Civic Space Review of Romania

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EU Funded Note

The Civic Space Review of Romania provides an in-depth analysis of national legal frameworks, policies, institutions, and practices relevant to civic space protection. It reviews strengths and areas for improvement, and providing guidance on a wide range of issues. The Review assesses four key dimensions of civic space: civic freedoms, media freedoms and online civic space, the enabling environment for civil society organisations, and citizen participation in policy and decision making. The findings and recommendations offer a blueprint for a more transparent, responsive, participatory, and accountable governance in Romania that informs and engages citizens and empowers stakeholders to achieve shared objectives together.


Executive summary

When considering civic space protection in Romania, it is important to recognise the country’s history and journey as a relatively young democracy. In part due to its accession to the European Union (EU) in 2007, Romania has spearheaded significant democratic reforms over recent decades. Today, the civic freedoms that underpin vibrant civic space are afforded the highest legal protection and the country has introduced a series of reforms to improve citizen and stakeholder participation. However, democratic participation remains low, as does trust between citizens and the state, and there is little targeted outreach to underrepresented groups. OECD’s Government at a Glance 2021found that confidence in the Romanian government fell from 20% in 2007 to 16% in 2020. According to International IDEA, voter turnout is low in Romania, namely 31.8% in 2020 parliamentary elections and 51.2% in 2019 presidential elections. Romania’s ability to effect reform has been further inhibited by frequent changes in government in recent years.


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