Between 2012 and 2016, the Reserve Fund and the National Programme for Local Development (PNDL) were the main means by which public money was directed arbitrarily to the support of mayors by political parties and to attract others.

Since there are almost no control mechanisms in place for these funds, and the implementation of investments is almost never tracked, governments could distribute the money as they pleased. Moreover, the money was used as a means of attracting migratory mayors in 2014 – a presidential election year – through the infamous Government Emergency Ordinance 55/2014, declared unconstitutional.

Read Policy Brief #45 here.

Main conclusions drawn by EFOR:

  • The parties – regardless of their political colour – continue to use the same poor governance practices
  • Most likely, increasing the investments was a factor which encouraged the migration of local candidates, and switching political parties was rewarded with funds for the locality.
  • Most money was spent in 2014 and in 2015. In 2014, 80% of the money was spent between October and December, which coincides with political migration and the presidential elections.
  • Maximum levels of clientelism were reached in the second half of 2014 and 2015, when it was twice as likely for a mayor of the ruling political party to get funds, by comparison to mayors of the opposition. Presidential elections were held in the second half of the same year.
  • Most migrating mayors received more funds after October 2014
  • The money for transfers were increased during the election years and it was spent mainly on non-urgent projects; the Government created exceptions from the Public Finance Law to allow the transfer of funds for other types of expenditure (such as aerials).
  • The main winners appear to be PSD, satellite-parties (ALDE, UNPR and PC), as well as independent mayors; PNL and PDL mayors are the main losers, even if PNL was a ruling party until 2014
  • In Bucharest, the City Hall of Sector 3 received more funds than the other sectors, which is another indicator of favouritism. It received 55 times more money than the City Hall of Sector 5, which is the poorest in Bucharest.
  • Public institutions do not spend the funds allocated to them in the annual budget, which indicates the poor management of the public budgets.

Statistics

  • Most money went to communes (60%), under the National Programme for Local Development (64%)
  • In terms of money per capita, seven of the first ten counties were headed by County Council presidents from PSD and three by County Council presidents from PNL. Among counties ranked last, five are headed by County Council presidents from PSD and five from PNL/ PDL.
  • The mayor of the commune with the most funds per capita is Voineasa (Vâlcea) is a member of PNL. The ration between the Voineasa and Telega – the commune ranked last in terms of funds per capita – is of 1/42,413.

Report drafted under the Development of the “Clean Justice Initiative” Coalition Project, funded by the EEA Grants 2009-2014, within the NGO Fund in Romania and Consolidating the Clean Justice Initiative Coalition to strengthen the rule of law – monitoring and early warning tools, financed by the Open Society Institute (OSI).

The content of this material does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA Grants 2009-2014. For official information about the EEA and Norwegian grants please go to www.eeagrants.org.