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A “Guide for practitioners in public procurement” has been launched within the Fighting Public Procurement Criminality project, coordinated by Freedom House Romania with the financial support of Prevention of and Fight Against Crime Programme of the EU - European Commission - DG Home Affairs. 900 copies of this 220-page guide have been distributed amongst Romanian magistrates and judicial police officers dealing with public procurement fraud issues. Its digitalized version is available at for free consultation and for supporting training and specialization activities of the Romanian public institutions. This e-book format of the guide to be constantly updated with the latest changes in legislative and judicial practice.

The current legal framework is about to be substantially modified by the end of 2015, in order to implement the new EU legislative package on public procurement. Pending the new legislation, in this English summary of the guide we focus on the current legal framework for public procurement and some of its challenges and shortcomings.

The guide will be further developed within another project - „Legislaţie, economie, competiţie şi administraţie”  - Law, Economy, Competition and Administration, which will approach the topic of public procurement fraud with an emphasis on prevention. The target group of magistrates will be supplemented by civil servants that work within the investment and procurement departments of county councils, municipalities, as well as of other contracting authorities.

The project Action against trafficking minors. Increasing the efficiency of EU and EEA police force by implementing EU directives and norms in the field has been concluded with the launch of Guidelines for Improving the Procedures and Policies in Combating Trafficking in Minors. Based on the SWOT-analysis conducted in Romania, Denmark and the Netherlands,.
The Guidelines are now available in electronic format in English, Romanian, Italian, Spanish and Greek.

The guide also contains procedural and legislative recommendations, meant to optimize the manner in which actors involved in trafficking in human beings are being treated. The guide is based on the SWOT analyses that were made in Romania, Denmark and the Netherlands and relies on a pronounced comparative approach.

With 17 partners, “Fighting Public Procurement Criminality. An operational approach” was the most complex project that Freedom House Romania has managed so far. The project was concluded on Friday, March 27th 2015, with the closing conference and the release of a guide on public procurement both in print and in digital version.

The Technical Report attached to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism's Report, published by the European Commission on January 28th 2015, mentions several projects developed by Freedom House Romania as best practice examples, in partnership with other non-governmental organizations, most notably Expert Forum, with official institutions – the Ministry of Justice, the Superior Council of Magistracy, the National Institute of Magistracy, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the National Anticorruption Directorate, the National Council for Solving Complaints, the National Integrity Agency, together with and EurActiv platforms, and the National Association of Specialists in Procurement (ANSA).

The European Commission Representation in Bucharest, Freedom House Romania and Mercury360 Communications are pleased to announce that the entry submission period for the 2015 edition of “European Scholarships: Journalists in Dialogue” is now open.

The program is addressed to journalists from the Romanian local press – print, online, radio, TV -, as well as to Romanian bloggers and freelancers, that manifest interest for European themes and positioning Romania in the European Union.

Victor Cozmei (, Anca Simina (, Roxana Pricop (Ziarul Financiar) and Andreea Pavel (Info Sud-Est Constanța), covering justice, current affairs, economics and environmental issues, were awarded on November 2014 as the best young Romanian journalists.

Bei einer Gala am 26. November in Bukarest übergab Christian Spahr, Leiter des KAS-Medienprogramms Südosteuropa, den Preis "The Young Journalist of the Year" (TJA) an den Journalisten Victor Cozmei von

Der TJA-Journalistenwettbewerb wird von Freedom House Rumänien organisiert und von der KAS unterstützt. Cozmei wurde in der Kategorie "Justiz und Rechtsstaat" für seinen Artikel "Rumänien, Paradies für verurteilte Anwälte" ("România, raiul avocaților condamnați penal") ausgezeichnet. Dieser befasst sich mit der Toleranz für Korruption im Rechtssystem – in rumänischen Gerichten üben viele wegen Korruption verurteilte Anwälte ihren Beruf weiterhin aus. Cozmei führte tiefgehende Recherchen zu diesem Thema durch und befragte alle Beteiligten. Die Jury schätzte sein außergewöhnliches persönliches Engagement und den Umfang seiner journalistischen Recherche.

Public procurement in Romania is a €17 billion market, but more than 60% of procedures are hit by complaints.

A new project has highlighted fraud and irregularities in the system, and suggested how to improve the situation.

According to a statement issued by the Office of the US Vice President, Joe Biden had a telephone call with Romanian President Traian Basescu to discus regional developments. Joe Biden expressed US ”appreciation for Romania’s continued contributions to NATO missions.

John Kerry's recent remarks at Munich Security Conference: "We see a disturbing trend in too many parts of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

"With a new leadership and political will to advance the fight against corruption, after 2006, the DNA started building what is today an impressive track record of high-level corruption cases."

The National Anticorruption Directorate is expressing its deep concerns regarding the come into force, on the 1st of February, of the provisions inscribed in the new criminal Code and the new criminal procedure Code, in the form adopted by the Parliament, a situation that presents a major risk in terms of reducing significantly the efficiency of corruption investigations. 

In congruence with her previous statements, the president of the High Court of Cassation and Justice has emphasized the need to modify and amend the new criminal Code and the new criminal procedure Code before they come into effect.

Starting with the 15th of October, on repeated occasions, the High Court of Cassation and Justice has sent to the Ministry of Justice its proposals for the modification and amendment  of the new Codes, aiming to avoid at the moment of their enactment any disruptions of the Courts' activity.

The European Commission last week said Romanian media have made a “step forward,” but leading journalists disagree.

(Reuters) - The European Commission said in its latest report it would not tolerate political pressure on the justice system or loopholes for lawmakers and said it needed to see action. (...) Shortly before the release of the report, the United States' top diplomat in Romania, Duane Butcher, said that doubts about the country's justice system could harm its economy.

Mark GREY - spokesperson for the President of the European CommissionMark GREY - spokesperson for the President of the European CommissionThe commission report finds that very few cases of high-level corruption and organised crime were brought to conclusion in Bulgarian courts.

Romania, by comparison, fared better, with one former prime minister and several MPs convicted to several years in prison for corruption.

But the Romanian parliament in December blotted its copybook by passing a law exempting MPs and lawyers from crimes relating to corruption and conflict of interest.

On the 10th and the 11th of January 2014, Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland will travel to Bucharest in order to meet senior Romanian government officials and members of the civil society. One of the most important topics to be discussed is the need to strengthen the rule of law in Romania.

In a statement delivered to the OSCEs Permanent Council in Vienna, Ambassador Daniel B. Baer, the head of the United States Mission to the OSCE, has voiced concerns over “the Romanian parliament’s recent approval of draft amendments to the country’s penal code that would exempt elected officials from anti-corruption and conflict of interest investigations.”

Expressing the position of the United States, the Ambassador noted that “these amendments were passed without public consultation or debate”  and without any opportunities for judicial authorities or civil society to respond, reducing transparency, weakening the rule of law and “hampering corruption investigations led by the Directorate General for Anti-corruption and other authorities”.

This creates a category of ”super-humans”, who can’t be held criminally accountable for their acts, regardless of the nature of those acts.

Interview with Laura ȘTEFAN, anticorruption expert with Expert Forum (EFOR)

- Two extremely serious things happened in the Romanian Parliament last Tuesday. On one hand, the decriminalization of the conflict of interests, and, on the other hand, the exemption of officials from particular criminal acts. I would take them in turns, so as to avoid any confusion.

Laura STEFAN, Expert ForumLaura STEFAN, Expert ForumLet us start with “civil servants”. This has an impact on all crimes that contain in their legal definition the terms “servant” or “civil servant”. Until recently, the Romanian Criminal Code operated with the phrase “civil servant”, by which one understood the idea of the public official, or simply anybody occupying a position in a state institution.

Livia STANCIU - Judge, President of  High Court of Cassation and JusticeLivia STANCIU - Judge, President of High Court of Cassation and JusticeIn an unprecedented endeavour, 92 of the 111 judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice have decided to notify the Constitutional Court concerning the “Black Tuesday” amendments imposed on the Criminal Code and the regulation of the conflict of interests.

The judges of the High Court are drawing attention on the infringement of the constitutional principle of equality before the law and on Romania`s default concerning two international assumed treaties.

Removing the President and the members of Parliament from the category of civil servants, together with their subsequent immunity in reference to the criminal provisions of the Criminal Code concerning civil servants, violates the principles of equality before the law and of non-discrimination, in the opinion of the High Court Judges: “Considering the sphere of attribution that exist within the competence of the elected exempted positions [president, deputies, senators],  which have, par excellence, connotations of public power, their vocation as active subjects of office-related crimes and corruption crimes is justified.”

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