Sorin Ionita

2005-06 International Policy Fellow
Policy Making in Transition Contexts working group


Romania has consistently scored low in performance assessments of EU hopefuls. There is a growing consensus on what the main culprit may be; namely a lack of capacity to design, adopt and implement public policies, irrespective of their nature. The underlying factors include: a lack of data and coherent administrative procedures, distrust of state bureaucracies and among public officials, the tendency of new governments to downplay the achievements of their predecessors and spend time and effort revising laws and regulations without any form of public program assessment, and a 19th century approach to policymaking where judgments in terms of social costs and benefits are rare. Despite a political will to adopt new laws and procedures there is still a lack of incentives and implementation at the civil service or political level.

The author discusses the difficulties of policy reform in such an environment, and offers recommendations for what the government, independent actors such as NGOs or the media, as well as international partners can do in order to change the situation.