by Wickens and Breusch  remains a topic of research for the future. However, if we work based on the scenario of non-stationarity of the variables Z and W1, the inference related to the long term coefficients obtained from the estimation presented in Table 2.1 must be achieved based on some t-statistics adjusted according to the Pesaran and Shin methodlogy (these statistics have a normal standard asymptomatic distribution based on the non-stationarity scenario). The inference based on the Pesaran and Shin  methodology for the ARDL models which have non-stationary variables reveal a negative and significant long term coefficient of current remittances at the level of 10%, as it can be seen in Table 2.3. 38
An increase of the deposits interest rate shall encourage savings and lead to a drop of the consumption weight in the GDP while an increase in productivity triggers increased consumption either based on the expectations on future incomes or based on the actual materialization of the productivity increase in the increase of the real salary.
Short analysis of the investments equations. Any attempt to estimate the equation (2) in levels, including the observations for the ears 2007 and 2008 of variable ended in a failure. This is because the auto regressive part of the dependent variable is an explosive process in those estimations which include the observations from the abovementioned years. In consequence, regressions per levels shall be restricted to the period 2000Q1 – 2006Q2 which is the longest continuous time period so that the auto regressive part of variable Y in the equation (2) should not be explosive regardless of the specification chosen for the entire equation. ‘Unit root’ tests
For the period 2000Q1 – 2006Q2 variables are found to be trend-stationary by the ADF and KPSS tests (analysis analogous to that of variables W2, respectively W3 but for the corresponding time period). Concerning variables Y and X1, the discussion is similar to that lead in the case of variables Z and W1 = X1 but for the corresponding time period (KPSS rejects the null hypothesis of Z and W1’s trend-stationarity at the level of 5% while the ADF test concludes that there is no stationarity in the differences but results are sensitive to small modifications of the estimation period even inside the 200Q1-2006Q2 period). If we relate to the 200Q12008Q2 period, it is enough to mention that the ‘unit root’ testing of the first difference of variable Y suggests that the temporal series shows characteristics of a stochastic process whose order is higher than that of the unit. Estimation and inference First of all we show the results of the level regression of equation (2) for the period 2000Q1 – 2006Q2 in Table 3.1. although the estimation puts a great stress on the data (low number of observations, but high number of regressors), this regression is solid enough to period modifications (of course, inside the 200Q1-2006Q2 period) as well as to the input of ‘dummy’ variables to treat the ‘outlier’ type observations. Since the results of the regressors significance in Table 3.1 are susceptible of falling under the incidence of the ‘spurious’ regressions theory, we tried to estimate equation (2) for the period 2000Q1-2006Q2 by using the temporal series wherefrom the trend was (linearly) extracted. The number of ‘lags’ included in the case of the independent variables remains the same, the signs of the coefficients remain the same but most become insignificant. This regression shall not be reported here; in exchange towards the end of the section we shall report details of a regression for the entire period 2000Q1 – 2008Q2 which uses the temporal series wherefrom the trend was extracted (in a nonlinear manner and in certain cases). For the time being we shall continue with the analysis of the scenario in which Y and X1 would be nonstationary (i.e. stationary in differences), applying the Pesaran and Shin methodology for the long term inference associated to the estimations from Table 3.1. The problem in estimating an ARDL model with non-stationary variables lies not with the consistency of the estimations but with the inference. In Table 3.3. we report the inference concerning the long term coefficients which correspond to the estimation
from Table 3.1 based on the scenario of the non-stationarity of variables Y and X1. Current remittances have a positive and significant long term coefficient at the level of 1%. In the long run, variables X2 and X3 have the expected impact from the point of view of the economic theory; this impact is statistically significant. In the end of this section we shall discuss the results of the estimation from table 3.2. The trend was eliminated from series Y as it was considered linear but with the modification of the gradient at a certain moment in time or nonlinear, according to the Hodrick-Prescott filtering method39. Series X3 was also filtered through a linear trend but with a translation at a certain moment in time. The estimation period is 2000Q12007Q4 for as not to take into account the excessive fluctuation of series X3 from the last two periods. Results from Table 3.2. denote the same short term influences as suggested by the estimation shown in Table 3.1. Nevertheless, regression from table 3.2. is very volatile to modifications of the estimation period, not necessarily related to the sign of the short and long term coefficients but mostly related to their significance. This is also reflected by the extremely conclusive result of the non-significance of the long term coefficients implied by the regression from Table 3.2. (see Table 3.3.). 4. Discussion and future developments In this new note we estimate separately an investments equation, respectively a private consumption equation using an ARDL type model (‘Auto Regressive Distributed Lag’) for each equation. In our opinion, the study offers solid arguments against the most disadvantaged hypothesis on the impact of current remittances, i.e. that in Romania they have a positive influence on consumption and a negative one on investments. In an optimistic interpretation of our results, these capital flows have a positive influence on investments and a negative one on consumption, ceteris paribus. There are a few observations which an informed reader may consider severe drawbacks of this study. First, how to reconcile the results of a negative impact on consumption, respectively of a positive impact on investments? One way would be to accept the hypothesis that a ceteris paribus increase of remittances would entail not only an increase in investments per se but the addressees would also lower their consumption to the benefit of actual investments or to cover their initial costs (for instance emigrants’ families may cover the costs of starting a business or may bring in their money as well, while also limiting their consumption, to build a new house etc.). However, as stated before, a model that is subordinated to the theoretical framework of the representative consumer which should also integrate the ideas shown above is not an easy task and it remains a topic of future investigation. At this point in the discussion a very interesting ‘selectivity bias’ issue may be raised. In other words, the available series of current remittances also includes an estimation of those flows which do not pass through the official channels (for instance bank remittances) but through non-official channels (for instance money in bags). If this estimation does not represent a valid ‘proxy’ for the unnoticeable series of unofficial current remittances but it is very strongly correlated with the official current remittances’ series then the conclusion of the study is not surprising. We must only start from the premise that remittances destined to subsistence and used as 39
Results are the same if we use one filtering method or the other in the case of the Y variable.
supplementary incomes for the family at home are made up of small sums (but which may amount to a big sum if put together) which use unofficial ways (for reasons of cost) and remittances destined to investments are made of big sums which the sender chooses to transfer through the financial institutions (for reasons related to risk). Under these circumstances, the available series, which reflects the official remittances too much, would appear as having a positive impact on investments and a negative one on consumption. We believe that these ideas and hypothesis are worth investigating in the future and we must understand clearly the estimation mechanism of that part of the remittances which use unofficial ways. Another drawback of the current study is the fact that it did not discuss enough the possible endogeneity and simultaneity problems which may be implied by the analytical form of the two equations. Thus, the formation of consumption and of investments does not represent phenomena which are necessarily in-dependent or, as shown by Chami et al., the domestic product of the country of origin, and implicitly modifications of some components such as consumption and investments may motivate in their turn modifications at the level of the flow of remittances. These issues may be addressed in the future either by using proper econometric methods (for instance ‘Generalized Methods of Moments’ (GMM) or by reformulating the econometric model to be estimated (see Glytsos to specify a model for the quantification of the macroecomic impact of remittances which implies simultaneous equations). A third possible drawback is the fact that in the Pesaran and Shin analysis it is vital to have a long term relation between variables. Therefore it would be desirable to make a cointegration test even if only to eliminate the possibility of having a significant ‘bias’ on the analysis given by the omitted variables. Moreover, it is difficult to motivate why some variables of the two equations are treated differently (stationarity versus non-stationarity). Finally, we should also mention the flaw represented by the fact that the analysis of the long term coefficients in the filtered variables equations does not provide strong enough proof to support the hypothesis that current remittances have a positive influence on investments and a negative influence on consumption, ceteris paribus. In spite all possible drawbacks of this study, we believe that at least it provides sufficient arguments against the unfavorable hypothesis that current remittances induce self sufficiency in the country of origin, as suggested by studies carried out for other regions or countries. Besides, an obvious economic policy recommendation is imposed: measures need to be taken to ensure the transparency of the emigrants’ remittances.
BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES: • R. Chami, C. Fullenkamp, and S. Jahjah. Are Immigrant Remittance Flows a Source of Capital for Development? IMF Working Papers, WP/03/189, 2003. • Walter Enders, editor. Applied Econometric Time Series. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1994. • P. Giuliano and M. Ruiz-Arranz. Remittances, Financial Development and Growth. IMF Working Papers, WP/05/234, 2005. 40
• N. P. Glytsos. Dynamic Effects of Migrant Remittances on Growth: An Econometric Model with an Application to Mediterranean Countries. Journal of Economic Studies, 32(6):468–496, 2005. • M. Leon-Ledesma and M. Piracha. International Migration and the Role of Remittances in Eastern Europe. International Migration, 42(4):65–83, 2004. • E. Lueth and M. Ruiz-Arranz. Are Workers’ Remittances a Hedge Against Macroeconomic Shocks? The Case of Sri Lanka. IMF Working Papers, WP/07/22, 2007. • M.H. Pesaran and Y. Shin. An Autoregressive Distributed Lag Modelling Approach to Cointegration Analysis. In S. Strom, A. Holly, and P. Diamond, editors, Centennial Volume of Ragnar Frisch. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999. • I. Schiopu and N. Siegfried. Determinants of Workers’ Remittances: Evidence From the European Neighbouring Region. ECB Working Paper Series, No 668/10/2006, 2006. • J. E. Taylor, D. S. Massey, J. Arango, G. Hugo, A. Kouaouci, and A. Pellegrino. International Migration and Community Development. Population Index, 62:397–418, • M. R. Wickens and T.S. Breusch. Dynamic Specification, the Long-Run and the Estimation of Transformed
ANNEX A Table 1: Notation used for variables Notation y+ ch+ gk+ rem++ fdi++ rrl+++ rrd+++ prod40
Variables GDP Private consumption Investments Current remittances Direct foreign investments Real credits interest rate Real deposits interest rate Productivity of the entire economy
+ Expressed in real terms and adjusted seasonally. ++ converted into national currency, deflated with an approximation of the GDP deflator to be expressed in real terms and then adjusted seasonally. +++ Obtained from nominal rates, extracting the annualized quarterly inflation. Table 2.1.: ARDL estimation of the equation of private consumption per levels (finite / classic asymptomatic inference, but susceptible of being ‘spurious’) Z – dependent variable Regressors
Productivity is calculated as real GDP divided by the number of employees and licensed selfemployed individuals from the economy.
Remark:***- significant at 1%, ** - significant at 5%, * - significant at 10%. / separates significance by using the t distribution, respectively the normal standard distribution. The number of ‘lags’ is chosen based on ‘Akaike Information Criterion’ (AIC) or ‘Schwarz Information Criterion’ (SIC). Table 2.2: ARDL estimation of the private consumption equation with linearly filtered variables (finite / classical asymptomatic inference) Zd – dependent variable Regressors
Remark:***- significant at 1%, ** - significant at 5%, * - significant at 10%. / separates significance by using the t distribution, respectively the normal standard distribution. The number of ‘lags’ is chosen based on ‘Akaike Information Criterion’ (AIC) or ‘Schwarz Information Criterion’ (SIC). Xd is the linearly filtered form of variable X.
Table 2.3: The private consumption equation: long-term coefficients and their significance under different scenarios Estimation with filtered variables (classical asymptomatic inference)
Estimation per levels (classical asymptomatic inference, susceptible of being ‘spurious’ (false))
The nonstationarity scenario (inference based on the Pesaran and Shin  methodology)
Wald X2 - statistic
Wald X2 – statistic
Variable – long term coefficients
Remark:***- significant at 1%, ** - significant at 5%, * - significant at 10%, based on the X2 distribution, respectively on the normal standard distribution. Table 3.1: ARDL estimation of the investments equation per levels (finite / classical asymptomatic inference, susceptible of being ‘spurious’), period 2000Q1-2006Q2 Y – dependent variable Regressors
Remark:***- significant at 1%, ** - significant at 5%, * - significant at 10%. / separates significance by using the t distribution, respectively the normal standard distribution. The number of ‘lags’ is chosen based on AIC or SIC. Table 3.2: ARDL estimation of the investments equation with not necessarily linearly filtered variables (finite / classical asymptomatic inference), period 2000Q1-2007Q4. Y – dependent variable Regressors
Remark:***- significant at 1%, ** - significant at 5%, * - significant at 10%. / separates significance by using the t distribution, respectively the normal standard distribution. The number of ‘lags’ is chosen based on ‘Akaike Information Criterion’ (AIC) or ‘Schwarz Information Criterion’ (SIC). Xd is the linearly filtered form of variable X. Table 3.3: The investments equation: long term coefficients and their significance under different scenarios
Estimation with filtered variables (classical asymptomatic inference)
Estimation per levels (classical asymptomatic inference, susceptible of being ‘spurious’ (false))
The nonstationarity scenario (inference based on the Pesaran and Shin  methodology)
Wald X2 - statistic
Wald X2 – statistic
Variable – long term coefficients
Remark:***- significant at 1%, ** - significant at 5%, * - significant at 10%, based on the X2 distribution, respectively on the normal standard distribution.
ANNEX B Charts of the variable included in the consumption equation:
Private consumption/GDP (linear filtering) Private consumption/GDP Linear trend
Current remittances/GDP (linear filtering) Current remittances Linear trend
Productivity (linear filtering) Productivity Linear trend
Real deposits interest rate
Charts of variables included in the investments equation:
Investments/GDP (linear filtering with â€˜break pointâ€™) Investments/GDP Trend
Current remittances/GDP (linear filtering Current remittances Linear trend
Real credits interest rate (linear filtering with ‘break point’) Real credits interest rate Linear trend
Direct foreign investments/GDP (linear filtering with ‘break point’) Direct foreign investments/GDP Trend
MIGRATION AND INNTEGRATION OF THE ROMANIANS FROM THE DIASPORA ASTRID HAMBERGER The purpose of this study was to investigate the degree of integration of the Romanian refugees who managed to flee the communist regime from Romania and applied for political asylum in Denmark. The study highlighted the fact that the refugees’ degree of integration in Denmark depended on the type of economic integration which was the means to or obstacle against the refugees’ cultural and social integration.
INTRODUCTION Until 1989 the desire to escape from the communist regime to democratic societies manifested itself by fleeing from these countries to the West. However, migration from the communist states or soviet satellites to Western Europe and the USA was not very important in size. Between 1980 and 1989 Poland and Romania were the first two “refugees producing” countries of the East European block: 211,505 Polish political asylum applications and 52,050 Romanian political asylum applications were registered in the West European countries before 198941. Between 1975 and 1989 the number of applications registered in Denmark and coming from Romania summed up 505 files (32 asylum applications between 1975 and 1979 and 473 applications between 1980 and 1989)42. After receiving the status of refugee, their security and protection was ensured and the next step was for them to integrate into the Danish society. In an interview Andreas Kamm (2006), director of the Danish Refugee Council argued that due to their small number, to the cultural and racial similarities, it was expected for the Romanians to integrate very quickly and without any problems in the Danish society.
METHODOLOGY The research is based on the micro-ethnography concept described by Walcott (1995)43 to show the interest for a specific topic, in contrast with the large scale ethnography which implies the researcher’s presence and participation in the field for long time periods. During my studies in Denmark I came into contact with a number of Romanian refugees with whom I often had talks about their life in Denmark. The first step to the Romanian community from Denmark was made through my grandmother who fled to Denmark herself during the communist regime from Romania, in the year of 1985 and settled in the town of Arhus. 41
UNCHR, Asylum applications in industrialized countries: 1980 – 1999 (2001) Idem 1 43 Bryman Alan, Social Research Methods (Oxford, 2004), p. 295 42
The second step towards the Romanian community from Denmark was made through the couple Anca and Lucian Giurghescu, the first couple of Romanian refugees who applied for asylum in Denmark in the late ‘70s. They shared different stories with me – both personal and other stories heard from various acquaintances and recommended me and to other refugees to interview them about their life in Denmark. In their turn, the recommended refugees suggested other people from this category for interviews. This is called “snowball sampling”, a sampling method which “starts from a nucleus of known elements which are then enlarged by adding new elements offered by the members of the initial sample. This sampling is normally used when no sampling framework enlisting all the elements forming the relevant population is available.”44 Thus, as I wished to investigate a group for which there was no sampling framework, the best solution to find the persons from the category of Romanian refugees was to ask the ones interviewed to suggest other people which they considered fit to answer the same questions. This way I did not encounter any obstacle in finding the refugees whom I wanted to interview nor in convincing them to give me an interview. I was, as Birman (2006) was saying, a “cultural insider”45. It was easy for me to gain access to the Romanian refugees’ stories, first of all because I was Romanian and I could communicate with them in their mother tongue and secondly because, having Romanian nationality, there were no cultural barriers between myself and my interviewees: “cultural insiders have an advantage on simple insiders as they have linguistic and cultural skills which allow them to enter the studied cultural community easily”46. Thirdly, access to the Romanian refugees’ community was facilitated by recommendations. The Romanian refugees couple Giurchescu and my grandmother recommended other refugees for me to interview. Having access to the “guards” of the Romanian community from Denmark, this facilitated my contacts with other refugees. Moreover, I also contacted Andreas Kamm - the General Secretary of the Danish Refugee Council and the person responsible for asylum from the Danish Service for Immigrations, Bo Bruun, both familiarized with the refugees group I was studying. Together with Lucian Giurchescu, they provided primary information about this group of refugees under the form of oral history interviews.
DATA COLLECTION The interview protocol was similar for each interviewee. I chose to use semistructured interviews because I wanted to investigate the personal significations of each refugee on integration. Using this type of interview, refugees could impose their own style, rhythm and tone but at the same time they were directed towards the aidememoire questions. Thus, as a researcher, I intervened with check-up or completion questions to ask for more details and to make sure that all questions from my interview guide were discussed. Besides the semi-structured interviews, I also used 44
Marshall Gordon, Oxford Dicționar de Sociologie (Univers encyclopedic, Bucuresti, 2003) Translation: “cultural insider” 46 Birman, 2006. 45
the oral history interview, where the subjects were asked to reflect on past events and periods related to the group of Romanian refugees in Denmark. The in-field research summed up 17 interviews recorded on a digital support with an average duration of one hour each; 15 of these interviews were taken from the Romanian refugees in Denmark and two from Danish representatives responsible for the integration of immigrants in Denmark.
THE CASE Romanian refugees from Denmark belong to the Danish migration period from the years 1975 – 1989. 505 asylum applications coming from Romanian citizens were registered by the UNHCR between 1975 and 1989. Compared to other groups of refugees who applied for asylum in the same period (for instance 8021 Palestinian applications, 6812 Iranian applications etc.) the number of asylum applications submitted by the Romanians was very small and, due to their number, they were not considered as constituting a representative migration wave. The group of Romanians who received asylum in Denmark did not qualify as a “recognized population of refugees”47. Besides the insignificant number, the cultural and racial similarities with the Danish population represented signs of a non-problematic integration (Andreas Kamm, 2006). Awareness on the integration process only emerged in the middle ‘80s, with the wave of non-European refugees arrived in Denmark which caught the Danish authorities “unprepared” as far as integration was concerned48. Before 1984, the knowledge on the integration of immigrants was insufficient and it was only at the beginning of 1984 that “the practical implementation of integration and its different aspects appeared as of prime interest in Denmark”49.
EAST-EUROPEAN REFUGEES, A SPECIAL SITUATION Referring to the East European migration before 1989, Kopnina (2006) argued that this migration was in general considered as “accidental” as few people could leave the communist countries where there were restrictions imposed on all types of travels. Describing the situation of the East European refugees, Andreas Kamm (2006), the director of the Danish Refugee Council described it as a special situation. This special situation is described by Kamm through the experience of the flee from the communist countries: “The simple fact that you fled and escaped from a communist country, the simple fact that you passed the border and fled your country had consequences meaning that it was very dangerous to return to your own country. But when you arrived in Denmark, everybody knew that if they sent you back to your home country, you would not have been a very popular individual there and thus you 47
Danish Refugee Council, Assessment and Recognition of Refugees’ Qualifications in the European Community (1999), p. 57 48 Kormendi, 1987:5 49 Kopnina Helen, East to West Migration. Russian migrants in Western Europe (Ashgate, 2005), p. 17-18.
could have gone to prison; in consequence, you became a refugee. Thus we had this special category of people who, if they jumped into a plane to Denmark without being a refugee, when they touched the Danish soil they became refugees immediately because if they had been sent back they would have gone to prison without a chance of ever getting out. They were a special category… I believe that they were called people fleeing the republic…”50 The UNHCR International Thesaurus defines this “republic flight” (“republikflucht”)51 as a term used for the first time in Eastern Europe to describe the illegal border crossings or the violation of the stay period of a travel permit, an act which was seen by the country of origin as a political act which had to be punished. On this basis, Romanian refugees were considered spontaneous refugees and were given a de facto status on humanitarian grounds.
LITTERATURE ABOUT ROMANIAN REFFUGEES This study may well fit into what Birman used to call the study of the “small groups of refugees”52. Most of the literature on the flight of Romanians from the Romanian communist regime to the West of Europe is written from the perspective of what I call “two steps migration”. This type of migration, very widespread through the Romanian emigrants before 1989, was defined through the flight in a “safe” communist country like Hungary, characterized by the non-return principle and then the continuation of the journey to a West European country. For instance, while both Romania and Hungary were considered “refugee producing” countries, there were, however, visible differences between the two: “As Hungary was a country with a strong tendency towards liberalization, while Romania remained unflinching to change”53. Another source of information about Romanian refugees is the UNHCR study entitled “Asylum Applications in Industrialized Countries 1980 – 1999” (2001). In this study, the UNHCR provides very well organized information about the number of refugees from the asylum waves from the last decades of the 20th century. This report, based on the numbers registered at a national level and on the data collected through other practices (2001: vii), also provides information about the number of Romanians who applied for asylum in industrialized countries. According to this study, between 1975 and 1989 the number of asylum applications in Denmark amounted to 505: 32 from 1975 to 1979 and 473 from 1980 to 1989. The small number of Romanian refugees which Denmark welcomed in this period may be explained both through the difficult conditions for leaving Romania and through Denmark’s character of a non-traditional immigration country (Hansen, 1986; Belinda Steen, 1993). Another significant study about the Romanian refugees was carried out in 1988 by the representatives of the Danish Refugee Council, Bo Bruun and Morten Kjaerum. 50
Andreas Kamm, director of the Danish Refugee Council 2006 UNCHR International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology (1996), p. 48 52 Birman Dina, „Ethical issues in research with immigrants and refugees” in Trimble, E., Fisher B., Celia, The Handbook of Ethical Research with Ethnocultural populations and communities (Sage, 2006), p. 158 53 Godziak, Elizbieta Migration in and from central and eastern Europe: addressing the root causes (Refugee Policy Group, 1992), p. 1 51
This research emerged following the 300 refugee Romanians who arrived in 1988 in Denmark from Hungary. The purpose of the study was to check whether Hungary is a “safe” country for Romanian refugees in order to send them back. After this wave of Romanian refugees, Denmark instituted a visa regime for East European citizens.
HISTORY OF THE ROMANIAN REFUGEES FROM DENMARK Except for the statistical information provided by the UNHCR study entitled “Asylum Applications in the Industrialized Countries 1980 - 1999” (2001) and for the study done by Bo Bruun’s team in 1988, the history of the Romanian refugees from Denmark is known by a very small number of people who were themselves early refugees in Denmark and who, in time, saw the number of Romanian refugees in Denmark growing or by official representatives of the Danish immigration system who came into contact with these refugees and analyzed their asylum applications. One of the representatives of the Danish Refugee Council who dealt directly with the Romanians’ asylum applications before 1989 is Bo Bruun. During our talk about the Romanian refugees from Denmark he told me that few Romanians arrived to Denmark before 1989 and those who did manage to get there received status of refugee on the spot as they could not be sent back to Romania. In 1979, remembers Lucian Giurchescu, he and his family brought the number of Romanian refugees from Denmark to 60. Mister Giurchescu remembers that the Romanians present in Denmark at that moment in time were refugees (men and women) and Romanian nationality women married with Danish citizens. He remembers that there was no contact between these categories of Romanians, in spite of the Romanian Securitate’s (the state secret service) attempt to use Romanian nationality women to collect information about the refugees who arrived and lived in Denmark. Mister Giurchescu also remembers that in the 80s it was very easy to get permission to enter Denmark and a resident permit. He told me that from the time an individual showed his/her intention to remain in Denmark to the actual receipt of the resident permit the applicant had to wait from one to two months. People who fled the communist countries were automatically admitted and accepted as Danish citizens: “The Danish were open to those who refused to live under the communist regime and preferred the freedom of the West” remembers Mr. Giurchescu. When asked about the Romanian refugees from Denmark, Andreas Kamm (2006), the director of the Danish Refugee Council described them in terms of their number and cultural similarities with the Danish. He remembers that the number of those coming from Eastern Europe and Romania was very small, so that their number was never an issue. And the cultural difference between the Danish and the East Europeans was not very big.”
INTEGRATION INTO DENMARK Denmark is one of the nations where integration policies are created with closed borders. Describing the migration context from diversity perspective, Hansen argued: “Denmark is placed at the end of the integration scale as it was extraordinarily homogenous so far”54. Belinda Steen described the kingdom of Denmark as “a small country with a limited experience with foreigners on its territory and a non-traditional destination for immigrants55.” Denmark is a de facto country of immigration. It acquired this status in the year 1956 with the wave of Hungarian refugees whom it received due to the 1956 revolution from Hungary. Also, until before 1984 when Denmark had to face some big waves of refugees from non-European countries the knowledge on immigrants was limited56. Today the Danish discourse on immigration is focused on the integration concept. Like in most countries, assimilation is seen as “undesirable”57 or as “a negative term”58 this is why integration is the term preferred by the West of Europe. Thus, in Denmark “the term of ‘integration’ is more pleasant to the Danish ear than that of ‘assimilation’’59. However, although they speak of the incorporation of immigrants in terms of ‘integration’, in practice Denmark silently militates for assimilation. Recent research about the integration of immigrants in Denmark state that “Danish integration policies seem to have an assimilation character in effect if not in intention”60. Moreover, integration implies “construction of a successful multicultural or multi-racial society which functions very well”61 which is not happening in Denmark. Characterizing Denmark as having assimilation-driven policies, Hedetoft argues that Denmark “mixes ethnic and civic-republican virtues (having very high pretentions from the “new Danish”) arguing that the integration process may accept differences and deviations from the traditional practiced notion of equality only to a certain extent and only for pragmatic-instrumental reasons”62. All these factors together with the dominant ideology of the nation state and the concept of homogenous societies 54
Hansen B. Holger, “Danish migration research in an international perspective”, in Themes and theories in migration research (Danish Social Science Research Council, 1986), pp. V. 55 Steen Belina-Ann, Varieties of the Tami Refugee Experience in Denmark and England, Minority Studies, University of Copenhagen (The Danish Centre for Human Rights Copenhagen, Copenhagen, 1993), p. 19 56 Kormendi Eszter, Refugees in Denmark (Danish National Institute of Social Research, 1987), p. 1718 57 Idem 18. 58 Favell Adrian, Assimilation/Integration, in Immigration and Asylum: From 1900 to the Present, (edited by Matthew Gibney and Randall Hansen, Santa Barbara, CA: Clio, 2005) p.1 59 Schierup Carl-Ulrik, Aleksandra Ålund “Introduction. From ‘birds of passage’ to ethnic minorities” in Will they still be dancing? Integration and ethnic transformation among Yugoslav immigrants in Scandinavia, Umeå: University of Umeå 1986), p. 47 60 Hedetoft Ulf, Multiculturalism in Denmark and Sweden (Danish Institute for International Studies 2006), p. 2 61 Favell Adrian, “Integration nations: the nation-state and research on immigrants in Western Europe, The multicultural challenge”, Comparative Social Research, Vol.22 (2003), pp. 13-42 62 Idem 20, 0.6
make the immigrants’ integration even more difficult and push them to full assimilation or marginalization: “This democratic impatience explains both the interest on migration and the idea that integration failed. Immigrants from Europe are under a bigger official and public pressure to get assimilated compared to those from the United States”63. In Denmark, immigrants are granted legally/political and socio/economic rights but they are not granted the right to cultural/religious expression. Thus, following Pennix’s definition, Denmark is characterized by inclusive policies defined as assimilation. In Denmark “positive discrimination is not seen as a solution to the issues of integration. The representation of ethnic minorities in the political life is rejected; education in one’s mother tongue is actively discouraged and cultural diversity is seen as foreign, a non-Danish notion”64. Analyzing the entire process of immigrants’ assimilation from Denmark, Husted et al. (2001:27) argue that only partial assimilation will be achieved and this may be noticed in the first five years of residence in Denmark: “this lack of complete assimilation in terms of income level may be explained through the fact that at least in the case of the first generation of refugees they do not acquire enough cultural and linguistic knowledge to catch up with the Danish; another reason is that the discrimination of immigrants on the labor market keeps their income well bellow those of the Danish”65. Danish policies for the integration and reception of immigrants are based on stereotype perceptions”66. These stereotypes are that Denmark is a homogenous country in which, according to Hedetoft, the assimilation or the closed, exclusivist regime contrasts with the official recognition of the difference”67, issue raised by the Swedish multiculturalism. Moreover, Denmark is one of the countries where the others are seen as “problems”68, where the welfare status is used to prevent the others from integrating, where “They” are seen as victims or as being responsible for their own destiny” and where “the others” face institutional rigidity and claims for unique, exclusive citizenship”69. CRITIQUES In the year 2001 in the Think Tank report on integration, the Danish Ministry of Interior argued that a condition for the successful integration of immigrants is not only the increase of the immigrants’ employment rate at the level of the Danish, but rather 63
Lucassen Leo, The immigrant threat. The integration of old and new migrants in Western Europe since 1850, (University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 2005) p. 14 64 Idem 23, p. 1 65 Husted Leif, Helena Skyt Nielsen, Michael Rosholm, Nina Smith “Employment and wage assimilation of male first-generation immigrants in Denmark”, International Journal of Manpower, Bradford, Vol. 22, (2001), pp. 8 66 Idem 23 67 Hedetoft Ulf, Multiculturalism in Denmark and Sweden (Danish Institute for International Studies 2006), p. 3 68 Kormendi Eszter, Refugees in Denmark (Danish National Institute of Social Research, 1987), p. 1718 69 Favell Adrian, “Integration nations: the nation-state and research on immigrants in Western Europe, The multicultural challenge”, Comparative Social Research, Vol.22 (2003), pp. 13-42
integration is successful when “foreigners will have jobs which are equivalent to their education to the same degree as Danish people”70. But this statement, together with the report of the Danish Refugee Council about the recognition of immigrants’ education remained only a statement and nothing more. In the Integration Plan from 2003 the Danish government, in contradiction with the Think Tank on integration from 2001, considers successful integration as being the fact of taking up any job: “work is the key to the successful integration of immigrants in the Danish society. All possibilities should be used: good, less good, occasional, seasonal, vocational jobs etc.”71 Moreover, Alba and Nee (1997) state that economic integration will inevitably lead to the other types of integration such as cultural, social and political. Neither the Danish policies nor the social sciences theories consider the types of jobs taken up by immigrants or the education they had prior to the flight to the country of destination. In 2004 the Danish Ministry of Interior decided to draw up a Think Tank report to compare Denmark’s integration policies to those of the other West European countries. The aim was to clarify what and how much can Denmark learn from these countries in terms of immigrant integration: “seen also in light of the difficulties to integrate immigrants in the Danish labor force, Denmark chose to follow very strict immigration policies. They are as strict as or maybe even much stricter than those of other countries (…). A welfare state like Denmark must work actively to make sure – not at least for economic reasons – that a very large number of people will be able to become financially independent”72. Moreover, the Danish Government Integration Plan (2005) brings to light three criteria that the government uses to measure immigrant integration: knowledge of the Danish language, any type of work and financial independence. From the perspective of the Danish government, financial independence is an important step towards integration as refugees and immigrants pass from receiving financial aids (social aid, welfare) to receiving financial incentives for the work done (Think Tank 2004:14). RESULTS The target group of our study is the group of Romanians who found refuge in Denmark during the communist regime from Romania. The study revealed two types of refugees and three types of economic integration. The two types of refuges are those skilled and those without any skills prior to their arrival in Denmark. The three types of economic integration are: o Jobs which do not need qualification for unskilled refugees o Jobs which do not need qualification for skilled refugees with higher education prior to their arrival in Denmark; o Jobs which need qualification for skilled refugees with higher education prior to their arrival in Denmark.
Think Thank on integration in Denmark (August, 2001), p.10 Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs A new chance for everyone. The Danish Government’s integration plan, (2005) p. 13 72 The Ministry of Interior, The integration of foreigners in the Danish Society. The Think Thank on integration in Denmark (2004), p.17 71
These typologies proved that, at least in the case of Romanian refugees from Denmark, a successful integration implies taking up jobs equivalent to their education. If this balance is right, then economic integration generates cultural and social integration. The subjects of this research have had different experience after the 18 months integration program offered for free by the Danish state following the granting of the refugee status. Their human capital was different therefore their expectations were different, as well. However, they all started to make very great efforts to integrate in the new host country. M.B., a refugee Romanian, described his situation after the integration program during an interview: “Refugees have the will to integrate, but it is what they encounter after the integration program that makes them take a personal decision.” After the 18 months of the integration program, some refugees had learnt the Danish language better than others but none of them mastered it enough to be able to manage in real life situations. Some of the barriers in learning Danish mentioned by the Romanian refugees were its limited use in the everyday life. For Romanian refugees, work was the most important social context for the use of Danish. Moreover, contacts with the Danish people provided the refugees with the abilities needed for living in the Danish society. These contacts, turned into “networks” or “recommendation persons” were almost vital for Romanians’ cultural, social and economic integration. However, if “networks” may have positive effects, they may also have negative effects on the integration process. If “networks” may ensure country specific knowledge and open doors in many fields of the social life, at the same time they may prevent access to integration. In the case of Romanians who found refuge in Denmark, the “networks” were those which made the difference between those who found a job in their field of interest and those who did not. Refugees who did not get some form of qualification after their arrival in Denmark used the education they got through the vocational courses from the integration program to build their human capital according to the demand on the Danish labor market. These vocational courses provided the refugees with skills specific to work in Denmark. Even for this category, “a person of reference” was very important. Romanian refugees integrated in the labor market with the help of Danish or Romanian “networks”. They admitted that as soon as they started to work, everything became much easier for them: they had economic stability, they could use the Danish they learnt and they could evolve linguistically and they entered the Danish society through their work colleagues. Their integration developed according to the expectations of the Danish state: they learned Danish, the vocational courses opened them the doors to “any type of job”, especially for jobs which did not need higher education or long-term education; these jobs provided them economic stability and they moved on from social aid to financial independence. Skilled refugees, with a higher education degree from Romania, found the vocational courses useful only to a certain extent, as they continued and updated their training through other courses needed to get a job. Just like the other type of refugees, they
used the Danish networks acquired through the integration program to find jobs. They found such jobs in their field of expertise and today they declare themselves integrated. However, a third category of refugees, that of refugees who had got a higher education degree prior to their arrival in Denmark, even if they did find jobs in their field of expertise, could not afford a decent living from the income they made. This happened because the field they were working in was very poorly rated on the Danish labor market at that time (for instance handball instructor, screenwriter, tourism agent etc.). these refugees did not manage to transfer or adapt their education and had to specialize in a different field which most of the time was below their level of education. This was a reason which prevented them from integrating: they recognized that their Danish and implicitly their social, cultural and economic integration suffered as a consequence of this. For them, “any type of job” provided financial stability but not integration.
CONCLUSIONS In this paper we proved that the main element which prevented the integration of refugee Romanians into the Danish society was their impossibility to find a job in their field of expertise. “The job in the field of expertise” was defined as the field which these refugees specialized in and worked in before fleeing the Romanian communist regime. Moreover, the paper presents some criticism addressed to the integration policies established and encouraged by the Danish state. First of all, there is a contradiction between the official integration discourse and the way things happen in reality at the level of immigrant communities. Although official policies speak of integration, in practice Denmark silently militates for assimilation. Secondly, the Danish state waits for the refugees and immigrants to take up “any type of job” without considering the economic capital that they bring with them in the host country. Thus, the “any type of job” policy supported by Danish integration policies only militates for moving on from the welfare status to the refugees’ ability of supporting themselves and becoming financially independent. The “any type of job” perspective puts Romanian refugees into a vicious circle wherefrom their cultural, social and economic integration cannot progress. Refugees are trapped in jobs which are traditionally reserved to immigrants, jobs without prestige which do not require prior qualification (“3D” jobs: “Dirty, Dangerous and Demeaning”). This is why the “any job” policy is not in accordance with the case of the Romanian refugees who arrived in Denmark with higher education degrees. In contrast with the Danish state integration policies which militate for taking up “any type of job”, for the Romanian refugees from Denmark a successful integration means taking up jobs which are equivalent to their education. An important element in finding a job in the field of expertise in Denmark was constituted by Danish people with whom Romanian refugees had tied up durable 60
friendships. These connections/relations constituted the moral support of refugees as they provided Romanians with valuable information about the labor market and the professional training needed for their economic reintegration. Those who were helped and had recommendations from these Danish people who were familiar to the economic realities of the Danish society managed to find a job in their field of expertise and thus managed to integrate socially and culturally into the Danish society. Those who did not manage to establish durable relations with the Danish citizens did not have access to the information from the Danish labor market and without an economic integration into their field of expertise, they had to find other jobs below their level of qualification; this generated feelings of frustration and failure which affected their cultural and social integration. Thus, these three dimensions imply and give meaning to each other. In conclusion, the “any type of labor” policy only ensures economic stability and provides refugees’/immigrants with the ability to support themselves without financial aid (welfare) from the Danish state, but does not guarantee integration.
BIBLIOGRAPHY • • • •
• • • • • • • •
Birman, Dina (2006) “Ethical issues in research with immigrants and refugees”, in Trimble, E., Fisher B., Celia, The Handbook of Ethical Research with Ethnocultural populations and communities, Sage Bryman, Alan (2004) Social Research Methods, Oxford Danish Refugee Council, (1999) Assessment and Recognition of Refugees' Qualifications in the European Community Favell Adrian (2005) Assimilation/Integration, in Immigration and Asylum: From 1900 to the Present, edited by Matthew Gibney and Randall Hansen, Santa Barbara, CA: Clio, forthcoming. http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/favell/Clio.htm Favell, Adrian., (2003), “Integration nations: the nation-state and research on immigrants in Western Europe, The multicultural challenge”, Comparative Social Research, Vol.22, 13-42, Elsevier Science Hedetoft, Ulf (December 2006), Multiculturalism in Denmark and Sweden, Danish Institute for International Studies Godziak, Elzbieta (1992) Migration in and from central and eastern Europe: addressing the root causes, Refugee Policy Group Gozdziak, Elzbieta (1989) East to East: Refugees from Romania in Hungary, Refugee Policy Group, (RSP documentation centre) Hansen, Randall (2003) “Migration to Europe since 1945: Its History and its Lessons” in Sarah Spencer (ed.). The Politics of Migration: Managing Opportunity, Conflict and Change, Blackwell Publishing Kopnina, Helen (2005) East to West Migration. Russian migrants in Western Europe, Ashgate Kormendi, Eszter (1987) Refugees in Denmark, Danish National Institute of Social Research Lucassen, Leo, (2005) The immigrant threat. The integration of old and new migrants in Western Europe since 1850, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago
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Husted, Leif, Helena Skyt Nielsen, Michael Rosholm, Nina Smith (2001), “Employment and wage assimilation of male first-generation immigrants in Denmark”, International Journal of Manpower, Bradford, Vol. 22, Iss. 1, pg.39 Marshal, Gordon (2003) Oxford Dicţionar de Sociologie, Univers enciclopedic, Bucureşti Ministry of Interior (2001), The integration of foreigners in the Danish Society. The Think Thank on integration in Denmark The Ministry of Interior (2004), The integration of foreigners in the Danish Society. The Think Thank on integration in Denmark Schierup, Carl-Ulrik and Aleksandra Ålund (1986) “Introduction. From ‘birds of passage’ to ethnic minorities” in Will they still be dancing? Integration and ethnic transformation among Yugoslav immigrants in Scandinavia, Umeå: University of Umeå Steen, Belinda-Ann (1993) Varieties of the Tamil Refugee Experience in Denmark and England, Minority Studies, University of Copenhagen, The Danish Centre for Human Rights Copenhagen, Copenhagen UNHCR (2001) Asylum Applications in industrialized countries: 1980 – 1999 UNHCR (1996) International Thesaurus of Refugee Terminology
ANEXA The refugees with their background and their occupation in Denmark: - A.G., 77 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1979; background in Ethnochoreology – the theoretical study of traditional folk dance; she is working in her profession in Denmark; spontaneous refugee granted “de facto” status (born in 1930, December 17); - L.G., 76 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1979; Director of the Comedy Theatre in Romania; nowadays, he is working more in Romania; spontaneous refugee granted “de facto” status; - M.B., 66 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1985; film producer; he is working in his trade in Denmark; spontaneous refugee granted “de facto” status, (born 1941, March 11); - C.H., 45 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1988, handball instructor; he is presently working as a taxi driver; spontaneous refugee granted “de facto” status; - A.H., 45 years old, worked at the National Office of Tourism, arrived in Denmark in 1988; she is now working night shifts in a post office; spontaneous refugee granted “de facto” status; - D.F., 50 years old, screen writer in Romania, arrived in Denmark in 1984, she is presently working in her profession as a screen writer in Denmark; spontaneous refugee granted “de facto” status; - A.Z., 45 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1988, engineer in Romania and in Denmark; spontaneous refugee, granted “de facto” status; - D.Z., 45 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1991 through family reunification; in Romania he was an engineer, in Denmark he is unemployed, but he runs his own internet business; - F.S., 45 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1981, engineer in Romania; he works in IT in Denmark; quota refugee; - D.R., 65 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1988, veterinarian doctor in Romania; he runs his own Romanian publishing house in Denmark; spontaneous refugee granted “de facto” status; - I.S., 45 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1984, unskilled worker, he is presently working as the chief of maintenance in a hospital; spontaneous refugee granted “de facto” status (born, 1963); - P.V.G, 50 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1985, driver/unskilled worker; he is presently working in constructions; spontaneous refugee granted “de facto” status (born 1957) - I.L., 74 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1981, worked as a power station operator in Romania, he is presently a pensioner in Denmark; quota refugee - E.L., 70 years old, arrived in Denmark in 1984, housewife; arrived in Denmark through family reunification - M.K., 68 years old, former medical nurse, presently she is a pensioner; arrived in Denmark through family reunification
DIASPORA’S VOTE – A RIGHT DENIED MIRUNA CAJVANEANU
INTRODUCTION The curtain has fallen over the results of the parliamentary elections from November 30th 2008 which will remain in history as the first elections held according to the plurality voting system. A system full of surprises, a Pandora’s Box out of which came losers, winners, surprises, paradoxes but also issues to solve. For the first time Romanians from abroad could vote and send their own representatives to the Romanian Parliament. As far as the vote of the Romanian Diaspora, only 24,000 Romanians voted in the 221 polling stations set up abroad for the elections from November 30th. The Ministry of Exterior sent abroad 620,000 ballots for the Chamber and the Senate. At the elections from November 30th the vote attendance was of 24,000 voters, i.e. 0.4% of the national total. 4 deputies and 2 senators were elected who will represent the numerous community of Romanians from abroad. Diaspora’s vote emphasized a paradox: although the Romanian parties and politicians lead their electoral battled mostly in the country, the result they got in the Diaspora made the difference between winners: Emil Boc, president of the Democrat Liberal Party (PD-L) declared in Cluj immediately after the elections: “We are waiting for the official confirmation of the results from the Central Electoral Office. According to our data in the end we will have a slight positive difference compared to the Socialist Democrat Party (PSD), so we will clinch the victory, as they say in football. And when I say this I rely first and foremost on the votes of Romanians from abroad, from the Diaspora which were not counted yet.” On the other hand, Romanians abroad were the most numerous who wanted to vote but couldn’t for reasons which we shall analyze here. Both sides of the political stage send the same message: Romanians from abroad could have voted in larger numbers if they had the chance. This is a statement made both by Petre Roman and by representative of the democrat Liberal Party from the political spectrum and by independent observers or landmark organizations such as the Public Policies Institute (IPP). In a recent intervention at the Romanian embassy in Budapest, Traian Basescu, president of Romania, declared that the electoral law deliberately disadvantaged Romanians from abroad: “the law was made deliberately so that the vote of the Romanians from abroad is diminished”73. He also stated, in the same intervention, that the new majority constituted after the elections from 2008 would introduce the electronic vote in the shortest time period possible. Low vote attendance is nothing but an effect of the fact that many Romanians from abroad were prevented from voting: only 39% of the Romanians who had the right to vote did so but if citizens from abroad could have voted, the percentage would have been of over 50% 73
Mediafax: “Basescu – the electoral law will be modified relatively quickly” 2/02/2009 – Budapest.
explained Traian Basescu, quoted by Mediafax. A simple calculation makes us assume that Romanians put into the position of not being able to vote were of about 11% of the total voting population, according to the president’s statement. Now, after the elections, people start analyzing the different situations and complaints which arrive from abroad and which show numerous situations of Romanians who could not vote. The vote of Romanians from abroad and its facilitation also becomes a priority of the new members of Parliament, first of all of those elected by the Diaspora. The first legislative objective of the senator elected for Diaspora in the Europe Asia college, Viorel Badea, is precisely the submission of a draft law n the reintroduction of the vote by mail74. Even before the elections, Viorel Badea declared: “The first project that I shall start, if I am elected Senator, will be to give back to Romanians from everywhere their right to vote by introducing the vote by mail or, if possible, the electronic vote. At this moment, over one million Romanians from abroad do not have their residence in the cities where they work and therefore they will not be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote on the elections from November 30th.”75 This priority was reiterated in an interview immediately after having been elected senator: “As I also said in my electoral program, I shall have two priorities: first, I will submit a draft law asking the restructuring of the Department for Romanians from Everywhere, the current DRRP. Secondly, I shall support the introduction of the vote by mail for Romanians from abroad.”76 The facilitation of the right to vote of Romanians from abroad is a must for ensuring a fundamental constituent element of the democratic system from Romania. As the French sociologist Alain Touraine used to say, a system is democratic when it fulfils three fundamental prerequisites: “limitation of state power, autonomy of social actors and citizenship awareness”; their synthesis is expressed in the representativeness principle which reunites “the social and the political”77. To have the right to vote means to be able to take an active part at the creation of that legislative framework which regulates the society the individual is a part of. The same concept is shared in a more nuanced manner by the MPs elected to represent, for instance, one of the historical and surely one of the most numerous communities of emigrants – Italy. Senator Claudio Micheloni, Italian emigrant in Switzerland, was elected MP in the “Estero” (abroad) constituency at the last parliamentary elections held in Italy in April 2008. He is convinced by the essential role of those elected by the numerous members of the Italian Diaspora: “The emigrant is a citizen who must have the electoral right, regardless of who holds the power, the right or the left. It is a right linked to the process of integration of the citizen in the adoption country itself and an instrument of integration – I am speaking 74
Colloquium with Viorel Badea, MP, Vice-president of the Commission for Foreign Affairs of the Romanian Senate, December 2008. 75 Colloquium with Viorel Badea, candidate of the Democrat Liberal Party in the Europe Asia college for the Senate, Rome, November 2008. 76 “Viorel Badea, Diaspora’s senator” – interview by Miruna Cajvaneanu – Gazeta Romaneasca 5/12/2008 http://www.gazetaromaneasca.com/news/stiri/viorel-badea-senatoruldiasporei.html 77 Alain Touraine “Les conditions, les ennemis et les chances de la démocratie”- L’Union Interparlamentaire, Genève, 1998- quoted by Gheorghe Fulga in “Societăţi şi sisteme politice contemporane”, Ed. Economică 2004
now about the administrative vote of foreigners in the county in question. I am established in Switzerland so I am more interested in getting rights for my sons and of being represented in Switzerland than in my home country. So having representatives in the national Parliament is not important only for me as an emigrant citizen of Italy but also for Italy as a national state.”78 This study wishes to highlight the electorally complex situation of Romanian living abroad. It is a totally new perspective, as new as the massive emigration registered in the last decade. We shall make a rough identification of the Romanian voters from abroad, then we shall look at the way in which Romanians from Italy participated at two of the last electoral polls. Based on the analysis of two surveys which pointed out the opinions of about 300 Romanians living in Italy, the first and only such survey made for electoral purposes, we shall emphasize the main problems faced by the Romanian community around elections and at the polling stations. Then we shall make a short incursion into the institutions in Bucharest to see how the phenomenon is seen from there both from the perspective of the research institutes (IPP) and from the offices of the different MPs in an attempt to discover which are the solutions to suggest for the facilitation of the right to vote for Romanians from abroad. Finally, through a parallel with the Italian voting system debated with the protagonists of the politics from the Peninsula themselves, we shall try to make a series of proposals and suggestions aimed at showing the legislators from Bucharest a vision “from abroad” of the Romanian emigrants seen as voters.
WHICH IS THE ELECTORAL POOL OF THE DIASPORA AND HOW DO THEY VOTE? The total number of the Romanians from the Diaspora is an (almost) absolute unknown. The registries of the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform (MIRA) show a presence of approximately 190 000 Romanians with the right to vote abroad. These figures are little reliable and often contested abroad if we consider that in Italy alone the official statistics confirmed a presence of about 700,000 Romanians (625,000 with residence in 2007 – ISTAT data – The Italian Statistics Institute and Caritas – The IDOS Institute) with their domicile in Italy and other 3-400,000 who are not registered in the People’s Record (Anagrafe). The discourse is similar in the case of the other country with a massive Romanian presence – Spain, where it is estimated that another million Romanians live. Some associations of our co-nationals from the Diaspora estimated at approximately 4 million the total presence of Romanians abroad. Paradoxically, even some Romanian political leaders from parties which have so far minimized the Diaspora’s participation at the vote gave partial confirmations of the number of co-nationals from the Diaspora. Titus Corlatean (The Socialist Democrat Party) said during the launching ceremony in Milan of the PSD’s candidates for the Diaspora: “For the first time, Romanians from abroad shall appoint their representatives in the Parliament of Romania. In Italy there are 2 million Romanians, 78
Colloquium with Italian senator Claudio Micheloni (Popo della Liberta), on the margin of conference “European elections 2009 – we can all vote, as long as we know it” (23 January 2009 – Rome, Chamber of Deputies).
most of whom have worked honestly and got integrated” and Mircea Geoana declared on the same occasion that “there are 2.5 million Romanians in Spain and Italy; compared to a country like Slovenia, we have a miniature Romania living abroad.”79 Officially, the data on the citizens with right to vote are comprised in the National People’s Records ad selected and processed by the National Centre for the Management of People’s Records Databases (CNABDEP) from under the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform. The updating of the permanent electoral lists is done, according to the legislation in force, by the mayor of the town or village together with the community public local service for people’s records. The term for the submission of the permanent electoral lists to the mayors by the National Centre for the Management of People’s Records Databases is of 45 days since the establishment of the elections date. Until at least 45 days prior to the elections date the permanent electoral lists are drawn up and provided for consultation by voters80. Voters have the right, according to the law, to make sure they are registered on the electoral lists. Any complaint related to omissions, errors of registration or of any other errors from the lists is addressed to the mayor of the town who has to give a ruling, by written order within maximum 3 days from the registration of the complaint81. For Romanian voters from abroad, the law requires the existence of a supplementary list with details about the citizens who exercised their right to vote in the respective polling station. On the supplementary electoral list used at the polling stations outside the country, individuals with the right to vote “shall be registered by the president of the electoral bureau of the polling station” as follows82: • • •
Romanian citizens with domicile or residence abroad who exercise their right to vote at one of the polling stations from the country where they established their residence or domicile. The staff of the embassies and Consular offices who votes at the polling station constituted in the embassy or consulate where they work. Candidates going to a polling station from the uninominal college in which they candidate other than that where they are registered based on their domicile.
We should also mention that only the supplementary electoral list is used abroad.
Marian Mocanu, presented by the “big names” of the Socialist Democrat Party – Gazeta Romaneasca, 27/09/2008 80 „Regulations on the election of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate”, Ed. Monitorul Oficial RA, Bucharest, 2008-page 10 – Article 26 para. (6) and article 73 para. (2) of the Law no. 35/2008, as amended and completed. The provisions of article 26, para. (1), (4) and (5) of the Law no. 35/2008 apply as of the 2012 elections. 81 “Regulations the election of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate” Ed. Monitorul Oficial RA, Bucharest, 2008-page 10 82 “Regulations the election of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate” Ed. Monitorul Oficial RA, Bucharest, 2008-page 14
According to the Regulation from 2008, as amended and completed, Romanian citizens who have the right to vote and have their residence or domicile abroad exercise their right at one of the polling stations from the country where they have their residence or domicile83. For the Romanians from abroad a special constituency was created – Constituency no. 43 “The electoral bureau of the 43rd constituency is constituted for the good organization and development of the elections at the level of the electoral constituency for Romanians who have their domicile or residence outside the country” says the description of the responsible electoral bureau84.
PARTICIPATION OF THE ROMANIANS FROM THE DIASPORA AT THE LAST POLLS The participation of the Romanians from abroad at the last years’ elections had a non-homogenous trend. At the general elections from 2004 almost 39,000 Romanians went to vote at the stations abroad, in 142 polling stations put at their disposal. For the referendum aimed at removing the president from office from May 2007, 72.156 Romanians voted in 178 polling stations. The lowest attendance was registered at the elections for the European Parliament from 25 November 2007 when only 21,000 Romanians voted. The most significant attendance was registered at the Referendum from May 2007 on the removal from office of president Traian Basescu. According to a communication given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the 178 polling stations organized abroad 72,156 people voted. The highest attendance was registered in Spain (14,123 people) and Italy (9,943 people), followed by: the USA (7,986 people), France (5,141 people), Republic of Moldova (4,998 people), the United Kingdom (3,210 Romanian citizens), Canada (3,063 people), Germany (2,783 people), Belgium (2,549 people), Greece (2,505 people) and Ireland (1,835). In Israel 1,241 people went to vote, in Australia – 957, in Hungary – 1,055, in Portugal – 1,054, in Switzerland - 763, In the United Arab Emirates – 528, in Serbia – 167and in Ukraine – 94 Romanian citizens. At the last poll for the election of the members of parliament – from November 30th 2008 – the total vote attendance was of 24,000 voters, i.e. 0.4% of the national total. For these elections, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a larger number of polling stations - 221 also due to the pressure exercised by some politicians and members of the civil society, as we shall explain further on. Significantly low results compared to the presence of Romanians were registered in the Republic of Moldova, in Chisinau – 2300 voters, in Italy – 3800 and in Spain – 6300. As far as the vote cast by the Romanians from Italy on November 30th 2008, it is interesting to see the territorial distribution of vote attendance with a clear 83 84
Art. 8 para. (2) from Law no. 35/2008 http://www.mae.ro/index.php?unde=doc&id=37093&idlnk=&cat=
predominance in some Northern towns and in Rome: Rome 1 – Consulate: 328 votes, 1 null, 2 in white + Rome 2 – Accademia di Romania: 239 votes, 4 null + Rome 3: 131 votes + Rome 4: 94 votes, Milan 1: 260 votes, Milan 2: 277 votes, Torino: 677 votes, Genova: 59 votes, Florence: 193 votes, Treviso: 343 votes, Padova: 280 votes, Naples: 39 votes, Trieste: 74. One may notice that Romanians went to vote in the areas with the highest concentration of co-nationals, respectively in the big cities such as Rome, Milan and Torino, which proves a low degree of mobility of the voters. Poll
Number of voters
Referendum for removal from office of president Traian Basescu Elections for the European Parliament Elections for the Romanian parliament
21,000 (approx) 221
General elections 2004 Referendum 2007 European Parliament elections Romanian Parliament elections
OUR OWN SURVEYS85 To get a closer look at the electoral process in the two particular occasions, the Referendum form May 19th 2007 and the parliamentary elections from November 30th 2008 we carried out two surveys which were relevant in determining the characteristics of the Romanian voters from Italy and the problems faced by the Romanians from the Peninsula both around the elections and on the day of the poll. Here are the two surveys and the conclusions reached by our team. First survey – The Referendum from May 2007 The removal from office of president Basescu by the parliament was a political event which – dramatically – drew the attention of the Romanians from the Diaspora on the 85
For the success of these surveys we would like to thank the volunteers who contributed to the data collection: the PIR team led by Vicentiu Acostandei in Rome and the one led by Valeriu Vasiliu in Florence (for the survey from May 2007), to Onelia Ursu, student at the School of Case Law from the La Sapienza Univeristy – Rome ad to Steluta Floristean (for the survey from November 2008).
political life in Romania. The issue of the number of polling stations, considered insufficient by the Romanians from Italy was largely debated in the period prior to the vote. Data collection took place on the polling day, i.e. on May 19th 2007, through a poll carried out based on quizzes. The operation unfolded in front of three electoral stations of the 9 set up in Italy: the three were: Rome 1 – Accademia di Romania – Piazza Jose de San Martin 1, Rome 2 – The General Consulate of Romania in Rome – Via del Serafico 69, Florence – the Honorific Consulate, Via Lungarno Vespucci, 30. Sample: of the over 72,000 people who went to vote in Italy, the sample was the following: 100 people interviewed in Florence and 70 in Rome for a total of 170 respondents. The voters were approached immediately upon leaving the polling station so after they exercised their right to vote. Operators filled-in the quiz after having read the 6 questions to the respondents one by one. The time interval of the survey: 10 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. Distribution by gender: In Rome the sample was made up of 43% women and 57% men. In Florence, there were 56% women and 44% men. Distribution by age: operators tried to approach individuals representing the vote attendance per ages as eloquently as possible. In Rome and Florence, the demographic profile of the sample was: AGE
Comments: the distribution per age categories between 18 and 55 years old was made on the basis of the characteristics of the Romanian community from the Peninsula. Most of the Romanians present on the Italian territory fall within this group of age. Most of the Romanians come and live in Italy to work. Sources of information on the Referendum We wanted to know what sources Romanians had at their disposal to get informed about the Romanian politics and especially about the referendum process. Multiple responses were also accepted. SOURCE
Romanian media Satellite television from Italy / Internet
Relatives from Romania
* - In Florence 31.3% of the respondents declared that they found out details about the elections following the “If you don’t vote, you don’t exist” campaign organized by the Florence branch of the Party of Romanians from Italy (PIR) in the weeks prior to the vote. We found out that most Romanians watch the Romanian TV channels, the great majority of them through satellite television. During the last years there was a huge boom of companies providing services of installation of parabolic antennas to receive Romanian channels86. Romanians from the Peninsula obviously want to stay in contact with the information broadcast in Romania. One may also draw the conclusion that Romanians participated at the vote with full knowledge of the case as they were relatively informed about the events taking place in Romania. During the elections campaign some sources (mainly the written media in Romania) launched the idea that Romanians from abroad would vote for Basescu as they are not “influenced by the Romanian television”. Nevertheless, in Italy there was rather a reversed proportionality between the weight of the main source of information declared (Satellite TV) and the vote expressed – over 90% pro Basescu. Distance from the polling station and mobility of voters One of the objectives of our research was to determine the distance of the Romanians from the polling station, therefore the degree of mobility. We had the chance to establish how many kilometers are Romanians willing to travel to vote. DISTANCE In the city TRAVELLED
From bordering towns
Over 100 km
Comments: Most Romanians (an average of 48%) went to vote as they were residents of the town where the polling station was located. A large part of them were willing to travel for a reasonable distance from the bordering towns. To be noted that according to the data provided by the Observatorio Romano (April 2007) most Romanians from the Lazio Region live precisely in the towns bordering Rome (Monterotondo, Marcellina, Albano, Castelli Romani). However, this percentage is not reflected in the vote attendance. The conclusion is that the farther Romanians live from the polling station, the lower the probability for them to go to exercise their right. Even if in conditions of “geographical parity” these people are just as motivated to participate at the poll. Organization of the Referendum
Source – Gazeta Romaneasca no. 15, 2007.
We asked the voters who participated at the survey what was their general opinion about the organization of the Referendum by the authorities. Organization Very good
Comments: Responses reflect a personal opinion on the organization of the Referendum. The question did not state what was understood by organization. We should stress the fact that people who went to vote in the morning and were coming from the same town the general impression was very goo. On the other hand, things were completely different for those who arrived from longer distances and obviously had to face a major stress related to transport, waiting time and loss of an entire day with the journey. Those who said that the organization was bad and very bad made the following comments: “I worked till late last evening and now I have been waiting for hours in front of the station”, “they did not inform us in time about where we can vote”, “organization was intended to be very bad”, “they did not think of those who live far from the polling stations”. At both stations some of the voters complained about the very poor level of information provided by the Romanian authorities. Thus, in Florence, many noticed the lack of any informational poster about the development of the Referendum outside the Honorific Consulate. Most of those who tried to get information by telephone either in Rome or in Florence did not manage to speak to the Embassy staff saying that “the telephone was busy most of the times”. Waiting time Another aspect that we wished to highlight was that of the waiting time needed to vote. Here are the results: Waiting time
> one hour
Comments: attendance at the polling stations was not constant. At the polling station from the Accademia, the flow of voters was completely assimilated in the morning and until 5 p.m. There were no queues until that time. After 5 p.m., more and more voters came but anyway the waiting time did not exceed one hour. Accademia di Romania is an institution hosting mainly cultural events, it is located in a central area of Rome and it is not known to most of the Romanians living at the outskirts of the city. 72
In Florence no queues were formed and voters waited less than one hour throughout the entire day. In exchange, the situation at the Consulate of Romania from Via del Serafico was much more complicated. Even at 8 a.m. when the polling stations were opened there was a group of voters already gathered in from of the Consulate entrance. They were waiting for affidavit forms. It was only after filling in this form that they were allowed to enter the Consulate yard in groups of 6 â€“ the equivalent of the number of polling booths. Until 2 p.m. groups of at least 30 people were waiting in front of the consulate. Under these circumstances the waiting time did not exceed one hour. After 2 p.m., the people who were in front of the station organized spontaneously and formed a queue parallel to the building yard wall. The affluence increased constantly and considerably until the evening. At 2.30 already the queue was estimated at around 100 people. Between 6 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. a queue of 250 â€“ 300 people was formed. People waited even over 2 hours to cast their vote. Several expressed their fear that they will not be able to vote. Some voters, after having waited stanting for a long time, gave up waiting and left. We may conclude that at the Consulate station there were over 150 people who could not exercise their right to vote either because they spontaneously gave up waiting after hours of standing in the queue or because the station closed. The Romanians from Italy and the Romanian politics In parallel with the practical aspects of the voting operations, we also wished to measure the interest of the Romanians from the Diaspora for the Romanian politics, in general. Interest for Romanian politics
Up to date and interested
Lack of interest
Comments: the sample chosen to determine the interest shown by Romanians towards Romanian politics is not representative. Thus, the vote attendance itself can be seen as some form of interest for the events from Romania. However, we wanted to find out if participation at the referendum is the effect of a constant interest to the Romanian politics or just an occasional act. Responses from Rome and Florence are similar. Most of those who came to vote are interested and watch the political events from the country. This interest makes them get directly involved in the decision-making processes and especially to have an active participation through the referendum. Thus, in average, in Italy three Romanians out of four who voted on May 19th declare to be up to date with the political life in Romania.
Testimonies from the other polling stations from Italy and abroad Our observations show an obvious and important emotional participation of the voters who came to the polling stations. Although the electoral campaign was over, many expressed their position directly and fiercely, without hiding the choice they had made. At the Accademia station, the feeling of participation was a bit more “veiled”. The majority came clustered in small groups. Some took advantage of the occasion and even took photos in front of the polling station. At the Consulate, the emotional state of the people queuing was much more obvious. During the morning there was a car with the license plate “NU …” which circled the station several times while the people from inside the car were shouting to those queuing: “vote what is written on the license plate”. At noon, in front of the Consulate there was a compact group of young people with orange t-shirts. There was a moment of tension when a man who declared himself “representative of the gypsies” started shouting slogans against the parliament and attacking directly the Referendum volunteers. He was accompanied by a group of people and a television crew filming the atmosphere. After about 40 minutes two cars of the Italian Police came. The policemen asked the man in question for his ID documents. The police cars remained in front of the Consulate until the end of the electoral day. Tension continued growing until the evening came and the people, especially those who came towards the end of the program, started shouting pro Basescu and anti Parliament slogans. Placards were also brought along. Most Romanians present were very willing to talk to our operators and they often used our survey as a chance to express their sorrow and share with us their state of mind in relation to the Referendum. Here is a synthesis of the comments noted by our observers: “I vote for the future of my family in Romania”, “we wish the Embassy and Consulate treat us with more care and provide us with more information” declared a lady who came from Pescara to voted; she added: “I would have travelled twice this distance to vote”. Somebody else declared: “the organization is relatively good, I did not expect to see so many people.” The insufficiency of the polling stations was one of the most frequent comments made by respondents (9 people expressed their point of view spontaneously, complaining about the insufficient number of polling stations). On the second place among Romanians’ complaints were the lack of information about the organization of the Referendum in Italy and the fact that people could not ask the embassy for details: “In Milan no one answers the phone”, “in Florence there were no hours for working with the public”, “telephone lines from the Embassy and the Consulate are always busy”. Then they denounced the fact that the referendum was held on Saturday, which is a working day for most of the Romanians from the Peninsula. This was also proven by the consistent number of Romanians who came directly from the construction sites, still dressed in overalls.
Many were the political observations, as well and some even swore a certain part of the political class from Romania: “if this does not turn out right, Romania will turn into a piece of trash”, “this was a dirty campaign (verbal – author’s note)”, “it should not have gotten as far as this”, “a plurality voting system would be useful”. Testimonies via e-mal The testimonies we received by e-mail are attached to this report. Some of the testimonies and comments are contained in the preliminary analysis of the Referendum. The comments exclusively reflect the point of view of those having expressed them. ASOLO TREVISO: Station No. 1267; 2 booths and two stamps. In total approximately 1600-1700 people cast their vote out of which around 200 since 8 in the morning until 1 p.m. Here is the message sent by Mister Toader Teodorescu, a representative of the Romanian community from Northern Italy and poll observer: “At 1 p.m. I arrived in Asolo in person; in the mean time I had stayed in contact with Romanians from the “Columna” association. At 5 p.m. about 600-700 people had voted, most of them having arrived between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., directly from work. At 2.30 p.m. the waiting time was of approximately 40 minutes. Between 5.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. approximately 250 people were queuing. They entered in groups of 2-3, maximum 4 people. Between 6.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m. there was a permanent queue of approximately 250-300 people. Waiting time: one hour and a half. At the closing of the Honorific Consulate and of the polling station – 8.00 – about 200 people were still queuing; they vociferated that they were not allowed to vote. In the end the local police needed to intervene to reestablish the order. Offences addressed to the Government and the Consul were chanted (“Thieves”, “Bandits”, “Come out and talk to the people who pays you a load of money to provide this service!” etc.). Following my intervention and with the help of my collaborators from Columna we managed to calm people down. Everyone left home, embittered that they could not exercise their right after hours of waiting. There were people from: Udine, Trieste, Grado, Treviso, Mestre, Bassano, Cortina, Vicenza, Pordenone and from the neighboring towns who came to vote. Among them, pregnant women, injured individuals (there was someone with a broken leg in plaster!), children and old people! Most of them had heard about the referendum from the satellite TV and on the Internet but also from their relatives in the country. The average distance travelled by each was of 67-70 km but there were also people who came from longer distances (Trieste, Grado, Cortina etc.). Organization was very poor (two booths plus two stamps). A lot of time was wasted to fill-in the Affidavit forms. The average waiting time was of about one hour, one hour and 15 minutes, especially after 5.00 p.m. There were cases of families who left without having voted because the queue was very long and they could not afford to queue for so long when they had 2-3 years old children with them. People stood waiting outside the consulate at a temperature of about 21 degrees. No ambulance was present for emergency situations (a pregnant lady got sick) and she could not even be given a glass of water although it was pretty hot outside! Per total, approximately 1700-1800 people came to vote for the Referendum.
From Naples, so from Southern Italy, we received the impressions of Mrs. Maria Elena: “As you have seen, I have met few Romanians who would be willing to travel for hundreds of kilometers at their own expense to vote if they live and work in other towns, where there are no polling stations. I personally hope for the best and for a change for us, as well.” Second survey – The Parliamentary elections from November 2008 The date of the second survey was November 16th 2008, two weeks before the elections. This time, its purpose was to test the public opinion of the Romanians from the Peninsula in a politically and institutionally neutral place, outside the polling stations and one day prior to the poll. Therefore we chose a location known as one of the places most frequented by Romanians on Sunday – the Porta Portese fair, from the Prenestina area – to the south-east of Rome. Unlike the first survey which highlighted the perception of the “active” voters from the Diaspora – i.e. those who went to vote, the second survey wished to emphasize the opinions of a neutral public, of possible voters instead of the real voters. Sample TOTAL – 100 people – Location: Porta Portese Via Prenestina, Rome The survey authors approached citizens directly and asked them first if they are Romanians. Then, having gotten their agreement, they asked them 4 general questions. 1. Do you know that on November 30th elections are being held for the Romanian Parliament? A. B. C. D.
Yes, of course ---------------------------------------- 52% Yes, but I don’t know any details about it ------- 7% I didn’t’ know but I am interested ----------------- 16% I didn’t know and I am not interested ------------ 25%
TOTAL ----------------------------------------------------------- 100% One notices that 48% of the random sample was not informed about the political life and electoral events from the country while over 15% are interested by the argument presented but have not documented yet or have not had the possibility to do so. The second question was an opportunity to find out how informed Romanians are about the upcoming elections; it completes and confirms the first question. 2. Do you know the name of at least one of the candidates? A. B. C.
Yes-------------------------------------------------------- 38% No, but I am interested ------------------------------ 31% I am not interested ----------------------------------- 31%
TOTAL ----------------------------------------------------------- 100%
A couple of comments here: if half of the people approached declared on the first question that they are informed about the parliamentary elections, only 38% said that they knew the name of at least one candidate. This is relevant information especially if we bear in mind that among the candidates from the Europe – Asia college there were also well known names such as the former Prime Minister Petre Roman. Further on we wished to emphasize how many people of those interviewed will actually be able to exercise their right to vote, considering that one of the fundamental prerequisites to exercise this right was to show a document proving that the voter resides in that state – in this case, Italy. 3. Do you have your residence in Italy? A. No -----------------------------------------------------41% B. Yes ------------------------------------------------------------ 59% TOTAL ----------------------------------------------------------- 100% Responses are significant: only 60% of the respondents declared that they had documents proving that they are permanent residents on the Italian territory even if most of them stated that they live and work in the peninsula, without being registered in the Anagrafe (People’s Records). The last question was a direct question, aimed at learning which is the interest and the real possibility of the Romanians from the Peninsula to participate at the poll. 4. Will you vote on November 30th? A. YES -------------------------------------------------------------------- 24% B. NO ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 46% C. I haven’t decided yet ----------------------------------------------- 16% D. I want to go but I can’t because I don’t have papers -- 14% TOTAL -------------------------------------------------------------100% Comments and conclusions: Many respondents do not have a residence in Italy (41% of the total sample). Out of those who DO have their residence there, surprisingly only a few are convinced to go and vote. Concerning their own experience in Italy, opinions are divided: “we want to have contracts, we work on the black market”, “Sometimes we don’t get paid”, “They should sign an agreement with the Italian government and make things right for us”, “We are poorly paid and treated like slaves here”: Romanians are much more interested in their concrete situation in the Italian capital, in the problems they face in the everyday life and place on a second level of importance their political participation at the events from Romania. Many even declare that they are no longer interested in the elections in Romania. A significant figure – 15% - of the questioned Romanians declares that they want to vote but they can’t because they are not residents of Italy.
PROBLEMS OF THE ROMANIAN VOTERS FROM THE DIASPORA
Analyzing the two surveys and the responses given by the Romanians from the Peninsula we can see that the reasons for which Romanians from abroad do not participate at the vote are numerous. They may be divided in three main categories: • • •
Logistic difficulties (distance from the polling stations in primis) Lack of necessary documents (especially at the elections for the Romanian Parliament from November 2008) Lack of interest and of basic information
If we think that the number of Romanians who voted at the Referendum from 2007 was the largest registered in the last years, we must notice, anyway, the fact that at that poll, for instance, people could vote even if they had only a valid Romanian ID document. For the poll from November 30th 2008 they also had to show that they are residents of the country where they voted. We shall analyze the three main categories of problems one by one and provide some additional information about countries other than Italy. 1. Distance from the polling stations Just like it results from the surveys we took, the low number of polling stations, especially in countries which a high density of Romanians, may be considered the main actual obstacle in the exercise of the Diaspora voters’ right to vote. The representatives of the Diaspora from the United States, Italy and Spain but also from a number of other states mobilised, including on the internet, to protest against the low number of polling stations; they even proved that it is impossible to vote because of the considerable distance to the closest station which was usually situated in embassies, consulates or Romanian cultural centres. 2. Lack of necessary documents The second most important problem of voters from abroad, as also shown by the survey done in Rome in November 2008 is related to the fact of having to prove with documents that one is resident of the country where one exercises one’s right to vote. This is a main prerequisite of the new electoral law which introduced the plurality voting system precisely for the poll from November 2008. Actually several anomalies were registered even in countries members of the European Union. One example: unlike France, in Germany they did not accept the driving license and the health insurance card as proof of residence. Both documents issued by the German authorities have a photo and an identification number although they do not have the holder’s address. In Stuttgart, one voter could not vote because of this87. Similar situations were registered in Italy. From our observations published in a study for HotNews.ro88 only at polling station 23 from the Accademia di Romania from Rome alone, over 30 Romanians showed up to vote without a document attesting their residence and in consequence could not vote. 87
Idem Romanians from Italy: the money we send home is good but our right to vote is denied” by Miruna Cajvaneanu, Hotnews.ro, 2 December 2008.
Here are a few testimonies collected at the exit from polling station no. 32: Dan F., 32 years old came at 11.00 a.m. to vote with an Italian ID, as his Romanian passport was expired. The representatives of the commission explained to him that a valid Romanian document is also necessary. “Why can’t I vote? The Italian ID states clearly that I am a Romanian citizen first and secondly that my residence is in Italy. These are the two conditions needed and I reunite them in one single document. It seems absurd that I could not vote” he declared upon exiting the station. We quote another significant case which reveals a real problem of Romanian students from the Peninsula: Elena P. is 27 years old and is a student in Rome. She couldn’t vote either because she did not have a document attesting her residence in the capital of Italy: “I am in my second year at the university; I had problems in finding a room to rent. The landlord does not want to have me registered as living at his place, i.e. as a part of his family at the People’s Records. Besides, I also pay the rent without any receipt like many other Romanian students. Since I do not have a documented residence, I cannot vote. I consider that a I was denied a constitutional right.” Vasile C. and Radu M. found themselves in the same situation; they are both workers from Vrancea who came to work on the construction sites from the Italian capital but they do not have an employment contract, therefore they do not have a residence. Another disadvantaged category was that of house nurses, “badante”, as they are called in Italy. Madalina Popescu and Liliana Amerghioale protested vehemently in front of the commission members when they found out that they came to vote in vain. “We came all the way from the other end of Rome to vote and not they tell us that we can’t. It is not our fault that we did not get the documents certifying our residence yet. Sometimes it takes a couple of months to get your residence from the town hall” said Madalina Popescu. One of the most eloquent testimonies is that of the Chipernelu spouses. They travelled from Tivoli, a town 40 km away from Rome but could not vote because they did not have an Italian ID. “We want to vote and we can’t. The money we send to the country is useful there and we struggle any way we can here, abroad. Now they also take us this right that we had, the right to vote. We are still Romanian citizens. We have lived and worked in Italy for several years, to keep our children at the university in Bucharest. At the Referendum from 2007 we voted only with the Romanian ID. Today we brought our passports and our Romanian IDs but we were astonished to find out that we cannot vote. It is unfair. There are millions of Romanians in our situation, people who left because they had to, like we did. Then we come to vote and we can’t.” We asked the president of polling station 23 from the Accademia di Romania for details on the number of Romanians who came to vote but could not because they lacked proper documentation. She declared that no statistics was made of those who did not have the proper documents therefore she cannot give us any details about their number, not even with approximation. Similar situations were also registered in Israel, another state with a numerous population of Romanian emigrants and with specific legislation for the delivery of documents certifying one’s residence. Mrs. Lucretia Berzintu brought her case to the
attention of Councillor Antonie Popescu and of the “Acum” magazine. “I have been working in Israel as a social assistant for a survivor of the Holocaust for a couple of years now and each time I voted with the valid Romanian passport where I have a work visa which is applied annually by the Israeli Ministry of Interior. According to the Israeli law, no ID document certifying their temporary domicile or residence can be issued for foreign workers who work here legally. The work visa is also proof of the right to stay in Israel and those who work as social assistants (like me) live with the people they take care of. I also have an Israeli medical insurance. On November 30th 2008 around noon I went to the Romanian Embassy in Tel Aviv to vote but I was rejected even if I explained to the Consul that Israeli law does not provide for the delivery of other documents for foreign workers, no matter the country they come from.” Mrs. Berzintu sent a complaint to the Central Electoral Bureau by e-mail and another complaint to the Romanian Embassy in Israel.89
REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA Councillor Antonie Popescu, accredited observer in the 43rd constituency and for the Central Electoral Bureau collected and signalled data on some of the Romanians from abroad who couldn’t vote, many of them from the Republic of Moldova. He claims that the right to vote of a part of the Romanian citizens from Basarabia who have their domicile in the Republic of Moldova was violated on November 30th 2008 when the commissions from the 4 polling stations from Chisinau denied them the right to vote for the deputies and senators from the 43rd Constituency reserved to the Romanians from everywhere / the Diaspora. “Electoral law no. 35/2008 does not state which is the document which can be used to prove one’s domicile / residence abroad – neither in article 8 or in the dictionary of terms from article 2 or in the rest of the legal provisions. If the law does not make a distinction, the electoral bureaus couldn’t, either so they could not limit one’s right to vote which is a fundamental right. By doing so, the electoral bureaus, the central bureau, the constituency bureau, the polling station bureau committed a serious error and the fault falls with the Government who did not provide clear regulations. It is well known that according to a internationally spread practice, except for the ID issued by the Romanian authorities which makes a clear mention of the domicile / residence, an individual may also prove his/her domicile / residence with the document issued by the central / local authority of the state in question.”90 Councillor Antonie Popescu also argues that: “Romanian citizens from Basarabia who could also prove that they have a domicile in the Republic of Moldova with the ID issued by the Moldovan authorities could vote at the polling stations from Chisinau, respectively no. 118, 119, 120, 121. Several analysts from Basarabia and the observer of the Office for International Communication and Human Rights accredited in Chisinau showed that about half of the people with right to vote who went to the polling stations were denied the right to do so.”91 89
Testimonial provided to us by councilor Antonie Popescu (Romania) in December 2008. Fragments from the Open letter of councilor Antonie Popescu to the Central Electoral Bureau and the main Romanians courts and institutions, December 2008 91 Idem. 90
Other communications came from countries with a less transparent legislation as far as the certification of residence was concerned, such as Poland: “The same story in Poland. I have a Polish residence card, I have my own company here, I have a rental contract for an apartment but I could not vote because my permanent resident visa is not updated every 3 months.”92 Lack of promotion of the vote through information campaigns for the Diaspora citizens According to the information provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Romanian Embassies from abroad in the weeks prior to the poll from November 30th the “Romanian Voter’s Guide for Abroad” was distributed during an information campaign which started at the beginning of October. The informational brochure has 13 pages and it contains the general legal provisions on the vote of Romanians from abroad and on how to get valid Romanian ID documents. It also mentions which are the duties of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the organisation of the elections which are irrelevant to the simple voter. Finally, it briefly describes the uninominal colleges from the 43rd constituency, together with a list of the states which are part of each college. Users are then urged to consult the web pages of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the Central Electoral Bureau for further information. Unfortunately, the guide does not cover essential information such as the specific documents which certify one’s residence abroad at least in the states where the Romanian community is more numerous. Besides, the guide was not distributed on a large enough scale, many citizens having no way of getting or reading it. It should be noted, however, that the Italian press was informed by the Embassy about the elections date and some publications took over the official press release. It may be considered that the situation was slightly better than at the previous polls where the lack of a proper informational campaign was obvious, as shown by the survey carried out in May 2007. The lack of information about the vote but also the administrative obstacles mentioned before were erroneously interpreted as an exclusive lack of interest of the Romanians from abroad for the Romanian politics. In relation to this, Petre Roman, a candidate of the National Liberal Party for the Senate in the Europe – Asia college declared immediately after the elections, disappointed by the failure he registered and commenting on the absenteeism of the Diaspora Romanians: “I have discovered with astonishment that they were not interested to vote. Overall, only 0.7% of the emigrant Romanians voted. This is something I was not able to comprehend yet.” In his opinion, the lack of interest for the political life from the home country cannot be solved through an efficient solution to the problems. The politician admits that the limited number of the polling stations did not encourage participation at the vote, but he believes that “their number could have been five times larger.” “One of the reasons for which Romanians did not show interest in these elections has to do with the fact that very many of them blame the 92
A reader’s comment after the publication of the article: “The money we send home…”, Hotnews.ro.
politics for their poor situation. I have seen this everywhere at the Romanians from abroad”93 added Petre Roman.
REACTIONS AND DEBATES The alarm signal of the Public Policies Institute (IPP) In a communication released around the date of the November 2008 elections, the Public Policies Institute (IPP) from Bucharest signalled the fact that hundreds of thousands of Romanians might be prevented from voting at the November poll. Elena Iorga, program coordinator for the IPP, explained how many categories of Romanians are deprived of their constitutional right to vote: “The current legal provisions promoted by the Government and voted by Parliament limit the fundamental right to vote of all Romanians who, for objective reasons, are not in the town of domicile on November 30th this year. Among them, we mention the few hundreds of thousands of students, military personnel (most of them young people, r.n.) and other categories of citizens who have a temporary residence visa on their IDs. On November 3rd we appealed to the Romanian government asking them to amend the electoral legislation so that at the parliamentary elections from 2008 Romanian citizens who have a temporary residence visa are allowed to vote in their town of residence. According to the current law, they must travel to their town of domicile to vote. Unfortunately so far (13 November, r.n.) we have not received an answer. We are already half way through the campaign and I do not believe that there can still be any changes at this point in time. We were already contacted by several associations of Romanians from abroad who supported our actions, such as the Association of Romanian Students from Cambridge. Students from abroad and from university centres such as Bucharest are one of the most disadvantaged categories from an electoral perspective. In order for them to vote, they must return to their towns of domicile. Of course, the same goes for the military personnel” declared Iorga. As far as the Romanians from abroad are concerned, what would be an approximate figure of those who will not be able to vote? “We estimate that about one million Romanians living abroad will not be able to vote at the November 30th elections. This means all those Romanians who left abroad but could not establish their residence in the countries in question. The solution to allow all Romanians from abroad to exercise their constitutional right was simple and several states adopted it. I am referring to the introduction of the vote by mail. Unfortunately, I believe it is no longer possible to remedy the situation at this stage” continued Elena Iorga.94 According to the IPP statistics, there are over 2 million Romanians working or studying abroad. IPP estimates that half of these are not registered in the People’s Records in the country where they work. And in order for them to vote on November 30th, the registration of the domicile in the host country was indispensable. 93
Evenimentul Zilei 4/12/2008, article by Ana Zidarescu: (http://alegeriparlamentare2008.ro/emain/articolul/831028/Petre-Roman-s-a-suparat-ca-apierdutalegerile) 94 http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-diaspora-5140680-institutul-pentru-politici-publice-sustinemilionromani-aflati-peste-hotare-nu-vor-putea-vota.htm
Too few or too poorly represented The vote of the Romanians from abroad was not seen as a priority and not even as a necessity by most Romanian politicians. Although there were some proposals and legislative drafts in this line, no concrete result was achieved so far. On the contrary, after the polling boxes were closed on November 30th, some politicians criticized the voting system which provided six parliamentary seats for the Diaspora. George Scarlat made an analysis of these critiques whose promoter was the socialist-democrat senator Mihailescu for the Ziua daily paper: “Serban Mihailescu expressed his discontent that “6000 votes provided six MPs” (…) This is not about 6000 votes but about two million Romanians who work abroad plus a couple of other hundred thousands Romanian citizens living in the Republic of Moldova, Israel and Ukraine and having double citizenship. Rather than scolding the voters for absenteeism, the politicians would better study the causes of this phenomenon. The vote of the Romanians from abroad is one of their ways of staying connected with their country. For this they should be encouraged to vote and not prevented and made fun of when they do so, based on the assumption that they might vote for the wrong party.”95 The amendment of the electoral law or the improvement of the already existent system to give a true representativeness to the Diaspora becomes a priority of the new Parliament. The first who have the duty to propose and promote a change in the law will be the ones elected by the Romanians from abroad. One of the objectives proposed by the Democrat Liberal Party in the governing program is precisely: “to provide sufficient conditions for the exercise of the right to vote of Romanians who are outside the country borders”96. This objective was later confirmed during the first post-elections interview given by Senator Viorel Badea and then by his colleague from the Chamber of Deputies, William Brinza. But here is the calculation based on which the seats destined to the representatives of the Diaspora in the Romanian Parliament were decided. According to the articles published in the Romanian media, the Electoral Code Commission decided that the Romanian Diaspora from Europe be represented by 2 deputies and one Senator. It was calculated that the Romanian Diaspora is made up of 160,000 people who have the right to vote. “This calculation is based on the fact that there are a little over 100,000 Romanians with the right to vote in Europe” explained deputy Florin Iordache (socialist-democrat), vice-president of the Electoral Code Commission. The Commission representatives stated that they based their analysis on the number of Romanians who showed up at the Referendum from 2007 and at the elections for the European Parliament and on some statistics of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but they admit that sometimes the data is not accurate. On the other hand, representatives of the Romanians from Italy argue that the number of deputies and
95Dreptate pentru românii de afară, Ziua, 4 decembrie 2008: http://www.ziua.net/display.php?data=2008-12-04&id=246335 96 http://www.viorelbadea.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=5 &Itemid=63
senators is insufficient compared to the large number of Romanians from the Diaspora.97 In the opinion of the president of the Electoral Code Commission, Mihai Voicu, “it is of no relevance whether at the vote from autumn 100.000 or 1 million Romanians from the Diaspora will show up. It is not illegal for one deputy to represent more than 70.000 people, they may vote as many as they want, the law provides for 4 deputies and two senators for the Diaspora.”98 On the other hand, the debate also touched upon the number of Romanians who live outside the borders without documents certifying their residence which is considered of major importance by some politicians; in other words, this is a condition which allows them to exclude those individuals from the vote. Deputy Florin Iordache explained that the number of MPs and implicitly the division of the uninominal constituencies were established depending on the data received from the National Statistics Institute and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “It does not matter whether there are 500.000 or 1 million of them in Spain or Italy, the only one that matter are those who have documents and the right to vote. Based on the figures provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we reached this division of the uninominal constituency.”99 On the other hand, deputy Valentin Iliescu (democrat-liberal) states that the statistical data are not real as they are not updated. “For instance, for the electoral constituencies from the country they considered the statistical data from the 2002 census but things have changed. The same goes for the Diaspora; we base our actions on inaccurate figures.” Cristian Parvulescu, president of the Pro Democratia Association, which took an active participation at the works of the Commission explained how they reached the figure of four deputies and two senators for the Romanians from the Diaspora: “First, they took as a landmark the participation at the 2007 referendum where there were about 80,000 voters. Thus, it is enough for 80,000 people to be represented by four deputies and two senators. The thing is that there are no means to identify the exact number of Romanians from the Diaspora.” The president of Pro-Democratia also brought into discussion the aspect related to the logistic difficulties of Romanians from abroad that have the right to vote: “they can only vote at the embassies and consulates. Thus, it is difficult for the Romanians from the Diaspora to cast their vote.” From some media interventions of Parvulescu one may infer that the topic of the Romanians’ from abroad right to vote did not enjoy real political support from either side of the political stage: “We had unanimity here, meaning that they all refused. One of the best solutions for the Diaspora would be the vote by mail or the electronic vote.”
http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-politic-3470093-1-7-milioane-romani-din-spania-italia-vor-alegedoarsenator-doi-deputati.htm 98 Idem 99 Idem
A completely different position was adopted by several leaders of the Romanian community from the Diaspora. In the opinion of the president of the Party of Romanians from Italy (PRI), Giancarlo Germani, the Romanian state should take the example of Italy, who has no less than 16 deputies who represent the interest of their Diaspora: “In Italy there are over one million Romanians so at least 800,000 of them have the right to vote, excluding the minor children. Therefore Romanians from the Diaspora should be represented in the Parliament as they are the sole minority which is not represented. One million European citizens do have the right to be represented or at least to try and get some representation.” In his opinion, for the next parliamentary elections it would be natural to have at least one deputy for Italy only.100 The Koto paradox (The Democrat Union of the Hungarians from Romania UDMR) The plurality voting system in 43rd Constituency, created for the Romanians from the Diaspora brought some unexpected surprises, true paradoxes of the electoral democratic systems. The UDMR candidate Iosif Koto was elected deputy after the redistribution of the votes even if he had only got 34 votes. The explanation for the “paradox” was given by Cristian Parvulescu: “There is no problem at all; it is just the plain result of proportional representativeness which ensures the representation of all the UDMR votes. (…) We are not talking only about 34 votes but about the UDMR votes from the entire constituency and from the entire country.”101 It is important to underline that before November 30th even some representatives of UDMR like Marton Arpad, member of the Electoral Code Commission attacked the new plurality voting system for electing the Parliament: “The problem is that the number was limited by the plurality voting system. What can we do, I have always said that the law is bad102” Proposals and solutions The vote by mail and the electronic vote or a combination thereof are the most discussed variants both among Romanian emigrants and by the politicians. Failure of the Cioroianu project In 2007 Romania was presented with a detailed vote by mail project which failed before its approval by the Parliament. Even from the day of the Referendum from May 19th 2007 the minister of foreign affairs at that time – Adrian Cioroianu – supported the introduction of the vote by mail as the only way of getting the 100
http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-politic-3470093-1-7-milioane-romani-din-spania-italia-vor-alegedoarsenator-doi-deputati.htm 101 Adevarul: Interview with Cristian Parvulescu by ioana Danciu (http://www.adevarul.ro/articole/cristian-pirvulescu-deputatul-koto-nu-a-castigat-cu-voturiledindiaspora.html) 102 http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-politic-3470093-1-7-milioane-romani-din-spania-italia-vor-alegedoarsenator-doi-deputati.htm
Romanians from abroad involved in the electoral process. Actually, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was criticized by a part of the national media and by representatives of the Diaspora for not opening enough polling stations for the Romanians from abroad. “The solution is not to organize a large number of polling stations, but rather to introduce the vote by mail” stated Cioroianu. He added that he believed that no government could organize enough polling stations to keep up to the dynamics of the Romanians spread throughout the globe.103 The draft law on the vote by mail was then introduced as a legislative priority into the legislative program of the government for 2007 published at the beginning of the year; the deadline for presentation in the government was March 2007. the Ministry o Foreign Affairs (MAE) even presented the draft law which allows Romanians citizens who have their domicile or residence abroad to vote by mail for public debate on the institution website104. The legislative initiative would not have replaced the traditional polling boxes voting method which would have remained valid for consulates and embassies but wished to facilitate the voting process ensuring the parallel functioning of the two forms of voting. According to the draft law, the vote by mail would have applied to parliamentary elections, to presidential elections and respectively to the elections for the European Parliament. Here are a few fragments of the draft law on the vote by mail: “Romanians from abroad who wish to vote by mail must submit a written request for registration in the electoral registries to the Romanian embassy from the state of domicile or of residence or to the Romanian consular office in whose consular constituency they have their domicile or residence. Such request must be submitted at least 30 days before the elections day”. According to the project, at least 15 days before the elections day, the embassy would send by mail with acknowledgement of receipt the documents needed to cast the vote by mail to each Romanian citizen registered in the electoral registry at the expense of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Such documents would be: ballot, inside envelope, voter’s certificate, exterior envelope and instructions on the procedure of the vote casting. At the addressee’s address, the exterior envelope will be printed with the address of the embassy or consular office, depending on the situation.” Another important thing that the “Cioroianu” draft law contained was the obligation to organise an informational campaign prior to the vote: “Information must be provided both in Romanian and in the official language of the state of domicile or of residence.” Although the vote by mail project announced by the minister of foreign affairs, Mr. Cioroianu, was declared a government priority, one year later no one knew almost anything about its faith, as shown by an investigation of the “Adevarul” daily paper. The Italian model, a successful model When analyzing the different solutions proposed to change the electoral law on the Romanians from the Diaspora, it is useful to make a parallel with the current electoral law applied in Italy. 103
http://www.gardianul.ro/2007/05/19/politicac7/ cioroianu_solutia_este_votul_prin_corespondenta-s94896.html 104 http://www.mae.ro/poze_editare/TL_2007_DRRP.pdf
Italy, like Romania, has a large Diaspora approximately similar in number to that of Romania: there are almost three million (2,924,202 for the preliminary elections from April 2008) Italians with voting rights who reside abroad105. Otherwise said, the government in Rome sent almost three million envelopes with ballots. Of these envelopes, only 7.18% returned to sender with the explanation – addressee unknown – a result considered as positive by the organisers. If the number of voters from the Diaspora of the two countries, Romania and Italy is relatively equivalent, the number of the votes cast shows an enormous difference: only 24,000 voters for the Romanian parliamentary elections from November 2008 compared to 1,204,720 Italians who voted to send their representatives to the national Parliament! And the result is the effect of a recent law applied since 2006. the effects of the electoral law for the vote of Italians from abroad, a relatively new law as already mentioned, introduced for the first time at the parliamentary elections from 2006, are absolutely surprising at least for us, as Romanians: 1,135,617 votes cats. Practically approximately 42% of the Italians with the right to vote voted! The percentages increases significantly (96.50%) when in comes to the Italian included in the “special categories” provided by the law, i.e. representatives of the embassies and their families, military personnel and soldiers from abroad, as well as professors and researchers employed by educational institutes. The organizers of the Italian electoral process also declared themselves satisfied with the result obtained at the parliamentary elections from 2008. The responsible of the General Directorate for Italians from Abroad, Adriano Benedetti, stresses the importance of the informal contact groups created by the Italian consulates; these were made up of local candidates, representatives from the party lists and representatives of the different Italian organizations106. Although the Italian electoral model yielded positive results, the promoter of the law, Mirko Tremaglia, former minister for the Italians abroad in the cabinet of the government led by Silvio Berlusconi, noticed some shortcomings linked to the administrative procedures: “In 2008, about 200,000 co-nationals residents abroad could not exercise their right to vote because they did not receive the electoral envelope due to the fact that the address communicated by the responsible town halls from Italy was wrong.”107 One may draw the conclusion that the Italian model of the vote by mail may be a viable one also for the future electoral law on the participation of the Romanian Diaspora.
FOUR PROPOSALS FOR A NEW REGULATION ON THE VOTE OF ROMANIANS FROM ABROAD 105
According to the article “Voto all “estero” from the Italia Estera magazine, 11/04/2008. Statement made by ambassador Adriano Benedetti at the Press conference organized at the headquarters of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tome, 11/04/2008. 107 Statement made by Mirko Tremaglia and taken by “Italia Estera”, newspaper of the Italian Diaspora, 14/04/2008. 106
Taking into account the existence of a draft law on the vote by mail which should integrate the existent traditional electoral model and also considering the preoccupations of the current political class to get involved and give effectiveness to the right of the Romanians from abroad to exercise a constitutional right, we could put forward a couple of ideas – proposals aimed at outlining a possible new regulation on the issue starting from the relevant needs discovered by our study. 1. A census of the Romanians from abroad The first step needed to provide Romanians from abroad with a real, not only formal possibility to vote is their official registration in a Registry of the Romanian population living abroad. It was noticed that the documents needed to prove one’s residence are more of an obstacle than a premise for the exercise of one’s constitutional right to vote. Moreover, the documents needed to prove one’s residence differ from one country to the other. The solution would be to register people on supplementary lists, as shown by the poll from November this year. The 2008 legislative regulations state that starting from 2012 voters will have to be registered in the Electoral Registry. This is a centralised database which will contain all Romanian citizens who have turned 18 and have the right to vote, including those who have their domicile or residence abroad.108 The registration of all Romanians from abroad in a registry should be done based on an affidavit, without any need of a document delivered by the state where the individual in question domiciles. Automatically, the voter should be erased from the lists of the town where s/he resides. The Italian variant confirms the benefits of such a system. In Italy, where the Diaspora is numerous, there is an Official Record of the Italians domiciling abroad: AIRE (Anagrafe degli Italiani Residenti all’Estero) instituted by law (no. 470 from October 27th 1988) and a Regulation – DPR no. 323 from September 6th 1989. Unlike the provisions of the Romanian law, AIRE contains records of “Italian citizens who spontaneously declared that they wish to live abroad for more than 12 months and of those who were found to reside abroad”. The competent institutions who keep records of the population abroad are the local town halls. Thus, each town hall has its own People’s Records for citizens established abroad. There is also a national statistics of Italian who domicile abroad which depends on the Ministry of Interior. Although this is a method that was confirmed and used by the Italian government do far, it does have its drawbacks as declared by Aldo Di Biagio, Italian deputy elected in the Europe college: “We must solve certain drawbacks related to the double census system, i.e. the centralised system of the ministry – AIRE – and, on the other hand, the census held by each town (commune) separately.”109 108
Law no. 35/2008 as successively http://www.mae.ro/poze_editare/C43_2008.11.19_Reglementari.pdf 109 Colloquium with deputy Aldo Di Biagio, Rome, January 2009.
Dumitru Ilinca, representative of the Romanian community from Padova (Italy) who also participated at the electoral commission of the Padova polling station as responsible for the democrat liberal branch is also convinced that it is important and necessary to make a census of the Romanians from abroad: “A census is a laborious task, but there are ways of identifying the number of Romanians from the Diaspora. It would be enough for the Embassy and the Consulates to ask the town halls of the towns which host Romanian citizens for a real situation of the residents! A recommendation would also be to consult the statistics of the Italian Ministry of Interior first which can also be found on the institution’s website so as to have a distribution of the Romanians from Italy per regions, provinces etc. Thus, we have over 630,000 residents and the organization of a proper number of polling stations will give a larger number of Diaspora citizens the right to express a constitutional right: the right to vote!”110 2. Vote by mail A model which should be studied and then adapted to the Romanian reality may be the Italian model, as already mentioned above. The characteristics of the Romanian Diaspora are similar and compatible to those of the Italian community living abroad first in terms of number and then in terms of their ample geographical distribution. One should not forget that Italian citizens domiciling abroad and registered in AIRE (the Italian registry) have the right to cast their vote at all polls and referendums organised in Italy. For administrative elections, for the direct election of the regional president and council and any for local consultations, voters from abroad receive a notice-letter which allows them to return to Italy to cast their vote. On the occasion of the elections for the European Parliament, voters who were residents of one of the EU countries received a special electoral certificate which allowed them to vote there, in the country of residence. This model of voting inside the EU valid for Romanian citizens, as well, may therefore be adapted to these elections as well. For the Italian parliamentary elections and for the national referendums they created, just like in Romania, a constituency for the Diaspora; thus, law 459/2001 distributed 6 positions of senator and 12 of deputies for this. For these elections, citizens from the Diaspora receive an envelope from the consular bureaus of the country in question; the envelope contains: the electoral certificate, the ballots and a stamped envelope with the printed address of the competent consulate. Citizens who were not registered on the electoral lists or were deleted for some reason may vote by mail anyway, by going to the consulates at least 11 days before the elections day and asking to be put back on the lists. Within 24 hours, the consulate must request details about the citizen’s possibility to vote from the town hall where s/he had his/her prior domicile in the country. Comparing the Italian system to the Cioroianu draft law, we notice some matters which should be clarified and improved in the draft law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 110
Colloquium with Dumitru Ilinca, representative of the Romanians from Padova and the Veneto region, responsible for the democrat-liberal branch from Italy, Rome, February 2009.
First, we should note the importance of the Registry listing the Romanians from abroad which continues to be kept in close collaboration with local town halls. The massive movement of Romanians abroad logically coincides with the decrease of population in the high urban and rural concentration areas from the country. And the constituencies from the country are calculated based on the number of Romanians registered in the People’s Records. We should underline that very few emigrant Romanians gave up their domicile in Romania so registries show that they live in the home country. Therefore if on the one hand, there are over 700,000 Romanians who set their residence in Italy, this does not mean that an equivalent number must be subtracted from the Romanian registers. This is the reason why it would be necessary to have collaboration among people’s records offices from the countries where Romanians emigrate and a parallel consultation of the databases. The facilitation of the Romanians’ “counting” process is also suggested by the practiced used by the Peninsula. Italian citizens living abroad do not need additional documents to prove their residence; they only need an affidavit to be registered in the list and records of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If this had been applied so far, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs would have probably got a much more real image of our co-nationals’ presence abroad. An immediate consequence of the validity of the affidavit would also register in the electoral field. Romanians from abroad could vote based on a previous statement in which they declare that they domicile in that country. At least in Italy it is well known how difficult it is and how long it takes for a Romanian to establish his/her domicile in the Peninsula. The defects of the host country have discriminatory and unjustified repercussions on Romanian citizens who should benefit from a right based on the simple statement of their citizenship. Another characteristic of how the vote is cast in the Italian system which could be adapted into the draft law is that related to the constant information of citizens from the Diaspora about their right. Before each poll, embassies should send a notice about the elections to each person registered in the Diaspora People’s Records. On the other hand – and this is not just a detail - the envelopes containing the ballot and the certificate should be pre-stamped at the expense of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and such expenses may be covered from a special fund created from consular fees. Envelopes should be printed with the addressee’s address – i.e. the competent consular offices. See ANNEX 1 for a simplified graphical scheme of the proposal related to the vote by mail. Comment: The introduction of the vote by mail should not replace the traditional voting method of the polling stations but complement it. Moreover, the Romanian state should increase the number of polling stations, especially in those towns where the number of Romanians is bigger. This is also a comment made in relation to the Italian voting system precisely by its creator, Mirko Tremaglia: “It is indispensable for
the voting operations to take place in embassies, consulates, schools and in other public spaces, as well”111 3. The electronic vote The electronic vote was taken into consideration several times during the discussions for the improvement of the electoral system with reference to the Diaspora. Mihai Muntean, national secretary of the Romanians’ party from Italy and one of the leaders of the Romanian community from the Peninsula declared that the electronic vote was one of the arguments supported by him during the meeting he had in September 2008 in Madrid with president Traian Basescu but also with other political leaders visiting Rome. “I asked president Traian Basescu to introduce the electronic vote for the Romanians from outside the country. If this were not possible, an alternative would be the vote by mail. Other two issues that I brought to the president’s attention were the increase of the number of members of parliament representing the Diaspora and the creation of a commission in Bucharest made up of representatives of the Romanians from abroad, an apolitical consultative body.”112 During a meeting with representatives of the associations of Romanians from the Italian capital, Viorel Badea, vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee, stated that he would promote the change of the electoral law in the Parliament, asking for the introduction “of a mixed system – vote by mail and electronic vote, considering also to supplement the polling stations in towns where a massive Romanian presence is registered.”113 The same topic determined a recent intervention of the head of state. In a trip to Budapest, Traian Basescu launched the idea of the imminent introduction of the electronic vote starting with the following parliamentary elections. “Romania has the necessary technology to introduce the electronic vote.” The electronic vote is surely an ideal procedure for most of the Romanians living abroad and currently using a PC and an internet connection. Just like the vote by mail, the electronic vote has pluses and minuses. In 2006 Italy tried an electronic counting of the votes in four regions for a total of almost 11 millions cast votes. This drew a lot of criticism even from renowned Italian politicians. Antonio di Pietro, leader of the Italia dei Valori Party attacked the electronic counting of the votes arguing that it could lead to numerous electoral frauds114. One of the main arguments was the degree of protection of the software used. During the following polls, they gave up the electronic counting of the votes and stuck to the traditional, manual method. Another experiment took place in 2003 when Romanian soldiers from missions abroad cast their vote through an electronic system on the occasion of the
Statement made by Mirko Tremaglia and taken over by “Italia Estera”, newspaper of the Italian Diaspora 14/04/2008. 112 Colloquium with Mihai Muntean, national secretary of the Romanians’ Party from Italy), Rome, December 2008. 113 Intervention of Senator Viorel Badea at the debate-conference held at Accademia di Romania, Rome, 23 January 2009. 114 Statement of Antonio di Pietro in La Repubblica, “Attenti al voto elettronico”, 26 March 2006.
referendum on the revision of the constitution. The experiment was declared a success but it was not extended or repeated. The introduction of the electronic vote was considered much too costly an operation in the United Kingdom; in 2006 the British considered moving on to a computerbased electoral system. Other pilot electronic vote projects were implemented in France (the beneficiaries being precisely the French citizens from abroad – AFE – Assemblee des Francais de l’Etranger), in the Netherlands and in Ireland but the results – with small exceptions – were considered unsatisfactory. The causes are first related to the imperfections of the software programs used and to their incompatibility with the operating systems as well as the often laborious operations of registration and confirmation of one’s own vote. Last but not least, as it was recently seen in the Netherlands, the electronic voting system may be the target of attacks which can completely erase the initial efficiency considered by the organizers. One of the very few successful experiments is the one carried out in Estonia in February 2007. 30,000 voters could use the electronic vote via the internet. Users connected to the network, and then they used an electronic identity card to identify themselves and cast their vote. A major drawback of the electronic vote either cast in the polling booth or via the internet is its volatility. Once the votes cast, they cannot be recovered in the case of an electoral appeal for instance and this fuels the fears that operations could be subject to an electoral fraud which would leave no traces. 4. Information and civic education campaigns Romanians from abroad are actually a new defiance both for the Romanian politicians and for those from the countries of the European Union. Once Romania joined the European Community, Romanians who live with legal documents on the territory of the European Union may participate both at the administrative elections and at the European elections on the territory of the country of residence, both as active and as passive electorate. During the last couple of months, Italian politicians seem to have understood the electorally rich perspectives of the citizens of the Union. In January 2009 the Radical Party, for instance, started an intense information campaign on the European citizens’ right to vote. The campaign, supported by leaders such as former European MPs Emma Bonino or Marco Panella, also comprised a conference with debate held in the Chamber of Deputies and a demonstration in front of the RAI public TV station to ask for the broadcasting of some TV spots on the vote of the European citizens. “We wish to suggest to the Government and particularly to the Minister of Interior Roberto Maroni the measures which need to be taken to overcome the bureaucracy and information difficulties which prevented many European citizens from voting at the previous elections.”115 115
Intervention of Emma Bonino, vice-president of the Italian Senate at the Conference: “Elezioni Europee 2009, siamo tutti elettori”, Rome, Chamber of Deputies, 23 January 2009. For further information about the campaign of the Radical Party: http://www.radicali.it/
As far as the vote of the Romanians from abroad is concerned, it would be useful and necessary to identify and work with the NGOs from the country and from abroad which deal with civil society participation at the political life under the rule of law. Moreover, the Government could promote studies and research on the activity of the politicians and of the political parties in relation to the vote of the Diaspora, especially in the new context of the European Union. ANNEX 1 – Proposed scheme for the vote by mail Vote by mail project Electoral envelope
Inside the envelope there will be: Different ballots for the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate Information about the voting method and procedure 2 (two) envelopes – a white one for the vote and another one printed with the address of the Consulate or of the polling station Lists of candidates or voting options Each citizen votes according to the enclosed instructions.
Ballot for the Ch. of Deputies
Ballot for the Senate
Lists of candidates
The vote is personal, free and secret.
After the vote, the ballots are put inside the white envelope and voter seals the envelope.
Ballot for the Ch. of Deputies
Ballot for the Senate
The envelope with the vote and the electoral certificate are put inside the envelope printed with the address of the consulate. The electoral certificate can be issued by each consular office for each poll (Referendum, parliamentary elections etc.)
The envelope is sealed and sent to the Consulate or to the polling station, according to the procedure set by the law.
Immigrazione- Dossier Statistico 2008- XVIII Rapporto, Edizioni IDOS, Roma, 2008
• The 2008 collection of magazine “Italia Estera” FOGLIO Antonio - Il marketing politico ed elettorale, Franco Angeli Editore, Milano, 2008 • FULGA Gheorghe - Societăţi şi sisteme politice contemporane, Editura Economică, Bucureşti, 2004 • IACOBINI Jacopo- Votantonio- Interventi Donzelli, Roma, 2006 • IGNATOIU-SORA Emanuela- Egalitate şi nondiscriminare în jurisprudenţa Curţii Europene de Justiţie, • C.H. Beck, Bucureşti, 2008 IONESCU Cristian- comentarii de..- Legile electorale pe înţelesul tuturor, ALL BECK, Bucureşti, 2004 • JURA Cristian- Drepturile omului- drepturile minorităţilor naţionale, Editura C.H. Beck, Bucureşti, 2006 • MASSARI Oreste, PASQUINO Gianfranco- Rappresentare e governare, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1994 • MERCURIO Vincenzo, SCOLARO Sereno- La nuova legge elettorale-Maggiori Editore, San Marino, 2006 • PREDA Mircea- Legea alegerilor locale- Universul Juridic, Bucureşti, 2008 Web Sites: THE ROMANIAN EMBASSY TO ITALY: www.roembit.org THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: www.mae.ro THE ITALIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: www.esteri.it THE NATIONAL STATISTICS INSTITUTE: www.istat.it THE INTALIAN MINISTRY OF INTERIOR: www.interne.it GAZETA ROMANEASCA – Weekly magazine of Romanians from Italy: www.gazetaromaneasca.com Colloquiums with: - Claudio Micheloni, Italian Senator elected in the “Estero” constituency of the Italians from the Diaspora - Aldo di Biagio, Italian deputy elected in the “Estero” constituency of the Italians from the Diaspora - Viorel Badea, Senator elected in the Europe-Asia college, vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Romanian Senate - Giancarlo Germani, president of the Romanians’ Party from Italy - Mihai Muntean, national secretary of the Romanians’ Party from Italy - Marian Mocanu, candidate of the Socialist-Democrat Party for the Romanian Senate in the Europe-Asia college - Dumitru Ilinca, representative of the Romanian community from Veneto and responsible for the branch of the Democrat-Liberal Party in Italy - Antonie Popescu, Councilor and observer of the November 30th 2008 elections
ANALYSIS OF THE MODIFICATION OF THE ROMANIAN ELECTORAL SYSTEM KISS CSABA ZSOLT
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS Taking into account the Romanian political realities but also the acknowledged institutional-political design models, the topic chosen for this study is represented by an acute problem of the current political situation in Romania: the modification of the electoral system. The long debated topic turned from a simple lively discussion between politicians to a reality which will have long term effects on the Romanian political and social stage. The purpose of this study is to make a technical analysis of the “electoral reform” from 2007. It is well known that by amending the electoral law Romania passed from a pure proportional representation form (with a 5% electoral threshold and a d’Hondt redistribution system) to an MMP system which actually keeps the proportional character of the elections but also gives them a personal characteristic through the plurality voting system. Nevertheless, the current Romanian system is not a classical one and the combination of the proportional and uninominal elements may facilitate the appearance of some unexpected effects and results. The effects of the electoral modification on the political system but also (to a certain extent) on voters and partners may be illustrated by making a simulation of the results of the elections if the old electoral system were used. The importance of this measure resides in the fact that only this way may we confirm or invalidate the assumption of the political class, respectively the modifications brought for the modification of the electoral system. Secondly, such a simulation is beneficial for observing the possible effects on the Romanian political and social system. The study shall be organized as follows: 1. The importance of the old electoral system in the political system and for strengthening the democracy; 2. Basic aspects in analysis; 3. Methodology of simulation; 4. Presentation of the results of the simulation; 5. Interpretation of the results; 6. Proposals of policies for potential modifications which might be brought to the law to counteract the negative effects or strengthen the positive effects.
IMPORTANCE OF THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM The year of 1989 will probably remain in universal history as one of the dates of reference of the 20th century. Given its size, this event may be understood as a rupture of the course of history, a rupture which was to allow a 180 degrees change in the course of history of Eastern and Central European states; this rupture is transposed in the empirical reality as the collapse of the communist regimes from this part of the globe. 95
The fall of communism opens the way to a new road for the East European states; it is a road of society reform, of mentalities and finally of culture going towards the values of equality, freedom or otherwise said towards the “adoption” of democratic values. The first step towards this desideratum is closely linked to the organization of state institutions and of their formal organization rules. Thus, starting from the organization and reform of the institutions in the spirit of the western models, the states who were recently released of the communist dominance will be able to progress to real democracy strengthening (Linz; Stepan, 1996, pp. 2-7). Obviously, democratic development and strengthening will not and cannot be identical (neither temporally nor as far as its outcome is concerned) for the abovementioned states. The rapidity of the democratic transition and then its strengthening is a complex phenomenon which is influenced and modeled by a vast series of factors. Thus, considering the primordial importance of the institutional design on the transition and then on the democratic strengthening it is impossible to omit, in this context, the typology of the electoral system. The functioning of the electoral system is the other element of the political system to “decide” on the durability of the political system as a whole. Andreas Schedler quoting Robert Dahl mentioned that “the most widely accepted criteria for the identification of a country as being democratic (…) are civil and political rights plus correct, competitive and inclusive elections” (Schedler, 2002, pp. 124). Of course that this is just an aspect of the importance electoral systems have within the political system in general and of course this is also the case with Romania. Making a brief reference at the choice of the electoral system which functioned until 2007, I may stat the following: in Romania this process was more complicated as there was a wide series of negotiations and options proposed and the electoral system used for the parliamentary elections (The Constituent Assembly) from 1990 was modified in 1992. However, the differences between the two are rather limited as both systems are proportional. The first system used regional party lists, introduced a Hare quota at the constituency level and the redistribution rules (if the quota was not reached) were different for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies – the d’Hondt method was only used for the Chamber of Deputies. By passing the electoral law from 1992, the electoral system was modified through the introduction of the RP system on closed lists and with a d’Hondt redistribution method for both chambers. Besides, 42 electoral constituencies were introduced. The differences between the two chambers are very few: 1. the standardization of the method used to elect the representatives for both chambers (only the quota differs: 70 000 votes against 140 000 votes) and 2. the increase in the number of constituencies. Nevertheless, as mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the type of transition or of fall of the communist regime could have some indirect effects which are particular for each state. For this, we will have to start with some theories or considerations on the institutional design in general. Thus, Farrell talks, in the case of Central and Eastern Europe, about a new type of adoption of the electoral system, i.e. “conscious design” and mentions (quoting Reilly and Reynolds) that the states felt the need and utility of a well crafted electoral system as a constitutional foundation for new
democracies116 (Farrell, 2001, pp. 179). On the other hand, Barbara Geddes mentions that people who are called to or have to make the change, people who must determine the electoral procedures follow their own personal interest before anything else; and their interest is focused on the development of their political career (Geddes, 1996, pp. 18). Moreover, both Holmes and von Beyme and Boint (2002 â€“ he speaks of the maximization of power) and Bernhard117 adopt this idea but with some variations. However, the basic idea which prevails is that institutional design is based on a set of actors who negotiate to reach the outcome which is most favorable for them or for their cause. The type of transition, in this case, may have only a secondary indirect effect in the following sense: the type of transition influences the position of the second echelon from the nomenclature, sometimes favoring its access to power and some other times liming this access. Before moving on we will have to make some additional considerations118. Thus, first we will have to consider the following aspects: communist parties have considerable advantages at the level of local organizations compared to the new democratic parties; moreover, they can still hold control over the media and the state resources; both the communist parties and the opposition parties systematically overestimate the support enjoyed by the communist parties; the communist parties prefer majority electoral system and the opposition parties would rather go with proportional representation electoral systems119. Thus, the indirect effect of the type of transition may have an influence through the level of power that the representatives or acolytes of the former regime keep within the formal framework of the development of the electoral system. Therefore, based on the theoretical ideas described above, if the type of transaction allows for the maintenance of a significant level of power by these persons a majority electoral system shall be put into force; if not, we shall see a proportional system developing. According to those mentioned above, a majority voting system should function in Romania but obviously it does not. The answer is as simple as possible: on February 1st the National Salvation Front submitted to public debate a draft law on elections; this draft law proposed a majority system with two ballots for both chambers and mandates for the minorities granted based on the proportional representation principle. Following the public debate, under the pressure of the opposition, the proposal was abandoned but the idea was resumed by the Constituent Assembly; however, there too it remained only a discourse. The abandonment of the idea by the National Salvation Front may be seen, in my opinion, as a self-sufficiency gesture, as the National Salvation Front was convinced that they would win the elections regardless of the form of the electoral system (Geddes, 1996, pp. 27). In the case of Romania this characteristic is given by the incredible support enjoyed by the National Salvation Front (on the one hand also due to the fact that its 116
Hungary is included in the class determined by this characteristic. From here on I shall rely on the institutional design model proposed by Brenhard (Annex 1) because I believe it may be the clearest: there is a series of actors who enter the institutional election process whose outcome will be the institutional framework. 118 The ideas presented here are also taken over by Geddes, von Beyme, Linz and Stepan. 119 The support of communist parties for the majority parties has three sources: overestimation of their own popularity; the desire of the member politicians to candidate in their own name without being inconvenienced by the party etiquette; intact control at local level (Geddes, 1996, pp. 22). 117
members were the embodiment of the revolution) which granted this concession to the electoral system convinced that they would win the elections regardless of the circumstances (an explanation and additional information would be the fact that at the time of the 1990 elections the National Salvation Front functioned both as a state power, respectively temporary government and as a political party and thus they could make use of this power and of the related resources to â€œcensorâ€? the opposition). The presentation from above is brief as the purpose of this study is not to make a vast analysis on how this type of system was chosen. In exchange, we believed it was necessary to introduce a couple of observations considering the importance that this system had for the democratic strengthening of Romania. Moreover, the presence of such an electoral system undoubtedly contributed to the democratic strengthening of Romania. According to the principle exposed by Lijphard, a state may be considered democratic when the governing party loses two consecutive elections: the case of the elections from 1996 and 2000. It is my opinion that such a result would not have been possible if a majority voting system had been implemented. If the design of the electoral system and of its functioning has a prevailing importance in the democratic strengthening process, its importance does not decrease in strengthened democracies, either. But in this case the importance of the electoral system is given by other implications. If we were to use a metaphor, the electoral system may be seen as the heart of the political system as its implications have the power to change the functioning of the political system from its roots. The most eloquent example in this sense is that of New Zealand which in 1996, after almost half a century of plurality electoral system, introduced proportional representation through a mixed proportional member system (similar to the German system). The immediate effect of this modification was the increase of the turnout, the increase of the number of parties (initially there were only two parties), the appearance of the coalition governments and the decrease of the executive power compared to the legislative power (Lijphart, 2000). Thirdly, besides the systemic influences, the type of electoral system also has strong influences on the behavior of the voters and of the candidates, as documented by a wide range of specialized literature.
BASIC ASPECTS OF THE ANALYSIS Considering that the functioning method, respectively the votesâ€™ distribution method in the old electoral system is widely known and since I will make references to it in the following sections, I will not present it here. Also, I do not wish to make an exhaustive description of how the new electoral system works because the information is easy to get by reading law 35/2008. Nevertheless, the most significant difference between the two systems is given to a certain extent by the nominal representation and by the absence of lists in the case of the distribution of votes for the parties.
Further on I with to make a presentation of the constitutive elements of a preliminary analysis of the new electoral system. Of course, these are just the premises of the ideas to be presented in detail in the analysis chapter. At the same time, the elements are mostly inspired by the comments published in the Romanian media immediately after the elections from November 30th 2008. In the chapter destined to analysis I shall refer to systemic and not to circumstantial characteristics (for instance the elections date) but I shall also assess the fairness of the comments from the press which are summarized below. In consequence, the problems and respectively the situations seen at a first glance in the functioning of the electoral system are the following: • •
The incapacity to vote of the highly mobile categories (student etc.) and of people who do not live at their permanent domicile. The introduction of the plurality voting system was fiercely supported by the idea of giving Members of Parliament a sense of responsibility in front of their voters. But since in Parliament there is not a clear public evidence of the vote MPs give for different projects or legislative proposals, the power to give the voter a sense of responsibility decreases. One should have the right to candidate in a college based on one’s residence so that the Member of Parliament is indeed familiarized with the problems of the community; therefore, such MP should be a resident of that community. Otherwise, the element of responsibility gets diluted. The problems imposed by gerrymandering (the creation of the electoral colleges in such a way that a certain party is favored) and malaportionment (creation of colleges very different in terms of number of voters). From what one can notice, the newly adapted electoral system disadvantages the small parties, respectively parties whose support is geographically dispersed through the 5%, respectively 6+3 threshold. We should also note here the differentiated treatment applied to independent candidates. Low attendance at the elections.
In spite all these, maybe the most significant problem, which shall be treated in detail in our analysis, is the fact that citizens have the possibility to cast one single vote which is in fact a vote cast both for the individual and for the party; this, in my opinion, is a major problem as the two ideas (antithetically opposed) do not imply each other. From the fact that somebody votes for ONE INDIVIDUAL one may not conclude that that somebody also voted for the party of that individual. This procedure goes exactly against the idea of a plurality voting system. This is precisely why the outcome may be (and is) that people whom the voters elected in very small numbers become Members of Parliament. The question asked is whether these people have indeed any legitimacy.
The simulation of the results of the general elections from November 30th 2008 if the old electoral system (specified in law 373/2004) had been used will go through the following steps: Step 1: Aggregation at constituency level (and then at national level) of the voteshare obtained by parties in each uninominal college. According to law 373/2004 but also to law 35/2008 and to Gov. Ruling 802/2008 the territorial division of the constituencies is identical to the administrative-territorial division of Romania. Thus, each county is an electoral constituency. If law 373 provided that mandates were distributed “in block” (on the list) for each constituency, according to law 35/2008, mandates are distributed in sub-units of the constituencies, i.e. electoral colleges with a size of 1: the number of colleges is equivalent to the number of mandates which are to be distributed in that constituency. An important aspect which was taken into account was the total number of mandates, respectively the total number of deputies / senators who will be elected nationally. According to Annex 1 from law 373/2004 this number was of 314 deputies respectively 137 senators. These figures are obtained on the basis of the representation rule (which is – and has been – 70 000 citizens for one deputy and 140 000 citizens for one senator). Due to the mobility of the population, the number of deputies and senators oscillates and is recalculated from one election to the next. Thus, in order to make the simulation in the best circumstances possible and to make sure that it reflects the reality, we reconsidered (compared to Annex 1 of law 373/2004) the size of the constituencies and therefore the total number of mandates which were to be distributed. Taking into account that the representation rule and the division of the constituencies were not modified, we believed that it was acceptable to use the number of mandates granted to a constituency (equivalent to the number of electoral colleges from a constituency) as specified in Law 35/2008 as amended and completed and Gov. Ruling 802/2008 as amended and completed. The differences between the size of the constituencies according to law 373 / 2004 and to the new law are illustrated in table 1. In consequence, the current simulation will be made taking into account the renewed sizes of the constituencies, as shown above. In this regard, a major difference between the two laws is the appearance of the constituency for the Romanians from abroad; this constituency has 4 mandates for the Chamber of Deputies and 2 for the Senate. In exchange, according to law 373/2004, the votes expressed by the citizens from abroad went to electoral constituency no. 42 – the municipality of Bucharest. Thus, in our simulation the constituency for the Romanians from abroad and the Bucharest constituency will be unified as per law 373/2004. Therefore the result is a number of 32 mandates for the municipality of Bucharest for the Chamber of Deputies and 12 mandates for the Senate. Before moving on to step 2, we also have to mention that we will eliminate from the calculations the parties which did not get enough votes to cross the 5% electoral threshold. Table 1. Size of constituencies
Circumscription / County
Chamber of deputies
Sizes used in simulation
Chamber of Deputies
Step 2: Distribution of the number of mandates at constituency level. In accordance with law 373/2004 at the constituency level mandates shall be distributed as follows: an electoral coefficient shall be calculated by dividing the total number of valid votes
cast in the constituency to the number of eligible mandates. The resulted coefficient is the number of votes needed for one mandate. Then we shall calculate how many times is this coefficient comprised in the total number of votes won by a party in the respective constituency: the full number resulted (rounded down to the full number) will be the number of mandates got by that party in that constituency. Votes remained unused (because of the down rounding) shall be reported for national redistribution. Step 3. Redistribution of the remained (unused) votes using the dâ€™Hondt method. We shall start by aggregating at a national level the votes remained unused by each constituency, separately for each party. Then, in the case of each party the aggregate of the unused (remained) votes shall be divided, in turns, with each figure (respectively number) from 1 to the number equivalent to the number of mandates which need to be redistributed at a national level (83 in the case of the Chamber of Deputies and 106 in the case of the Senate). The results got are put together and organized in decreasing order. From this list we choose the result which is equivalent to the number of mandates which need to be redistributed. This result becomes the electoral coefficient representing the number of votes needed to get a mandate. In the last stage, the number of votes remained (separate per party) is divided by this coefficient and the resulted number represents the number of mandates which the respective party gets after the national redistribution. One should mention that the results obtained following the simulation shall not reflect with maximum accuracy the results which would have been obtained in real circumstances if the elections had been organized using the old system. The main reason is precisely the difference in the type of vote: given to the party and respectively given to the individual. As mentioned, these approaches cannot be interchanged. Despite this, I believe that the results we got are rather accurate approximations compared to the potential reality given the fact that it is very likely for the voters not to perceive this difference yet. Finally, it is important to mention that this analysis will not allocate nominal mandates nor will it simulate the final step of the distribution, i.e. stating which will be the final distribution of the mandates in the constituencies. The purpose of this research is represented only by the macro differences in the results of the elections.
RESULTS OF THE SIMULATION By applying the abovementioned methodology we got the results shown below (tables 2 and 3). Table 4 makes a comparison between the results of the simulation and the real results of the elections from November 30th 2008. Table 2. Results of the simulation for the Chamber of Deputies
Percentage of votes
Mandates got in constituencies
Mandates got through the dâ€™Hondt method
Percentage of mandates
Table 2. . Results of the simulation for the Senate
Percentage of votes
Mandates got in constituencies
Mandates got through the dâ€™Hondt method
Percentage of mandates
Table 4. Comparison between the results got with each of the two electoral systems Party
Chamber of Deputies
As one may see, results differ to a very small extent. The most significant difference is represented by the drop of the National Liberal Party (PNL) vote share especially to the benefit of the Democrat Liberal Party (PDL) but also to that of the Socialist Democrat Party (PSD). A special situation is given by the extra mandate obtained by PDL, which led to the increase of the total number of mandates to 316. This is a special circumstance created by law 38/2008 which allowed PDL to get an extra mandate by winning 4 uninominal colleges in the county of Arad although the normal aggregate number of votes per circumscription would have allowed them to get only 3 mandates. One may also notice that neither PRM nor PNG would have entered the Parliament even if the old voting system had been used. In what concerns the level of representativeness of the new electoral system we may say that it allows and ensures the distribution of the mandates proportionally with the number of votes got by the Parties. Of course, there is a tendency to favor big parties (respectively parties which get more votes) but this tendency is also present (to a smaller extent) in the dâ€™Hondt method used by the old electoral system. The idea of proportional representation is important in the Romanian context given the heterogeneous composition of the Romanian society (presence of ethnic and religious minorities). Under these circumstances at a first glance one might say that the new electoral system successfully combines the proportionality of results with the nominal representation. Moreover, unlike a typically majority system based exclusively on nominal representation (and which yields strongly disproportionate results) the new Romanian electoral system, through the redistribution system (step 2 and 3) does not disadvantage (more than the pure PR system) small parties, respectively parties who have a significant basis of supporters equally spread on the territory of the country but which are not large enough to win a majority (or plurality) of votes in any college (like the Liberal Democrat Party in the UK). Nevertheless, as I will argue in the following section, there are some major functional problems in how proportionality and nominal representation are combined: in essence, as demonstrated, the new electoral system is closer to proportional representation that a mixed representation system (MMP or MPM). Finally, if we were to consider the effects which the use of the old electoral system would have had, we must note that, paradoxically, they could have been significant. At an absolute level, the results contain minor differences which, theoretically speaking is an advantage as it indicates that this electoral system does not yield disproportionate results; but if we were to look at the effects which these differences 105
might have had strictly in this electoral context, these minor differences may turn into very strong and significant differences. As it may be seen, PDL and PSD would have gotten an equal number of mandates and PSD had a higher percentage of the popular vote. Such a configuration could have inclined the balance to the benefit of PSD for the formation of the government and the occupation of the position of primeminister. Of course, a minority government would have been unlikely, but the likelihood of the present governmental coalition would have been much lower. A more plausible solution would have been a PSD-PNL minimally winner coalition provided that PNL gave up the claim to take the position of prime-minister. Of course that an alternative scenario if the president had not appointed a socialist-democrat prime-minister would have been the onset of a political crisis triggered by the dispute between the president, the Socialist Democrat Party and the Democrat Liberal Party. In the following section I shall discuss what I believe to be the most important problems of the new system but also some proposals of policies for their improvement.
PROBLEMS AND PROPOSALS OF POLICIES •
The inability to exercise one’s right to vote
The first problem identified is the limitation of the exercise of right to vote of citizens who were not in their town of residence on the elections date. Except for the people who were in transit on the elections date, the categories disadvantaged by the law were students and people domiciling abroad. Although in both cases people were given the possibility to exercise their right (free train tickets for students and a certification of the domicile for people living abroad) the voting was significantly burdened. At the same time, obviously, people who were in transit on the elections date did not have the possibility to cast their vote. The problem at hand is a very important one both practically and theoretically as it directly contradicts the rules of a constitutional democracy. The text of the Constitution specifies that the right to vote is a fundamental right of any citizen; this right cannot be limited by the state but this is precisely what the state did by not giving people adequate opportunities or by unjustifiably burdening the exercise of their right. The solution to this problem is the adoption of a mechanism of voting in absentia, respectively the vote in advance. Practical techniques may include the vote by mail (the vote in advance in advance), like they do in the USA) or the electronic vote (anticipated or not) like in the United Kingdom or Canada. A similar system could also be introduced in the local elections which are affected by the same problem. •
Gerrymandering and Malaportinement
Described by Farrel (2001), these two procedures refer to the establishment of electoral colleges in such a way as to favor a certain party either by giving insurance that the distribution of that party’s supporters is of such nature that the candidate of 106
the party in question will definitely win the so-called “safe-seats” (gerrymandering) or through the creation of numerically disproportionate colleges (malaportinement). Both techniques may be noticed in Gov. Ruling 802/2008, as completed, but malaportinement is more pregnant: the difference between the smallest college and the largest college is of a couple tens of thousands of citizens with the right to vote (approx. 50 000). The major problem is given by the differences in the number of votes needed to be elected in the first stage. There is the possibility that in a “small” college the candidate wins the majority with a number of 10 000 votes but in a “big” college a candidate may lose his/her seat in the uninominal stage with a number of 40 000 votes which leads to questions related to the legitimacy of the ones elected. In principle, the solution is simple: to redefine the electoral colleges so that these differences drop in intensity. At the same time, it is true that in reality the effects of the two techniques cannot be eliminated completely as these decisions are taken by the government which is made up of parties which, by definition, are interested in maximizing their votes. 1. Voting attendance / small parties Even though the media did talk about the low voting attendance and the disadvantaging of small parties (The Great Romania Party – PRM and The New Generation Party - PNG) in my opinion these are not adverse effects of the newly introduced electoral system. As far as the small parties are concerned, they are not more disadvantaged than in the previous electoral system. The fact that PRM did not reach the electoral threshold, potentially speaking, may be explained by the appearance of the New Generation Party but also by the slight radicalization of the discourse of the democrat liberals about their relations with the Democrat Union of the Hungarians from Romania (UDMR). Nevertheless, given the low number of parties, the lowering of the electoral threshold to 3% would allow for a greater diversity of the Romanian citizens’ opinions to be expressed in the Parliament. If we are to speak of the voting attendance, we would have to say that except for the Romanian citizens living abroad, it was not very low (approximately 50%). Nevertheless, it is possible that an information campaign about the modification of the electoral system could cause a slight increase of participation. 2. Giving some sense of responsibility As discussed in the media, the main reason for the introduction of the plurality voting system was to give the political class some sense of responsibility and to bring it closer to the citizen. However, in practice the system introduced by the law 35/2008, although it does have a uninominal vote component, is far from achieving this objective. Assuming, for the beginning, that the voting system was created in accordance with the basic recognized principles of a “vote for individual” type system (which is not true, as I will demonstrate), there still are two major problems in what regards the idea of giving this sense of responsibility. First, the secret character of the vote in the Parliament (in some cases) and the lack of a public record of the MPs’ votes flagrantly infringe the principle behind the uninominal vote idea. Since the voter
cannot know for sure if the MP s/he elected fulfilled his/her electoral promises or not, s/he cannot give that MP any sense of responsibility except from the perspective of his party’s general activity. The uninominal vote given to an individual has within itself the idea of the assessment of that individual’s activity and less of that of the party or the Romanian system only allows for the assessment of the party. Secondly, the principle of nominal representation is also linked to the idea according to which the candidate is a keen connoisseur of the locals’ problems and options in the college s/he represents. This would automatically mean that the MP is a member of the community s/he is representing, which leads to the obligation of him/her establishing his/her domicile in that college (with a time limit), as they do in the USA or in the UK. In exchange, the newly introduced system from Romania has no such provision and allows for a politician living in Bucharest to candidate in a rural college from Oltenia, for instance, which acts contrary to the idea of responsible nominal representation. This problem leads us to think at the importance of the party as local entity to the disadvantage of the candidate. The two problems mentioned may be solved if the vote in Parliament were no longer secret and if a public record of such vote were introduced but also if an obligation were imposed for the individual who wishes to candidate to have had his/her domicile and to work in the respective college at least 4 years (this is only an example) prior to the elections date. Of course, such a proposal has no chances of being accepted by the Parliament as it would create an obvious transparency which I believe that at this point in time is not favored by the political class. Secondly, the obligation to have one’s domicile in the college could potentially decrease the influence exercised by the central power on the local organizations, meaning that it would be more difficult to have candidates imposed “from Bucharest” and “by Bucharest” which again comes as a disadvantage for the central party elites. Even based on the previous assumption, the problems identified show that the new electoral system, although declared a “plurality voting system” maintains a significant part of the principles which characterize a PR system with votes for parties, keeping the party as the central element of the political stage. Further on I shall speak of the most significant problem identified based on which one may say that the new electoral system is actually a PR system which only bears the title of “plurality voting system” without having its fundamental characteristics: sense of responsibility and closeness to voters except maybe for the discourses from the electoral campaign. The problems lies with the fact that the vote for one individual is made equivalent to the vote for one party, as per law 35/2008: the vote given to the candidate in the uninominal college is considered a vote given to the party of that candidate in the 2nd and 3rd redistribution stages. A basic study of the literature and electoral systems provides numerous explanations why such a concept of the vote is fundamentally wrong. The basic principle of the vote for one individual (uninominal) as opposed to the vote for the party s/he is a member of is that the voter votes for a specific individual and NOT for that individual’s party. There may be situations in which a certain voter votes for candidate X as s/he considers that candidate to be the best to represent him/her, even though the voter is not a supporter of that candidate’s party.
Under these circumstances, the extrapolation of the vote for one individual to that individual’s party is unacceptable. The voter expresses his/her choice of the candidates and NOT of the parties. It is true that sometimes the two coincide, but at the same time it is also true that there are cases when they DO NOT (for instance the strategic vote instances described by Cox, 1997). The motivation behind considering the vote for the candidate as a vote for the party is somewhat justifiable by the wish of keeping the proportionality of the results. Although the purpose if appreciated as beneficial for the Romanian society, the method is tainted. Probably that at the elections that have just passed at the voter’s level, this difference between the vote for the party and the vote for the individual was not noticeable (because of the novelty of the system and of the lack of a massive campaign explaining how it functions) and the vote for the party was maintained to a great extent. But in the future, when voters make the difference between the vote for the party and the vote for the individual, the results of the conversion of the votes into mandates will be vitiated by the electoral system. Besides, there is also the issue of legitimacy, which was also widely discussed in the media: “a candidate with only 3% of the votes (the number of votes is hypothetical) entered the Parliament”. Actually, in this case the issue of legitimacy is formally false (the candidate did not win the seat in the college but was elected on the party “lists” for which the voters indirectly voted (via the vote for the individual) but morally real: some people could think that the entry into Parliament of an individual who was obviously rejected by the voters from the college is illegitimate. It is inacceptable that by the same vote voters elect both a candidate and indirectly a party, without them being at least aware of this. From this point of view it may be considered that currently in Romania there is a list vote, but the list is “hidden”. Basically, in this form the so called “plurality voting system” is not a uninominal system, it is not even a mixed system but a PR system in a bizarre combination with the vote for individuals. To have information on the political preferences of the voters, it is absolutely necessary for them to express these preferences. They cannot be inferred from the voters’ preferences for 5 candidates which campaign in their town. In order to know the electoral preferences of the voters both in relation to the candidates and to their parties, voters must be allowed to express their opinion on both. Of course that for Romania a purely majority (uninominal) system is not beneficial, as there is a need for proportional representation. But if there is a true (not only discursive) wish to create a stronger connection between the Members of Parliament and the population, it would be beneficial to introduce a new mixed memberproportional system according to the German or New-Zealander model which makes a clear difference between the vote for party and the vote for the candidate.
FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS / MODIFICATION OF THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM
Therefore, as clearly demonstrated the new electoral system introduced is vitiated in its key points and its functioning is not in accordance or is in too little accordance with the discourses which motivated the need to introduce it. If the wish is to keep a real nominal representation in a proportionate manner, an adequate electoral system is the German model. Thus: half (or a certain proportion of the MPs) would be elected in uninominal colleges and the rest would be elected based on vote lists. Of course that the voter casts two separate votes: one for the preferred candidate (individual) from the uninominal college and one for the preferred party. Thus, the voter expresses both his/her preference for an individual and that for the party. In the uninominal colleges the plurality voting system may be used, meaning that in order for him/her to win, a candidate needs a relative majority of votes (plurality). Thus, a nominal representation is ensured. The mandates distribution mechanism after the vote by list is of such nature that makes the total number of a party’s representatives (those elected on the lists plus those elected in the uninominal colleges) to be strictly proportional to the number of votes obtained by that party in the vote by list (from the number of mandates distributed to the party following the RP vote by list the number of mandates already won in the uninominal colleges is subtracted and only mandates remained after this operation are distributed). Of course that the implementation of such a system must go hand in hand with the abovementioned recommendations: the candidates’ obligation to have their domicile (and political activity) in the college in which they candidate; the Parliament’s obligation to make their votes public (where possible) and the creation of a public “voting history” record of each MP; the reduction of the disproportions caused by malaportionment and gerrymandering; the introduction of an in absentia voting procedure. These recommendations are not absolute nor are they the only ways to improve the electoral system. For instance we could imagine a common re-design of the electoral and legislative system so that Senate members are elected through a pure plurality voting system (for instance First Past The Post) with the mention that their mission in the Parliament should be to represent the interests of the region (county) of origin. Then, the members of the Chamber of Deputies could be elected by a vote by list in compliance with the proportional representation principle and their duty could be to represent all citizens. At the same time, either the duration of the Senate mandate could be extended to 5 years or the elections should be deferred so that the vote by lists for the Chamber of Deputies should not have a flagrant influence on the uninominal vote for the Senate. The variant of the extended mandate for the Senators would also bring a more natural continuity of the works of the Parliament. Obviously, a clearer differentiation between the prerogatives of the Senate and those of the Chamber of Deputies could also be considered. Regardless of its form, a change must be made as soon as possible. As we have shown, such an electoral system as the one implemented by law 35/2008 is not adequate for the Romanian society or for any other society for that matter.
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Agh, A. (1998). Emerging Democracies in East Central Europe and the Balkans. London: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited. Benoit, K. (2002). The Evolution of Electoral Systems in Eastern Europe. American Political Science Association Annual Conference. Boston. Beyme, K. v. (2001). Institutional Engineering and Transition to Democracy. In J. Zielonka, Democratic Consolidation in Eastren Europe (Vol. I). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Birch, S. (2002). Embodying Democracy. Electoral System Design in PostCommunist Europe. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Boc, E. (2000). Separația puterilor în stat. Cluj Napoca: Cluj University Press. Cox, G. (1997). Making Votes Count. strategic Coordination in the World's Electoral Systems. New York: Cambridge University Press. Curt, C. C. (2002). The Characteristics of the Romanian Legislative System. Europolis Deleanu, I. (1999). Instituții și proceduri constituționale. Arad: Editura Servo-Sat. Dresner, R. (2005). Lecture notes for the course in "Political Campaigns in Emerging Democracies". New York University. Duch, R. (2001). A Developmental Model of Heterogeneous Economic Voting in New Democracies. American Political Science Review , Vol. 95, no. 4. Farrel, D. (2001). Electoral Systems. A Comparative Introduction. New York: Palgrave. Geddes, B. (1996). Initiation of New Democratic Institutions in Eastern Europe and Latin America . In A. Lijphart, Instituțional Design in New Democracies: Eastren Europe and Latin America. Boulder: Westview Press. Harper, M. (2000). Economic Voting in Post Communist Eastern Europe. Comparative Political Studies , November. Heath, A. e. (1991). Understanding Political Change: The British Voter 1864 1987. London: Pergamon Press. Holmes, L. (1997). Post-Communism. Durham: Duke University Press. Karnoouh, C. (2000). Comunism / Postcomunism și modernitate târzie (Communism / Post-communism and Late Modernity). Iasi: Polirom. Kiss, C. Z. (2006). Deconstructing a Revolution. The case of Romania, 1989. Studia Universitatis Politica , anul LI, nr. 1 Lijphart, A. (1995). Electoral Systems and Party Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lijphart, A. (1999). Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in Thity-Six Countries. New Haven: Yale University Press. Linz, J., & Stepan, A. (1996). Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation. Southern Europe, South America and Post-Communist Europe. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Norris, P. (2004). Electoral Engineering. Voting Rules and Political Behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press. Petras-Voicu, I. (1995). Sisteme electorale comparate. Lecture Notes, The Faculty of Political Science, Babes-Bolyai University. Cluj Napoca. Popkin, S. (1994). The Reasoning Voter, Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Powell, B. (2000). Elections as Instruments of Democracy. Majorițărian and Proporțional Vision. New Haven: Yale University Press.
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ORGANIZATIONAL REDESIGN IN THE ROMANIAN SYSTEM FOR THE COORDINATION OF EUROPEAN AFFAIRS BOGDAN NASTASE This study presents the opinions of the author and does not reflect the official position of any of the institutions presented.
INTRODUCTION The European Union is a multilevel governance system: the hierarchical decision methods using rules and formal procedures are just an aspect of the interaction between the different levels of public authorities and private companies of the civil society and NGOs. Coordination between different actors and the cooperation of the different systems used in the decision making process and in the solving of crossborder issues play an important role in such a poly-centered model (van Schendelen, 2005). The EU is by excellence a matrix organization: networks are intertwined both horizontally (coordination, SOLVIT) and vertically (cooperation with the community level). Romania’s accession to the European Union on January 1st 2007 implies – just like for all the Member States – the transfer of certain attributes of sovereignty to the community institutions, according to the European Treaties. Thus, the most important way to promote the national interests in fields of community competence, in harmony with the general interests of the Union is to increase the capacity of active participation to the EU decision-making process – and to get integrated into the European administrative system. The coordination of the European affairs thus becomes an essential process for the definition and promotion of national interests, which provides the opportunity to model the European policies and legislation from the perspective of national objectives and in accordance with the common, European interest – and the possibility of a national intervention at community level and at the level of the other member states to solve the problems of one’s own citizens, once the European legislation produces its effects. In the context of this research it is useful to analyze the significance of the coordination concept, as understood by international scientific research. At first sight, the meaning of coordination is clear. It is seen as the creation of a “certain type of order” (Crisholm, 1989) or the establishment of a set of actions “having as a purpose the adoption of the ruler’s will by a group’s members […] or to make consistent mutual decisions” (Simon, 1976). In the context of the decision making process at the EU level, the coordination of the European affairs was also described as the promotion of a unity in politics and the prevention of inconsistencies (Van den Bos, 1991). At a closer examination, some differences appear in the interpretation of coordination. On the one hand it is considered mainly an exchange of information – and on the other hand it is argued that it implies the drafting of objectives and strategies. Moreover, it is argued that there are major differences of opinion in relation to the nature of coordination: formal or informal (Neuhold, 2007). Some
descriptions include the hierarchical organizations and the arbitrary mechanisms of coordination. Others deny the constructive contributions of the organizational arrangements and consider coordination more of an informal exchange, a form of negotiation or competition (Palumbo, 2005). Coordination apparently has more senses. To reach a unanimous conception of coordination it is necessary to analyze its various elements. As Metcalfe showed (1994), the different elements of coordination may be placed on a scale which evolves from informal coordination, arbitration and search of a consensus to solving problems, establishing priorities and adopting consensually supported strategies (setting a main political line). Depending on the author, coordination may have a human author (for instance in the case of an orchestra or for the building of a motorway) – or it may be automated (for instance in the case of the computer system coordinating railway traffic). Regardless of the type of coordination, the consequences of its lack may vary from minor to devastating effects. This aspect is an argument supporting coordination for human or economic activities and for any other kind of activity. Based on the dependency on its environment, each organization has two major interests. Firstly, related to input, it must get the necessary action means from the outside – for instance budget, information and others. Secondly, it must deliver as an output what is requested from the outside. From this functionalist point of view, each organization is a group of interests. “This is just as valid for a ministry, for the EU itself and for a company or a group of citizens.”120 Until the beginning of the 90s, the European integration process was analyzed most often from an economic and legislative point of view. Limited attention was given to the administrative aspects of integration. For instance, the Cecchini Report (1988) which listed the benefits of European integration ignored these administrative aspects. In this context, researchers re-discovered the study of national institutions. The neo-institutionalism updated the old perspectives on the institutions. Researchers put the national institutions back on the research agenda – adding novelty to the subject through the study of formal and informal networks (March and Olson, 2006). The characteristic of neo-institutionalists is that they no longer see the institutions as formal organizational structures: interest now goes towards the informal interaction models (Schout, 2001). In 2004 professor Florin Lupescu published the result of some research on the coordination of European affairs, introducing solutions for the development of a new Romanian model of coordination in the pre-accession period. The efforts of the public managers team of the European Affairs Department, to whom I give my thanks, served, in their turn, as a scientific basis of the coordination model. Cooperation within the EU institutional network mainly happens in two different ways: the first is horizontal (inter-institutional) – on the one hand between the European institutions (for instance the “co-decision” procedure as regulated by article 251 of the Treaty between the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament) and on the other hand between national public authorities (inter-ministerial coordination, between Government and Parliament, between the national correspondents from every member state etc.). The second one is vertical. The research focuses on the connection between the European institutions and the 120
Schendelen, R. van (2005), “Macchiavelli in Brussels, The Art of Lobbying the EU”, Amsterdam University Press, p. 41-44.
Romanian national authorities, on the connection between the Romanian authorities and the other member states regarding the issue of European affairs and also on how Romanian authorities promote their position within the community framework. In a limited sense, the coordination of the European affairs refers to drawing up a position of negotiation of the member states faced with an initiative of the European Commission, within the entities of the European Union Council (working groups, the Committee of Permanent Representatives, the Council of Ministers) by developing mandates and general mandates and which are then given an opinion and respectively approved; the purpose is to support the national negotiation position based on the legal framework on the national system for the coordination of European affairs. In a wider sense, coordination also implies inter-institutional coordination during the consecutive stages of debate and approval and also during the application of community legislation. The purpose of the activity of coordinating the European affairs is to insure a unitary and coherent representation of Romania within the decision-making structures of the EU. The Romanian system for the coordination of European affairs started its activity when Romania signed the Accession Treaty to the European Union in April 2005. In parallel with the process of preparation for accession, another process started immediately after the signing of the Accession Treaty, i.e. the participation of Romania as observer at the activities of the European Council, Parliament and Commission. In the post-accession period, the increase of Romania’s capacity to take an active participation at the decision-making process of the European Union is the most important way of promoting its national interest in the fields of community competence – in harmony with the general interests of the other member states. The national and inter-state coordination of the institutions with responsibilities in the field of European Affairs thus becomes an essential process. This paper analyzes both the formal component (structures, processes) of European coordination and its informal component (networks). Introduced into the EU as a less bureaucratic alternative to the “traditional” methods of solving cross-border problems (for instance judicial appeal), the SOLVIT network managed to prove its value in over 6 years of existence. SOLVIT is an informal network for solving problems inside the EU, based on cooperation between specially appointed bodies from each national administration. The problems dealt with refer mostly to the recognition of professional qualifications, social security of the rights of residence. The efficiency of the network is influenced by awareness campaigns, sufficient political support and sufficient staff. A key issue, i.e. the positioning of the Coordination Unit in each member state of the EU was left at the discretion of the national authorities to decide. Different institutional solutions appeared, depending on the characteristics of the administrative culture from each country (Hofstede, 2005): at the level of the Prime-Minister – or at the level of a Ministry or agency. Some positioning solutions are more efficient than others. Through the development of a model which contains variables such as the speed with which cases are solved and the centralization or turbulence coefficients, the author wishes to discover whether the specific positioning of the national centers (nodes) in the SOLVIT network and a potential movement of a center upper / higher in the administrative hierarchy – may be a lever for the global performance of the network.
In the post-accession period, the increase of Romania’s capacity to take an active participation at the decision-making process of the European Union is the most important manner of promoting its national interest in the fields of community competence – in harmony with the general interests of the other member states. “Once they became members of the EU, the state administrations need much more capabilities than those needed for the management of the pre-accession process and for the transposition of the community legislation. Besides the current duties a public administration has in a national state, the quality of Member State imposes additional duties to the states: adoption of national positions in key European integration issues, fulfillment of the convergence criteria for the Euro zone and absorption of European funds. To be able to keep up with all these demands, the administration needs to considerably strengthen its institutional capacity.”121 The national coordination of European affairs thus becomes an essential process. The project wishes to identify the deficiencies of the national coordination system (first at the level of structures and then at the level of administrative procedures) – and to intervene with suggestions for the improvement of the building of Romania’s position (the upstream component) and of the implementation of European policies (the downstream component) in the period following Romania’s accession to the EU. The problem starts from the high degree of reactivity of the system: the positions of the Member States are often developed based on the evolution of the debates in Brussels. The time interval considered is short term and medium term. At the same time, the high number of institutional actors involved in coordination leads to overexposures of competence, redundancy and overload. At a European level, some of the obstacles of the institutional cooperation in the European Union may be: national interests, cultural differences, human capital training differences, asymmetric information etc. Using this as a background, this study wishes to identify the deficiencies of the national system for the coordination of European affairs (first at the level of the structures and secondly at the level of administrative procedures) and to intervene with propositions for the strengthening of the position of a Member State within the European Council (the upstream component) and of the enforcement of the European policies in the country and also for solving the cross-border problems of the Romanian citizens within the internal market (the downstream component). The coordination system from a member state may also be rendered efficient by modifying the quality variables which define it (hierarchy, administrative culture etc.). So far, research carried out in this field focused almost exclusively on the dynamics of processes. In other words, they analyzed the flows using the status-quo as a starting point, aiming at improving the indicators. In this context, as an innovative aspect, research takes the institutional panel into consideration. The organizational analysis puts accent on the design, in search for an efficient form of coordination – not only at the level of procedures but also at that of the types of organizational structure. The different positioning of the structure generically referred to as “European Affairs Coordination Unit” at a certain specific authority level, depending on the characteristics of a certain Member State, may provide a different answer to the same type of demands. 121
Baleanu, A., (2007), „Impactul fondurilor structurale - aspecte calitative”, Colectia de studii IER, nr.
At this moment there are three general types of coordination systems: a) centralized, at the level of the Prime-Minister, like in France or in Finland, for instance; b) decentralized, at the level of a related ministry (like in the Netherlands, Germany, Greece); c) mixed (like in Portugal). The elements which determine a certain type of coordination system in a Member State are variables which, once identified, may serve for the definition of the Romanian coordination model. This is why I intend to do my research in situ in 3 institutions from 3 different EU Member Stats – which use different European affairs coordination systems. The questions which this study wishes to answer, taking into account the specific nature of the political and administrative organizational culture from the Member States are the following: which will be the best level to place the European affairs coordination structure within a Member State – the central level with the PrimeMinister or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? May European Affairs be still seen, nowadays, as Foreign Affairs? May Romania develop its own best coordination model? The research project fundaments the choice of the best type of recommendation regarding the level at which to place the European affairs coordination structure, taking into account variables such as Romania’s position on the environment’s turbulence scale: I. II. III.
centralized model coordination at the level of the Prime-Minister; mixed system cabinet – Ministry of Foreign Affairs; placement of the coordination unit at the level of a related ministry (of “European Affairs” / Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
This study wishes to identify these variables and to render them operational in a model adapted to the specificity of Romania. The study is oriented towards generating solutions. In this context, the methods used are largely based on qualitative, empirical research. Statistical instruments were also used to the extent to which the available data allowed us to commensurate the inputs received from the institutions. The activities carried out during this project were the following: qualitative interviews with governmental officials from different member states who work in the field of European affairs coordination; the analysis of press releases and of position documents was an activity useful for the reconstitution of the coordination processes. This activity generated the support needed for the compared study of the institutions and of the Member States and also of inter-institutional agreements; work visits to institutions from 3 EU Member States (triangulation) – allowed us to get information on the different coordination models used. The method used was the comparative method; the econometric development of the coordination model provided a simplified method of approaching the coordination, based on statistical grounds. The European affairs coordination activities are positioned at the interference between the political, economic and administrative environment. This research should be placed in the context of a developing European administrative system. The coordination of European affairs in the Member States is crucial for the quality and legitimacy of the EU. The legitimacy of the EU depends on the level of preferences expressed in the direction of national interests – versus community interests. The efficiency of the implementation of EU policies depends on the national institutional
capacity. In consequence, it becomes extremely important to analyze the administrative challenges of European integration. The national coordination of European affairs is the most serious of them. The benefit that the reading of this study wishes to give to its readers consists in the creation of an image of the governmental activity of acting as a mediator between the national and the European interest.
FRAMEWORK – ANALYSIS: FORMAL VS. INFORMAL The national coordination of European affairs is a complex process with numerous variables. To be able to analyze the key elements of the coordination, the author separates the formal coordination from the informal coordination of the European affairs. At the first level, the formal one, the selective description of the coordination systems used in the 3 Member States – and the comparison with the system used in Romania – aims at setting the basis for a model which shall keep the basic characteristics of systems already used successfully in the old European states while also be adapted to the specific nature of our country. There is a series of features which are common to each European affairs coordination system used in the member states. In most of the Member States the coordination structure is organized hierarchically. The decision and the arbitration occur at all levels, the government and / or the Prime-Minister being the last arbitrator. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, either as a main actor or in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance or the Prime-Minister’s chancellery plays an important part in almost all Member States. This part is visible during the different stages of the coordination process. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is often the ministry responsible for the dissemination of information among the national administrative structures and for the onset of the coordination process. Most Ministries of Foreign Affairs have special administrative units and most of the times they are the initial coordination point. In some Member States an inter-ministerial coordination group operates which hosts regular meetings of representatives of the ministries’ management. At the same time, the specific coordination style from each Member States indicate certain differences which reflect their specific history, the constitutional structure (unitary or federal), the political situation (coalition government) and the administrative tradition of each state. To increase the efficiency of the coordination process and to bring it closer to the top level arbitrator, some member states decided to create a micro-coordination unit either in the structure of – or attached to – the cabinet of the Prime-Minister. The central position of such unit facilitates an overall image of the different governmental activities connected to the European affairs. The analysis of the type of coordination – formal vs. informal – provides at the same time the possibility of a benchmark which is useful in synthesizing a set of best practices which should be transferred from the informal to the formal level and viceversa. UPSTREAM – formal coordination of the European affairs 118
In this subchapter we present the European affairs formal coordination systems used in 4 EU Member States, including Romania. This countries make up the Benelux group (Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg) – which allows us to make a “triangulation” of the systems used (the notions comes from satellite communications where the existence and coordination of 3 satellites is needed for the determination of an exact point). Three EU Member States with different coordination systems from the one used by Romania In The Grand Duchy of Luxemburg the main coordination instrument is represented by an informal group named “The European Correspondents” made up of European affairs experts from each ministry. The management and the secretariat of this group is insured by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which also ensures the flow of information. The vice-presidency of the coordination group is ensured by the Permanent Representatives. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs launches the interministerial coordination process at the request of a ministry or in case of conflict of competence. The different stages of coordination / arbitration are covered at the level of experts and, if needed, at political level (between the interested ministries or at governmental level). The Permanent Representatives of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg has the role of identifying a potential need of coordination while also providing support for coordination and participating at the reunions of the European Correspondents. As far as the Chamber of Deputies is concerned, it is informed by each new initiative and it is up to the Chamber to convene the competent ministries to the reunions of the related parliamentary committees. As far as the participation of the interest groups is concerned, no formal structure was established but ad-hoc participation may be ensured if necessary. In Belgium, it is the Permanent Representatives who ensure the practical national coordination of the European affairs under the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, i.e. the Directorate for Integration and European Coordination. This directorate ensures the presidency and secretariat of the various inter-ministerial reunions. Although there is sometimes the perception that the Belgian federal decentralization causes decisional blockages and inefficiency, in fact the European affairs coordination in Belgium is very well organized. It functions based on a legal agreement from 1994 between the federal state and the federated entities; the coordination of the entire European issue is ensured by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (The Public Federal Service for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) through the Directorate General for Europe (DGE). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is considered “the voice” of the Belgian interests and “the most neutral of all ministries”. The brief presentation of the Belgian coordination model in the European Politics may be interesting from the perspective of the efficiency of an administration which, despite the multiple level of decentralization of the decision, remains functional because each stakeholder observes the rules of the game for the promotion of the common interest, which is the national interest.
Besides the current inter-department consultation which developed the famous “a la belge compromise’ (which in Belgium is a necessity given by the character of the multi-ethnic federal state), before each ministerial reunion of the EU Council or of the European Council, DGE organizes a meeting of consultation of the positions with the participation of the permanent representative to the EU or of his/her deputy, of advisers of the federal ministers involved in the management of the respective files, of representatives of the cabinets of the four vice-prime ministers and of an advisor of the prime minister. The position resulted from this consultation contains the general political lines which need to be followed, is communicated within 24 hours to all institutions represented and is binding for the Belgian minister who takes part at the respective meeting of the EU Council. For sensitive files, at the request of the Permanent Representatives or of a technical department from a related ministry which does not find a common position with another department, ad-hoc coordination reunions are organized; during these reunions the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plays the role of a “facilitator”, a formula which reflects the duties of arbitrator of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When the solution cannot be identified here either, the issue is sent to the level of the Council of Ministers (the federal government) which makes the final decision. If the file also includes regional or community competences, it is not sent to the Government, but to the Inter-ministerial Foreign Affairs Commission made up of the first minister, the minister of foreign affairs and the ministers – presidents of the Belgian regions and communities. If a solution is impossible to find, the 1994 agreement states that the Belgian representative should not intervene in the debates of the Council and shall abstain from voting, which is a disadvantageous formula as it loses any chance of influencing the European decision. This is precisely why in the ten years since this mechanism functions there was just one case when a common internal solution could not be reached; the obligation of abstention forces every time the finding of a compromise formula. The entire Belgian coordination system is based on the actors’ political will to reach a solution that is acceptable to everybody, which also makes possible the permanent operation with coalition governments. Concerning the involvement of the Belgian Parliament, there are information sessions and general discussions within the constitutional relations between the Parliament and the Government. As far as the interest groups are concerned, they are usually not involved in the national coordination of European affairs – but they may be consulted, depending on the topic. In the Netherlands, the European affairs coordination model is decentralized: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the one launching the coordination process – and at the same time ensures the flow of information. The inter-ministerial working group for the assessment of the Commission’s proposals and of the initiatives of the Member States (BNC) agrees on the initial position the Netherlands should take concerning the responsible ministry. The responsible ministries coordinate and send instructions to the different working groups from the level of the Council. There are weekly reunions for the drawing up of instructions to be sent to the Permanent Representatives within the Coordination Committee for Problems of European Integration and Association (CoCo). This is the main arbitrator at a non-political level
presided by the State Secretary for European Affairs. To discuss the important political documents or the strategic matters a sub-council for European Affairs of the Ministerial Cabinet may meet (REIA). The last decision and arbitration forum is the government as a whole. As far as the BNC is concerned, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ensures its management and secretariat. The working group is made up of generalists from the European Affairs Directorates of all ministries. It meets every two weeks. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also ensures the management and secretariat of the Permanent Representatives Reunion. At the reunion sit senior generalists from the European Affairs Directorates of all ministries. The frequency of these reunions is weekly. The Coordination Committee for Problems of European Integration and Association (CoCo) is made up of (deputy) directors from all ministries and is presided by the State Secretary for European Affairs. The deputy president is the Minister of Economy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ensures the secretariat. The sub-council for European Affairs of the Ministerial Cabinet (REIA) is presided by the Prime-Minister and the secretariat is ensured by the Ministry of General Affairs (which also plays the role of Chancellery of the Prime-Minister). The Government reunions are presided by the Prime-Minister and the secretariat is ensured by the Ministry of General Affairs (which also plays the role of Chancellery of the Prime-Minister). The representatives take an active participation especially at the “instructions development” level and at the level of the CoCo. The deputy Permanent Representative or a member of the Permanent Representatives participates at the weekly CoCo reunions from Hague. There are also weekly reunions between the Permanent Representative, the State Secretary and the General Director for European Affairs. BNC provides the Parliament with the initial assessment in the standard format of a “sheet”; at request, the Parliament is also informed during the subsequent negotiations in the Council and in co-decision. The Parliament may question the responsible Ministry or the State Secretary directly at regular meetings (commissions or plenary) or ad-hoc debates. (In The Netherlands, ministers are individually responsible to the Parliament. The Parliament may promote a motion of distrust on a certain Ministry). In what concerns the participation of the interest groups to the national coordination process of the European affairs, the “lobby’ is classical. The local administration receives the BNC sheets and may comment during the regular meetings presided over by the Ministry of Interior. The European affairs coordination system used in Romania The institutions responsible for the European affairs issue in Romania are the central public administration authorities involved in developing and supporting Romania’s negotiation positions: the European Affairs Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Finance, the other specialized institutions of the central public administration for the activity fields they manage.
In 2004, according to the research carried out by professor Florin Lupescu, the coordination structure was the one from the image below: Image 1. The national coordination of European affairs in 2004 NATIONAL COORDINATION OF EUROPEAN AFFAIRS Permanent representatives
Legend: Parlamentul National – National Parliament PLEN – Plenary Presendintele Comisiei – President of Committee Comisia Parlamentara pentru Afaceri Europene – Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs Comisii parlamentare – Parliamentary Committees Guvernul Romaniei – Romanian Government Cabinet Prim Ministru – Prime-Minister Cabinet Ministru de stat coordonator – Coordinating State Minister MINISTRU / SSt – Minister / State secretary DAE – European Affairs Department Minister – Ministry MAE – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministerul Afacerilor Externe - Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministru delegat – delegated minister Departamentul “Afaceri Externe” – Foreign Affairs Department Presedinte de sesiune – President of session Secretar general – General Secretary Secretariat general al CCAE – General Secretariat of CCAE 122
Reprezentanta permanenta – Permanent Representatives Reprezentant permanent - Permanent Representative Unitati specializate – specialised units Pozitii – positions Societate civila / grupuri de interes – Groups of interest Administratia prezidentiala – Presidential administration Consilier afaceri europene – European Affairs Advisor The coordination of the preparation for accession was two-headed, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Secretariat for European Affairs of the PrimeMinister Chancellery in the foreground. The Foreign Affairs Department (DAE) was created at the beginning of 2007 as a specialized structure of the central administration. Due to the importance gained by the European affairs which became internal affairs after accession and also for reasons of representativeness and decisional legitimacy, DAE was placed under the direct coordination of the Prime-Minister and is managed by a Minister. DAE coordinates the development of our national positions in the field of European affairs and also of the horizontal strategic documents of national importance (e.g.: the Postaccession strategy, the National Reform Plan). DAE ensures the unity and coherence of our national positions which are to be presented at all levels of the EU institutions. For this purpose, it has the duty to act as a mediator between national institutions in order to adopt a unitary position. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) is involved in the coordination process; it gives its opinion, together with DAE, on the mandates of Romania’s representatives at the EU. MAE also manages the flow of information between Bucharest and Brussels. In collaboration with DAE, MAE draws up the mandate of Romania’s delegation to the European Council. The Representatives of Romania to the European Union is the institution which ensures communication between the European institutions and the Romanian authorities. Romania’s Ambassador to the EU, the leader of the Permanent Representatives, represents the Romanian state at the COREPER 2 meetings and his/her deputy does the same at the COREPER 1 meetings. If experts or dignitaries from the capital cannot be present at the reunions, Romania is represented by the permanent representatives based on the instructions sent from Bucharest. The Romanian Parliament is periodically informed and consulted about the European affairs issue. The DAE minister has regular information meetings with members of the European Affairs Commission of the Romanian Parliament. The related ministries are invited to these meetings depending on the items of the European agenda. European representation: at the level of the experts from the Romanian authorities, the responsibility to participate at the working groups falls with the ministries and with the other institutions involved, with the obligation of a prior consultation with DAE and MAE. As a general orientation, Member States try to intervene from the basic level of the decision-making process – that of the experts – to renegotiate and influence the proposal of a community document. Instructions for the COREPER reunions are
discussed during the weekly coordination meetings and sent to the Permanent Representatives trough the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the groups of the Council of the European Union, Romania is represented by ministers or, if they are not present, by state secretaries, based on the mandates approved by the Government. The European Council is attended by the President of Romania, the Prime-Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is the highest level of representation, the place where the great political guidelines of the European Union are decided. To provide convergence to the political directions in the European affairs management process, the European Affairs Council was created at the level of the Government under the direct suborder of the Prime-Minister. Its organization and functioning are described in article 4-6 from Government Decision no. 115/2008. The reunions of the European Affairs Council are attended by the minister of foreign affairs, the minister of economy and the minister of finance, the minister coordinating the European Affairs Department and the ministers responsible for the fields covered by the agenda. Other dignitaries, leaders of the authorities and governmental agencies subordinated to the Government and to the prime-minister and leaders of other authorities relevant for the topics from the agenda may attend the reunions of the European Affairs Council as guests. The permanent representative of Romania to the European Union participates at the meetings of the European Affairs Council based on the common decision of the Foreign Affairs Department and of the Foreign Affairs Ministry. If the agenda of the European Affairs Council contains issues of interest for the local communities, representative of their associative structures may also be invited to participate to these reunions. The European Affairs Council analyzes the general issues from the European Agenda. It sets the priorities of Romania as a Member State of the European Union; it identifies Romania’s political objectives and priorities in relation to the decisive evolutions and guidelines of the European Council; it analyzes the document concerning the priorities of the presidency of the Council of the European Union and their relevance for Romania; it examines and disposes, when necessary, the measures needed to apply internally the regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and opinions adopted by the European institutions; it proposes policies and measures for the development of Romania’s European integration process; it ensures the coherence of the national positions on the European policies, acting as a mediator in the case of inter-institutional disputes appeared in the meetings of the Committee for the Coordination of European Affairs; it approves the list of general mandates to be drawn up concerning Romania’s negotiation position towards the legislative proposals of the European Commission or other community initiatives; it establishes the positions and harmonizes the political and diplomatic steps taken at the level of the Government members and of the structures from its suborder concerning the issue of European affairs; it analyses the dysfunctions which occur in the coordination of European affairs and it decides on the measures needed to eliminate them. The European Affairs Department establishes together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the working agenda for the reunions. The European Affairs Department carries out the executive activity of the European Affairs Council, monitoring the fulfillment of Romania’s obligations as a Member State of the European Union which are on its agenda.
In order to ensure the inter-ministerial coordination of the process of drawing up the European affairs policies and strategies, at the technical level a specific coordination mechanism was created; this mechanism brings together representatives of DAE, MAE and all the governmental authorities involved. Thus functions the Committee for the Coordination of European Affairs under the coordination of the European Affairs Department. This committee is a decisional character working body made up of representatives of the ministers and of other institutions involved at the level of state secretaries or similar positions. The coordination meetings are held on a weekly basis, are presided by DAE and have as objective: •
• • •
the approval of the mandates for the positions which the representatives of the Romanian authorities will take within the reunions of the European Union Council, COREPER and the working groups. The mandates are drawn up by the institutions which will take part at the reunions, given an opinion by DAE and MAE and sent to the Permanent Representatives by MAE; discussion of the European Agenda; establishment of the responsibilities of the ministries in preparing, making the decisions on and implementing the specific European dossiers; creation and monitoring of the internal working groups on different topics from the European agenda (e.g. the working group on pesticides, mineral waters, data protection).
In practice, representation is ensured through delegation at the level of the general director, the director and the head of service with duties in the field of European Affairs. A recurrent problem is the fact that in some cases the appointed directors in their turn delegate participation to the weekly coordination reunions to different levels of execution (advisors, experts). Thus, the role of decisional body of the Committee becomes difficult to fulfill: decisions are postponed until the next reunion and a gap appears which reduces the efficiency of the coordination system. The coordination committee prepares Romania’s position for the reunions of the European Council, of the Council of the European Union and of the Committee of Permanents Representatives (COREPER); it ensures inter-ministerial coordination aimed at drawing up Romania’s positions in relation to the issue of European Affairs; it solves the diverging aspects between the ministries and the other specialized institutions of the central public administration which would not have been solved at the level of the working groups of the national system for the coordination of European affairs; it brings to the attention of the European Affairs Council the diverging aspects between the ministries and the other specialized institutions of the central public administration which could not be solved. The European Affairs Department collaborates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish the work agenda of the Coordination Committee. The European Affairs Department carries out the executive activity of the Coordination Committee and monitors the fulfillment of the obligations Romania has a members state of the European Union, as put on its agenda.
An essential element of the national coordination system is represented by the working groups made up of representatives of the ministries and of the other specialized institutions of the central public administration with related responsibilities at the level of experts. These groups are responsible for the analysis of the projects of position drawn-up by the ministries and by the other specialized institutions of the central public administration for the issues covered by their responsibility; the proposal of positions on the analyzed issue which are to be argued by the Romanian representatives at a community level; the preparation and the monitoring of the fulfillment of the duties Romania has as a Member of the European Union; the monitoring and the analysis of the evolution of the community policies. The working groups are constituted at the initiative of the ministry, respectively of the specialized institution of the central public administration with main responsibilities or at the initiative of the European Affairs Department. These groups must include representatives of the European Affairs Department, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, depending on the situation, of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The coordinator of the working group is the representative of the ministry or central public administration specialized institution which has the main responsibilities in the field or of the European Affairs Department, depending on its objective and topic. The working groups meet whenever necessary at the initiative of their coordinators or at the initiative of the European Affairs Department and in case of need working subgroups may be created to clarify some punctual matters. The divergent positions expressed by the members of the working groups are subject to arbitration by the Coordination Committee. Specialists of the Romanian Academy, the Romanian European Institute, the scientific research institutes, the higher education, the professional nongovernmental organizations as well as independent experts may also be invited to participate at the activity of the working groups and sub-groups. A problem related to the functioning of these working groups is that so far MS Outlook and the Track Changes feature of MS Word are used for the exchange of information â€“ which practically leads to the creation of countless variants of the same source document. Any drawing up of a mandate implies an exchange of e-mails. Romaniaâ€™s position of negotiation within the working groups, the committees and the reunions of the EU Council is formulated and supported by trying to: 1. Identify and prioritize the national interests and their promotion during the negotiations. 2. Consult all stakeholders within the process of drawing-up the positions. 3. Find coherence, unity and solid grounds for its position of negotiation. 4. Correlate and converge the position of negotiation with the specific relevant aspects of the already existent legislation within each field or sector of activity and the related fields. Romaniaâ€™s position of negotiation for the topics which are on the agenda of the Council of the European Union, including the legislative proposals of the European Commission or those of another Member State of the European Union drawn up
under the 3rd Pillar – Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters is adopted as a mandate. If the economic, social or environmental implications of the European Commission’s legislative proposals or of other community initiatives have a major importance or are related to several sectorial fields, Romania’s position of negotiation is adopted as a “general mandate”. The coordination committee establishes for which of the legislative proposals of the European Commission it is necessary to adopt general mandates and draws up a list thereof. The list of general mandates is also sent to the Romanian Parliament for them to draw up their proposals and comments. At its request, the Coordination Committee shall complete the list of the general mandates. The general mandate is adopted by the Romanian Government. Once adopted, it is promoted at all levels of negotiation of the Council of the European Union. The general mandate adopted by the Romanian Government is sent to the Romanian Parliament and to the Members of the European Parliament elected in Romania for information. For the legislative proposals of the European Commission which do not need the approval of a general mandate or for the legislative proposals of the other Member States of the European Union formulated under the 3rd Pillar, Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, Romania’s position of negotiation is adopted by the Coordination Committee with the opinion of the European Affairs Department. The decisions of the Coordination Committee for positions taken by Romania, other than the general mandates, are included in the mandate of Romania’s representatives to the reunions of the European Union working structures. The drawing up of mandates and of general mandates on the issue of the foreign affairs of the European Union and especially enlargement or the Common Foreign and Security Policy, including the European Security and Defense Policy falls under the competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which works in collaboration with the other ministries, respectively with other specialized institutions of the relevant central public administration. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs the European Affairs Department on their contents. The draft mandates, including the draft general mandates are drawn up by the ministry, respectively the specialized institution of the central public administration which participates at the reunions of the European Commission or of the Council of the European Union where the European Commission’s legislative proposal is debated. Draft mandates, including the draft general mandates are analyzed, depending on the situation, by the working group created for this purpose. In the development of the draft mandate, including draft general mandate, the ministry or the specialized institution of the responsible central public administration must inform and consult, depending on the case: the local authorities, the employers’ organizations, the trade unions, the civic organizations or other organizations which are active in the fields covered by the legislative proposal of the European Commission or of an EU Member State expressed under the 3rd Pillar – Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters. The draft mandates, including the draft general mandate, contain the following elements: a) a short description of the proposal for a community law; b) the economic, social or environmental impact on Romania;
c) Romaniaâ€™s objectives in relation to the proposal; d) the limits which can be accepted by Romania in the negotiation of the proposal in question; e) any positions of negotiation of other Member States of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament or its committees; f) the list of Romanian pieces of legislation which regulate the topic referred to be the proposal and an analysis of the modifications which the adoption of the document in question would trigger. The draft mandate, including the draft general mandate is sent concomitantly to the ministries and to the other specialized institutions of the central public administration with responsibilities in the field, depending on the object of the mandate, in order for them to express a point of view which needs to be sent at least 3 working days before the date of its presentation. The draft mandate, including the draft general mandate will have to be sent also to the Ministry of External Affairs. After getting the opinions of the other institutions, the initiator sends the draft mandate, including the draft general mandate, to the European Affairs Department for them to give an opinion on it. After giving it an opinion, the Department will subject it to the approval of the Government or of the Coordination Committee, depending on the situation. The Coordination Committee tries to solve the differences of approach between the participating institutions on the provisions of the general mandate or on the position of negotiation. If such differences are not solved, the Coordination Committee draws up the possible options of position. The European Affairs Department presents these options to the Prime-Minister and to the European Affairs Council for them to make a decision. If the differences cover aspects which fall under the competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ministry will present them to the Prime-Minister and to the European Affairs Council. The presentation of the positions of negotiation within the reunions of the Council of the European Union is supported by the minister who is responsible for the field in question or, in exceptional circumstances, by the state secretary delegated by the former based on the previously agreed mandate. The presentation of the positions of negotiation at the committees and working groups of the Council of the European Union or of the European Commission falls with the ministries and with the other specialized institutions of the central public administration which have responsibilities in the matter and to the Permanent Representatives of Romania to the European Union, through the representatives who take part at the reunions. At the reunions of the Council of the European Union, of the committees and working groups of the Council of the European Union or of the European Commission participate representatives designated by the ministries, respectively by other specialized institutions of the central public administration which have responsibilities in the matter and / or of the Permanent Representatives of Romania to the European Union. The Romanian delegation also includes a representative of the European Affairs Department if there is an explicit request of the state secretary coordinating it. The general mandates adopted by the Government, respectively the mandates adopted by the Coordination Committee are immediately sent to the Permanent Representatives of Romania to the European Union by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The ministers or the other institutions of the responsible central public administration may send instructions to detail the mandates or the general mandates to the Permanent Representatives of Romania to the European Union. The permanent representative of Romania to the European Union or the deputy permanent representative may suspend the presentation of the positions communicated to the representatives designated by the ministers or by other specialized institutions of the central public administration with responsibilities in the matter also from the Permanent Representatives of Romania to the European Union. Suspension may be done only after a presentation of the reasons on which it is based to the management of the responsible related ministry and of the European Affairs Department. The new position needs to be given an opinion by the European Affairs Department and by the Ministry of External Affairs. The instructions developed by the Coordination Committee for the participation of the Romanian delegations to the COREPER meetings are sent by the central office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Permanent Representatives of Romania to the European Union and to the European Affairs Department. The Instructions on Romaniaâ€™s positions concerning issues related to the foreign affairs of the European Union and especially to enlargement, to the Common Foreign and Security Policy and to the European Security and Defense Policy are sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Permanent Representatives of Romania to the European Union and to the European Affairs Department. The reports on the participation to the meetings of the committees and of the working groups of the Council of the European Union and of the European Commission are drawn up in maximum two working days after they were held and sent to the European Affairs Department and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The reports on the participation at the COREPER reunions are drawn up and sent by the Permanent Representatives of Romania to the European Union to all ministries and other specialized institutions of the interested central public administration. The reports on the participation at the meetings of the Council of the European Union are drawn up by the participating ministries and submitted to the Prime-Minister for approval within 3 working days from the date of the works. After approval, they are sent to the European Affairs Department and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The European Affairs Department shall send also these reports to the Romanian Parliament. If the topic of the meetings falls within the competences of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ministry shall send the approved reports for information to the European Affairs Department and to the Romanian Parliament. The report of participation to the European Council shall be drawn up by the Permanent Representatives of Romania to the European Union and submitted to the President of Romania and to the PrimeMinister. The European Affairs Department shall send this document for information to the Romanian Parliament, as well. Romaniaâ€™s Permanent Representative to the European Union represents the Government during the COREPER reunions, the 2nd part and participates at the reunions of the Council of the European Union prepared by COREPER, the 2nd part. The deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union represents the Government during the COREPER reunions, the 1st part and participates at the reunions of the Council of the European Union prepared by COREPER, the 1st part. The representative responsible for the Common Foreign and Security Policy
represents the Government during the reunions of the Political and Security Committee (PSC). If the minister or the responsible state secretary does not participate at the reunions of the Council of the European Union, Romania’s permanent representative to the European Union, the deputy permanent representative or the PSC representative shall represent the Government during those reunions. Romania must develop a mechanism for the coordination of the European affairs which should prepare the Political decision considering that the European affairs cover almost all the domestic issues. Two guidelines should guide the activity of national coordination of the European affairs: • •
Romania must speak with one voice in the European institutions The establishment of Romania’s positions must be placed at the top authority level of the domestic policy
The actual coordination and efficiency of the European affairs is an essential condition for the continuation of the process of integration and convergence with the EU. Domestic decision and action in any field of activity (political, economic, social or administrative institutional) must be subsumed or at least correlated with the community context. DOWNSTREAM – the informal coordination of European affairs In what concerns the informal component of coordination, we continue by analyzing the informal network used to solve problems in the EU. We are talking about the SOLVIT network which functions based on the correspondence between network knots present in each national administration. Besides the upstream component, the practical applicability of the coordination of European affairs also consists in solving problems of European dimension faced by citizens and businessmen within the EU (downstream). In this sense, the SOLVIT network is made up of 30 corresponding knots (called “centers”) placed in the national administrations of each EU Member State plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. The SOLVIT network, according to the European Commission, deals with issues caused by non-compliance with the internal market rules by the public administration in their relations with citizens or companies (or C2A and B2A). In most cases, such problems are caused by ignorance or by a simple administrative omission. A “cross-border problem”122, according to the Commission, is a problem confronted by an individual or an entrepreneur from a Member State related to the enforcement of the internal market rules by a public authority from another Member 122
To give an example of a SOLVIT case in the field of regulated professions, the European Commission presented the situation of five Romanian citizens who wished to get the recognition of the physiotherapist degree in Italy. In Italy, the competent authority assessed the files and asked them to chose a compensating measure, for instance either a training course or an exam. Although the Romanian citizens did inform the authority about their choice, the Minister did not manage to organize the exam in questions and thus the citizens had to wait. Due to the intervention of SOLVIT, the Ministry agreed to organize the exam. All five physiotherapists passed the exam and got their qualification recognized. The case was solved in 4 weeks.
State; this definition includes the situations in which a citizen or businessman who has an administrative connection (for instance of nationality, of qualification, of establishment) with another Member State is already in the second Member State when a problem occurs. That is why the fields the most frequently approached by SOLVIT refer to the four fundamental freedoms: these fields include the recognition of professional qualifications and degrees, access to education, permits to stay, voting rights, social security, employment rights, driving licenses, registration of motor vehicles, border control, access to market for goods and services, establishment as a freelancer, public procurement, tax issues, free circulation of the capital or payments. Prior to this, the cross-border obstacles preventing the free circulation of goods, people, services and capitals (i.e. the internal market) included the lack of transparency of the solutions and the fact of treating different cases with different standards. The main weak points identified by the Commission in its communication included the long time needed for the other Member States to answer the questions, the lack of knowledge on whom to contact in another Member State, expensive and time consuming translation of documents, lack of awareness among citizens and companies, the limited resources dedicated to solving the problems. In an attempt to respond to these challenges, the SOLVIT initiative is also correlated with the White Paper on European governance which asserts the responsibility national administrations and courts of law have in the correct enforcement of the community legislation as a part of the effort to make the European Union more tangible for its citizens. The SOLVIT mechanism is launched when a citizen / a company with citizenship / residence in country A cannot find a reasonable solution from the national public authority from country B (figure 1) for a problem occurred in the last country – the null (zero) alternative. This individual / company may contact the SOLVIT Center from country A (hereinafter referred to as “The Home SOLVIT Center”) through an online form. The two centers work together to discover the problem and discuss the solution – step one. The Home SOLVIT Center will address directly to the SOLVIT center from country B (hereinafter referred to as “The Leader SOLVIT Center”. The SOLVIT centers work together to find the solution – step 2. The Leader SOLVIT center cooperates with the national public authority from country B to negotiate the problem – step three. The set objective is for a case to be solved in 10 weeks. Depending on the difficulty of the case, 4 more weeks may be granted. The fields in which SOLVIT asked to intervene in 2008 refer mainly to social security (28% of the total number of cases), recognition of professional qualifications (22%) and residence rights (20%). In the last case it is interesting to notice that in 2007 the figure was of approximately 11%, which indicates the doubling of the interest towards the potential of SOLVIT to solve problems in the field of the free circulation of people – and EU citizenship. In 2008, the threshold of 1000 cases/year registered in the system was reached. It is interesting to notice that SOLVIT is more and more accessed by citizens. Companies bring fewer cases than citizens as they prefer a legal approach to solve business problems by using traditional, official channels (courts, law firms which defend their interests during the judicial appeal, chambers of commerce etc.) instead of an informal problems solving network. Considering
the increased number of SOLVIT cases brought in by citizens, the percentage of business environment–related cases went down – even though in absolute terms the number of cases brought by the business environment is constant. Figure 2. The SOLVIT mechanism Country A
Adapted after http://ec.europa.eu/solvit/site/about/index_en.htm#how The analysis of the opportunity cost speaks about the efficiency of the SOLVIT network: 32.6 millions € are estimated to have been saved in 2008 – compared to the null hypothesis where the solving of the problems would have been left to the national institutions. Compared to its results, SOLVIT had at its disposal a budget of only 200,000 € in 2008. Acknowledging its growing importance, the European Parliament decided to increase its budget to 800,000 € in 2009. The main potential blockages identified in relation to SOLVIT refer to: • The shortage of staff in certain centers: this is a twofold problem both for the center in question and for the centers of origin which send a case to a center with a staff shortage; • The lack of continuity: staff changes may lead to a loss of the institutional memory (best practices, already made contacts) which could affect the performances of the respective center;
• The large number of non-SOLVIT cases: because SOLVIT introduces itself as an efficient way to solve problems occurred on the internal market, it is easy to make a generalization and the SOLVIT network may become flooded with different types of requests which do not fall under the incidence of its field of application; this causes a delay in the processing of cases.
PERSONAL CONTRIBUTIONS The development of the coordination model for the DOWNSTREAM (informal) component The general performance of the SOLVIT network is influenced by the individual performance of its centers just like in a chain. The key of success consists in fulfilling a series of requirements such as the quality of the “homework” done by the Center of origin (which may improve / have a negative effect on the reaction of the leader center), the relations between the two home and leader centers (which may accelerate / delay the solving of a case) and also the degree to which the national authorities are prepared to reconsider the initial decision, according to the EU legislation. The individual efficiency of the centers is also affected by the different types of organizational culture adopted by the authorities of the state in question. There are 27+3 different ways of organizing a SOLVIT center. The administrative (de)centralization level influences the positioning of each national SOLVIT center as well as its functioning. The purpose of the research is to demonstrate that the positioning of each of the coordination centers at a certain level of the public administration, depending on the each country’s specific cultural characteristics, may improve / affect the efficiency of the entire coordination system. The model developed to measure this correlation uses a set of three hypothesis linked to the performance of the coordination system. Each hypothesis introduces variables used to calibrate the model. The variables reflect quantitative and qualitative measurements. The model is based on a synthetic table which collects specific records for each variable. Different administrative cultures provide different answers to common problems and dilemmas (Hofstede, 2005, Trompenaars, 1994). The coordination centers are positioned differently in the analyzed countries, according to the specific nature of the type of social-cultural and administrative organization: type 1) at the level of the Prime-Minister; type 2) mixed, Cabinet – Ministry of Foreign Affairs; type 3) at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In consequence, the first hypothesis is that some positioning solutions are more efficient than others. The variable enclosed for this hypothesis is C (index of centralization) which measures the administrative hierarchy having predefined values of 3 (for countries which fall under the incidence of type 1), 2 (for countries falling under the incidence of type 2) or 1 (for countries falling under type 3). To adjust the model, organizational turbulence (Moldoveanu, 2004) is also introduced as a variable after having extracted it from the noise factor. The second hypothesis is that the turbulence from the administrative environment affects the efficiency of the coordination system. On a scale from 1 to 5, turbulence measures situations which 133
vary from predictable to unpredictable. Affected by the secondary effects of the international crisis, by the European parliamentary elections which are to come in June, by a new European Commission in the autumn of this year, the degree of turbulence is artificially rather high. The relation between organizational turbulence and the coordination performance is reversed: the lower the turbulence figure, the higher the efficiency. To avoid the risk of getting subjective results from different countries, the values of this variable are set uniformly at level 4. The third hypothesis also introduces quantitative aspects – for instance success in solving the SOLVIT cases (the SOLVIT network ensures an inter-institutional and inter-state platform to solve the problems occurred on the internal market): the percentage of cases solved by the Leader Center is a measure of its efficiency. The attached variable is D (”done” – cases completed successfully).
Table 1. Comparative table Benelux – Romania
Level of coordination
Ministry of Belgium Foreign Affairs InterLuxemburg ministerial committee InterThe ministerial Netherlands committee European Romania Affairs Department
Quantity variables (QN) Centralization Organizational Solved Population123 index turbulence files Quality variables (QL)
The purpose of this research is to discover which organizational model works better in the specific framework of the national administrative culture, to fundament the option concerning the placement of the coordination unit at a specific level. Therefore, the performance (P) is the key element looked for in the model. The objective is to maximize P (performance). Thus we have the necessary framework to develop the model: P = f (C, O, D) where: P = performance of coordination C = index of centralization O = organizational turbulence D = number of files solved Considering that the relation between P and C is directly proportional while the relation between O and P is reverse, then the coefficients for C and D are positive while the coefficients for O are negative.
P = α + β1C – β2O + β4D + ε
Population on January 1st 2009, EUROSTAT estimate from 20.03.2009: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page?_pageid=1996,39140985&_dad=portal&_schema=PORT AL&screen=detailref&language=en&product=EU_MAIN_TREE&root=EU_MAIN_TREE/tb/t_popul/t_po pula/t_pop/t_demo_gen/tps00001
Coefficient α is the number of files which will be solved anyway, regardless of the positioning of the coordination center. The factor ε is the noise of the model, a part of the model which can be explained in 3 hypotheses. The master table is based on several input data, using sources such as EUROSTAT, the European Commission report from 2008 on SOLVIT, the theory of organizational turbulence etc. The Columns show values for the quality and quantity variables. The quality variables are: • The centralization index: the variable may take one of the pre-set values 1 – 2 – 3 depending on its positioning from the SOLVIT center: 3 means positioning at the level of the Prime-Minister, 2 – at the related ministries, 1 – at the agencies’ level; • Organizational turbulence: this variable registers values from 1 to 5 where 1 is a stable and predictable organizational environment while value 5 means a high degree of unpredictability. The quantitative variables of the model group information about population, statistics on file processing etc. follows: • Population: this column is based on the Eurostat estimate for 2009 (from January 1st 2009) aimed at increasing model accuracy. For instance, if 2008 were chosen as a year of reference (which actually refers to the values from January 1st 2008) the values registered by this variable would not have overlapped the actual cases solving process which took place in 2008. This column provides background information for the basic model; • Cases solved by the Leader Center: this variable collects the number of successfully closed cases. The next step is to make a graphic comparison between the quantity variables and the centralization index. This is done by scaling the two types of variables on a scale from 1 to 3 (to be in agreement with the scale used for the centralizations index). To determine whether the variables of the model are correlated or not, we shall make a linear regression. This provides low values of Adjusted R Square. For instance, when comparing the C centralization index to the number of solved files, Adjusted R Square is 10%, which indicates that 10% of the cases solved are influenced by the positioning of the coordination center (therefore approximately 90% are determined by other factors). The following stages imply multi-varied regressions and Solver techniques aimed at optimizing the individual results. Keeping the rest of the fixed variables (ceteris paribus) and modifying only the quality variables we shall have the instruments we need to use in the following research stage. Figure 3. Linear regression of the C centralization index with the number of solved files
If we look at the regression chart, we may make an impression about how â€œlinearâ€? it is: Figure 4. The chart of linear regression of the C centralization index with the number of solved files
Results indicate that the connection between the administrative hierarchical levels in which the European affairs coordination center is placed and the efficiency of the system is just a part of the entire image. Research needs to be continued to discover the rest of qualitative – cultural variables which influence the general performance of the informal European affairs coordination system from the EU Member States. Proposals and recommendations on the UPSTREAM component The organizational redesign in the Romanian European affairs coordination system was based on the organizational analysis of the institutions involved in Romania and in the EU – and starts from the premise of optimization of the current coordination system, without causing major organizational changes, but only rendering the existing resources more efficient. During the crisis, the cost of introducing new resources becomes higher than usual so that it is recommended to increase efficiency by “re-arranging” the existing processes. Following the organizational analysis carried out, a set of proposals for the optimization of the functioning of the European Affairs coordination system emerges. The most important of them are listed below: 1. The placement of the coordination at a centralized level with one single coordinator (DAE) is adapted to the current environmental turbulence stage of the political-economic environment and leads to the simplification of the informational flows and to the elimination of overlaps in the coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (“two voices”). The model proposed below reduces the role played by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from that of co-author of the coordination to that of participant to the coordination system to provide more freedom of movement to the European Affairs Department in the identification and promotion of a unique, consensual solution. This wish may also be seen in the analyzed press releases (Annex II) .
Figure 5. The proposed model – centralized coordination of the European affairs EU LEVEL (BRUSSELS)
EUROPEAN AFFAIRS COORDINATION NATIONAL LEVEL (BUCHAREST)
COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
ROMANIA’S POSITION OF NEGOTIATION
ROMANIA’S REPRESENTATIVES TO THE EU
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT THE EUROPEAN AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT (DAE) ROMANIA’S POSITION OF NEGOTIATION
ROMANIA’S POSITION OF NEGOTIATION
(Weekly) COORDINATION MEETINGS (presided by DAE)
WORKING GROUPS OF THE COUNCIL (WG) THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION – PROPOSAL Expert COMMITTEES
It is important to mention that the model is dynamic: depending on the socioeconomic evolutions and on the importance of one or another major topics to be discussed in Brussels, the two-headed model (type II) – or model III (of coordination at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – or of a possible transformation of DAE in a Ministry for European Affairs) – may be reactivated. For the time being, taking into account the pressure to react rapidly under the rule of the new challenges brought along by the economic-financial crisis, the recommended solution is to place coordination as close to the top as possible, at the level of one single institution. On a formal level, the choice of this type of coordination finds its roots in the excellent performance of the informal coordination placed at the top level, as well, as in the case of the previously described SOLVIT network. Informal, self-defined action is often a way to establish the formal action pattern based on it. Using the positive experience of SOLVIT, a recommendation is to raise the level of formal coordination, also, at the level of DAE exclusively, reserving the treatment of the specialized files from the EU foreign affairs pillar to MAE. The simplification of the national coordination system and the creation of a single centralized structure in the suborder of the Prima-Minister should have 4 main missions: -
inter-ministerial coordination and preparation of Romania’s positions within the community institutions 139
formulation of the strategic guidelines of Romania’s activity as a Member State insurance of the information circuit between the European institutions – the Permanent Representatives of Romania – the national institutions – and back (including information of the Parliament) checking the transposition of the acquis and the enforcement of the community legislation
A single coordination body which ensures the unity of decision and action and focuses exclusively on this process will avoid any conflicts between the institutional objectives o the different parties involved. Besides, a unique structure would avoid duplication of the procedures and parallelism in the preparation of Romania’s positions in the decision-making process at the EU level. In the Romanian institutional system, the Prime-Minister decides on the general strategic orientation of the domestic politics, coordinates the enforcement of the governing program and manages the Cabinet activity. The placement of the European affairs coordination at the level of the Prima-Minister ensures both the legitimacy and the political authority of the decisions adopted as well as the highest technical expertise level. The role of the Prime-Minister must not be reduced to the level of strategic orientation in the field of European affairs. His capacity as head of the government confers him the legitimate position of managing Romania’s process of participation at the creation of the community acquis (and implicitly of the domestic legislation) directly. The Prime-Minister coordinates the activity of all ministries, therefore covering everything generically falling within the field of the European affairs. Institutional changes in the coordination of European affairs in the new Member States did not follow the traditionalist approach from the old Member States, of strengthening the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The accession process gradually turned from a foreign politics process to a process which involves a large series of domestic political and economic reforms. In most of the new Member States it became obvious that progresses in the pre-accession stage could no longer be supported only by diplomatic efforts. That is why the logic of a centralized coordination system became more obvious since there was a growing need for efficiency. A centralized European affairs management system in the sub-ordination of the Prime-Minister shall take into consideration the sectorial internal positions more efficiently and shall have a bigger authority in the negotiation of compromises between ministries. The placement of the coordination at the level of the PrimeMinister will facilitate further implementation at national level of the decisions adopted in Brussels due to the authority and impartiality of such a structure. 2. Secondly, for the mechanism to function perfectly it needs to be provided with an efficient communication system made up of the contact points designated by ministers, by the specialized central public administration institutions and by the structures with duties in the field of European affairs. The contact points from the national communication system are represented, depending on the situation, by the State Secretary responsible for European Affairs, by the general manager or by the
manager responsible for the European Affairs issue. The informational flows between the contact points are usually performed through the EXRANET RO information and communication system, a network formed of representatives of the institutions connected to the electronic system and destined to the implementation of the technical and security requirements according to the national regulatory framework and to the security standards of the European Union. A potential informational flow problem, if DAE takes over the centralized coordination, is related to the fact that the Permanent Representatives have an organizational relation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which may lead to overlapping competences. It is necessary to identify the shortest, most efficient information sending mechanism so as to reduce the number of intermediaries. 3. The use of an integrated information management system with three access levels: one public and two private (administrator and user) is a third request of efficiency of the system. The public level would provide access to the synthetic sheets on the main files which are in process of inter-institutional coordination and to the agendas and minutes of the discussions from the weekly coordination reunion. The private level would be defined depending on the user: the administrator (DAE) may decide on the structure of the database and which documents need to be uploaded and the users (the institutions which participate at the coordination system) may have editing rights on the documents from the database (in the case of mandates launched by other institutions) or rights of upload (within the reports – or mandates launched by one’s own institutions). This IMS may also provide a solution to the problem regarding the efficient editing of mandates. Currently, MS Outlook and the Track Changes feature of MS Word are used for the exchange of information – which leads to countless variants of the same source documents. Any drawing-up of a mandate implies an exchange of emails. The situation may be improved by uploading a single initial document in the IMS, document which could be edited by the institutions with responsibilities in the field; the system would mark the modifications made and mention the author in a centralized manner. 4. The recurrent issue concerning the level of participation to the weekly coordination reunions (in some cases, directors appointed to participate in the place of state secretaries delegate participation to the execution levels, in their turn – advisors, experts) may be solved through a written inter-institutional agreement (memo) – and also by delegating the decisional power to the participant with an executive position, who may receive a mandate of representation from his/her institution. Thus, the Committee’ role of decision-making body may be fulfilled successfully so as not to postpone decisions until the following reunions and to reduce the gaps within the coordination system. Practically, this measure also responds to the question “what is the maximum number of institutional actors from the national coordination system”: according to the proposal made, each institutions from the system has 2 representation levels at the coordination meetings – one for management and one for execution. 6. Taking into account resistance to change. The introduction of any modifications at organizational level is welcomed with resistance. This is why proposals need to be
tested first in comparison with the existing situation so as to develop a feeling of property on ideas among the institutions which participate at the coordination system. In parallel, a good communication of the objectives of the change process is necessary as well as a clear presentation of the objectives to the institutions involved.
CONCLUSIONS The efficiency of the coordination of European affairs, both formally and informally, both upstream and downstream, is affected by several factors. Among them the size of the population, the specific nature of the administrative culture from the different Member States, the connections between the institutions and the cultural differences between two similar institutions present in two different Member States as well as the complexity of the files themselves. This study is of practical and theoretical importance due to the lack of clarity in connection to the influence of European integration on the national central systems. There is the need for a case study providing an image on the different coordination methods used – and for a model testing the hypothesis in relation to the implications of European integration for the national administrations. The internal coordination of the European policy is a prerequisite for an efficient presence of the representatives of a country to the daily negotiations which take place at the European institutions from Brussels – Council working groups, COREPER reunions, meetings with the European Commission or with the specialized committees of the European Parliament. Although adaptable, the national coordination mechanism needs to find its way among the challenges appeared on a growingly complex European stage. The network needs resources (financial and human) – and it also needs stability and continuity to operate in the best circumstances. Its efficiency is also affected by the time factor: due to the growing number of files which needed to be solved, the national administration became more used to the procedures and it gains experience, thus improving its global efficiency. The SOLVIT network has the key elements of an adaptive network under continuous development: because problems are not always related to the simple improper enforcement of the acquis on the internal market, solutions are sometimes to be found in structural measures which modify the institutional and legislative framework itself to prevent the occurrence of future problems of the same type. This is how SOLVIT+ appeared, as a response to the constantly new character of the problems faced by the network. This could somehow be compared to the way in which the US Constitution collected new Amendments in time, after the initial Declaration, so as to respond to the challenges confronted by the USA following the new economic and social realities. Even though it is very adaptable, the SOLVIT network still has to find its way through the challenges appeared on a growingly complex European stage. The network needs (financial and human) resources – and it also needs stability and continuity to operate in the best circumstances. Its efficiency is also affected by the time factors: in years, due to the growing number of cases which needed a solution, both the 142
SOLVIT centers and the national administration grew accustomed to the procedures and gained experience, improving their global efficiency. Judging by the increase in the number of case in over 6 years since the creation of the SOLVIT network in 2002, the need for human and financial resources will also grow. When this research report was drawn-up, the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection adopted the opinion of a Romanian Member of the European Parliament on the EU budget from 2009. This includes a proposal to increase the funds for the SOLVIT network starting from the presumption that its level of performance may be improved. Based on the methodology introduced through this point of research, as well as on the restrictions imposed by the financial crisis, the author also wishes to underline that it is important to direct funds to the key centers of the network in order to improve the general functioning of the SOLVIT system. The importance of developing an informal network is to be found in the permanent exchange of information and also in the regular meetings of its members. More precisely, in the case of SOLVIT it is more important for the centers left behind to learn from the experience of the more advanced ones as experience is also a time function. The smaller Member States are confronted with a smaller number of cases (zero in Iceland and Liechtenstein) and this aspect does not allow them to develop their experience. Taking note of the importance of the public impact the annual reports on SOLVIT issued by the European Commission have, certain information on the performances of the Member States may also appear on public communication channels such as EUtube. In conclusion, since its setup, SOLVIT managed to create a very positive profile, building bridges between cultural differences and moving the European Union concept a step farther – at the level which is sooner or later reached by every citizen, a level which is constantly evolving: the European administrative system. Another interesting conclusion is the following: besides the traditional differences between North and South, another important distinction can be made between the Germanic administrative cultures and the Latin administrative cultures. Some countries still see the European Affairs as being “foreign affairs”, other internalized the European Affairs so much that they became a part of the domestic communications mechanism. The model developed herein is an instrument and not an objective in itself because different European countries have different administrative models and therefore they register different “performance” levels in the coordination of European Affairs. The model also allows an analysis of the defects of moving a coordination center up or down the administrative hierarchy. If such a transition from a coordination system to the other is programmed, it has to be done with utmost care to maintain the strong points of the moved center: its set of good practices, its list of functional contacts etc. At the same time, each movement of a center to another level of positioning needs to be prepared and accompanied by an efficient communication campaign (reunions, presentations) oriented both towards the national administration and towards the stakeholders. Benchmarking may serve as a “naming or shaming” method for performers and for the remaining members of the system.
The national coordination system needs to include the best number of institutional actors (management level plus execution level, similarly and without variations from one institution to the other). Thus we avoid, on the one hand, the overlapping of competences and the inter-institutional divergences – and on the other hand the over-dimensioning of the institutional capacity and the overload phenomena. The efficiency of coordination is influenced in parallel by variables of the different types of organizational culture of the state institutions, with manifestations specific to each of the 27national systems. The degree of administrative centralization or decentralization influences the level at which the European affairs coordination unit is placed – and how it functions. Although the national coordination of the European affairs in the Member States is – and needs to remain – the exclusive responsibility of one’s own governance, the efficiency of national coordination has visible effects at European level. At the beginning of this research there was no discussion about the economicfinancial crisis. However, this also brought an unexpected way of testing the model under turbulent circumstances. As a consequence, in just a couple of years, the Romanian coordination system evolved between two types of coordination: mixed and centralized. The essential conclusion is that in conditions of high turbulence of the environment, a closer coordination is needed. The same conclusion is valid, regardless of the turbulence of the environment, for the beginning of the coordination system, until the initial period of “inter-institutional running-in” is exceeded and the system gets some functional autonomy. So far, considering the young age of the coordination system and the modifications it suffered, its results are positive and noticeable.
BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Volumes • • • • • • • • • •
Beach, D., The Institutional Dynamics of the European Union, Palgrave Mc Millan, 2005 Dragos, D.C., Uniunea Europeana. Institutii. Mecanisme (second edition), All Beck, 2005 Hofstede, G., Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind (2nd, revised edition), McGraw-Hill, 2005 March, J.G. and Olson J., The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 78-82 Matei, L., Management Public, Ed. Economica, 2004 Mintzberg, H., Mintzberg on management: inside our strange world of organizations, New York, The Free Press, 1989 Moldoveanu, G., Analiza si comportament organizational, Ed. Economica, 2005 Peters, B. G., Institutional theory in political science, London: Wellington House, 1999 Peterson, J. and Shackleton, M., The institutions of the European Union” (second edition), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006 Profiroiu, M., Institutii si Politici Europene, Ed. Economica, 2008 Schendelen, van, R., Machiavelli in Brussels – The art of lobbying the EU (second edition), p. 229-270, Amsterdam University Press, 2005
Trompenaars, F., Riding the Waves of Culture, Irwin Publications, 1994
2. Articles • • • • •
Aspinwall, M.D. and Schneider, G., ‘Same menu, separate tables: The institutionalist turn in political science and the study of European integration’, 2000, European Journal of Political Research, nr. 38, p. 1-36 Christiansen, Th., ‘Intra-institutional politics and inter-institutional relations in the EU: towards coherent governance?’, 2001, Journal of European Public Policy, Vol.8, No.5, p. 747-769 Moldoveanu, G, ‘Scanning Organisational Environment’, Administration and Public Management Review, nr. 2/2004, p. 38-45 Moldoveanu, G., Pleter, T.O., ‘Multidisciplinary Optimization in Services Management’, Theoretical and Applied Economics, no. 5/2007 (510), p. 7-12 Moldoveanu, G., Pleter, T.O., ‘Shrinking Bureaucracy’, Theoretical and Applied Economics, no. 7/2007 (512), p. 7-10 Nastase, B., ‘The waterdrop principle or about the management of EU Law implementation’, Quality – Access to Success, Ed. Ars Academica, special issue, year 9, no. 93, oct. 2008, p. 92-95, ISSN 1582-2599+
3. Contributions in compilations and edited volumes •
Stubb, A., Wallace, H. and Peterson, J., ‘The Policy-Making Process’, in Oxford University Press (ed.), The European Union: How Does It Work?, p. 136-155
4. Documents of international organizations • • •
Commission Recommendation of 7 December 2001 on principles for using "SOLVIT" – the Internal Market Problem Solving Network (C(2001) 3901) Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Effective Problem Solving in the Internal Market ("SOLVIT") (COM/2001/0702 final) Commission Communication – White Paper on European Governance (COM(2001) 428 of 25.4.2001) OECD Economic Survey 2007: European Union, Volume 2007/11, Paris: OECD Publishing
5. Reports •
2008 Report on the Development and Performance of the SOLVIT network, European Commission, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities Preparing the Council for enlargement / Report from the Secretary-General/High Representative to the European Council, 9518/01, Brussels, 7 June 2001, Addendum 1 Notes and reports of the European Affairs Department on European affairs coordination, 2006-2007
6. Internet •
http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu http://www.gov.ro http://www.dae.gov.ro http://www.euractiv.com
7. Official national documents • • • •
OUG nr. 133/2006 din 21.12.2006 privind infiintarea, organizarea si functionarea Departamentului pentru Afaceri Europene, cu modificarile si completarile ulterioare Cadrul Strategic National de Referinta, 2007 HG nr. 115/2008 privind instituirea sistemului national de coordonare a afacerilor europene in vederea participarii Romaniei la procesul decizional al institutiilor Uniunii Europene) HG nr. 220/2007 din 07.03.2007 pentru modificarea si completarea HG nr. 100/2004 privind organizarea si functionarea Ministerului Afacerilor Externe HG nr. 100/2004 privind organizarea si functionarea Ministerului Afacerilor Externe
Annex 1. Master Table (adapted after the source: The European Commission)124
Population on January 1st 2009, EUROSTAT estimate http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page?_pageid=1996,39140985&_dad=portal&_schema=PORT AL&screen=U_MAIN_TREE&root=EU_MAIN_TREE/tb/t_popul/t_popula/t_pop/t_demo_gen/tps00001
Published on Feb 15, 2011
Published on Feb 15, 2011
Since 2003 the Soros Foundation has been developing the Open Society Fellows Program dedicated to those over 1000 graduates of academic, pos...