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Make a PSI request for re-use in Romania


This week the series of articles on how to make a PSI request in the EU member states continues by analysing the case of Romania.


Legislative framework

The situation is quite straightforward, Romania is a unitary state and a semi-presidential republic.
Law no. 544/2001 regulates the right to information: free access to information of public interest (a sort of domestic FOIA). The law confers on any person the right to obtain information about the activities of any public authorities or institutions, including other entities using public resources. The law specifies the conditions under which the access to information is provided and guarantees to obtain the requested information. It also imposes an active and transparent behavior of public authorities and institutions by provisions on the obligation to publish certain information of interest on the public notice or on the website.

The country had the obligation to adopt the communitary acquis before entering into the European Union and, thus, in April 2007 adopted Law no. 109/2007 as transposition of Directive 2003/98/EC.

Following some observations by the European Commission, the law was amended in 2008 by Law no. 213/2008.

Law no. 299/2015 amending Law no. 109/2007 on the re-use of information from public institutions transposed Directive 2013/37/EU.

The unique national platform for the publication of data sets produced or held by public authorities or institutions in open format for re-use, data.gov.ro, was launched in October 2013.

In practice

We have seen that the legislative framework in Romania is in line with the last European amendments and that there is also a domestic FOIA law since 2001. Hence from a legislative point of view, they are well positioned.

Nonetheless, the country still struggles to implement the rules due to a combination of limited institutional capacity and a lack of knowledge. However the government is making considerable efforts to improve the situation, as evidenced by the National Plan 2016 - 2018.

In a practical way, it is hard to find a Romanian public sector body that provides guidance (in the shape of a form or a contact email address) on how to make a PSI request for reuse of information. We were able to find just some examples with regard to access to information based on Law no. 544/2001:

Inspectoratul Teritorial De Munca Teleorman

ANAF (Agentia Nationala de Administrare Fiscala)

General Inspectorate for Immigration

Primaria Lipova

What to do then? In this case, it is worth to stay stick to what the Law states about requests of re-use of information. An extract of the English version of the Law no 299/2015 transposing Directive 2013/37/EU is presented below.

Applications to re-use documents shall be submitted in writing, either on paper or electronically. An application shall indicate the following:

  1. the public institution to which it is addressed;
  2. the information requested, so that the public institution can identify the documents;
  3. the applicant's identification and authentication data, and the address to which the reply should be sent;
  4. the purpose for which the requested information is to be used.

So, the first thing to do is to pinpoint the public sector body and look for an email contact on its institutional website. Afterwards, you can send the request directly to the public sector body or

 add it to PSI Monitor and let Psi Monitor send it for you. 


In the latter case the advantage is that the request will be publicly consultable on the PSI Monitor repository and this may induce the public sector body to be more proactive in answering the request.

Another way to go is to leverage nuvasuparati.info, a website that helps you to make a request for access to information similar to the well known  whatdotheyknow.com

 

It is focused on requests based on the FOIA Law no. 544/2001 but it can be worth to try to use it for a re-use request mentioning the Law no. 299/2015 in the description of the request. As we already suggested here, you can add the tag #psimonitor to the description so that we can filter it and add it also to the PSI Monitor repository.

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