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Transparency » Law No. 52 / 2003

 Law no. 52 of 21-01-2003
decisional transparency in public administration

 



Publication: Official Gazette no. 70 of 03-02-2003
Issuer: The Parliament
 
The Romanian Parliament adopts this law.

CHAPTER I - General provisions
 

Article 1.
(1) This Law establishes the minimal procedural rules applicable to ensure decisional transparency within central and local public administration authorities, elected or appointed, as well as of other public institutions that use public financial resources, in the relations established between them with the citizens and their legally established associations.
(2) The purpose of the law is:
a) to increase the responsibility degree of public administration towards the citizen, as a beneficiary of administrative decision;
b) to stimulate the active participation of the citizens in the administrative decision –making process and in the process of elaborating legislative acts,
c) to increase transparency degree at the level of the whole public administration;
 
Article 2.
The principles lying at basis of this law are the following:
a) providing beforehand, ex-officio information for the people on matters of public interest to be debated by central and local public administration and the draft legislative acts;
b) consulting the citizens and legally established associations, at the initiative of public authorities, in the process of elaborating draft legislative acts;
c) the active participation of citizens in administrative decision-making and in the elaboration process of draft legislative acts, with observance of the following rules:
1. the meetings of the authorities and public institutions that are subject to this law are public, under the law;
2. the debates will be recorded and made public;
3. the minutes of these meetings will be recorded, archived and made public under the law.
 
Article 3.
In the sense of this law, the terms below are defined as follows:
a) legislative act - the act issued or adopted by a public authority, with general applicability;
b) decision-making - the deliberative process held by public authorities;
c) elaboration of legislative acts - the procedure of drawing up a draft legislative act prior to its submission for adoption;
d) recommendation - any point of view, suggestion, proposal or opinion, expressed verbally or in writing, received by public authorities from any person interested in the decision-making process and in the legislative acts elaboration process;
e) transparency obligation – the obligation of the public administration authorities to inform and submit draft legislative acts to public debate, to allow access to administrative decisions and minutes of public meetings;
f) legally established association - any civic, Trade-Union, employers’ organisation or any other associative civic representation group;
g) minute - written document that records in short the views expressed by participants in a meeting and the outcome of the debates;
h) priority order – order that determines the priority of participation in public meetings, depending on the interest shown towards the subject of the meeting;
i) public meeting - the meeting held by public administration authorities, to which  any interested person has access.

Article 4.
The public administration authorities obliged to observe the provisions of this law are:
a) the central public administration authorities: ministries, other central organs of public administration under the subordination of the Government or ministries, their decentralised public services, as well as the autonomous administrative authorities;
b) local public administration authorities: county councils, local councils, mayors, public institutions and services of local or county interest.

Article 5.
The provisions of this law are not enforceable to the legislative act elaboration process and the sessions presenting information on:
a) national defence, national security and public order, the political, economic and strategic interests of the country, as well as the authorities’ deliberations, if they are part of the classified information category, according to the law;
b) values, deadlines and technical-economic data of commercial or financial activities, if their publication prejudices the principle of loyal competition, according to the law;
c) personal data, according to the law.

the authorities’ deliberations



CHAPTER II - Procedures regarding the participation of citizens and legally established associations in the legislative acts elaboration process and in the decision-making process


SECTION 1 - Dispositions regarding the participation in the legislative acts elaboration process

Article 6.
(1) Within the draft legislative acts elaboration procedures, the public administration authority has the obligation to publish an announcement on this action on its own website, to display it at its own headquarters, within a space accessible to the public and to transmit it to the central or local mass-media, as the case may be. The public administration authority shall send the draft legislative acts to all persons who have filed an application to receive this information.
(2) The announcement on the elaboration of a draft legislative act shall be brought to public knowledge, as stipulated in paragraph. (1), at least 30 days before submission for analysis, endorsement and adoption by public authorities.
The announcement shall include a substantiation note, recitals or, as the case may be, an approval report on the necessity of adopting the proposed legislative act, the full text of the draft of the respective act, as well as the deadline, place and manner in which those interested might send their written proposals, suggestions, opinions with the value of recommendations, regarding the draft legislative act.
(3) The announcement regarding the elaboration of a draft legislative act relevant for the business environment shall be transmitted by the initiator to business associations and other legally established associations, on specific areas of activity, within the time limit stipulated in paragraph (2).

(4) At the publication of the announcement, the public administration authority shall set a period of at least 10 days to receive written proposals, suggestions or opinions regarding the draft legislation submitted to public debate.
(5) The head of the public authority shall designate a person in the organisation, responsible for the relation with civil society, to receive proposals, suggestions and opinions of the interested persons regarding the proposed legislative act.
(6) The draft legislative act shall be transmitted for analysis and endorsement to the interested public authorities only after its finalisation, on the basis of the observations and proposals made under paragraph (4).
(7) The respective public authority shall decide the organisation of a meeting where the draft legislative act shall be publicly debated public, if this was requested in writing by a legally established association or by another public authority.
(8) In all cases when public debates are organised, they shall take place no later than 10 days from the publication of the date and place where to be organised. The public authority in the cause shall analyse all the recommendations on the draft legislative act in question.
(9) In case of regulating a situation which, due to its exceptional circumstances, requires the adoption of immediate solutions, in order to avoid a severe prejudice to public interest, the draft legislative acts shall be submitted to adoption under the emergency procedure stipulated by regulations in force.


SECTION 2 - Provisions regarding the participation in the decision-making process

Article 7.
(1) The participation of the interested persons in public meeting debates shall be done under the following circumstances:
a) the announcement regarding the public meeting shall be displayed at the public authority’s headquarters, posted on the own site and sent to the mass-media, at least 3 days before the meeting;
b) this announcement shall be brought to the knowledge of the citizens and of the legally established associations that have submitted written suggestions and proposals  in writing, with the value of recommendations, regarding one of the areas of public interest to be approached in the public meeting;
c) the announcement shall include the date, the hour and the place when and where the public meeting is to be held, as well as the meeting’s agenda.
(2) the publication of the announcement and the special invitation to some people to attend the public meeting are the responsibility of the person in charge with the relation with civil society.
(3) The participation of the interested persons in the public meetings shall be within the limit of the available seats, according to the priority order established by the interest of the legally established associations relative to the subject of the public meeting, established by the person chairing the public meeting.
(4) The priority order cannot limit the access of mass-media to public meetings.

Article 8.
The person chairing the meeting shall provide the guests and people who participate on their own initiative the opportunity to express on the issues contained in the agenda.

Article 9.
(1) Adopting the administrative decisions falls in the exclusive competence of public authorities.
(2) The views expressed during the public meetings by the persons mentioned in Article 8 have the value of recommendation.

Article 10.
The minute of the public meeting, including the vote of each member, except in cases when she secret ballot was decided, shall be displayed at the headquarters of public authority in the cause and posted on its own website.

Article 11.
(1) The public authorities stipulated in Article 4 shall elaborate and file the minutes of public meetings. When considered necessary, public meetings can be recorded.
(2) The recordings of the public meetings, except for those provided under Article 6 shall be made public upon request, under Law 544/2001 regarding free access to information of public interest.

Article 12.
(1) The public authorities stipulated in Article 4 shall draw and make public an annual report on decisional transparency, which shall include at least the following elements:
a) the total number of received recommendations ;
b) the total number of recommendations included in the draft legislative acts and in the content of the taken decisions;
c) the number of participants in the public meetings;
d) the number of public debates held on the draft legislative acts;
e) the status of cases in which public authorities were charged in court for not observing the provisions of this law;
f) the own evaluation of the partnership with the citizens and their legally established associations;
g) the number of the meetings that were not public and the motivation for restricting access.
2) The annual report regarding decisional transparency shall be made public on the own site, by displaying it at the own headquarters in a space available to the public or by presentation in public meeting.

CHAPTER III - Sanctions


Article 13.
(1) Any person considering itself harmed in the rights stipulated by this law, may lodge a complaint within the terms of the Administrative contentious Law No. 29/1990, with subsequent changes and completions.
(2) The complaint and the appeal shall be judged in emergency procedure and shall be exempt from stamp duty.

Article 14.
The deed of the civil servant who, from reasons contrary to the law, does not allow the access of the persons to public meetings or prevents the involvement of the interested persons in the process of elaborating legislative acts of public interest, within the terms of this law, shall constitute a disciplinary offence and shall be sanctioned, according to the provisions of the Law No. 188/1999 regarding the Status of civil servants, with subsequent changes and completions, or, as the case may be, according to the labour legislation.

Article 15.
The persons who attend public meetings, invited or on their own initiative, must observe the rules of organisation and functioning of the public authority. If the chair of the meeting finds that a person broke the rules, he shall order its warning and, eventually, eviction.

The complaint and the appeal shall be judged in emergency procedure and shall be exempt from stamp duty.The deed of the civil servant who, from reasons contrary to the law, does not allow the access of the persons to public meetings or prevents the involvement of the interested persons in the process of elaborating legislative acts of public interest, within the terms of this law, shall constitute a disciplinary offence and shall be sanctioned, according to the provisions of the Law No. 188/1999 regarding the Status of civil servants, or, as the case may be, according to the labour legislation.


CHAPTER IV - Final Provisions


Article 16.
(1) This Law shall come into force within 60 days from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette of Romania, Part I.
(2) At the date of coming into force of this law any contrary provision is abrogated.

Article 17.
Within 30 days after the coming into force of this law, the public authorities and the other legal persons provided under Article 4 are obliged to change their rules of organisation and functioning in accordance with the provisions of this law.

At the date of coming into force of this law any contrary provision is abrogated.Within 30 days after the coming into force of this law, the public authorities and the other legal persons provided under Article 4 are obliged to change their in accordance with the provisions of
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