- A country of emigration, with emigration much greater than immigration
- RO's small number of newcomers dropped by 50% from 2008-to-2010, with decrease in work migration (from 9,000-to-2,000) following the economic crisis
- Family and study are now the major reasons for non-EU immigration
- Slight increase in asylum-seekers from 2012-2014, most recently from SY with important groups from AF and IQ
- MD remain the top nationality of non-EU citizens in 2014 (21%), closely followed by TU (15%), CN (13%), SY (7%) and US (3%)
- Attitudes towards immigrants are relatively average for the EU
- Rank: 23 out of 38
- MIPEX Score: 45
- LABOUR MARKET MOBILITY 57
- FAMILY REUNION 67
- EDUCATION 20
- HEALTH 45
- POLITICAL PARTICIPATION 0
- PERMANENT RESIDENCE 57
- ACCESS TO NATIONALITY 34
- ANTI-DISCRIMINATION 78
Changes in context
Key Common Statistics
|Country of net migration since:||% Non-EU citizens||% Foreign-born||% Non-EU of foreign-born||% Non-EU university-educated||% from low or medium-developed (HDI) country|
|UN 2010 data in 2013||Eurostat 2013||Eurostat 2013||Eurostat 2013||Note: Adults aged 18-64, Eurostat 2013||Eurostat 2013|
Changes in policy
+1 point goes to RO for Law 157/2011. While the law focused more on migration management and EU law, these clarifications may bring added benefits for immigrants' integration. Compulsory education should be open to all children, while EU long-term residence should be open to nearly all temporary residents. The law also had its weaknesses, adding more discretionary requirements and limiting students' access to family reunion.
Conclusions and recommendations
Newcomers to RO benefit from halfway favourable policies that create slightly more obstacles than opportunities for non-EU immigrants to quickly and fully participate in RO society. The balance between opportunities and obstacles is more favourable in RO, CZ, EE, HU than in the rest of Central Europe, with RO several points ahead of BG and SK.
RO’s integration strategies provide basic opportunities for integration that still need to reach all types of immigrants in need. Thanks to EU law, most non-EU newcomers can access the labour market and training, reunite with family and secure EU long-term residence, though some gaps persist in these areas. Going above-average for the region, RO authorities and civil society are taking steps to provide free language training and basic information on jobs, training, schooling for children and healthcare. With the right resources and support, RO’s strong anti-discrimination laws and body can also be used to guarantee equal treatment for non-EU citizens when practices go against the law.
The major obstacles to integration in RO are common problems in the region. When seeking or renewing permits, immigrants who meet all the legal requirements still face wide administrative discretion, despite EU law. Support for RO’s few immigrant pupils is weak and largely limited to learning the RO language. Its integration strategies are missing political participation and a clear path to citizenship for ordinary immigrants and RO-born or -educated children. RO is the most restrictive in denying all political rights to its small number of non-EU citizens, despite above-average majorities of RO citizens in favour of immigrants’ rights and contributions.
More ambitious integration policies in RO can learn from other countries and international trends: reforming long-term residence (IT, PT, SI) and citizenship (PL, CZ, PT) from an integration perspective, implementing intercultural education (PT, Western Europe) and opening political opportunities (SI, IE, PT, ES). To make policies more effective, RO needs to collect missing data on integration indicators (EU Zaragoza indicators), discrimination cases/complaints and the policy experiences of different types of immigrants, such as humanitarian migrants, students, families and MD citizens.
POLICIES - SUMMARY
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POLICIES - DETAILS
Labour Market Mobility
Policies are above-average for Central Europe but only halfway favourable for all high- and low-skilled non-EU citizens
Do immigrants have equal rights and opportunities to access jobs and improve their skills?
Policies are halfway favourable for non-EU newcomers to find their way on RO's labour market. These policies score slightly above average for Central Europe, ranking 20th overall alongside HR, CZ, GR. Newcomers can get basic information about jobs, services and recognition procedures, while non-EU and RO citizens enjoy the same access to education, training and social security. Immigrants may end up un- or under-employed due to restrictions on study grants, insufficient targeted trainings and no common procedure to recognise foreign skills/work experience. In particular, skilled immigrants may end up in jobs below their qualifications due to weak recognition procedures and restrictions on regulated and public sector professions.
Dimension 1: Access to labour market
- Access to the labour market is halfway favourable for non-EU newcomers
- Long-term residents and family migrants are not delayed in their access to the labour market, as in 23 other countries
- Non-EU labour migrants are delayed 5 years to freely change jobs and sectors, a common delay across Europe
- Certain public sector jobs and regulated professions are not fully open to non-EU citizens (see equal access to public sector in 15)
Dimension 2: Access to general support
- Non-EU citizens also face as many opportunities as obstacles to use and improve their skills on the labour market in RO, ranking 25th alongside BG and HR
- All immigrants can access public employment offices, higher education & vocational training in RO as in most countries, partly thanks to EU law
- Skilled immigrants may be unable to pursue the right job or degree programme in RO because their non-EU qualifications and skills are not officially recognised by the authorities
- The procedures to recognise academic qualifications from EU vs. non-EU countries are separate and not equal
- More gaps emerge in the dozens of specific laws regulating non-EU qualifications in regulated professions (see instead DE, NL, UK, CY, EE)
- No clear procedure exists to validate foreign skills and work experience, unlike in a slight-majority of countries
Dimension 3: Targeted support
- Targeted 14th basic start (40) like JP, most of CEE after EE
- Newcomers at some point should get information on their rights as workers from the Immigration Inspectorate (GII), which is common practice in most countries
- The foreign-trained can benefit from a one-stop-shop (CNRED) and regulations for recognition procedures
- Public employment services are supposed to receive adequate training to respond to migrants' integration needs, according to the National Migration Strategy
- Other countries are piloting and evaluating potentially more effective support, such as job-specific/based language training (10 countries) and peer-to-peer mentoring (12 countries, e.g. AT, DE, PT)
Dimension 4: Workers' rights
- Non-EU workers are granted near-equal rights in RO as in 12 others
- According to the law, non-EU and RO citizens doing the same work should be granted the same conditions (as in most) and social security (as in half), though not necessarily the same access to social housing (unlike in 13 countries)
Are immigrants employed in qualified and well-paid jobs?
Across Europe, the long-settled non-EU-born (10+ years' stay) are on average only slightly less likely to have a job than non-immigrants with the same gender and level of education. While RO data is missing for the low-educated and for men vs. women, rough estimates on the high-educated suggest that the long-settled non-EU-born (85%) are just as likely to work as the high-educated RO-born (82%). In other countries, gaps tend to emerge for high- and low-educated women. Moreover, long-settled non-EU immigrants are often in worse jobs than non-immigrants, with the high-educated, on average, 2x as likely to be over-qualified for their jobs and the low-educated are, on average, 2.5x as likely to be living in poverty.
Non-EU residents in RO have been more likely to reunite with family than residents of other European countries; RO's policies are slightly inclusive of most traditional families, but gaps emerge for certain sponsors and families
How easily can immigrants reunite with family?
Ranking 11th, RO's slightly inclusive policy allows most to apply for traditional dependent family members with average conditions, discretionary procedures and near-equal socio-economic rights. Law 157/2011 made several improvements and restrictions to the procedure from a migration management rather than an integration perspective. More inclusive policies can be found across Southern Europe, from IT/PT/ES to HR/SI.
Dimension 1: Eligibility
- Under RO's slightly inclusive rules, ranked 9th, residents eligible to settle long-term can reunite with traditional dependent family members
- Most types of temporary residents can sponsor family immediately upon arrival (14), except no longer students after Law 157/2011 (an estimated 30% of newcomers in 2012/3)
- Non-EU sponsors can reunite with spouse, minor children (including shared custody since Law 157/2011), adult parents and, due to medical incapacity, adult children
- These family members are somehow entitled to join their sponsor in 24 of the 37 other countries
- Unmarried non-EU couples are not allowed to reunite together in RO (possible for partners of RO citizens with a child together and for all non-EU citizens in 17 countries)
Dimension 2: Conditions
- The conditions for family reunion are average in RO, ranked 17th internationally
- Applicants must prove any basic legal income at the national minimum wage level as well as sufficient housing, under new vague condition since Law 157/2011 that the space is 'considered appropriate for a similar RO family'
Dimension 3: Security of status
- Families who meet the requirements should be slightly secure about their future home in RO, with similar procedures as across Central Europe
- Permits for family are as long and renewable as their sponsor's in RO and 18 other countries
- Rejected applicants in 29 countries learn why and can appeal to an independent body or court
- They can receive refusals or withdrawals on many grounds; Law 157/2011 new grounds for spouses to lose their permit include no longer having conjugal relations or not showing up for an interview
Dimension 4: Rights associated
- Reunited families have similar legal rights as their sponsors, as in the majority of countries
- All non-EU residents can also enrol for free state-organised language and integration courses
- But they have limited chances at autonomous residence permits before long-term residence, which remains problematic in most countries
- Their options are limited while waiting 5 years to apply for long-term residence, with weak protections for vulnerable families
Are families reuniting?
1,478 non-EU family members reunited with a non-EU sponsor in RO in 2013. The numbers have been stable since 2008 and slightly above-average for Central Europe, which is not surprising for RO, as one of the largest Central European countries. Numbers are comparable in BG and SK. Non-EU family reunion concerns important numbers of children and spouses, as well as small but important numbers of other family members (6-8%). Over half of reuniting families come from just 3 countries: CN (around 30%), TU (16%) and SY (13%).
What other factors explain whether immigrants reunite with family?
- Recent arrivals recently settling down with family
- Small but increasing numbers of refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection unlikely to return to their country of origin and potentially in need family reunion
- 75% from low-to-medium developed countries and thus more likely to reunite in RO
How often do immigrants reunite with family?
Non-EU family reunion has been relatively common in RO in recent years. While on average in Europe, newly arrived non-EU family members represent only 2.2 non-EU citizens for every 100 in the population, newly arrived family in RO accounted for about 5 out of every 100 non-EU citizens. RO's relatively small and recently arrived immigrant population may be settling down for the long-term with their families in RO. Certain nationalities are much more likely or able to reunite in RO than others, as these reuniting family members are not very representative of the entire non-EU citizen population in RO. For example, family reunion is much more common among IQ/SY, CN, KR, RU and very rare among MD, UA, TN, RS. RO's slightly inclusive family reunion policy seems to generally encourage family reunion, but may potentially create obstacles for only certain groups.
RO's small number of immigrant pupils are supported to learn the language, but overlooked both as groups at-risk of early school leaving and as new opportunities for intercultural education
How many pupils have immigrant parents?
Hardly any immigrant pupils can be found in RO schools, according to the 2012 PISA as one international indicator. 69,331 children in RO under age 15 were born outside RO, according to 2014 Eurostat population statistics. This represents just 2.2% of all children under age 15 in RO. Most were born in other EU countries (54,313). While non-EU immigrants make up 61% of the total foreign-born population, they only make up 22% of foreign-born children (15,018).
Is the education system responsive to the needs of the children of immigrants?
Now that Law 157/2011 entitles all pupils in theory to compulsory education (+2 points on education), the RO education system can work so that all pupils are entitled to an intercultural education and all newcomers can access all school levels and basic mother tongue/culture courses. These basic policies are in place across most countries, including in Central Europe (esp. CZ, EE, PL, SI). RO's current weak approach slightly supports schools to target immigrant pupils but not the new opportunities they bring to all pupils.
Dimension 1: Access
- 3 new laws (+10 on access) confirmed that all children should enjoy equal access to compulsory education (Law 1/2011, 157/2011, L1/2011, EO 6000/2012)
- This general framework is too weak to make equal access a reality in all schools, with RO obtaining the 2nd lowest score on access, alongside HR, LT, TU
- Without more explicit entitlements as in 22 countries, the children of undocumented migrants will have to count on schools to accept them in practice
- Beyond compulsory education, undocumented pupils can access some level of vocational or higher education in 16 other countries
- RO's established targeted support (see EO 194/2002) could be expanded to pupils in need in both vocational and higher education
Dimension 2: Targeting needs
- All pupils in compulsory education are entitled to above-average targeted support for Central Europe, including standardised language support, trained teachers and ongoing guidance
- OG 1/2014 guarantees all minors the right to free preparatory, remedial and optional extracurricular courses to attain academic fluency in RO
- Schools receive extra training and professional support, but not necessarily extra funding
Dimension 3: New opportunities
- The education system in RO and only 9 other countries are entirely overlooking many new opportunities for learning and social integration
- Schools receive no systematic support to teach immigrant languages (unlike 22) and cultures (18) or involve immigrant parents in learning and school life (16)
Dimension 4: Intercultural education
- All pupils are unlikely to see cultural diversity across the curriculum with little state support to meet official aims on intercultural education (see CZ, EE, SK)
- Only BG, TU and JP do less than RO to implement an intercultural approach in schools
What other factors explain whether the children of immigrants excel at school?
- 60% of 1st/2nd generation do not speak RO language at home in RO, similar to GR, PL
- % of GDP spent on education lowest in Central/Southeast Europe
RO ahead of other Central European countries: migrants are included in entitlements and able to access some basic information, as health services and policies start to respond to their specific health needs
Is the health system responsive to immigrants' needs?
RO has already gone halfway to integrate migrants into the health system, which is further ahead than the most Central European countries and new destinations, ranking 19th alongside CZ and MT. The rather inclusive entitlements for asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants take into account integration and health concerns, although documentation and discretion may create some problems in practice. Migrants can access basic information on these entitlements and health issues through initiatives by the Immigration Inspectorate (GII) and National Healthcare Insurance House (NHIH). RO's health services and policies have made a slightly weak start to adapt to any of migrants' specific health/access needs, though these efforts are greater than in most Central European countries.
Click here to learn more about how MIPEX health was developed with IOM and EU’s COST/ADAPT network through ‘Equi-Health’ project and co-funded by European Commission’s DG SANTE.
Dimension 1: Entitlements
- Ranked 12th, RO provides emergency and 'urgent' treatment to asylum-seekers and undocumented migrants, equal entitlements for legal migrants and favourable protections for a long list of vulnerable health groups
- Vulnerable health groups are automatically covered without payment into the fund, under Law 95/2006 including updates
- Healthcare entitlements are available for legal migrants prolonging their temporary stay or paying into the National Healthcare Insurance Fund, though these conditions can create problems of documentation for migrants
- Undocumented migrants also face problems of documentation and discretion in practice to access emergency and 'urgent' care
Dimension 2: Access policies
- Health services and policies go halfway to inform and orient migrants to the system, with RO ranking 17th alongside other new destination countries (CZ, IE, MT)
- Legal migrants and asylum-seekers can obtain this information through many channels but often in a limited number of languages
- Intercultural mediators have been officially trained across the country (www.migrant.ro) but not yet funded and available across the healthcare system (see more extensive use in 18 countries)
Dimension 3: Responsive services
- Healthcare services are developing a basic capacity to provide equally responsive services for migrants and for RO citizens (like CZ, PT and ahead of most others with relatively new and small immigrant communities)
- Law 95/2006 set standards that are now applied by several hospitals, often by foreign doctors and mostly in Bucharest
- Patients have the right to information and services that ara interculturally competent, responsive to individual needs and respectful of their religion/culture
- New staff are increasingly trained on these standards, especially in areas with important immigrant communities
- Health professionals are starting to involve migrants to provide them feedback and provide information to other migrants (e.g. migrant professionals e.g. of foreign medical students or Palestinian pharmacist organisation)
- No common approach to free interpretation (see instead 14 countries, all Western Europe and traditional countries of immigration)
Dimension 4: Mechanisms for change
- Health policy can work with the basic available data, research and migrant health stakeholders in order to make services more accessible and responsive
- Various policies and actors related to migrants' health could better coordinate together through common commitments and activities on migrant health (e.g. between GII, NHIH, hospitals)
The small number of non-EU citizen adults are completely excluded from public life in RO, with political participation missing from the integration strategy
Who are disenfranchised from voting?
An estimated 48,453 non-EU adults (aged 15+) are disenfranchised without the local right to vote in RO, according to 2014 Eurostat data. Given the small size of RO's immigrant population, these disenfranchised voters represent a very small share of the adult population (0.3%), which is one of lowest in the EU and similar to PL. While political participation may therefore seem like a 'minor' issue for integration in RO, voting rights have been adopted in countries with similarly small numbers (e.g. SK in 2003) and raised as a priority for a new integration strategy in PL.
Do immigrants have comparable rights and opportunities to participate in political life?
RO is the only country scoring 0 on political participation, just below PL and TU. Non-EU citizens are excluded from democratic life, as political participation is still missing from RO's integration strategy, with no action taken in recent years. Granting basic political liberties, consultation and support for immigrant leaders may demonstrate that immigrants are a benefit and not a threat to RO society.
Dimension 1: Electoral rights
- Law 67/2004 opened the local right to vote and stand in elections to EU citizens, but not to its relatively few non-EU citizens or long-term residents, unlike 5 other Central European countries (CZ, EE, LT, SI, SK, recent discussions also in PL)
Dimension 2: Political liberties
- Law 194/2002 confirms that non-EU citizens cannot set up their own political association or join political parties, as in only 12 other countries
Dimension 3: Consultative bodies
- Immigrants are not structurally consulted to inform and improve the policies that affect them daily
- No action since 2010, despite mention of possible consultative bodies in the 2010 Action Plan to implement the National Migration Strategy
- Local consultative bodies (mostly in the capital) now exist in 24 countries, as do national bodies in 13 countries (see new but relatively weak bodies in CZ, EE, GR, IE, LT)
Dimension 4: Implementation policies
- New communities cannot obtain State funds to organise politically, except through occasional European Integration Fund projects (see instead approach in new destinations such as KR, PT)
More temporary residents are eligible for long-term residence in RO since 2011, but its procedure and requirements are still more discretionary than in most countries
How easily can immigrants become long-term residents?
Long-term residence guarantees non-EU citizens basic security and equal opportunities that can boost their integration outcomes in various areas of life. Due to EU law, RO and other EU countries implemented many of the same eligibility rules, procedures and rights for temporary residents to become EU long-term residents. Complying with new EU law, RO's Law 157/2011 opened this path to long-term residence to a few more categories (+3 on permanent residence. Still, RO falls slightly below the European average because settled non-EU citizens still face discretionary conditions and procedures.
Dimension 1: Eligibility
- Temporary residents become eligible to apply under similar rules in RO as across Europe, due to EU law and recent improvements (+12 in 2011)
- Since Law 157/2011, refugees can apply to become permanent residents after 4 years, while nearly all other temporary residents can apply after 5 years (all but seasonal workers, diplomatic and short-stay visa-holders)
- The rules for counting time studying in RO students and time abroad are average for Europe
Dimension 2: Conditions
- Eligible residents face a vague language requirement and potentially high costs, which makes the requirements slightly more difficult in the RO context than in most countries, even most in Central Europe
- The free language courses may not be sufficient for applicants to pass the high discretionary language interview, (instead see approach in CZ, IT, SI, PT)
- Exemptions are discretionary and mostly to children/youth (see stronger exemptions for vulnerable groups in 19 countries, e.g. AT/DE/NL, CZ, EE/LV, IT)
Dimension 3: Security of status
- Applicants and long-term residents are uncertain about the future, as authorities retain wide discretion, with RO ranking 28th alongside other Central European countries
- To protect themselves, they have some legal avenues of redress and prohibitions against expulsion for minors
- Permits must be renewed every 5 years (10 years for family of RO citizens, whereas it's permanent in 27 other countries)
Dimension 4: Rights Associated
- Long-term residents can work, study and live in RO with the same social and economic rights as RO citizens, similar as in 29 other countries
How many immigrants are long-term residents?
10,978 non-EU citizens in RO were EU long-term residents in 2013, according to Eurostat data. The numbers reached this level in 2009, rising from 8,554 in 2008. All are reportedly EU long-term residents, as opposed to the types of national long-term residence schemes that exist in other countries (e.g. CZ, HU, SK). In RO, citizens of CN (27%) and TU (23%) make up half of the country's long-term residents, with the other large groups (≥4%) being SY, IQ, LB, MD, IR.
What other factors explain whether immigrants become long-term residents?
- Most residents with ≥1-year-permits potentially eligible
- Mostly humanitarian or family migrants unlikely to return to their country of origin
- Main option to secure residence for 'ordinary' long-settled residents and 2nd generation in countries with restrictive naturalisation policies (e.g. Baltics, Central Europe, AT, IT, ES, CH)
How often do immigrants become long-term residents?
Just 1/5 of non-EU citizens are estimated to be EU long-term residents in RO. As with family migrants, certain non-EU nationalities in RO appear to be less able or interested to secure long-term residence, as EU long-term residents in RO are less representative of RO's non-EU population than long-term residents are in other countries (e.g. CZ, IT, SI, ES). For example, around 1/2 of VN and CN citizens are long-term residents in RO, compared to 40% of IQ, IR, LB, SY citizens, 1/3 of TU and RU citizens, but only 2% of TN citizens, 4% of MD and IL citizens and ≈13% of UA and RS citizens. For comparison, around 45% of all non-EU citizens are long-term residents in the average European country and in most of Central Europe. This share of long-term residents is far below the average for Europe or most of Central Europe (around 45%). Within Southeastern Europe, the share of long-term residents is just as low in GR and even lower in BG (see higher shares in CZ, SK, HR, SI).
Access to Nationality
RO integration strategy missing clear path to citizenship for ordinary immigrants and children
Who can become a citizen?
The vast majority of resident non-EU citizens seem to have lived in RO long enough (8 years) to become RO citizens, according to very rough estimates in 2011/2. These numbers of 'potential citizens' are just as high in other Central European countries (e.g. GR, LT, PL).
How easily can immigrants become citizens?
After years in the country, ordinary immigrants and their descendants do not have clear paths to citizenship, a gap in integration policies in RO and in most Central European countries. Immigrants benefit from more favourable eligibility and dual nationality rules in RO (also PL, GR) than in nearby BG, HU and SK. But applicants and children face greater problems becoming RO citizens than in other reforming new countries of immigration, such as CZ, PL and PT.
Dimension 1: Eligibility
- The ordinary wait to become RO citizens is relatively average for Europe (5 years for spouses of RO citizens and 8 years for permanent residents counting all years of legal stay)
- Their children born or raised in RO are not automatically RO citizens at or after birth, despite the mounting international trends (see discussions in GR and IT and policies in CZ, DE, Nordics, PT)
Dimension 2: Conditions
- The ordinary conditions to become RO citizens are some of the most vague and discretionary in Europe, alongside only AT, SK and CH
- All adult applicants without exception must face a Citizenship Commission, asking them all types of questions about the Romanian language, citizenship, history, geography, culture, etc.
- They must also pass vague income and good character requirements
- Half the MIPEX countries do not make citizenship conditional upon an income or integration assessment. Instead, passing an A2 objective language test or course is sufficient proof of integration (e.g. BG, SI, NO, PT)
Dimension 3: Security of status
- The procedure can be long and the requirements discretionary, although appeals are possible
- Successful applicants are more insecure than new citizens in other countries, since their citizenship can be withdrawn on several grounds without any time limits or protection against statelessness (see instead CZ, HU, PL)
Dimension 4: Dual nationality
- Like most MIPEX countries, RO embraces dual nationality for ordinary immigrants
How many immigrants are becoming citizens?
RO has reported to the EU's Statistical Office that the following numbers of naturalisations: 29 in 2006, 31 in 2007, 5,585 in 2008, 9,399 in 2009 and no numbers for more recent years. Most appear to be MD citizens.
What other factors explain why non-EU immigrants become citizens?
- 3/4 from low-or-medium developed countries thus likely to naturalise
- Humanitarian and family migrants likely to naturalise
- 80% from countries allowing dual nationality
How often do immigrants become citizens?
RO's highly discretionary naturalisation policies are the strongest factor determining its low naturalisation numbers for ordinary applicants. Most acquisitions of RO citizenship are unrelated to immigrant integration, as most naturalised citizens are not immigrants, but MD citizens in MD benefiting from special citizenship restitution privileges.
Time for enforcement and equality policies since non-reporting is the norm in RO and across Europe: RO's strong anti-discrimination law and equality body need better government support to inform the public, reach all potential victims and promote actions on equality
Who said they experienced racial/ethnic or religious discrimination last year?
According to 2012 Eurobarometer data, around 5.5% of people in RO felt they had been discriminated against or harassed in the previous year based on their race/ethnic origin (3.4%) and/or religion/beliefs (2.8%). This number of potential victims of racial/religious discrimination in RO was similar to other Central European countries (e.g. BG, HU, SK).
Is everyone effectively protected from racial/ethnic, religious, and nationality discrimination in all areas of life?
Since 2000, RO has created and constantly improved its anti-discrimination law. Ranking 9th overall, RO's laws and policies are stronger than in most countries and the region, but slightly weaker than with BG and HU. These laws extend far beyond the minimum standards seen in the recently adopted laws in CZ, EE, PL. Still, a lack of funding and political leadership may mean that potential victims do not know or access these protections. Tensions can arise between a strong equality body to assist victims and relatively weak state policies to promote equality.
Dimension 1: Definitions
- All residents benefit from slightly favourable definitions protecting them from an open-list of discrimination grounds
- Wide range of actors cannot discriminate against a person on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion or nationality, as in 22 countries as well as multiple discrimination (as in 7 others)
- A few gaps emerge in legal definitions, such as ethnic profiling (see recent definitions in DE and HU) and discrimination based on assumed/associated characteristics
Dimension 2: Fields of application
- Everyone is generally protected from ethnic, racial, religious and nationality discrimination in all areas of life in RO and 15 other countries
Dimension 3: Enforcement mechanisms
- RO and several other countries provide the most favourable mechanisms for victims to access justice (see also BG, HU, NL, PT, US)
- Potential victims in RO can bring a case to alternative dispute resolution, civil courts or administrative proceedings
- Though the procedure remains long and complex, victims can benefit from financial assistance and shifts in the burden of proof
- NGOs also have opportunities to help by initiating proceedings and using statistical evidence and situation testing to prove discrimination
- However, class actions are not possible under civil procedures, unlike in 16 countries e.g. BG, PT and SK
Dimension 4: Equality policies
- Victims complaining of discrimination can receive help from the strong but under-resourced equality body, but many may not know about discrimination and their rights, with the RO state doing rather little to promote equality in society
- Victims can receive independent advice and investigation of facts from a strong equality body – the ‘National Council on Combating Discrimination’ (NCCD), though their capacity was weakened by budget cuts since 2009
- Quasi-judicial powers allow NCCP to issue binding and appealable decisions
- While NCCD can instigate proceedings on its own initiative, it cannot take a case in the name of the complainant (see 8 others, e.g. BE, HU, NL, SE)
- RO State has taken few obligations upon itself to promote equality;
- Unlike neighbouring states such as BG or HU, RO authorities do not have to undertake information campaigns, public dialogue or positive duties/actions
How many racial/ethnic and religious discrimination complaints were made to equality bodies?
The number of discrimination complaints to equality bodies is the one available indicator of how often people report discrimination in different countries, given that other types of discrimination cases are rarely recorded by police and justice systems. As a quasi-judicial body, the NCCD received 75 complaints in 2013 of ethnic (64) or religious (11) discrimination. The NCCD was also called in as an expert in 916 civil court cases of discrimination (all grounds) in 2011 and 556 in 2012.
What other factors explain whether potential victims report discrimination cases
- 37% of general public know their rights as discrimination victims in RO, similar to low levels across Central Europe)
- Low levels of trust in police and justice system in Central and Southern Europe
- Most not naturalised in RO, as across Southern Europe, and less likely to report discrimination incidents
How many complaints were made last year for every person who said they experienced racial/ethnic and religious discrimination?
Few complaints are made compared to the large number of people reportedly experiencing incidents of racial/ethnic or religious discrimination. Hardly any complaints were received by equality bodies in Central Europe, even in the countries with new, strong but poorly supported anti-discrimination laws and bodies: around 1 in 3,000 in HU and hardly any in BG and RO.
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