The 1st August, the National Day of Switzerland, represents an ideal occasion to shed light onto the excellent relations between Romania and the Swiss Confederation.
Switzerland has a Financial Agreement with Romania (FAR) which allows Romanian infrastructure projects to be improved and to implement new projects.
Investments were made in order to implement the Prüm agreements regarding identification data (DNA, fingerprints) with the National Institute of Forensics and to create visible anti-human trafficking campaigns and enhance the victims’ protection. The reinforcement of the National Anticorruption Directorate’s actions by funding the acquisition of new IT surveillance equipment and the training of prosecutors resulting in greater efficiency, and more than 900 magistrates prepared on the new codes, and 50 investigators and prosecutors trained in seizure of goods.
The Swiss contribution to health in rural areas aims to provide equal access to medical services, to develop at home medical services, to build new medical centres, and to train family doctors and nurses. Regional training centres to improve paediatricians’ management of emergencies, according to European regulation (ESPNIC). Roma integration is also supported in Mures, Cluj and Bihor counties, between 2013 and 2018. After school classes, summer nurseries, educational programmes for preschool children to achieve better results, the enrichment of medical services for the Roma, chiefly focussed on adequate nutrition, hygiene and the care of minors were some of the projects.
In environment, the concept of “Durable Energy” aims to develop the infrastructure and educate citizens on energy efficiency. The projects “City of Energy”, implemented in Suceava, Cluj-Napoca, Arad and Brasov consists of the enhancement of district heating system in Arad and Brasov; energy rehabilitation of public buildings in Brasov and Cluj-Napoca; introducing electric buses in Cluj-Napoca and replacing old street lamps with LED streetlights in Suceava. The field of infrastructure has profited from Swiss funding, addressing a feasibility study on the enlargement of underground line M4, between the stations “Gara de Nord” and “Gara Progresul”, thus 14 km of underground lines are expected to be built between by 2017.
Switzerland has contributed to the development of the private sector by providing the necessary guarantees to obtain credit from commercial banks. A maximum credit of 100,000 CHF is offered to SMEs in manufacturing, tourism, health or clean tech, in order to boost competitiveness and create jobs. Practical training, establishing regional Export Business Centres, funding voluntary eco-labelling are some of the programme components. On 17th June 2015 a new project agreement to further export integrated services for SMEs was signed, resulting in two consultancy centres in Ploiesti and Bacau where a series of counselling sessions and custom instructions will take place. The fight against corruption, money laundering and terrorism funding is another side of this project by means of corporate finance information and nationwide auditing; technical assistance to the National Agency for Fiscal Administration and implementing the “whistle-blowers system” regarding corruption cases. Furthermore, the National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering receives a 2,150,500 CHF budget to acquire e-learning and analyse software and the necessary hardware and training to improve financial reports and exchange of information.
For human and social development, the programme “Scientific Exchange between New Member States and Switzerland” offers 87 Romanian doctoral and post-doctoral students the opportunity to study in Switzerland, until the 31st December 2017. Through almost 30 research projects related to durable energy, economic growth, the effects of pollution, and the climate of social inequalities were conducted together by Romanian and Swiss research institutes under the National Swiss Fund. The “Job Orientation Training in Businesses and Schools” project prepares students in the last year of schooling and those of the first year of middle school for the employment market.
The fifth theme, special allocations, aims to solve problems and strengthen bilateral relations. Certain funds are reserved for geographic indications and the promotion of decent working conditions for employees – while Romanian government organisations and non-profit legal persons might benefit at their request, from Swiss expertise.
All projects under FAR are to end by December 2019. Proceedings to extend the validity of the Swiss Federal Law applicable to bilateral agreements, applicable until 2017, started on 24th June 2015.