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Romania

Ensuring the Free Online Access to National Legislation (RO0021)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Romania, Second Action Plan, 2014-16

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Justice, IT Department

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government, Legislature

IRM Review

IRM Report: Romania End-of-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: Yes Starred

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Both at EU and national levels, an essential prerequisite for legal compliance is guaranteeing free access to legislation. In this context and in order to fit the European standards, it is necessary to ensure the free access of citizens to updated national legislation.
By the end of 2015, the Government aims to provide both Romanian and European residents (the latter through the N-Lex portal) with a national legislative database, handled by the Ministry of Justice, as an essential condition for knowing, complying with and enforcing the law in any field.
The portal will include a web service that will give the public access to the national legislation in the database, allowing its reuse.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 3. Ensuring the Free Online Access to National Legislation

Commitment Text:

Ensuring the free online access to national legislation

1.     The ministry will develop an electronic application to ensure the free access of citizens and other entities to the national legislative database

2.      Testing of the developed electronic application

3.      The legislative electronic application will be interconnected with the European legislative portal N-lex

Responsible institutions: Ministry of Justice, IT Department

Supporting institution(s): ---

Start date: April 2014                                     End date: June 2015

Commitment Aim:

 

This commitment aims to provide free public access to national legislation through an electronic application (e-portal). Prior to this commitment, access to legislation was limited. Interested parties either had to pay for a subscription to the Official Gazette or for a subscription to one of the private services allowing user access to consolidated legislation. Through Law 224/2009, anyone could access the electronic version of the Official Gazette free of charge—but only for 10 days after an issue was published.

Status

Midterm: Complete

The commitment was completed by the time of the midterm review. The electronic application was developed and successfully tested. Civil society and users offered suggestions to increase the portal’s functionality, and information technology (IT) teams have addressed these suggestions on an ongoing basis. The national legislation portal was also connected with the European N-Lex legislative portal, improving the interaction between European citizens and Romanian national legislation. However, stakeholders found it problematic that official national legislation is bought from the Official Gazette by a private enterprise and then sold to the Ministry of Justice for publication on the e-portal. There is also a general concern that the ministry does not have a permanent contract for the maintenance of the portal. Civil society organizations (CSOs) point to the need to change the legislation to allow access to the legislative database free of charge without having to buy the information from a third party.[Note 9: The N-Lex portal is available at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/n-lex/index_ro. The national legislative portal is available at http://legislatie.just.ro/Public/Acasa. The Official Gazette, which is still only accessible for free for the first 10 days after publication, is available online at http://www.monitoruloficial.ro/index.php.  ] For more information, please see the 2014–2015 IRM midterm report.

End of term: Complete

This starred commitment was completed by the time of the midterm review. However, further progress has taken place since then, addressing some of the concerns civil society raised at the midterm. For example, civil society observed that in order to publish legislative information, the Ministry of Justice was paying a private intermediary company for access to the Official Gazette, a public institution. Stakeholders found it problematic that in this process, a private company acts as an intermediary between two public institutions, purchasing legislative information from the National Gazette, and selling it to the Ministry of Justice. Some civil society activists have also indicated that the company is selling public legislative information to the Ministry of Justice at inflated prices.

There has been some confusion around this topic. Payments to the private company covered both access to the Official Gazette data, and linking newly published legislation to existing laws in order to publish the consolidated normative act. A new Law (195/2016) will establish free and permanent online access to the Official Gazette, solving the first CSO concern mentioned here. The legislative consolidation process will remain externalized and a private company will continue to be paid for these services.

Since the midterm, CSOs have also noticed there is a one-week delay between when laws are published in the Official Gazette and on the national legislation portal. There are two causes:[Note 10: These were presented during a discussion with participants at the OGP Club meeting on 15 September 2016.] first, information published in the portal must be obtained from the Official Gazette via the private distributor, and second, the new legislation must be consolidated with past modifications to the law before it is published on the national legislation portal. This process takes three to seven days to complete.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Major

Prior to this commitment, access to consolidated national legislation was only available for a fee, while access to the Official Gazette was only available free of cost for a 10 day window. Following the completion of this commitment, access to consolidated national legislation is available to all citizens free of cost, representing a major opening of government in terms of access to information. These changes bring citizens unlimited access to all legislation, and consolidate legislation for users. In addition, a newly created portal, the application program interface, allows stakeholders to access information on laws more easily and efficiently.[Note 11: Automated access to the national legislation portal is available using the information provided at this address: http://legislatie.just.ro/ServiciulWebLegislatie.htm.  ]

Carried forward?

The commitment was completed before the end of the implementation period and has not been included in the next plan. Notably, civil society pressure to reduce the privatization of government processes reflects a wider shift in the public’s attitude.[Note 12: This is an ongoing issue, one private company suing the Ministry of Justice for implementing anti-competitive measures. For more details, see http://ogp.gov.ro/noutati/oportunitatea-publicarii-legislatiei-online-contestata-in-justitie/. ] The IRM researcher recommends developing the scope of the national legislation portal to include a specific section for legislation that is currently being drafted or under consultation. This could allow citizens and stakeholders to actively understand and engage with the policymaking process. The Senate, the Chamber of Deputies, and various ministries post some legislative proposals online, but the public would be better served if all proposals were available in a standard format via the same portal.


Commitments

  1. Standardize Public Consultation Practices

    RO0048, 2018, E-Government

  2. Open Local Government

    RO0049, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Citizen Budgets

    RO0050, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Youth Participation

    RO0051, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Register of Civil Society Proposals

    RO0052, 2018, E-Government

  6. Access to Information – Local

    RO0053, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Online Business Sector Information

    RO0054, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. Digital Consular Services

    RO0055, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Transparency in the Funding of Political Parties

    RO0056, 2018, E-Government

  10. National Investment Fund Transparency

    RO0057, 2018, E-Government

  11. Civil Servant Training

    RO0058, 2018, Capacity Building

  12. Raise Awareness About Corruption

    RO0059, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. Transparency of Seized Assets

    RO0060, 2018, E-Government

  14. Access to Social Services

    RO0061, 2018, E-Government

  15. Open Access to Research

    RO0062, 2018, E-Government

  16. Open Education

    RO0063, 2018, Capacity Building

  17. Evaluate Open Data

    RO0064, 2018, Capacity Building

  18. Open Data

    RO0065, 2018, E-Government

  19. Improving the Legal Framework and Practices Regarding Access to Public Interest Information

    RO0030, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Centralized Publishing of Public Interest Information on the Single Gateway Transparenta.Gov.Ro

    RO0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Promoting Open Parliament Principles

    RO0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Starred commitment Improved Management of the Applications Submitted for Granting Citizenship

    RO0033, 2016, Capacity Building

  23. Standardization of Transparency Practices in the Decision-Making Procedures

    RO0034, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Centralised Publication of Legislative Projects on the Single Gateway Consultare.Gov.Ro

    RO0035, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Citizens Budgets

    RO0036, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Improve Youth Consultation and Public Participation

    RO0037, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Subnational Open Government

    RO0038, 2016, Capacity Building

  28. Promoting Transparency in the Decision-Making Process By Setting Up a Transparency Register (RUTI)

    RO0039, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  29. Access to Performance Indicators Monitored in the Implementation of the National Anticorruption Strategy (SNA)

    RO0040, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  30. Improve Transparency in the Management of Seized Assets

    RO0041, 2016, Asset Disclosure

  31. Annual Mandatory Training of Civil Servants on Integrity Matters

    RO0042, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  32. Improving Access to Cultural Heritage

    RO0043, 2016, Capacity Building

  33. Open Data and Transparency in Education

    RO0044, 2016, Capacity Building

  34. Virtual School Library and Open Educational Resources

    RO0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  35. Open Contracting

    RO0046, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  36. Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data

    RO0047, 2016, Capacity Building

  37. Publishing the Public Interest Information on a Single Government Portal: Transparenta.Gov.Ro

    RO0019, 2014, E-Government

  38. Making an Inventory of the Datasets Produced by the Ministries and Subordinate Agencies

    RO0020, 2014, Open Data

  39. Starred commitment Ensuring the Free Online Access to National Legislation

    RO0021, 2014, E-Government

  40. Amending Law 109/2007 on the Re-Use of Public Sector Information

    RO0022, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  41. Opening Data Collected from the National Health System

    RO0023, 2014, Health

  42. Opening Data Collected from the Monitoring of Preventive Measures as Part of the National Anticorruption Strategy 2012-2015

    RO0024, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  43. Open Contracting

    RO0025, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  44. Opening up Data Resulted from Publicly-Funded Research Projects

    RO0026, 2014, E-Government

  45. Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data

    RO0027, 2014, Open Data

  46. Human Resource Training in the Field of Open Data

    RO0028, 2014, Capacity Building

  47. Disseminating Information on the OGP Principles and Promoting the Open Data Concept in an Accessible Manner

    RO0029, 2014, Records Management

  48. Designating a Person Responsible for Publishing Open Data in Each Public Institution

    RO0001, 2012, Open Data

  49. Identifying Regulatory Needs, Logistical and Technical Solutions

    RO0002, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  50. Making an Inventory of Available (High-Value) Data-Sets

    RO0003, 2012, Open Data

  51. Priority Publishing on the Web Pages of Public Institutions of Specific Data-Sets

    RO0004, 2012, Open Data

  52. Initiating Pilot-Projects, in Partnerships

    RO0005, 2012, Open Data

  53. Organizing Public Debates on the Utility of Open Data, in Partnerships

    RO0006, 2012, Open Data

  54. Uniform, Machine-Readable Publishing Format for Open Data

    RO0007, 2012, Open Data

  55. Procedures for Publication of Data-Sets Based on Civil Society Recommendations

    RO0008, 2012, Open Data

  56. Procedures for Citizen Complaints Pertaining to Open Data

    RO0009, 2012, Open Data

  57. Consultation Mechanism Between Suppliers and Beneficiaries of Open Data

    RO0010, 2012, Open Data

  58. Creating a Rating System for the Assessment of High-Value Data-Sets

    RO0011, 2012, Open Data

  59. Routinely Publishing Specific Data-Sets on Web Pages of Public Institutions

    RO0012, 2012, E-Government

  60. Integrating Open Data from Public Institutions in a Single National Platform

    RO0013, 2012, E-Government

  61. Inventories of Data, in Order to Facilitate Public Access

    RO0014, 2012, Open Data

  62. Institute a Monitoring Mechanism of Compliance for Open Data

    RO0015, 2012, Open Data

  63. Stimulating the Market for Innovative Use of Open Data

    RO0016, 2012, Open Data

  64. Routinely Publishing Data-Sets on the National Platform, 25% High-Value

    RO0017, 2012, Open Data

  65. The Public Procurement Electronic System (SEAP). the Electronic Allocation System for Transports (SAET)/B.1 C) Expanding the On-Line Submission of Fiscal Forms. Ensuring the Free On-Line Access to National Legislation. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage Subpoenas and Facilitate Access Toinformation Regarding Legal Proceedings. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage the Procedures Related to Obtaining the Romanian Citizenship. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage the Procedures Related to the Creation of Non-Profit Legal Persons. the Integrated System for Electronic Access to Justice (SIIAEJ)

    RO0018, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration