The Organization Expert Forum from Romania has recently been on a study trip to Norway. The organization is leading the project Active Citizenship – a powerful instrument for enforcing rule of law in Romania with the county governor of Sogn og Fjordane as a partner.
Expert Forum is a Bucharest based think tank that promotes increased participation in political processes, codetermination and good governance. Their fields of work include reform in the administration and public sector, decentralization and regional development, public funding, judicial reform and anti-corruption, social policy and pensions, energy, transport, and health sector.
The study trip was supported with funds from the NGO Program in Romania, focusing on civic participation, freedom of information and access to public information and the electoral system. The delegation from Romania had meetings with, among others, the county governor in Sogn og Fjordane, the mayor of Sogndal, the Ombudsman, representatives of the ministries, Transparency Norway, Norwegian Press Association and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
How long does it take for a country to evolve to become inclusive, facilitate for active participation and be open to its citizens? There is no easy answer for this, as it may vary from country to country. Romania is still striving to establish functioning mechanisms for participation in society and for openness. It is also still striving to develop a culture for active community participation. The recent years have shown that the country’s population can protest when the city’s green lungs are threatened or when politicians abuse their power. But is this enough? Is there more that can be done? These are questions that the members of the delegation who visited Norway in April 2016 raised.
You can read about their answers and conclusions in their report here.
Photo: Expert Forum. From School for Democracy in Timisoara, with Gunnar Hæreid and Septimius Parvu.