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“After many years of political conflicts we can have the strength to be Romanians first and only afterwards members of PSD, PNL, PDL, UDMR,” the Regional Development Minister stated yesterday. He stated that the entire steps of this process will be sent to the European Commission.
Regional Development Minister Liviu Dragnea (PSD) announced yesterday during a press conference the start of the regionalization/decentralization process, stating that it is one of Romania’s biggest projects after 1989. “It can be considered one of the biggest national consensus projects, a veritable national project. I believe that, after many years of political and social conflicts we can hope that this project will be one of the projects that will bring all Romanians at the same table. We can have the strength to be Romanians first and only afterwards members of PSD, PNL, PDL, UDMR and so on,” Dragnea stated, being quoted by hotnews.ro. He pointed out that all interested political factors, parties, unions, NGOs and last but not least professors, doctors, members of the Academy, specialists in what concerns decentralization and regionalization are called to take part in the process. According to the minister, the costs of this process will be nil and at the same time money will be saved when it comes to expenditures on public sector personnel and services. At the same time, Dragnea reiterated that no county will disappear as a result of regionalization and citizens will not have to change their IDs, property documents or car documents. The Development Minister also stated that one cannot talk about capitals of regions since, strictly speaking, a capital is the centre of state power: “And we are talking about administrative regions within a unitary state. Seat is the correct term, the seat of a county or regional administrative authority within a unitary state which Romania will continue to be. Capitals have to do with federalization and we do not agree with and do not support this notion.”In what concerns the organizational framework that will manage this process, the Deputy Prime Minister underlined that there are two large “bodies” – a consultative council on regionalization and an inter-ministerial technical committee that will be chaired by the Regional Development Minister. “This consultative council, organized on three tiers, will base its proposals on special analyses, impact assessments and other data on Romania’s issues at European level. Likewise, we will have consultancy and expertise from a European Commission specialist,” the minister pointed out. At the same time, Dragnea offered assurances that nobody stands to lose anything as a result of the regionalization process. On the contrary, Romania will win, he claims. “No citizen will have to be on the road, won’t bear extra costs, after the regionalization process is finalized. On the contrary, no prerogative will be taken away from any county. On the other hand, prerogatives that currently belong to the government will be transferred to counties and, depending on the situation, to local authorities.” In what concerns the regionalization process’s timetable, Dragnea listed three main processes that have to take place simultaneously: amending the Constitution, the referendum in September-October, the regionalization and administrative decentralization process – debates, public analyses, proposed final solutions. “We are not starting off from the end result, from the map of the regions and the location of their future seats, one of the most important goals of the regionalization process consists of this country’s balanced development,” the minister added..