Scientific Coordination:

Prof. Dr. Emilian M. Dobrescu - Romanian Academy

Mr. Sever Avram - EUROLINK - House of Europe

Mr. Sandu Zamfirescu - EUROLINK - House of Europe

Project financed under the aegis of the European Union programme
« Support for European integration activities organised by the academic world »

with the kind support of the
Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission


The research project "Europeanisation Opportunity for Romania through Promoting the Social-Economic Regional Development and Diversity" was initiated in September 2001, and was financed by Directorate General for Education and Culture of the European Commission, within the programme called: "Support for European integration activities organised by the academic world".

The Interdisciplinary Reflection Group (IRG) of the “EUROLINK“ - House of Europe conducted the research. The main objective was to elaborate a study aimed to emphasize:

  • the present regional specificity/diversity of the country’s regions;
  • the possibilities of a functional reconversion of the traditional social-economic development models of each Romanian historic region;
  • a package of recommendations, able to relaunch a coherent process of modernisation, in the context of administrative decentralisation and of the cohesive/solidarity policies promoted by the EU.

This theoretical attempt should be preceded by a mature understanding/absorption of the main regional differences, to be determined on the basis of the analysis and re-valuation of the social and economic traditions, public administration organization during centuries, regional identities and work ethics and social-economic prevalent models etc.

In our view, the modernisation process of Romania should start by recognising the symbolical and practical importance of the previous traditional, social, cultural and mental models which could influence the systemic transformation of mentalities, as well as the present implementing regional development strategies. The realisation of an effective local autonomy and the subsidiarity principle is also becoming a major pressure on the Romanian society.

One of the major priorities of the moment consists in designing newly adapted alternatives facing the profound modification of the new representation of the country’s political and administrative coherence. It refers to a gradual revision process of the relations between the "center" and the regions, between the better developed areas and the defavorised ones.

Through this study and the debate launched on the occasion of its dissemination, the House of Europe Bucharest intended to offer its specific contribution to rigorous and detailed approach on Romania’s preparation in view of the accesion to the EU, especially from the point of view of isuring the economis-social cohesion, decreasing the interregional gaps and of the preparation in view of the absorbtion of the further strucural funds and the construction of a real European harmony.




I. How many Romanias, how many regions and for what Romanians?
I.1. The detachment from the autarchic spell
I. 2. The need of a model – A “Romanian whim” or a categorical imperative
I. 3. How many Romanias and for what Romanians
I. 4. A precipice that gets harder to fill


II. A hystorical view of the regional development in Romania
II. 1. The concept of regional development
II. 2. The situation until 1945
II. 3. The situation during the Communist government
II. 4. The regional development during the years of transition


III. The regional development and the socio-economic diversity in Romania
III. 1. Characteristics and particularities of the process
III. 2. The situation of the disadvantaged zones
III. 3. The institutional construction of the regional development


IV. The Romanian politics of regional development within European context
IV. 1. Strategy principles and aims of the regional development
IV. 2. Premises and perspectives of the economic evolution at the level of the development regions
IV. 3. Recommendations for Romanian development model at the regional leve
IV. 4. The improvement of the SME management and of its organization system
IV. 5. Suggestions for a Romanian development model at the regional level


Concluding remarks: ROMANIA'S NEED OF EUROPE

Selected bibliography





The lack of reflection and imagination of many nowadays-political leaders has hardened a clear choice for a certain model of development for Romania, or at least, the elaboration of the road map requested by the European Union meant to be precisely according to the precisely officially formulated aim of getting closer to a united Europe. In order to completely get rid of the label and of the forced albanization practiced by Ceausescu but also by the suicidal system of Byzantine intrigues but also of the rotten duplicity seemingly founded by the Phanariots, a gradual strategy would have been indispensable, after having chosen the cohesion model.

In order to answer such a question, it would be vital to remember, not because of nostalgic reasons, what Romania’s administrative territorial configuration was, after the accomplishment of what we usually call the Great Union, but what in the stage in what the 1921 royal constitution coincided with a deep reassessment/ reform on the physiognomy, cultural patterns, public perceptions and mentalities in our country.

If we pay more attention to the political administrative map of that time, we can notice that the territory division tried to take into account to a greater extent the traditions and the cultural connection, the identity implications and the civilization trends of the zones brought into the area of a new administrative, economic and social conception of the country.

Beyond certain criticized aspects or objections which could be brought especially to the respecting of the minorities rights in the new Romanian State, some defining elements are worth being noticed and they are essential to the understanding of the context of the view on the regions of the former Kingdom:

  • the concern for the conservation of the zonal/regional specifics already crystallized and put to the test of time, of the historical tests that these regions had been put to;

  • the acceptance and the aware assumption of the stratified differences, deepened in the historical, demographic and social profile of these regions, not as an effect of a fatality of the experienced influences (which often had been politically and economically unhappy and fatidic!) but as the result of an operated syntheses, with its good parts and its involved disadvantages;

  • the projection accomplished according to the reach of a certain harmony and social-economic cohesion, even if this was not constructed according to a federalist, administrative-juridical project.

The co-existence of certain regions that had not experienced historical domination or so diverse civilization influence was valorized to a great extent, in order to establish enriching complementarities , in which each administrative territorial entity assumed or should assume its limits, inconsistencies, incongruence and its own disparities according to the synthetic spirit of a new Romania suggested as a project. It is obvious that the practical functioning of this project of political administrative reform was far from being impeccable. The main critical brought to it and which can still be brought to it refers to the maintaining of some exaggerated nationalist and centralizing tendencies, able to repress zonal needs of emancipation and development, which were not, sometimes according to the central strategies and financial allocations.

In this sense, on of the effects can be noticed in the maintaining or even the accentuation of some forms of isolation or of some disparities in the social-economic development, already tributary to the past previous to the events of the 1918-1921 period. For instance, the maintaining of the administrative homogeneity of some regions or zones like Oltenia, or the central or North-Eastern Moldavia was not able to produce a “mentality jump”, a significant sudden change for the better of the respective entities.

There is no doubt that that the dominant of the intransigent putting into practice of the centralized national unitary state affected the social economic development of other regions and zones before the Second World War. The vascularization system and the dynamics of the changes and of the transfers that were not only commercial were not effective and led to a deepening of the already existent disparities in the absence of the introduction of consistent decentralization of the whole administration of the country.

Within this context, it is worth remembering the opportunity provided by the evoked administrative territorial architecture of the belonging of these regions to entity, which for some of them was completely new, and this was not supposed to affect “the own self” and the deep identity implications derived from this belonging and this osmosis process I which they were involved.

On the other hand, it is clear that the implicit importation of the central European model of development and of other parallel intercultural and tolerance models, especially by incorporating Banat and Bucovina, could be valorized and used more productively, especially for the outlining and the adoption of a GENERAL and COHERENT MODEL for the entire Romania which headed to the European values. Of course, many mentality barriers and historical accidents, which greatly depended on the capacity of prevision and administration of the autochthonous elites, barred the crystallization and the implementation of such a model.

For the shot 1918-1938 period, its generation seemed impossible and its influence was partly felt generally by the opening to the foreign investments and capital, by the projects of industrial modernization and tendencies of affiliation to the elites’ morals and perceptions, even if in a humbly and mimetically, in comparison with the general patterns of modernization and Western orientation . But the period was too short, the share of clients patriarchal system, as well as the Byzantine intrigues barred the process and prevented the process from going on and it was sealed by Romania’s entering the war together with the nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy.

Together with the sovietization after 1946, the dies had been cast for a long time, not only to the disadvantage of Romania’s immediate interests or even of the activation of its deep European cultural specific, of the coagulation of a coherent regional development model, brutally broken by the atomization arbitrarily dictated by Ceausescu in 1967.


The detachment from the autarchic spell

The most legitimate question that should be asked is if, at the beginning of the 90s, that model could be one of Turkish- Byzantine or pro-Slavic type.

Probably, the majority of the Romanians would proudly answer no, as they have been inoculated for a long time with the myth of the autochthonous synthesis by national communists like Dumitru Popescu or Adrian Paunescu. In practice, no affiliation to any model really worked, and the least the central European one, naturally justified by the previous destiny of certain Romanian provinces. It was obvious that the adherence to such a model no longer meant the gravitation on the orbit of a former empire, or the narrow nationalist spirit, which was dominant during the inter-war period which put to hard tests all the small forces of that zones, including the loss of significant territories to the advantage of USSR.

On the other hand, after the fall of the Wall, the Central Europe was unable to measure up to the hopes of the intellectual anticommunist adversaries or of the Western partners who supported them. Individualism, different from the Western one is still strong. No mobilization has been accomplished in the favor of such a regional solidarity, and the co-operation groups generically known as CEFTA is far from fulfilling a testing-laboratory role for the new type of political economic relationships and for the Unique Market. Despite these obvious drawbacks, if a real split from communism was wanted, Romania couldn’t have afforded the luxury or the poverty- it depends for who- of going on “Balkanizing”, as it had done it for a decade. Not even its formal entering CEFTA brought a real change, at least in economy. On the contrary, a short time after the longed for adherence, the governors started to cavil at the signed commitments and to realize that competitively speaking, they were not ready, not even for the free restrained, and even less for the Single Market.



The concept of regional development

The regional development is a concept that has in view the stimulation and the diversifying of the economic activity, the stimulation of the investments, the contribution to the reasonable use of the human resources and the improvement of life quality.

In order to implement the regional development politics, there have been created eight development regions that cover the whole Romanian territory. Each development region includes a number of counties. The development regions are not territorial administrative units; they are not juridical persons, as they are the result of a free agreement between the county council boards and the local council boards.

The regional development politics represents a system of measures planned and promoted by the local and public administrative authorities, together with certain private, public or volunteer agents, in order to assure a dynamic and lasting economic growth through officially turning to good account the regional and local potential, in order to improve the life conditions. The main domains taken into account by the regional politics are: the development of the industrial units, the human resources market, the stimulation of the investments, the technology transfer, the development of small and middle business field, the improvement of the infrastructure, the quality of the environment, the rural development, health, education, culture.

The rural development has a distinctive place within the background of the regional politics and has the following aims: to diminish the poverty in the rural regions, to balance the economic opportunities and the disparities between the rural and the urbane environment, to stimulate local initiatives and to preserve the spiritual and cultural patrimony.

The development region, constituted as a neighbour counties union, represents the implementation and evaluation background of the regional development politics. The development region is not an administrative territorial union and is not juridical person.


The situation until 1945

Romania was confronted with economic and social discrepancies at the regional level during its entire state evolution. While the industrial activity was concentrated in certain regions of the country, especially where there were accessible mineral and energetic resources, other region are dominated by the agricultural and service activities.


The situation during the Communist government

After the Second World War, the communist Government guided the process of the implementation of the industrialization of the country according to a number main principles related to the new industrial units, such as: heir placing close to primary products sources or to the main urbane agglomerations, the maximum use of the available work force, especially in the underdeveloped areas, the turning to good account through and the processing of the local primary products; the support provided to the growth and the development of the new industrial platforms in urbane areas. Therefore in the poorest counties of the country, such as Bistrita Nasaud, Buzau, Ialomita, Olt, Salaj,Vaslui, there have been developed branches of heavy and light industry, machine building industry, chemistry, metallurgy, textile fabrics, ready made clothes fabrics.

In 1967, the leaders of the Romanian Communist Party initiated a new administrative territorial division, changing the 16 administrative regions with their respective departments, in 41 counties and the town of Bucharest. The ideological plenary session of the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party in 1971 and then the election of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1974 as the president of the country led to the excessive centralization of the economic and cultural political decisions, with their respective consequences for the entire country. Every congress or ideological plenary session of the unique party stated that the aim was the harmonious development of all the areas. Every five-year –plan stipulated new economic, social and cultural units raised in each corner of the country, trying to get the announced harmonious development.

In 1975, the political leader of the country defined in very precise terms, the aims of the territorial development within the industrialization process. These were expressed by the establishment of the minimal threshold of 10 thousand million lei annual production and the task at the level of each county. The plan made on the basis of the Unique National State Plan elaborated at the national level, also included, starting with 1976, the territorially profiled plan based from the imposing from a center of an economic development model. The aimed at purpose was the diminution of development differences between the counties, having as its only criterion the level of industrial development. The result was a forced industrialization of all the counties and the substantial diminishing of regional differences, but the criteria of the economic efficiency were neglected. The result was a contradictory one: an exaggerated of the types of industrial units placed in the counties, but also the appearance of many towns which depended on one bigger or smaller industrial unit which usually belonged to heavy industry, chemistry, or machine building industry. In 1980,the 10 thousand million lei annual industrial production was changed, being related to the extent of each county. The consequence of the industrial process was the creation of the base of industrial production in each county of the country. The motivation and the purpose were to completely use the potential of work resources and to diminish the differences between the counties. This way of redistribution of the national global resources finally led to a slowing down of the rhythm of the economic development for the whole country. During the industrialization process, there weren’t created industrial structures specific to each county and the country were provided with a very diversified industrial structure. Therefore, all over the country there were developed food industry, made clothes industry, leather and footwear industry, as well as building materials industry and wood exploitation and processing. All the counties had machine building and metal processing industrial units. A series of predominant industrial branches provided the industrial profile of the respective county.

Because of the centralized economy, the under-evaluation and underestimation of the space in the economic estimation caused and extensive growth of the economic potential and the concentration of the heavy industry in a few big industrial units, mainly placed in the big urbane agglomerations, the protection of the environment being completely neglected.

The population who worked in agriculture was artificially diminished, being attracted by the industrial activities in the urbane areas. The ample process of the population’s migration from the rural environment to the urbane environment provoked serious disturbances and high pressure on the industrializing towns.

Retrospectively analyzing this situation, it has been considered that the excessive stress laid on the diminishing of the discrepancies at any price to which there had been added and investment politics mainly based on the availability of the work force, represented one of the cause of the diminishing of the economic increase during the ninth decade of the last century. The industrial production increase ratio in the traditionally underdeveloped countries of Romania during the two previous decades had been impressive. In these less developed areas of the country. In these less developed areas of the country there was noted a ten times increase of the production. During the 80s, the less developed counties were forced to reach a global level of production per capita equal to the national average. This massive reallocation of the resources finally led to a slowing down of the economic development process. It is interesting to notice that, despite this process of forced industrialization and the economic increase induced thus, the traditionally poor counties of the country (Petrosani, Vaslui, Maramures, Bistrita Nasaud, Dolj, Olt, Giurgiu, Teleorman) continued to be affected by the population’s migration which continued to be massive during the 70s and 80s.

Things evolving thus, Romania got to have a unique situation with the economic background of the central European countries. The negative consequences of this bankrupt economic politics promoted by the unique party had been felt even since the 70s. They got worse during the 80s and were amplified after 1990. The unfavorable results are, in fact, felt to this very day when all the counties of the country are confronted with problems of economic and especially industrial reorganization.


The regional development during the years of transition

Within the economic and political changes which took place in Europe but also in Romania, after 1989, there has been imposed and here have been taken important steps in the foundation of a new vision and a new policy of the regional development. The regional development policies in Romania is now a main part of the Government Program. It is defined according to the new concept developed by the European Union, as being a stage of the process of accession to the European structures. The collapse of the whole economic system of the country and its decline after 1989 made the problem of the territorial priorities, which is the main preoccupation of a regional development policy, be rather difficult to support. In addition to the traditionally underdeveloped areas, there have appeared the industrially declining areas, which now raise serious problems because of the high unemployment caused by the reorganization.

After the introduction of the market economy system, the resources end to be directed toward those regions where their maximum use is possible. Therefore, the poorest regions that were industrially developed in an artificial way suffer now a severe impact of the transition and structural reorganization process. The industrial reorganization process after 1990 was very slow and it solved only partially the problem of the losing State industrial units. There didn’t show up that necessary alternative meant to replace the former ineffective and uncompetitive industry, which fed on energy, with economic structures adequate to the market economy. On one hand, the great combine groups of enterprises, which caused losses, were maintained, and on the other hand, small and middle industrial units, which could be partially reorganized and saved, were closed without judgement. A part of these industrial units could have represented the nucleus of a modernization, which could have gradually covered a great part of the Romanian industry. Thus, not only the economic structure of these centers was deteriorated, but also the specialized staff migrated to other jobs and this finally led to their disqualification. Except some enterprises with fully foreign capital, the new units appeared after 1990, don’t have well-defined specializations able to resist to the massive external competition and don’ have an adequate degree of modern technology.

A great danger for the industrial areas subjected to the reorganization was represented by the loss caused by the migration of the qualified labor force. If some industrial areas are left for rather long time without a viable economic activity, until the reorganization, which is a long process there has been ascertained that they lose, to the prejudice of some regions or of the country, the well prepared population, able to have a renewing activity. Together with the renewal or the reorganization of the economic structure, as well as the infrastructure, there appeared hopes related to the stabilization of the labor force, the diminution of the environment pollution, especially in the industrialized and densely populated areas. At the same time, special problems are caused by the rural areas, as far as the population employment is concerned, as well as the infrastructure of all types: from the road infrastructure to the technical, urban and business infrastructure.

Within the economic contest of the country, the agriculture represents the main branch, as far as the population employment is concerned (42% of the active human resources). It got this position after 1990, mainly because of the diminution of the number of people who worked in industry and buildings. The agriculture and forestry dominate the Romanian economy at the regional level (only in three regions – the West, the Center, and Bucharest – Ilfov - the number of people working in industry and buildings is bigger than the number of people who work in agriculture). The region where the population who works in agriculture represents more than two thirds of the employed population are, in the following order: North – East, South – West and South. These regions are at a low development level and county has a well-represented agricultural sector, which represents about 70% of the labor force in the rural environment clearly emphasizing the dependency of these regions on agricultural activities. All the regions and counties included by them are quantitatively as well as qualitatively confronted with serious economic problems.

Therefore, the present situation continues to reflect the artificial problems created during the communist regime. If Romania’s situation is compared to that of the countries that are members of the European Union or to other countries that have market economy, it can be noticed that the level of disparities between the Romanian regions is relatively low. Thus the process of “building” his regions on the map finally let to the creation of a number of regions with a relatively homogeneous development level. The only remarkable exceptions are two regions Bucharest – Ilfov, relatively developed in comparison with the other regions, and the North – Eastern region which is the least economically and socially developed region. Therefore, while the Romanian gross domestic product per inhabitant gets to 22% of the European average, Bucharest – Ilfov region gets only to 38% by parity with the purchasing power, the North – Eastern region gets only to 20% of the European average. In relative terms this situation is similar to that of Greece, Portugal or Spain at the beginning of the 90’s: a proportion of disparities between the most developed region and the least developed region and a low percentage difference in comparison with European average. It is important to notice that, excepting Bucharest – Ilfov and the North – Eastern region, all the other Romanian regions reach medium levels of the similar incomes within he context of a higher level of development in the Western part of the country in comparison with the East.

An ad-hoc map of the regional disparities in Romania allows the spatial localization of poverty and under-development in two main areas of the country: the North – East which includes completely the historical region of Moldavia and the South, respectively the most extended agricultural areas of the country – the Romania Field. Unlike these two areas the West and the center of the country are the richest and the most developed regions as far as the incomes from the population’s house-holds are concerned as well as he equipment, the technical and the social endowment and the economic potential. Beyond the general and global disparities the analysis reveal a series of detail aspects, symptomatic of the different areas specific problems typology. The main conclusions are as follows:

  1. The counties with the lowest life level are included in two main areas of poverty: the former, which is in very critical situation lies in North – Eastern Moldavia and covers the counties of Botosani and Vaslui, and the latter lies in the field area in the South of the country and includes the counties of Teleorman, Giurgiu, Calarasi and Ialomita. The counties of Botosani and Vaslui are marked by a generalized poverty having few material resources and being at high levels of infantile mortality, migration and unemployment. The Southern counties of the country, especially Calarasi, Giurgiu and Teleorman, are typical examples of cultural poverty as the sociologists state, characterized by a low educational level and a high ratio of infantile mortality due to the precarious health conditions.
  2. The under-development of the infrastructure and the poverty of the population house-holds are emphasized by some typical cases like that of the county of Gorj characterized by a low level of development of the technical and social infrastructure.. It is followed by the situation of the counties of Hunedoara and Constanta, where the low level of life quality is in contrast with the high level of the economic activities as it is subsequently showed by the specific indices.

The study of the regional disparities and their evolution must be accompanied by the analysis regarding the changes that have taken place in the employment structure and in the enterprise sector. This analysis adds new aspects and significances for a better understanding of the regional disparities. The main connection between the economic phenomena and the aspects of social life is represented at the regional level by the declining number of jobs in industry. The diminution of the number of employed people in industry was more than 50% of the diminution on the whole economy.

More than 45% of all the firms registered in Romania are concentrated in the most developed eight counties inhabited by 30% of the Romanian population. Higher values of unemployment were registered in the counties that are at a low level of development and have a high ratio of the decline of the number of people employed in industry (Bistrita – Nasaud, Botosani. Tulcea, Vaslui. etc.). As far as the spatial distribution is concerned it can also be noticed a grouping of the global disparities with major differences between the East and the south of the country and the Central an Western areas. Most of the low and very low developed counties are in Moldavia and Wallachia, whereas most of the counties that are at a high and very high level of development are in Transilvania and Banat. The historical regions of Oltenia and Maramures are at a middle level of development. One of the least developed areas is that which surrounds the Capital excepting the highly industrialized and urbanized county of Prahova.

The regional disparities reach remarkable values of certain indices emphasizing the discrepancies in economic, social technical equipment fields, or as far as life quality is generally concerned. The most dynamic changes were that of the indices of the infrastructure and social demography. The economic indices have been characterized by a general decline during the last eleven years, while the life quality indices increased for a great part of the population during the same period. The most dynamic positive changes have been those of the indices that showed the increase of the number of private cars or the number of phone subscriptions. The urbanization level expressed as a percentage of urban population of all the population of the country remained relatively invariable showing that the population didn’t massively moved from the rural environment to the urban environment and vice-versa.

The most relevant decreases of the development levels were registered in the counties of Mehedinti, Caras-Severin and Hunedoara while the counties of Braila, Dambovita and Ialomita have experienced some increases. The maximum of constancy was registered in the well-developed counties (Sibiu, Brasov, Cluj and Timis) as in the low developed counties (Giurgiu, Calarasi, Botosani, Vaslui and Teleorman). The regional evolutions in Romania were characterized by an increase of economic disparities and a general decline of the national economy. The regional changes evolved according to different models for the household’s resources, the infrastructure or the economic structure. It was the production of the industrial units that mostly decreased, proving that these structures were the least able to get used to the changes specific to the market economy. The acceleration of the economic reform finally influences the slower or the faster increase of the regional disparities.

Taking into account Romania’s progress in adapting the acquis communautaire and its institutional and real implementation on the spot according to its politics of supporting the least developed regions of the states that are members of the European Union or of the states that are in course of accession, the European Commission decided to provide our country with further support in order to implement the regional politics specific to the European Union. Beginning with 2001 Romania will receive from the European Union during six years 100 million euros yearly through regional development programs. According to the estimation made by the European Commission, the future programs of regional development can lead to the creation of about 50000 jobs especially in the private sector, mainly supported in its development by the European Union. The Romanian Government’s contribution to the future programs in partnership with the European Union will represent 25% of all the allocated European funds.

In the last five years 449 projects were approved for financing. 261 of them are addressed to the development of the local initiatives (more than 12 million euros), 107 projects to the training of the human resources (3.4 million euros) and 81 projects to the tourism (3.6 million euros). 74% of these projects will be implemented in the urbane environment, but it is remarkable that 118 projects are addressed to the rural communities and sum up a budget of 5.4 million euros for about 2700 new jobs. To the end of 2001 there have also been made investments of 8.6 million euros, financially supported by the European Union, for the development of the local industry, tourism and human resources sectors where 3500 jobs will be created and 4300 persons will be trained.

The European Union assistance in the regional development of the Central – European countries has a firm ground in the fact that every country that is in course of adherence must get closer to the middle level of the countries that are already members of the European Union as far as the regional development is concerned. But we consider that the effects of the implementation on the spot of these regional policies are not yet the best and the most expected ones, the created institutional structures are not known enough and implemented on a large generalized scale and the selection of the suggested programs is not the most objective possible because o a strong involvement of some subjective factors in these process.

Starting with 2001 the Ministry of Development and Prognosis elaborated (and the Government approved it by decision) the motion regarding the concentration of 2001 PHARE funds – the economic and social cohesion component - and of the respective co-financing funds from the state budget, in eleven areas of industrial reorganization, with a potential of economic increase. The population of these areas represents about the third part of the Romanian population. There were mainly selected from the projects addressed to the localities belonging to the eleven zones, according to the PHARE procedures, those investments projects in the public and private sector, which are part of the national priorities of regional development, according to the national plan of development, priorities accepted by the European Commission: the development of small and medium size enterprises, of local and regional infrastructure, the development of social services and tourism.

The criteria recommended by the European Commission which were the bases of the identification of the zones were: the existence of certain areas – geographically concentrated – with enterprises facing difficulties because of various reasons (closing, reorganization, privatization) having a high unemployment and serious social problems, environmental pollution problems, but which also have a potential of economic improvement. The directing of the PHARE, funds, of the structural and cohesion funds of the European Union to the established zones, supports and completes the general development program of Romania, together with the measures taken starting with 2001, in order to improve the business environment, by providing the small and medium size enterprises with facilities, the modernization of the infrastructure, the acceleration of the privatization, the intensification of the social protection actions.


The Need of a Model – A “Romanian Whim” or A Categorical Imperative

If it had been responsibly assumed, the Central European model would have been supposed to refer to a broader area of domains, possibilities and forms of representations, expression and modeling the social behavior. Is there an engine meant to push such changes forward? What could be this engine meant to generate another style and another social economic climate, if not the zone that proved the most civically responsible and the most stable, as far as the social and inter-ethnical relation were concerned: Timisoara- Arad and, generally, the Western region of the country, which, weather we want it or not, is now more directly involved with the center of the continent.

The chance for this potential exists, with the condition that, on the second stage, we obey complete re-ordination of the strategy principles of Romania , by the pro-democratic amendment by the revision of the Constitution through a well prepared referendum, the rapid economic reorganization, decentralization, subsidiarity, coherence and legislative acceleration, the harmonization of the region development rhythms, de-bureaucratization, big infrastructure projects, a clearer pro-UE focus in the external politics, European and American investments. It is desirable that even the administrative capital should be moved to a smaller town- like Curtea de Arges, Targoviste, Sibiu or, eventually, Brasov- for a welcome decisional de-concentration, to a de-congestion of Bucharest, in order to remain only the most important business center, as well as the headquarters of the embassies and international organizations.

The Central European model means even more than an economic political one, it leads to a gradual assimilation of another code and of other civilization imperatives, promoted by active methods not only from the top to the base, but in all directions simultaneously. Such a change becomes inherent to a country like Romania, which doesn’t have the position of Greece or the importance of Turkey. This re-orientation to de-Balkanization is not purely geographical and does not aim at the diminution of the capacity of influence of the Orthodox Church.


How Many Romanias and for what Romanians

It would at least grotesque to try to re-write hundreds year history, only to try to please someone, whoever this someone should be. This is not about giving up, but about necessary changes meant to re-integrate the European traditions of the Royal period in the new political configuration which Romania somewhat entered. The alternative to this re-orientation is but a drifting with unpredictable consequences or a big waste of time and forces still able to reconstruct. If things go on like they did until now, even Romania’s unity, so rhetorically praised, could be affected and not only morally. The so far discrepancies could deepen until they might become dangerous barriers between zones and regions which otherwise if they freely knew each other’s capacities and vocations, they would rather co-operate than mutually undermine each other. For now, it seems a sarcastic joke to speak about more Romanians. We could get ready against any artificial antagonism of the discrepancies by the acceptance of more manifestation aspects of the condition of being at the same time part of Romania and of another kind of Europe, freed from the stiffness of nationalisms which used to be fertile

If we accept the languages, the temperamental differences, the very different customs, we should also assume interests, development alternatives, which differ from one region to another that Bucharest, may not be able to impose any longer or constrain them from one office or another.

Such consent of the partial delegation of the decision power of the specifically regional or zonal problems was still is part of the evolution logic of the European Union. This process of the decisional prerogatives and responsibility transfer when it was well kept under control, never led to centrifugal tendencies, only then when the center did not fulfil its role or when the pseudo-cultural differences led, in fact, to the justification of the fights for power or recently transvestite resentments. Even then, as it happened in Czechoslovakia or the nowadays quasi-federal Belgium, the reason was triumphant to a great extent and let time fade away the frustrations and everyone draw the conclusions according to his own capital options.

Federalism, a complex philosophical and political concept, is almost completely misunderstood and it is often stridently whispered into the ears of the electors, like a scarecrow in comparison with the occult stake of a potential territorial separatism. The steady cultivation of the anxiety or of panic in front of potential disintegration of the country was and still can be an efficient method of dominating and manipulating big groups of people, which can be united by visceral impulses rather than by the cultivation of certain aspiration which may involve, risks, renunciations, sacrifices. An efficient shield, not a rhetorical one, against the danger of the territorial desegregation should have been exactly a process of de-nationalization/de-bureaucratization of the economy and of the process of the decision making in economy and in public administration, completed, in a subsequent stage by what is called de-regulation in the European Union.

We have so far tried to shortly evoke the necessity of acknowledging a more than cultural plurality of the identities at the regional or even zonal, which are not always according to, or lead to a common mentality when the relation between the public and private field, the work discipline, the consistency with the respecting of the agreements or contracts, the organization of the communities are involved. Those ways of being of the Romanian space would be worth being validated so that any major decision which might be make, should take them into account as forms of feeling differently assume the same "national" or public reality, as it is now called in the rest of the Europe.

But there is also another kind of division, which deepens more and more within the climate of a "jumping" unawareness of almost all the Romanian elites. About 52% of the population go on living in the rural environment. To a significant part of these inhabitants, the communism destined an existence of perpetual running to and for under under-human circumstances, in order to work in the big industrial colossus in many zones of the country. After the decline or the bankrupt of these activities, they found themselves in the situation of resuming their activity to practising subsistence agriculture, getting back to the horse drawn plough. Some of them joined the already thick rows of the lumped proletariat in the peripherical districts of the big cities. After the illusion of relative unchaining from the consumerism in 1990-1, these huge semi -illiterate crowds of people were confronted with incredible difficulties. These people were forced to do almost everything, in order to survive at the level of the abilities and of their hybrid culture of new people. They were driven away not only by the new temptations disseminated by the TV advertisements, but also by the all the social subsequent experiments. They were forced to gradually face the parody of the land reform, the bankrupts provoked by their own managers of the fabrics they worked in, the high level of corruption also pyramidal ramified, the waves of inflation and recently, to the gradual starving by the chronicle diminution of the buying power of three quarters of the population.


A Precipice That Gets Harder to Fill

During all this period, the precipice between the elites, especially between the so-called intellectuals and the rest of the population had not ceased to get deeper, giving the feeling of an indifference syndrome. The opportunists, who took over the power in December 1989, received nothing but a weak rhetorical vehemence from the majority of the intellectuals. After the civil mini-war in June 1990, a great part of the leaders of the students or of the young intellectuals who really mattered left Romania for some years or for good. Behind them, the two Romania-s, or, more exactly, the two Romanian populations, the somewhat modernized one in the cities and the one of the peripheries and villages, often changed into another kind of sordid peripheries, were to split more and more openly. This split is mainly at the origin of stress, and poisoning, often accompanied by extremely trivial accents, which still dominate the breathing air, especially in the Capital.

It is obvious that, owing to the common sense, in a democracy and not only on paper, close possibilities of harmonious development of professional evolution of the active people should be ensured to the both great categories of citizens, to the villagers and also to the inhabitants of the cities, to the West and also to the East, if we still want to talk about a cohesive Romania, an exhausted country, with a population mainly affected by moral physical illnesses, which are older than half a century, a mainly drifting and torn apart population, who gradually fell into resignation, is affected by a quasi-total crisis of communitarian motivations, of landmarks and of an economic and political organization specific to the 2000s.

How can we explain otherwise why an increasing share of the foreign investments and also of a certain economic success are concentrated in certain zones of the country, especially in the Western and South-Western parts and not in others. These zones do not exactly overlap the old historical regions of the country, but tend to implicitly recover certain traditions or characteristics of mentality which they are in a hurry to valorize, especially in terms of efficiency and income for now. Although there is a lasting development strategy of Romania on middle term- which would normally represent a gain-, the inability to clarify the property system, to really reorganize some economic branch leads to a the consequence of remaining dead letter. There is no clear superiority over a pragmatism ethos of the justice, or work. Be it Transylvanian, Bucovinean or so called royal, as in a simplistic way the adepts of some aggressive tendencies already acknowledged. But there are certain dominant models of behavior undoubtedly influenced by historical circumstances, which were helpful for the awakening from the communism, for the defining of the priorities and in order to accelerate the rhythms of the change, especially at the level of the economic dynamics.

On the other hand, it is obvious that the immediate potential of certain zones attracted more easily profits and helped them quit the immobility. Things started to go wrong only when the more and more negative mixture of the political factor started to be emphasized, more exactly its inability to harmonize the short term budgetary emergencies with a stimulating and coherent fiscal regulation for the incipient private sector, with a real involvement of the banks in the economic reform, with the massive and systematic stimulation of the foreign and especially European investments. It is exactly this myopia of the main part of the political class, which often maintained, unconsciously and conceitedly, almost all the social frustrations, the more or less separatist claims or the techniques of passive defence by practising the fiscal evasion and the corruptibly/corruption at national level. This myopia continued to lay stress on the centralization of the decisions and the obstruction of the decentralization initiatives in the country, which by any means couldn’t help leading one day to dissolutive protests, like: “I had enough of Romania” or the Moldavians’ Party.

The point is, realistically speaking, the return to the historical regions or to the reinitiating of the counties abolished by the communists in 1968. It was enough the specific of each region should be acknowledged and also the specific of each historical influence of the former occupants or of the neighbours (the Austrian-Hungarian, respectively Turkish-Byzantine, and respectively Slavic influences), the great existent differences between the regional cultures in the country should be assumed and a process of reflection should be started in order to fight, by an effective strategy, against the distances, the discrepancies, not only in the development, but also in the official treatment, rivalries and nowadays interregional conceit, the centrifugal and anarchical tendencies and , lastly, the expansive disgust at the role of the politics in such a tired society like ours is. Though, by the Constitution imposed by the post-communist regime, Romania like to declare itself, as a seeming compensation to the weakening of the public authority, the last national and unitary state, its territory, repeatedly divided and invaded until 1878 by almost all the Euro-Asian nations, led to one of the greatest inter-ethnical combinations, diversities of customs and traditions from one zone to another. After all, this generated many of the spiritual advantages, allowed a cultural creativity and a special adaptability not only in front of many material hardships and wars, as it is written in the heroic history books, but also in front of the influences, pressures and dogmatism.




Characteristics and particularities of the process

Taking into account the existent tendencies, one can try to give an interpretation of those forces, which will influence the level of the regional disparities in Romania. On one hand, those counties that were affected by a massive industrialization during the 70s and the 80s may suffer the consequences of the returning to an economy based on the business management. On the other hand, the forces of the market tend to recreate the regional disparities, when they are not under control. Romania is affected especially by the consequences of the center-periphery model of development, which prevails in the European Union. The process of the economic reorganization represents another factor that will have a great impact on the perspectives of the regional and especially under-regional development in the years to come.

The zones with economic and social problems can be classified in three main categories: traditionally under-developed zones, zones that experience a severe industrial decline and zones with a fragile economic structure. In many respects, these categories are similar to those that are provided with structural aid in the European Union.

The traditionally under-developed zones are characterized by a combination between a high proportion of structural unemployment and great shares of the work force in agriculture. These two factors are significantly connected with a ratio of infantile mortality higher than the national average and a tendency of the population’s migration to other regions in order to find jobs. The under-development of the zones is emphasized by the indices of the basic infrastructure (for instance, the density of the railways) and of the level of the direct investments per inhabitant (index that approximates the impact of the market forces on the local economy). These indices are much lower than the national average. We estimate that Romania does not have traditionally under-developed zones, after the politics of forced industrialization promoted during the communist regime.

The zones that experience an industrial decline are those for which the transitory process led to the loss of a great number of jobs, especially in the processing and mining industry. The development perspectives of these zones are substantially different from the traditionally under-developed zones, because the level of the infrastructure is relatively satisfying and the structures of the market economy started to work. Excepting Bucharest and the western counties of the country, almost all the other zones experience an industrial decline. Among the most important industrially declining zones are that of the following counties: Botosani and Suceava, Braila and Buzau, Calarasi and Giurgiu,, Dambovita and Teleorman, Dolj, Gorj and Olt, Maramures and Cluj, as well as Brasov.

The structurally fragile zones are those in which a great part of the labor force is still employed in metallurgy, chemistry and mining industry, which generate economical losses. The main part of the population that still works in industry also depends on one industrial sector and, as a rule, on one great enterprise. These zones have many features in common with the industrially declining zones, including the potential of the potential of the short-term reinforcement, but they also undertake the risk of social tensions. Such zones are especially in the following counties: Neamt , Galati, Prahova, Satu Mare.

During the 11 years of transition, the regional development politics have been based on certain national programs, created and promoted by the Government, in order to help certain disadvantaged zones. The results were not encouraging, because of the unsatisfying financial resources, the absence of a legal and institutional background for these changes and also because of the unitary view on the regional development. We consider that, during the last three years, important steps have been taken in the implementation of the principles and the aims of the regional development and also in the creation of the legal and institutional background of the regional policies.

The principles that the elaboration and implementation of the regional development are based on, are: the decentralization of the decision making process, from the central/governmental level to that of the regional communities; the partnership of all the agents involved in the regional development field; the planning, considered a process of using the resources (by programs and projects) in order to achieve the established aims; the co-financing, representing the financial contributions of diverse agents involved in the accomplishment of the regional development programs and projects.

The basic aims of the regional development politics are: the diminution of the existent regional discrepancies, by laying stress on the stimulation of the balanced development and on the reinforcement of the disadvantaged zones (with a delayed development); the prevention of new discrepancies; the accomplishment of the criteria of accession to the structures of the European Union and of the accession to the financial means of assistance for the countries that are members of the European Union (the structural and cohesion funds); the correlation with the governmental sector politics of development; the stimulation of the internal and international inter-regional co-operation, which contributes to the economic development according to the legal stipulations and to the international agreements concluded by Romania.

As a part of the institutional process of the implementation of regional development politics, the Romanian state and Government created the National Agency for Regional Development (NARD) which controls the disadvantaged zones and includes 8 agencies of regional development (ARD). ARD1: North-East (it has the quarters in Piatra Neamt), ARD2; South-East (the quarters in Braila); ADR3: South (the quarters in Calarasi), ADR4: South-Western Oltenia (the quarters in Craiova); ADR5; the West (the quarters in Timisoara); ADR6; North-West (the quarters in Cluj-Napoca); ADR 7: Centre (the quarters in Alba Iulia) and ADR8: Bucharest-Ilfov (the quarters in Bucharest). The regional development strategies are comprehensive documents elaborated according to the economic and social analysis made by the ADR staffs and also to the discussions with diverse local agents, representatives of local corporations, trade unions, private enterprises, non-governmental organizations, etc.

The regional development strategies, as well as the National Development Strategy were not thought only as documents meant found and plan the structural funds that Romania and its regions will be provide with. They are more comprehensive, because they include more development aims, excepting those financed by PHARE, ISPA and SAPARD funds.

In 2000, the greatest gross domestic product was registered in Bucharest, 4.377.300 lei (in comparison with 3.180.400 lei, the national average), followed by the Western region (3.453.300 lei) and the Southern region (3.403.400 lei) and the smallest in the Central region (3.013.700 lei), Northwestern region (2.981.300 lei) and the North-Eastern region (2.527.500 lei).

The most industrialized region is in the Center and the least industrialized-the North - Eastern region. The agriculture is best represented in the Southern region, followed by the South -West and North- East, whereas the trade and the bank financial sectors are best represented by the Bucharest- Ilfov region.

The North- Eastern region, the only that experienced a positive increase of the population, has the most numerous population of all the 8 development regions, the unemployed population representing 3 quarters of the whole number of inhabitants of the region. It is the poorest region of all the 8 regions presented below.

The importance of the development regions of Romania


Number of inhabitants

Natural growth

Number of inhabitants

GDP share

North East





South East


- 1,3





- 3,3



South West


- 3,2





- 3,6





- 2,1













The situation of the disadvantaged zones

These zones represent a geographical area strictly limited territorially, which accomplish at least one of the following conditions: they have productive mono-industrial structures which, within the activity of the respective zones mobilize more 50% of the employed population; they have a mining zone were the staff was employed dismissed as a result of the liquidation, reorganization or privatization of some economic agents, which affected more that 25% of the number of employees in the respective zone; the unemployment ratio represents ,more than 3% of the existent average at the national level ; they are isolated zones, deprived of means of communication and the infrastructure is low developed. A disadvantaged zone can belong to one or more administrative-territorial units.

On 25 March 1999, the Government issued the Decision nr.191, which declared the following zones disadvantaged: Albeni, Schela and Motru-Rovinari, the county of Gorj; Sarmasag-Chiojd-Bobota and Ipo, the county of Salaj; Baia Mare and Borsa-Viseu, the county of Maramures, Stei-Nucet, Borod-Suncuis-Dobresti-Vadu Crisului and Popesti-derna-alesd, the county of Bihor; Filipesti and Ceptura, the county of Prahova; Comanesti, the county of Bacau; Bucovina, the county of Suceava; Altan Tepe, the county of Tulcea; Bocsa, Moldova Noua-Anina and Rusca Montana, the county of Caras –Severin; Baraolt, the county of Covasna and Hida-Surdiuc-Jibou-Balan, the county of Salaj. At the beginning of October 1999, the mining zone of the Apuseni Mountains was declared disadvantaged for a period of 10 years. The geographical area of the mining zone of Apuseni as a disadvantaged zone includes the localities Zlatna, Almasu Mare, Abrud, Ciuruleasa, Bucium Sohodol, Mogos, Rosia Montana, Baia de Aries, Bistra, Lupsa and Salciua.

The trading companies that have their quarters and activate in the disadvantaged zone derive the following advantages: exemption from the rates duty and the payment of value added tax for cars, installations, equipments and important outfits, exemption from profit tax, sums for the stimulation of the export activity, external credits and the financing of investments project granted by the State.

The areas identified as low developed zones are now confronted with major economic and social problem, as a result of the transition to the market economy, proving their inability to accommodate to the new conditions imposed by the free market mechanisms. Knowing the fact that the transition to the market economy deepens the disparities between the developed and the weakly developed zones, because of the fact that the resources tend to be directed to those zones where their maximum use is possible, the direct and sustained intervention of the public administration, through economic and social specific programs. As the reform advances at the national and local level, the elaboration of new programs for the economic straightening and for social protection for the disadvantaged zones is required.

The major aim for the development of the identified disadvantaged zones is the economic reorganization the elaboration and implementation of the development alternatives. Some aims concerning the quality were also formulated, emphasizing the diversified meaning of the county economic and social development, namely: the raise of the life standard; the creation of new jobs; the protection and the regeneration of the environment; the providing of internationally competitive assets; the regeneration of the environment. In connection with this, the following operational aims can be formulated: the rehabilitation of the physical infrastructure in the disadvantaged zones; the stimulation of the investment in the area; the promotion of social programs specific to the disadvantaged zones.

The target domains, considered to be main directions of development, in order to fulfil the general aim and the qualitative aims, are: industry, the small and middle business sector the rural environment, tourism and services. In order to fulfil these aims, the involvement of all the protagonists responsible for the local development is necessary, as well as the help provide by the governmental authorities and the direct and consistent participation of the private sector. The problems of the disadvantaged zones will not be correctly and lastingly solved without a broad partnership, meant to involve the whole local community. If the aims planned on middle and long term are fulfilled, the life standard will raise in the zones which are presently identified as disadvantaged a new lack of balance will be avoided. The rehabilitating process of the disadvantaged zones have three main directions: the re-qualification and the reappointment of the persons whose dismissal was a result of the industrial reorganization, the attraction to the zone of various firms, the setting up of business and service incubators for the undertaking people.


The institutional construction of the regional development

The program of regional development politics, initiated by PHARE, the European Union and the Romanian Government, started in February 1996. Romania’s division in development zones or regions stirred many opinions, generated by the novelty of the project and the solutions, partly brought to an end, to the implementation of the principles of regionalism in our country. In spite of the theoretical interest, materialized also in the organization of seminars on this topic, even since 1997, the regional disparities still prevail, as well as the deficient administration and management of the regional policies and to attempt to achieve the adequation to the autochthonous reality of the regional political instruments in Romania.

The Green Charter is a governmental document elaborated in 1997. The Charter is a map of the regional disparities in Romania which allowed the spatial localization of poverty and underdevelopment in two main areas of the country: the North-West which practically includes completely the historical region of Moldavia and the South, respectively the most extended agricultural area of the country – The Romanian Field. Unlike these two areas, the West and the Center of the country are richer and more developed, as far as the economic potential is concerned, as well as the equipments and the social endowment, the incomes of the population households. The Green Chart proposed the structure of the country in the mentioned 8 development regions which can de considered as the basis of the same geographical regions considered to be statistical regions, aggregated by the neighbour counties which have quasi-common features and a potential of functional integration.

The Romanian Fund of Social Development, destined to finance project for the fighting against the poverty in the local communities was created by the Law nr.129/1998.The beneficiaries that derive advantages form this fund are groups of poor rural communities, disadvantaged groups and productive groups from poor communities. In order to derive advantages from the stipulations of this law, the poor rural communities and the productive groups of the poor communities must get judicial personality on the basis of the constitution document, concluded by at least 10 members of the community and registered at the town hall to which belongs the village or the isolated place. The fund’s purpose is to contribute to the diminution of the poverty by financing projects for the poor communities and for the disadvantaged groups, the increase of the local management capacity of organization at the local level.

The Romanian Fund for Social Development is constituted with the financial support of the international financial organizations and of other granters from Romania and from abroad. The maximum value of a financing is 75.000 $ on the project; the community that derives advantages from it must contribute to at least 10% of the value of the project. The Romanian Fund for Social Development can finance projects for: the small infrastructure (roads, footbridges, water supplies and sewerage systems in the rural zones); social communitarian services (assistance for abandoned children, health care at home for old people and services for homeless people); the organization of qualification courses, as well as the providing with technical assistance in order to create jobs in the poor villages.

As far as the regional development is concerned, we were ready to start the negotiations for the adherence to the European Union in the autumn of 1999. An official statement other European Commission from June 1999 appreciated that Romania was part of the vanguard of the States which candidate to the accession within the organization scheme of the regional development policies. The European Commission constantly helps Romania, through the ISPA programs (Which have a value of 180.000.000 euros), the SAPARD programs (150.000.000 euros), as well as through the program of social re-conversion, RICOP (100.000.000 euros). The financial help requested for a project can get to 62.500 euros, of which 50.000 are insured by one of the above-mentioned programs and to 12.500 euros from the state budget of Romania. For the projects I the private sector, the financing is conditioned by a private contribution of at least 40% of the whole value of the project. In the first stage of the implementation of the SAPARD program, most of the projects of rural development, in order to receive funds from the European union, were submitted to the county of Cluj. Therefore, 51 projects for the development and the improvement of the infrastructure were submitted, amounting to 35,4 million euros; 24 projects were for the consolidation of the local roads, 18 projects- for water supply and 9 projects – for the construction of sewerage systems. The horticultural expert Radu Vasile from the village of Sipote was the only applicant for PHARE funds from the county of Iasi who received a on-refundable loan of 20.000 euros for his project entitled “The producing of planting material of fruit trees and shrubs, vegetable nursery transplants, fruit seedlings, vine cuttings and the production of vegetables, fruits for consumption”.

As a result of the implementation of the regional development policies, active partnerships were initiated in Romania between the public, central and local administrations, but also between the local public administrations of the counties that form the development region. It is necessary to intensify at all the levels of social, economic and political life, in order to insure the lasting social economic development of each region, within the context of national development.




Strategy principles and aims of the regional development

According to the national Strategy of Romania’s Development on middle term, approved in the Government session on 19 may 2000, the strategy principles of the regional development have in view:

At national level:

    1. The promoting of the market economy mechanisms in all the regions of the country in order to improve the competence and to accomplish a permanent economic growth;
    2. the promoting of a harmonious spatial development and of the web of localities;
    3. the increase of the capacities of the regions to institutionally, financially and decisionally sustain their own process of development;
    4. the promoting of the principles of lasting development;
    5. the creation of equal chances as well as access to information, technological research and development, education and continuous training are concerned.

t regional level:

    1. the diminution of the disparities between regions, counties, rural and urbane environment, central zones, periphery zones, etc.
    2. the prevention from the appearance of problem-zones
    3. the co-ordination of the regional development region initiatives with the national priorities and the orientations of the European Union;
    4. the promoting of differentiated policies, according to some zonal particularities ( mono-functional zones – predominantly agricultural mining zones, urbane agglomerations, natural zones, built and protected zones, border zones, zones which presents environmental problems.

The aims of the development policies, according to the same strategy are: the diminution of the existent regional discrepancies, the stimulation of the balanced development, the reinforcement of the disadvantaged zones, the avoidance of new lack of balance, the correlation of the regional policies with the sectoral policies, the stimulation of the national and international inter-regional co-operation which contributes to the economic and social progress: the continuous development of the privileged special relationships of Romania with the Republic of Moldavia, the consolidation of the common cultural and spiritual space according to the standards and values required by the integration in an united Europe.

The fundamental aims of the regional politics, the institutional background, the abilities of the involved institutions and the instruments specific to the regional development in Romania are established by the Law nr.151/1998 regarding the regional development in Romania. The fundamental aim of regional development politics, as it was stipulated by the Law, has in view the diminution of the existent regional disparities, especially by stimulating a balanced development and by the acceleration of the straightening out of those zones where the level of development was left behind because of the historical geographical economic and political circumstances and also the avoidance of new regional disparities and lack of balance.. Another aim established by the law is the correlation of the sector politics of the Government with the local and regional initiatives and resources, in order to achieve a lasting economic, social and cultural development of the regions.

This process of stimulating the regional activities, their co-ordination with the governmental politics, of promoting the inter-regional co-operation, represents an effort of correlation of the necessities of the country, but also of the necessities of the geographical, economic and cultural regions of Romania. The process of regional development are integrated in the broader context of the process of accession to the European Union and therefore, of the preparation of the institutional structures and of the capacities necessary to the implementation of the structural politics of the European Union after the accession.

Within the regional policies promoted by Romania, an important part is played by the politics of the disadvantaged zones, by which the State budget it is supported the economic and social development of those geographical areas which have an extremely low level of development because of the negative effects of the process of reorganization of the massive dismissal of the staff. The aim of this politics is to reinforce the economy of those zones by the stimulation of the investments. The great economic decline of Romania after 1990 imposed the fact that the national policies of regional development could no longer be thought only in terms of the diminution of the regional discrepancies. Another general aim was added to this aim: to help the reorganization of the regional economy.

According to the European policies of economic and social cohesion, Romania promotes a regional politics, which has as a long-term aim the diminution of the discrepancies in the development of the regions and zones of the country. But on short term, the regional policies should center round the counteraction of the negative effects (losses of jobs, unemployment), which appear during the process of economic and especially industrial reorganization of the country. The territorial regional or autochthonous local communities haven’t developed enough their ability to innovate and haven’t become more flexible in order to be able to efficiently answer to the challenges and demands imposed by the reorganization of the national economy. This is why an important aim of the Romanian regional policies is to create conditions for the development of the innovating ability of the Romanian territorial communities, in order to make them able to get used to new activities meant to gradually replace the old disadvantageous activities which are no longer requested on the market, taking into account the fact that, owing to the economic globalization, the initiative and the entrepreneurship are the basic premises for the regional development.

Together with the interest in the economic reorganization of different zones, the policies of regional development has in view the stimulation of the competitive capacity of different zones, by stimulating their capacity to adapt themselves to new activities. In this sense, the stress is laid less on the offer capacity of the regions and more on the quality and conditions of the of, so that the different regions should be able to accept and develop new activities. For this purpose, the national regional development policies, by its main instrument- the National Plan of Development-tries to make the territory more flexible and this requires the concerted action of the politics regarding the training of the human resources, the technological development, the scientific research, the development of small and medium size enteprises etc.

The territorial flexibility is a basic concept by which the national policies of development works under the present economic circumstances of the country. The correlation of the structural economic changes with the territorial development is fulfilled by the creation of new activities in the territory. As far as the development sustained, and also the by foreign investments external, as well the development sustained by autochthonous resources, the national policies of regional development promoted by Romania is centered round the improvement of the conditions of organizing the new activities, working especially on the physical and human environment of the regions and under-regions. In this context, the main aim of the national policies of regional development is to help the regions, counties, the different zones and localities get the necessary means to develop a social and cultural structure, emphasized by the human resources, the quality of their training and improvement, as well as an economic infrastructure.

The measures of regional politics are planned and promoted within the institutional context created by the central, regional and local authorities, according to the principles promoted by the European Union : the cohesion, forecast, subsidiarity and partnership.

The purpose of the creation of the regional background and of the institutionalization of the eight development regions was to facilitate the fulfilment of regional development politics. The development plans elaborated by the Agencies for Regional Development should be able to identify the priorities of the region’s development and the available resources, creating the proper context for the fulfilment of the development aims by the implementation of the regional projects. The development regions in Romania weren’t designed only as plan units for the aims of the regional development policies promoted by the European Union. They are equally meant to promote the measures taken for the national policies of regional development. But, as other countries’ experience shows, the institutional regional system created by the establishing of the macro-regions and of the Agencies for Regional Development will get positive results only if an active politics of regional development provided with the adequate financial resources will exist. In Romania, these resources are concentrated in the National Fund of Regional Development, which includes internal financial resources from the State budget, as well as non-refundable European funds for the regional development.

The key problems which can solved by the elaboration and the implementation of the measures of national policies of regional development, can be presented as follows:

  • the support provided to the reorganization of the of the regional economies which , as a result of the transition to the market economy became disadvantageous because they had important structural drawbacks and the creation of functional economic structures, with competitive industries. This aspect involves the industrialized zones, which are economically declining, being unable to adapt themselves to the competition and to face it. They have a high unemployment and an underused production potential, a deteriorating technical infrastructure (including buildings) Serious problems are also raised by the zones which have a mainly agricultural economic base and which have an old agricultural profile that inefficient because of the absence of the adequate endowment.
  • the stimulation of a highly efficient use of the autochthonous potential of the regions, the natural resources and the primary materials, as well as the human resources in order to accelerate the rhythm of the regional economies.
  • the protection of the environment. The result of the errors of the period of the massive industrialization, when its influences upon the environment were not taken into account, led to the appearance of environmentally disastrous zones. The quality of the environment is bad in most of the cities. In order to change this situation, it is necessary that the regional specific of each zone should be known. The prevention and the fight against the deterioration of the environment requires financial means which are not available at the regional or local level and requires national support.
  • the creation and the development of an institutional infrastructure peculiar to the market economy at the regional level. A part of this infrastructure is the bank system, the existence of commercial or investment banks and so on. It is also necessary the creation of organisms and market institutions meant to accelerate the exchange of assets. If in the centralized economic system the enterprises were hierarchically subordinated to the central sectors (the ministries), they do not exist now, or the organisms, the institutions meant to effectively co-ordinate the functioning of enterprises at the county and local levels are not completely functional. The authorities of the local administration are also an essential factor of the administrative infrastructure. They are meant to initiate and to co-ordinate the territorial development.

The co-operation of the institutions and authorities at local regional and national level is the key to the achievement of maximum results. Only this co-operation can generate a positive innovating context for the entire country. The agencies for Regional Development play a very important part in the institutional regional system, because they put the regional development politics in a concrete form. The regional market economy also needs many other institutions meant to have important functions. These institutions can provide consulting, marketing, the training and the professional improvement of the employees the organization of popularisation activities, information, etc.


Premises and perspectives of the economic evolution at the level of the development regions

The analysis of the development degree and potential, as well as of the existent problems, emphasizes the following aspects, which have been taken into account in the reorganization process of the Romanian policies of regional development, within the European context. The process of creation and consolidation of competitive economic regional structures involves the existence and the surpassing of certain impediments. It is necessary the priority should be provided to those projects, which have a major importance for the economic development of the regions. Concrete and rapid measures should be taken, even for smaller sub-regional or even local projects In order to efficiently help Romania’s process of accession to the European Union and to raise the level of our country close to the level of the Western European countries, it is necessary that the financial aid of the state and the European funds should de concentrated according to three directions. We estimate that the rhythm of the economic growth depends on the way in which the mobilization of the autochthonous potential of the country’s development succeeds as well as on the volume of the financial aid given to the development priorities established by the National Plan of Development. The processes that involve economic structural changes must be accompanied by measures of social protection.

The regional development growth is fundamentally helped by the private sector. Because of that, the straightening of the competitive capacity of the private sector must be regarded as an essential priority during these years. The creation of new jobs and the obtainment of greater profits also depends on the way in which the firms and the enterprisers get good results at the regional, national and international level, on the way in which they succeed in conquering positions on the neighbour markets or to conquer again their own markets. In order to achieve these the consolidation of the existent viable enterprises and the creation of new ones are necessary.

An efficient financial aid must lead to the diminution of the drawbacks diagnosed in the productive capacity specific to the private sector. The drawbacks regarding the endowment with capital is reflected in the weak results, which have been obtained, and very often in the own reduced investments. Because of that the perspective of helping the investments, especially those made by private enterprisers, plays an important part in the process of reinforcing the Romanian economy at national and regional level. It is necessary to help those investments from which an important contribution to the employment of the labour force and the mobilization of the potential of the regional development are expected. The financial aid must have in view especially the straightening of the capital in agriculture, industry, and the adjoining services. A development strategy meant to reinforce the industrial basis must take into account the specific industrial regional traditions. The industrial profile must have specific aspects. In each region are to be developed those industrial sectors for which the best relative advantages are provided. The small and middle business has a positive role in the increase of the offer of assets and services.

The transition to the informational and knowledge represents one of the most important challenges to the Romanian economy and society

In order to take advantages of the informational society it is necessary to stimulate the introduction on a large scale of the possibilities offered by the information society, as well as the use these possibilities in diverse domains, including at the regional and local level. A well-constructed and efficient network of telecommunications is necessary to the transition to the informational society and to the development of the telecommunications services.

The economic infrastructure represents an essential condition for the development process and it requires important investments. Among the important components of the economic infrastructure which requires financial support are the access to the industrial and services area made by easy and coherent connection to the transport network; the rehabilitation and reinforcement of the abandoned industrial areas on which mining, industrial and military activities took place; the reconstruction of the disadvantageous tronsons and the development of a new infrastructure for the modern industrial activities .The improvement of the tourist infrastructure is necessary in the zones with tourist’s potential. A special attention will be paid to the offer, which makes a contribution to the prolongation of the clients’ trip and to the improvement of the degrees of the accommodation capacity.

The development and the effective use of the research infrastructure and of the technology transfer are important premises for the national economic development. A modern and strong infrastructure of science and research is necessary, as well as an infrastructure for the professional qualification and improvement. The volume of the provided help must have in view specific regional circumstances as well as the conditions of economic efficiency of the already existing companies.

The lasting economic development also requires the including of the protection of the environment in the regional strategies of economic development. Within the mentioned drawbacks of the infrastructure, a careful protection of the environment is required, as well as the elimination of the caused damages. One of the essential elements of the national development strategy is the intensification of the activities meant to improve the quality of the air, to diminish the emissions and lead to reasonable use of the energy. At the same time, the revaluation of the increase potentials resulted from these activities is necessary.

The essential priority of the strategy of the development of the human resources must be directed to active employment politics, to the creation of new jobs. The human resources and employment policies must make a contribution to the surpassing of the present difficulties that the regions are confronted with. In addition to the jobs offered by the enterprises, especially by the private ones, other possibilities of the employment of the work force must be developed by the initiation of active employment policies.

Romania is confronted with major problems at macro and micro-economic scale, which negatively influences the country’ s capacity to reinforce the economic activities. At macro-economic scale there is a restrained basis of competitive industries with insufficient capital as well as a delayed constitution of modern services. As far as the firms are concerned, there are big financial and management problems .The economic development is stopped by the insufficient infrastructure, which is not adapted to the activities of the efficient economy.

The essential premises for the positive economic evolution for the established development regions are: the increasing of the importance of the private sector, the development of the potential of the competitive economic branches, the improvement of qualification and improvement of the human resources, the adopting of a competitive management, the development of the civil society.

Romania’s National Plan of Development has in view the best use of the human, material and financial resources in order for the acceleration and the improvement of activities in the domains relevant for the regional development.

According to the requests of the present stage, Romania’s politics of development follows, has the following axes of development: I-The improvement of the economic regional structure; II- The improvement and development of the local and regional infrastructure; III- The development of the tourism; V-The stimulation of the scientific research, of the technological development and the creation of the information society; VI-The economic and social development of the rural areas.

We present them as follows:

Axis I.

The improvement of the regional economic structure by the development of the most adequate economic structures suitable for the requests of the market economy meant to allow the creation and the insurance of competitive jobs in all the regions of the country and especially in the zones, regions or counties which have structural drawbacks. In order to efficiently achieve this purpose, an important mean is the help provided to the productive investments and to the investments in the regional infrastructure.

After 1990, Romania experienced a significant diminution of the whole capital invested in the processing industry. Having in view the economic potential of the country, the promoting of an active investment policies and of a high rate of the constitution of the permanent capital is necessary. This investment policies must be directed to the faster improvement of the branches and sectors with high added value, highly endowed technologically, meant to raise the level of internal and external competitiveness of the Romanian economy and to create jobs. Supporting the productive investments represents for our country a priority of the national policies of economic regional development.

The Government considers the stimulation of the direct foreign investments to be an essential key factor for the financing of the development. The volume of the investments in productive enterprises is the key to the creation of stable jobs and, at the same time, the diminution of the difference of productivity between Romania and the developed countries The support provided to the productive investments, considering the environment factors, leads to the efficient use of the resources, to the increasing of the economic efficiency and of the competitive capacity, as well as to the creation and keeping of the jobs.

The private initiative, as an expression of the functioning of the mechanisms of the market economy, can be stimulated by diverse micro and macro-economic key factors. The purpose of the support provided to the development of the small and medium size enterprises is to reorganize the industrially declining zones, to protect the infrastructure of these regions and to prepare their territories to receive new activities. The SME can be considered the “engine’” for the creation of jobs as it has the flexibility for a better adaptation to the requests of a dynamic market economy. Until now, the development of the SME was stopped, especially in the rural environment by a number of factors like: the difficult access to financial sources and the absence of the specific services. If the SME sector is well developed, it will be an element of maximum importance for a balanced economic increase and for the creation of opportunities for the population’s employment in all the regions of the country.

Axis II The improvement and the development of the regional and local infrastructure

At this stage of the development of the country, an increasing importance is provided to the regional and local infrastructure, represented by the buildings, means of production, lines of transport and telecommunications, etc, which must be modernized, renewed and technologically adapted to correspond to the requests of the implementation of the market economy. It is the most difficult problem to be solved, which strongly depends on the normal functioning of the market economy, at national, regional and local level in our country.

Axis III The development of the human resources

Though the unemployment level has grown during the last years as a result of the dismissals in the mining sector and in the state enterprises new increases are expected at the level of the unemployment and under-employment, because of the acceleration of the process of economic reorganization of the country, especially in those regions which have counties with declining industries (extractive, chemical and machine building industry.

In Romania, the population lacks the experience of working according to the requests of the market economy. The greatest difficulty is the exact anticipation of the future requests for qualification and the mental assimilation of the idea of learning during the whole life. The re-qualification does not necessarily mean a new job, but the adaptation to the new requests of the market. The development of the human resources has in view three important directions of action: a) the qualification and re-qualification not only of the unemployed people, but also of those who work in the State enterprises which are to be reorganized; b) the use of an active policies of employing the available human resources; c) finding jobs the disadvantaged people or for those with special problems.

Axis IV The development of the tourism

Tourism must be generally considered as a potential source of economic improvement. But in the last years the Romanian tourism has experienced an important diminution of the number of the Romanian and foreign tourists (in terms of spending per night and of total expenses). The touristic potential of Romania is based on the unique cultural inheritance and on the beauty of the landscape. Therefore, the tourism is able to create a substantial number of jobs and thus to make a contribution to the economic prosperity of the regions. The reorganization of the traditional industry of the tourism requires massive private investments, as well as the development of the alternative tourism (rural tourism, cultural tourism, hunting and fishing tourism, the trips for “ wine and traditional food”). We consider the multiplying effects these forms of tourism on the local and regional economies are faster than those of the traditional tourism.

Axis V

The stimulation of the scientific research, of the technological development, the introduction of the information society

If before 1990 this domain was at a competitive level, a great part of the capacity of scientific research and technological development was diminished or it disappeared, because of the absence of the financing or of the closing of important state enterprises. Therefore, during the last 11 years the country experienced an increased decline of the introduction and use of the innovations and new technologies.

For the long- term development of the Romanian economy, the support provided to the research, development and technology transfer has a special importance. The specific of the potential of research and development, still existent, must be taken into account, as a factor for its regional localization, the profiling specialization and intensifying the activities in this domain. The ample use of the possibilities of the information society is also an important aspect of the help offered to the economy. Another aspect is the straightening of the regional potential for information and telecommunications.

Axis VI The economic and social development of the rural area

The main problems that the rural space is confronted with are: the lack of demographic balance, the number of old people being greater than of the children; the existence of an increased demographical ageing; the small number of jobs and the weak diversifying of the economic activities; the uncompetitive agriculture-the small agricultural exploitations prevail and they lack the necessary endowments and they can provide only the subsistence of the family; the great number of buildings made of nonresistant materials (62 % of the whole number of buildings); the precarious situation of the roads- the majority of the communal roads were not modernized and more than 61% of the rural population have no direct access to the major road and railway network; the insufficient and inadequate network of alimentation with drinking water- 57% of the whole number of the communes don’ t have installations for the alimentation with water in the public system and where these installations exist, they are usually in the villa which is the residence of the commune. The sewerage system is almost inexistent.

As far as the social infrastructure and the adjoining services are concerned, the educational network is very little diversified and the buildings and their endowment with the specialized apparatus are unsatisfying; the infantile mortality is high as a direct result of the low level of life quality and of the precarious medical care.

As a consequence of this underdevelopment which prevails on the greatest part of the country and affects more than a half of the population of the country, it is necessary that actions meant to help the population and the economy of these zones should be initiated as an aim of the regional development. The main purpose of these actions is the diminution of the discrepancies between the level of development of the rural space and that of the urbane space.

In order to achieve this purpose, an integrated development of the rural space must be accomplished; complex actions meant to have in view all the domains of the rural life are necessary; these domains are: the development of the human potential in order to face certain development requests; the insurance of rural population’ s access to health and educational services of quality; the development of the urbane, transport, communications and energetic infrastructure; the promoting and diversifying of the economic activities; the development of a diversified and competitive agriculture; the creation of conditions meant to facilitate the development of the touristic activities; the creation of agricultural, industrial, handicraft , commercial and service small and medium size enterprises.

Recommendations for Romanian development model at the regional level

Romania’s transition to the market economy lead to a decrease of the economic ratio together with the increase of the number of unemployed people who must be re-qualified and professionally re-orientated in order to insure the economy stability. The National Plan of Development aims at the obtainment of a lasting economic increase and at the creation of stable jobs, by the established development priorities. For the achievement of these aims it is necessary that that present process of regional and sector development meant to support the achievement of the development priorities established by the National Plan of Development.

Nine pillars that represent its basic priorities sustain the edifice of the National Plan of Development. The first six priorities are national priorities of regional development and the National Fund of Regional Development must financially support their accomplishment, and the last three priorities are national priorities of sector development. The ideas and the approach to these nine priorities are closely connected to the requests emphasized in the National Plan of Romania’s Accession to the European Union.

The national priorities of regional development are accomplished with the support of PHARE funds-the economic cohesion component and the co-financing by the State budget, respectively by the National fund of regional development. Within the established national priorities of regional development, a special attention is paid to the measures that are directly addressed to:

1. The development of the private sector and the stimulation of the investments. The help provided to the investments that this priority refers to, is addressed, as a basic principle, not only to the small and middle business, but also to the great enterprises that prove viable, the strategy aim being the reconstruction of a successful economic profile for each of the eight regions.

The main actions that have to be initiated have two principle directions, namely: the insurance of initial capital (based on grants) for the attraction of private industrial investments, as well of the investments in the public infrastructure. There is a possibility for the financial managers that they should start to capitalize funds on the basis of the exemption from some taxes stipulated by the Governmental Ordinance no 24/1998 regarding the disadvantaged zones for the investments in these zones especially in those which depend almost completely on the reorganizing industries.

The orientation measures include:

a) The support provided to the productive enterprises by:

  • changing/modernizing/rationalizing of the existent enterprises;
  • the development of the enterprises which have viable perspectives;
  • the creation of new enterprises meant to use the internal potential of the regions and to answer to the requests of the internal or even external market;
  • the sale of the closed enterprises or of those which are in the danger of being closed , at advantageous prices, in order to use some of their available capacities for the development of the viable enterprises.

b) The stimulation of the productive investments by:

  • the insurance of the starting capital in order to stimulate the private investments in technologies that do not pollute the environment and in industries with high added value;
  • regional marketing campaigns meant to stimulate of direct foreign investments;
  • the co-financing of the investments meant to improve the quality of the products and of the technology;
  • the promoting and the support provided to the setting up of joint ventures in highly technological sectors;
  • the modernizing of the infrastructure of the informational technologies and of the calculation systems.

c) The investments made in the adjoining public infrastructure by promoting:

  • the business incubators;
  • the support provided to the creation of industrial parks;
  • the centers of information on clean technologies and of the techniques with a low consume of energy;
  • the organization of fairs.

2.  The support provided to the development of the small and medium size enterprises represents an important aim of the Romanian economic politics. In order to achieve this purpose, in addition to the re-technology process, it is necessary to take measure of stabilization and straightening these enterprises as follows:

The improvement of the capital endowment of the productive small and medium size enterprises

The financial situation of much small and middle business is characterized by a chronic weakness of their own capital. We suggest that the providing the SME with supporting funds (PHARE and internal funds) should be centered round:

  • the support provided to the SME in order to obtain the starting capital of the activity;
  • the support provided to the existent SME in order to enter the capital market;
  • the support provided to the SME in order to obtain the risk capital in order to be endowed with new technologies

The following instruments can be used in order to support the productive SME:

  • provided support and public loans (with low interests) for the setting up of the SME, especially for those with low capital need where the bank financing is not stimulating;
  • the offer of subventioned credits;
  • the offer of grants in order to have access to credits;
  • the offer of grants for the risk capital;
  • the providing with grants for loans destined to support the industrial SME, which activate or extend their operation in less economically developed zones;

Subvention loans for the SME which need long term credits for the investments in equipments or in the physical infrastructure, with the possibility of changing them into the social capital of the firm.

  • the co-financing of leasing activities;
  • the creation and implementation of guarantee mutual schemes;
  • the co-financing of leasing and venture capital campaigns that will activate at regional level and to have in view the SME;
  • the financing of interregional centers for the qualification and increase abilities of the staff’ s training;
  • the offer of grounds for the production activities as well as for the offices with reduced rents;
  • the organization of common services for many firms;
  • the improvement of the consulting and coaching activity;
  • the support of providing the SME with consulting includes financial, technical organizational and economic aspects, for the existent as well as for the newly created ones.

The aim of the measure is to straighten the management abilities of the SME and the perfecting of the management of the existent ones. The addition of the usual aid by limited term measures of consulting and coaching has in view the obtainment of a long- term stabilising effect. The consultancy is also meant to materialize ideas in enterprises or in the development of the existent ones. Under these circumstances, the know-how transfer from the consultant to the enterprise is made. The complete or partial financing of the respective costs provides the support, but the substantial participation of the SME is taken into account.

The support provided to the co-operation between the SME and the big enterprises aims at the surpassing the limits of the SME and at the straightening of their competitiveness as supplying enterprises of the big enterprises, on the one hand, or as services providers, on the other hand. Therefore, the SME can become the links that connect the co-operation project between the enterprises. Such a part can be played by the SME resulted from the association between a number of enterprises. Because of that, especially the concrete project of co-operation between enterprises must be supported, as well the external co-ordination, communication and consulting. The supported projects will be clearly centered round the development, production common sales so that the goods should enter new markets.


The improvement of the SME management and of its organization system

The proof that the national and international quality standards were reached quality represents a necessary condition for entering new markets for more and more enterprises. A suitable support must be developed for the introduction and perfecting the quality management systems and of a management of the SME according to the requests of the environment protection (eco-audit) This measures are meant to increase the efficiency of the internal structures of the SME.

The support provided to the SME in order to enter the markets represents a central element of the politics destined to straighten the SME. Adequate measures will be taken for the insurance of the quality of the products and of the export services as well as for the straightening, activating and maximum use of the potential of the regional markets, including the services offered to the public. This support will be materialized, according to the concrete requests, in the following directions:

  • the implementation of market studies;
  • the preparation and presentation of the products at show rooms and the use of mass media for advertising;
  • the creation services consulting regarding the market strategy;
  • the providing of an effective support for the co-operation between enterprises for the fulfilment of strategies for entering the markets

Providing the SME with consulting services represents an efficient support for their co-operation with the big enterprises. For the new set up firms or for the moving ones, this is a valuable help and it must be directed to providing with:

  • services and consulting for the creation and development centers of innovation, technology and business for the SME, especially for the new enterprises and for those that use and develop new technologies;
  • consulting services for the management, the technological know-how the marketing, the innovating products and production systems, norms and standards;
  • consulting for modernizing the production methods and procedures, the introduction of the products and of their certification, standardization procedures to the market.

3. The improvement and the development of the regional and local infrastructure.

Though the development projects of the physical infrastructure are mainly financed by ISPA, there can also be initiated programs for the improvement of the small infrastructure meant to facilitate the correlation and harmonization of the projects financed by PHARE and ISPA. The interpenetration of two types of projects makes possible the accomplishment of the economic and social purposes of these programs. Examples of such programs are: the development and/or the transformation of certain buildings in order to be used by the SME to start their activity or as innovation centers; the construction of access ways to the fabrics and warehouses; the connection of the buildings to water, sewerage and electricity networks. All these facilitate the stimulation of the investments for the rehabilitation of the public services infrastructure. The financial support provided to the following types of infrastructure is very useful:

a) The infrastructure complementary to the economy, which represents an indispensable condition for the development of the private sector. The existence of this infrastructure determines the private investors to choose a certain region, county or locality. This type of infrastructure has in view:

  • the rehabilitation of the environment of the old degraded industrial sites and of the closed enterprises, so that their already existent infrastructure potential could be used within the new sites and industrial parks which will be created;
  • the improvement of the basic infrastructure- water sewerage, energy- which serves the productive activities, as well as the improvement of the environment conditions in order to increase the attractiveness of the areas offered for the implementation of new economic activities;
  • the rehabilitation of the public services infrastructure by the re-building of the hospitals, orphanages, schools;
  • the improvement of the touristic infrastructure by the arrangement of the areas destined to the tourism and the creation/extension of the basic public facilities of the tourism regarded as an essential economic sector of the country;
  • the improvement of the quality of the business infrastructure, the stress being laid on infrastructure projects, meant to derive direct advantages from the productive and the local business environment;
  • the development of infrastructures related to the new production system, namely the equipments directly related to the specific needs of the firms and productive service activities;
  • the organization of the local information systems, the creation of the market structures, of the educational facilities, the creation of the structures meant to support the technological innovations, especially for the small and medium size enterprises.

b) The infrastructure for science, research, development, and information technology.

The construction and consolidation of the proper infrastructure in this domain means the accomplishment of the following investments in:

  • the research and technological development field;
  • the technology transfer;
  • the infrastructure for information, communications and multimedia.

c) The infrastructure necessary to the qualification and professional improvement requires investments in the modernization of the buildings and their proper designing, so that they could measure up to the present and future requests of qualification, re-qualification, professional improvement and continuous education. The choice of the aims regarding the financing will take into account the existent capacities of qualification, re-qualification an the improvement of the professional training, of the requests regarding the development of the economic activity in the area, of the request-employment degree relationship on a long term perspective.

d) The development of the regional and local infrastructure by:

  • urban development, including the improvement of the habitat, laying the stress on the regional economic effects;
  • the creation of infrastructures for the development of the urbane districts, areas which use the internal regional potential.

e) The purpose of development of the transports infrastructure is to insure the straightening of the connections between the regional economic poles and the European corridors of transport. The investments in this kind of infrastructure also aim at the improvement of the access to the key zones of the industrial, touristic and commercial development. The greatest attention will be paid to the development of the road, railway and naval infrastructure adjoining to the main roads of railway networks, in order to create and/or to allow the adequate access to the fabrics, warehouses or to other productive units.

An important support must be provided to the remaking, enlargement, or building of new primary road networks, of the clearance gauge streets and buildings in the towns and counties, as well as of the roads which make the connections between different zones within the regions or between the regions, depending on the real regional situations. The better regulations of the traffic and the decongestion of the towns, as well as the rounding of the localities are investment projects that can also be supported as a part of this priority.

4. The development of the human resources

The projects able to be financed will be mainly directed to the increase of the possibilities of employment (by the qualification and re-qualification of the labour force, the development of the entrepreneurial spirit, to the improvement of the capacity of the enterprises and of their employees to adapt to the requests of a market economy, to the insurance of equal opportunities for women and men. In order to achieve this aim, it is necessary that the following aspects should be taken into account:

  • the organization of training programs and the professional perfecting of the employed persons. The aim of this measure is to lead to a safer keeping of the jobs;
  • the organization of training courses in order to develop, increase and improve the professional qualification of the workers, concerning the production methods, the new technologies, as well as the obtainment of new qualifications and professional abilities meant to help them keep their jobs, or, if is necessary, to help the enterprise they work in enter other fields of activity;
  • training programs which develops the managerial and administrative capacities of the staff of the enterprises and which allow the employees to make the necessary changes in the company they work for, to know and to use the accomplished technological and innovating progresses, as well as the informational technologies, which will allow the enterprises to become competitive, not only to survive, but also to develop.

Other necessary measures: initiatives for professional orientation, the choice of the career, employment and motivation, to help the beneficiaries either enter the labour market (for the people who are looking for their first job), or find another job, meant to insure their economic independence; initiatives meant to allow the enterprises to recruit unemployed and under-employed persons for full time jobs; training initiatives for graduated people and for apprentices, meant to allow the young people to find a job and/or to choose the job they are prepared for. Active measures must also be taken for the improvement of the integration in work of the disadvantaged people or of those with special needs.

5. The development of tourism by:

Investments in the private sector made by grants for the co-financing of physical investments in innovating initiatives, in alternative forms of tourism, developed in regions with an acknowledged touristic potential, destined to: the development of the rural tourism and to the network of pensions; the building of new accommodation units in touristic villages, camps, etc; the renovation of the existent hotels and the improvement of the endowments; the diversification of the touristic offer.

Investments in the public sector, in the touristic infrastructure and in the sites known as attraction points for the tourists, for example investments for: the conservation of the cultural and historical patrimony and of the landscape; the rehabilitation of the museums and of other public expositions; hotels for young people; the creation of the infrastructure which gives access to the touristic zones;

Services of supporting the tourism, like: booking systems; market studies; counselling and support for the organization of market campaigns; the creation of parcels of services for target groups; the creation of parcels of rural touristic services; qualification services specific to tourism; specific training for the rural communities.

6. The support provided to the research, technological development and innovation must have in view:

  • the introduction and respectively the results obtained in the scientific research and technological development; a supplementary stress must be laid on the after research/development phase and the financial participation must be extended over the pilot projects, of demonstration, of implementation on the market, for taking the licenses, etc.;
  • the creation of centers of transferring the innovations and the research technologies and technological development meant to focus on the activities of the introduction and dissemination of the results of the research/development, of the innovation and technology transfer;
  • the support provided to the enterprises for the technology transfer includes the adequate consulting, support destined to implement in the economy the results of the research/development, as well as to the qualification of the necessary human resources.

The financial support will be directed to:

  • technological consulting provided by specialized units;
  • support provided in order to get the licenses and to create a specific market meant to lead to a increased use in production of the results of the research/development and innovation;
  • the attraction of technical staff specialized in innovation on one hand and of that who use in practice the new technologies;
  • the effectuation and co-ordination of the regional technological and innovation transfer (for instance: regional strategies of innovation).

This support must be accompanied by measures of:

  • the improvement of research and development, of the infrastructure of the technological transfer and the existence of an infrastructure of consulting in this field;
  • the use of the highly qualified labor force.

Romania is now confronted with the under-employment of the engineers, technicians, and researches and scientists .his situation made them look for jobs in other sectors of activity or to migrate to countries of the EU or North America. This is why a main aim is to use the intelligence, the capacity and the experience of this highly qualified people for the development of the technological and innovative capacity of the country. This can be achieved, for instance, by their appointment to the Centers of technological transfer and innovation to be created.

A priority is also the development of the internal potential of the management and of the staff of the enterprises in this field of activity, inclusively by the insurance of their capacity to initiate and /or to take over projects, which involves the cooperation with this kind of centers by:

  • the development of the technicians’ qualification and abilities to become consultants of the SME in problems of innovation and technological transfer;
  • the organization of courses and other initiatives meant to allow the management and the staff of the enterprise to understand the necessity of using the technology and innovation in the activity of their enterprise as well as to take over and use advanced working systems;
  • the support provided to business and its centering round technology, in order to raise it to a competitive level compatible with the enterprises in the UE. The action, which will be financed for this measure, will be directed to the promoting of those initiatives that support the dissemination of the innovations and the transfer of the modern technologies to the SME;
  • the development of the information society, the use of telematics , and of the services of this field of activity.

The support will be orientated according to the following directions:

  • the defining of the strategies and the participation in their implementation for consulting or for the analysis of the needs and the effectuation market studies;
  • the stimulation of the offer and request for information;
  • the organization of advertising actions;
  • the development of the informational abilities.

The straightening of the competitive capacity of the enterprises involves the implementation of the following basic elements:

  • electronic systems of information and systems of communications for SME;
  • electronic trade, services of information and communications for the SME;
  • the use of the techniques of information and communication for the qualification, re-qualification and professional perfecting of the human resources;
  • the use of the “telematic assistance” in small and medium size enterprises.

The national priorities for the sector development harmoniously complete the first six national priorities of regional development. The priorities of the sector development refers to:

7. Agriculture and rural development

The agricultural sector should play an important part in the national economy, because the arable soil covers 60% of all the surface of the country, and the percentage of 42% of the population who work in agriculture reveals the fact that this sector is the main source of jobs, inclusively for those who were compelled to leave their industrial activities. This is why the development of programs and initiatives for agriculture and the rural space is necessary, in order to support the regional and national development policies.

The projects concerning the rural space are financed by the SAPARD fund, but there exist smaller projects of agricultural development that allow complementary financing by the PHARE fund. Such an example is represented by the projects that allow the development of the SME, for the collecting and processing of the products, to which there can be added the projects that offer alternatives for the diversification of the rural economies, generally depending on agriculture.

This priority can be accomplished by measure registered in a National Plan for Agriculture and Rural Development, grouped in four priority axes:

A. The improvement of the access to the markets and of the competitiveness of the processed agricultural products

The specific aims are:

  • the orientation of the production according to the predictable tendencies of the market of the encouraging of the development of new markets for agricultural products;
  • the improvement of the quality of the alimentary products by respecting the minimal requests of alimentary security imposed by EU;
  • the improvement and the control of the sanitary conditions;
  • the appearance of private processors of agricultural, alimentary and fishery products.

The SAPARD measures that belong to this axis are:

  • the processing and marketing of the agricultural and fishery products;
  • the improvement of the institutional structures for the veterinary and phyto-sanitary control, in order to keep the quality of the products and to protect the consumers.

B. The improvement of the infrastructure for the rural and agricultural development

The specific aims are:

  • the increase of the access of the inhabitants of the rural space to the local road networks of the villages and counties, to the regional roads and to the national railway network, etc;
  • the improvement of the hygienic and sanitary conditions of the rural houses, as well as the improvement of the agricultural activity according to the present standards;
  • the resetting into function of the irrigation systems and the increase of their use capacity.

The SAPARD measures of this priority axis are:

  • the development and the improvement of the rural infrastructure;
  • the management of the water resources for agriculture.

C. The development of the rural economy

The specific aims are:

  • the promoting and diversification of the agricultural activities;
  • the implementation of the unitary rules that refers to the production, harvest, and distribution on the market of the products, rules acknowledged in the candidate countries;
  • the conservation and preservation of the natural agricultural environment;
  • the protection and improvement of the forest resources.

The SAPARD measures of this priority axis are:

  • more investments in the agricultural exploitations, the protection of the environment and the forestry;
  • a better organization of the groups of producers;
  • the diversification of the economic activities in order to generate alternative incomes.

D. The development of the human resources, by the following measures:

  • the qualitative reorientation of the production, the protection of the landscape and the protection of the environment;
  • the improvement of professional training, necessary for the management of viable exploitations;
  • the training and specialization of the authorities and organizations responsible for the accomplishment of the programs related to the development of the human resources.

The SAPARD measures of this priority axis are:

  • the improvement of the professional perfecting of those who are employed in the agricultural field;
  • the providing with adequate technical assistance.

8. The development of the transports infrastructure

Within the regional development programs, the development of the transports I infrastructure plays an important part in the implementation of the projects. This is why big investments in transports are necessary. In order to develop the transports infrastructure the main aim must be taken into account- the rehabilitation, modernization and development of the infrastructure, of the equipment and of the additional means of transport. The main projects are directed to:

  • the corridor IV: Constanta-Bucharest-Brasov-Curtici, and for the road field, the building of the Bucharest-Constanta highway;
  • the corridor VII:- the Danube, the priority being the terminal of containers in the port of Constanta;
  • the corridor IX: Giurgiu- Bucharest-Ungheni/Albita

9. The protection and improvement of the quality of the environment

During the last decades, more than 10% of the Romanian territory has been exposed to excessive industrial sources of pollution. About 8 million persons live in uncertain environmental conditions and about 2 million persons already have chronic illnesses due to the prolonged exposing to sources of pollution to. Therefore, the industrial pollution is a heavy burden of the regional development, because of the big public costs of the protection and preservation of the environment and of the services for the necessary medical care. It is highly unlikely that the polluted region could stimulate the investments in other industries. At the same time, the pollution affects the development of the agriculture, by the diminishing the productivity of the land, but also by the diminution of other activities, like tourism.

Therefore, the investments for the protection and preservation of the environment are a national priority. The measures for the rehabilitation of the environment in the degraded zones or the old sites (industrial platforms) in the urbane environment, which are now closed, but that are taken into account for new economic activities, are financed by the PHARE funds. The security measures against the consequences of the natural phenomena like: the soil erosion, floods and deforestations are financed by the SAPARD funds.

The strategy suggested by the Ministry of Waters, Forests and the Environment Protection within its sector plan which are to be financed by the ISPA funds is articulated in two main directions: the improvement of the water quality in order to reach the standards of the acquis communautaire, as well as for the management of the waste material.

The indicative measures refers to:

  • the improvement of the water resources and of the water delivered to the population;
  • the diminution of the infestation with lead of the used up, industrial and domestic waters;
  • the diminution of the accumulations of heavy metals and organic components in the sediments;
  • the diminution of the nitrogen and pesticides concentration in the water resources;
  • the building/reconditioning of the warehouses for industrial waste materials and the creation of opportunities for their efficient use;
  • the building of incineration for dangerous waste materials, according to the standards of the European Union.

Suggestions for a Romanian development model at the regional level

The main priorities and measures of development of the regions, selected from the respective strategies of regional development, integrated in the structure of the priority aims and of the measures integrated in the National Plan of Development are the following:

The Northwestern Region:

  • the development of the SME for supporting the creation of new productive SME and the development of the existent ones, of research for the SME, the supporting of the technology transfer, the creation of industrial parks meant to use the infrastructure of the former state enterprises and of the old industrial platforms, the providing with consulting to the SME, the creation of new information networks for business;
  • the development of the physical infrastructure by the rehabilitation/ modernization of the access ways to the industrial, touristic and mountain zones and the network of the distribution of the methane gas, as well as by the modernization/development of the telecommunications infrastructure;
  • the development of the tourism and of the touristic services, of the agricultural-tourism and of other categories of alternative tourism, the development of the road infrastructure and of the adjoining infrastructure in the mountain zones;
  • the rural development by the creation of SME with agricultural and industrial profile and of the services, the development of the Eco-farms, the promoting and merchandising of the local agricultural and non-agricultural products, the development of the rural infrastructure;
  • the development of the human resources by the managers’ and the SME staff’s training for the professional qualification and re-conversion as well as the training for the persons employed in agriculture, in the local public administration, for the touristic services and in the techniques of protecting the environment;
  • as far as the environment protection is concerned: investments in technologies friendly to the environment and in public services, the recycling of the waste materials, the rehabilitation of the zones affected by natural disasters and by anthropic activities.

The Southeastern Region:

  • the development of the SME in order to improve the consulting centers, the development of the entrepreneurial spirit and of the management techniques, the implementation of loaning schemes for the SME and of stimuli for the export activity of the SME;
  • the rural development by the economic diversification of the rural zones, the supporting of the farmers’ associations, the providing with direct investments for the development of the farms, know-how and technological transfer in agriculture, the effectuation of the marketing of the agricultural and rural products;
  • the development of the transports infrastructure, of the public services (running water gas, electricity), the development of the infrastructure necessary to the SME, the support provided to the research and to the innovation centers in the rural environment;
  • the development of the human resources by the organization of courses for the qualification of the young people in job requested on the labour market, courses for the unemployed and disadvantaged people as well as their integration in the labour market;
  • the development of the tourism and of the infrastructure in the touristic zones, the stimulation of investments in the protection of the cultural values, the development of the touristic services and the diversification of the touristic offer;
  • the protection of the environment by the rehabilitation of the industrial sites, the support provided to the forestations, the modernization of the monitoring systems of the environment and of the management of the environmental factors.

The Southern Region:

  • the diversification and the extension of the industrial basis of the productive SME industrial region, the rehabilitation of the industrial sites and their preparation for other activities, the creation of industrial parks, the development of the physical infrastructure;
  • the rural development, the development of the SME destined to process the local resources, the obtainment of ecological agricultural products;
  • the development of the tourism and of the touristic tourism, the organization of actions of marketing and of promoting the tourism, the protection of the cultural values and of the natural zones, the development of the hunting and fishing tourism;
  • the development of the human resources by the organization of courses for the professional re-qualification of the persons who work in the services sector, of the unemployed people and of other categories of unemployed people.

The Southwestern Region:

  • the development of the SME by the technological transfer for the SME, the creation of new productive SME, business services and research centers for the development of the activities of the SME;
  • the development of the touristic infrastructure for direct investments in touristic activities and in the protection of the cultural values an of the natural zones with an interesting tourism, the promoting of the agricultural and cultural tourism, of the marketing of the regional level, of courses for people who works in tourism;
  • the rural development, of the marketing for rural products, the improvement of the rural products;
  • the development of the human resources by the organization of qualification courses for unemployed people and other categories of unemployed people, for the qualification of young people and women in the jobs requested on the work market, as well as for the development of the managerial and entrepreneurial capacities;
  • the development of the infrastructure, of the network of running water, telecommunications and electricity in the rural zones, the support provided to the buildings;
  • the protection and the effectuation of investments in new technologies for the environment protection and for the saving of energy, the organization of actions for the awareness regarding the environment, the monitoring of the risks regarding the environment;
  • the stimulation of foreign investments by ad hoc marketing actions and by promoting the advantages provided by the legislation of the disadvantaged and free zones.

The Western Region:

  • the development of the private sector and the promotion of the investments by supporting the technology transfer, the creation of SME in the processing industry, the effectuation of investments in the public infrastructure, the creation of technological parks;
  • the development of the tourism and of the agricultural tourism, the rehabilitation of the public services in the touristic areas , the development and modernization of the infrastructure in the mountain resorts, the qualification of the persons who work in the touristic services;
  • the rural development, of the basic infrastructure in the rural environment (roads, running water, gas, sewerage, telecommunications), the creations of centers of collecting the agricultural products, as well as the creation of SME for the processing of the agricultural products, the development of the handicraft activities , the providing with financial help for the financing of the acquisition of equipment;
  • the development of the human resources by the re-qualification of the unemployed labour force, in jobs requested on the labour market, as well as by other measures of employing the population;
  • the improvement of the environment quality by the diminution of the effects of the pollution in the affected zones, especially in the touristic zones, the modernization of the system of monitoring the environment and the extension of the system of collecting the waste materials , the recycling of the re-usable materials;
  • the development of the basic infrastructure (running water, sewerage) and of the telecommunications in the low economically and socially developed zones.

The Northwestern region:

  • the creation of a business environment favorable to the development of a diversified economy and to the increase of the attraction of the region by: the development of the infrastructure, which supports the private sector, the development of the activities based on local resources, the development of the entrepreneurial spirit and of the local initiative, the stimulation of the economic cooperation and of the technology transfer;
  • the lasting development of the rural space by: the rehabilitation and the development of the physical infrastructure, the using of the local resources, the development of the services, the rehabilitation and protection of the environment quality;
  • the development and the efficient use of the human resources by the qualification and re-qualification of the labour force, the organization of special courses of training for the unemployed people and for other categories disadvantaged people.

The Central region:

  • the development of the SME and of the business environment by supporting the creation of new productive SME, the technology transfer, the promotion of industrial and handicraft products, the implementation of new financing schemes;
  • the development of the agricultural tourism and of the mountain tourism, the improvement of the touristic services (popular art, exhibitions of handicraft products, folklore shows, religious events, etc.);
  • the agricultural and rural development, the development of the basic rural infrastructure, as well as of the rural and agricultural services, the diversification of the rural activities;
  • the development of the localities and of the social services by the implementation of some works for protection against floods and soil sliding, the creation of supporting services for the persons who belong to disadvantaged categories;
  • the protection of the environment and of the cultural and historical values, the recycling of the domestic and industrial waste materials, the development of the water purifying and of the sewerage.

The Bucharest- Ilfov region:

  • the support provided to the private sector and the promotion of the investments by the know-how transfer, the modernization of the enterprises with a viable potential the development of the high technology industry, the development of the business infrastructure, of the implemented research;
  • the development and the modernization of the road infrastructure, of the railway network, the development and the improvement of the inter-regional transport of assets and persons, the development of the technical urban infrastructure;
  • the environment protection, the diminution of the pollution of water, air and soil;
  • the development of the human resources by the re-qualification of the unemployed people coming from industry, as well as of other categories of disadvantaged people , the support provided to the employment of the young people and women;
  • the development of the tourism by the effectuation of investments in the touristic infrastructure and in acknowledged touristic and historical sites, the promoting of the cultural and scientific tourism, the development of the touristic services.

As far as the interregional cooperation is concerned, we consider that there must exist two ways of tackling this problem: the implementation of punctual and even complementary cooperation based on reciprocity, between any county of a region and other counties of the country, following the priorities of the development of these regions; the initiation of relations of co-operation between the development region regarded as a unitary whole, through projects of different degrees of complexity and of regional relevance . It is necessary that the respective regions should define their priorities, eventually within county strategies, which will allow the inter-connection and the harmonization of the various programs of development.


Concluding remarks: ROMANIA'S NEED OF EUROPE

We suspect how discouraging the image fugitively described above may be for some readers. Many people may ask, as the majority of the Romanians who chose and continue to choose the exile as the final solution do, if it makes any sense and if there is something which can be done for a country so seriously affected by communism and by the nationalist propaganda, like Romania.

We must admit that many ways seemed barred and compromised to me, dozens of years from now on, because the abolishing of any viable hierarchy of values in a society can generate nothing but instability, disorientation and chaos.

In the case of a country like Romania a last way of salvation still remains and it is exactly its European character from and in the depths of this country, its intimate attachment to Europe, starting even with a language and with a certain cultural development of this nation. Large geographical regions in the nowadays Romania were among the most active centres of Latinity in the Middle Ages and under a full Hungarian, Austrian and Turkish influence. The elites of those times, no matter what their origin was, starting with the religious elites, kept bridges of very intense cultural communication with the West. The alliances and marriages of the Romanian princes or aristocrats to representatives of noble families of the West confirmed this affinity during the modern period. The majority of the young people of these elites were educated, according to the tradition, in the Universities of Paris, Vienna and Berlin. The Romanian kings themselves had their origin in a Prussian princely family, related especially to the royal families of Great Britain, Denmark, Spain and Greece. But the neighbourhood of the three big rival empires (the Habsburgic, the Ottoman and the Tsarist ones) did not allow for a long time an authentic irradiation of these cultural and already political close connections in the 20th century to the main part of the population who continued to live in the rural environment and to practice the agriculture in somewhat rudimentary technical condition . The middle social class had always been relatively restrained and deprived of a big financial relaxation, it was unable to detach itself in time from the nostalgia of the origins, and under the pressure of two extreme ideologies, the fascism- under the form of Garda de Fier- and the Bolshevism, and it was the first who got the finishing stroke. It was rapidly dragged during the 30s to the dead-end of those ideologies that it never got rid of completely, and, that's the limit, it happened under the influence of important intellectuals and so it was the first to be sacrificed by the Soviet dictate on Romania.

Together with the physical extermination , during the 50s, of the former political class who was dominated itself by versatility and demagogy, the systematic destruction of the private initiative and implicitly of the middle class, no matter how fragile it was, is the main explanation for the slow rhythm of the present process of changing the mentalities and the society. Nationalism, the dumb centralism and the grandeur of the repressive state apparatus, the perpetuation of the national socialist myth in new hybrid but efficient forms of social inoculation were based and continue to be based on this background of the absence of real traditions, aspirations and democratic claims of the civil society or even of the political class.

During the communist regime, this configuration had masked all along the system of post-patriarchal customs, the clients' parallel networks which provided, in fact, the framework of the power structure in Romania that was not far from the situation experienced by Albania, or even by Russia. The pro-modernist discourse, especially its institutional side, always obstructed and even suffocated those groups of influence that perpetuated a heterogeneous Romania that was not either rural or really modernist urban. Therefore, under the thin varnish or the adopted modern jargon, these people of decision or intellectuals moved to town, continued also after 1989 to behave and think in ethno-central puristic, conservative, out-of-date terms, although they officially presented themselves as champions of modernization.

This inability, opacity or just lack of adequacy of the leaders of many parties and public institutions to the requests of the change mainly lead to the other errors, blunders and huge disparities, even in comparison with the other ex-communist States.

In this fragment, we shall refer to the necessity and possibilities of formulating a re-grounding of the relations between the centre and the regions, between the East and the West, the North and the South, within the context of the present situation of the process of the regional development in Romania.

The continuation of the present division in development regions, in which the role of main engine seems to be played by those sui generis NGOs , the ADRs, but , in practice the greatest decision influence is that of the county boards, does not play a stimulating part to the advantage of the of the consolidation of the real decisional and financial autonomy of the respective region.

The determining influence continues to be frequently that of the clients' groups which gravitates round the party/parties which has the central power. It is difficult, if not impossible, to fundamentally analyse according to firm and transparent criteria, the destinations and the practical results of the regional development project, if we consider the essential point of view aimed at, the reach of a high degree of economic and social cohesion according to the country's adherence to EU and to the adequate preparation for the reasonable and productive future absorption of the structural funds. The existence of a special ministry meant to co-ordinate the project and provide it with objectivity seems a noble idea, but we cannot be sure at all that monopolizing tendencies of corruption or simply of bad management may not occur.

The Government would continue to rather have the responsibility of marking the accents, from the perspective of the same above mentioned general model of development. The high degree of nationalisation, the travestied or not maintaining of many monopolies, especially in the field of the public services/transports, etc., the delay of the concession of their exploitation are factors that can seriously affect, together with the high level corruption, the process of the implementation of the development model (if it really existed), or even the diminishing of the present disparities from a region to another, or from a zone to another.

The Delegation of the European Commission in Romania should play a more important part in the stimulation of the process by establishing severe conditions. This cannot be only a broadcaster of the recommendations and exigencies from Brussels to Bucharest. On the contrary, it should act more vigilantly for the middle term evaluation implemented projects of those that are in the course of implementation.

On the other hand, one may suppose that, until the moment when the regions enjoy a decision and even administrative-financial real autonomy, the concrete possibility of influencing the change of the relation between the regions for a more adequate use of the resources and funds will not come into being. The risk of the formation of "local satrapies" obviously exists, but the opportunity of the justification and obtainment of transparent use and administration of the funds would be greater in the case of a substantial transfer of prerogatives to the regions, of the strengthening of the participative democracy at local and regional level.



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