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Romania

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REFERENCES

Commission opinion [COM(97) 2003 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission report [COM(98) 702 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission report [COM(1999) 510 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission report [COM(2000) 710 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1753 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1409 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission report [COM(2003) 676 final - SEC(2003) 1211 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2004) 657 final - SEC(2004) 1200 - not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2005) 534 final - SEC(2005) 1354 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 157 of 21.06.05]

SUMMARY

In its Opinion of July 1997, the European Commission expressed the view that considerable efforts would be required to make the Romanian research and technological development system efficient and competitive at international level. Nevertheless, no major problems were to be expected in this field in connection with accession. With regard to telecommunications and the information society, however, the Commission considered that Romania would face problems as little progress was being made with development and liberalisation in those sectors.

The November 1998 Report confirmed that some progress had been made with regard to the approximation of legislation in the telecommunications sector. However, the general economic situation was an obstacle to growth in the fields of the information society and research and development.

The October 1999 Report noted the lack of legislation in the field of information technology and the lack of administrative capacity.

Some progress has been made since then, and the November 2000 Report confirmed an improved penetration rate for fixed voice telephony in particular.

The October 2002 Report pointed out that some progress had been made as regards research with, in particular, the implementation of the National Plan for Research, Technological Development and Innovation. The report also mentioned the appreciable progress made in the telecommunications sector, in particular in the area of primary legislation.

The November 2003 Report indicated that Romania had achieved a considerable degree of alignment with the Community acquis in the telecommunications sector. Significant progress had been made during the previous year, in particular as regards the establishment of the regulatory authority, liberalisation of the market and transposition of the new telecommunications acquis. Nevertheless, Romania was still lagging slightly behind as far as postal services were concerned. In the field of science and research, Romania had made only limited progress since the previous Regular Report.

The 2004 Report noted that Romania had made steady progress and had stepped up its cooperation with the EU in the field of research. Its efforts would now have to focus on reinforcing research-related administrative capacity and on consolidating infrastructure.

The Report also noted the progress made by Romania in aligning itself with the acquis, and in liberalising the telecommunications market and postal services.

The 2005 Report shows that Romania has met the commitments and obligations in the fields of science and research agreed upon in the accession negotiations.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 25 April 2005 and accession took place on 1 January 2007.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

Research and technological development (RTD) activities at Community level, as provided for by Article 164 of the Treaty and in the framework programme (Article 166), are aimed at improving the competitiveness of European industry and the quality of life, as well as encouraging sustainable development and contributing to the development of other Community policies.

The particular nature of the acquis in the field of science and research is such that it does not need to be transposed into national legislation. Implementing the acquis is a question not of applying and enforcing legal measures but rather of creating the conditions needed for full participation in the work of the Framework Programmes.

The Europe Agreement between the EU and Romania provides for cooperation in this area, notably through the participation of the Associated State in the Framework Programme. The White Paper on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the internal market of the Union (1995) includes no direct measures in this field.

The objectives of Community telecommunications policy are to remove barriers to the efficient operation of the internal market in equipment, services and telecommunications networks, to open foreign markets to Community enterprises and to make modern services available to citizens and enterprises in the European Union. These objectives must be achieved by harmonising standards and conditions for the provision of services, liberalising the terminal equipment, services and networks markets and adopting the necessary regulatory measures. The last regulatory framework for electronic communications was adopted by the European Union in 2002.

The Europe Agreement between Romania and the EU stipulates that improvements in standards and practices in the fields of telecommunications and postal services, and the standardisation, regulation and modernisation of the infrastructure to Community level must be achieved through cooperation. The White Paper places emphasis on the approximation of rules, networks and services and on the measures to be taken to progressively liberalise the sector.

EVALUATION

Research and technological development

Since the creation of the Ministry of Research and Technology in 1992, real efforts have been made to rationalise and modernise the overall structures within a State which is still highly centralised, and where private initiative remains weak. Since October 2002, Romania has been associated with the Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006) and with the Sixth Euratom Framework Programme.

Research is mentioned as a priority in the National Programme for the adoption of the acquis. A law was adopted in 1998 to stimulate research and technological development (RTD). It provides for the establishment of a national plan (1998-2002) for decentralising RTD institutions and structures. The law also creates a new financial and management framework in line with EU procedures, with the support of the Research and Development Fund and the Innovation Stimulation Fund. The Commission's report of November 2000 called on Romania to increase significantly the proportion of GDP it allocated to R&D (0.47% of GDP in 1998).

The Interministerial Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CISTI) was re-organised in December 2001 and given responsibility for drawing up and implementing strategies and programmes for research and technological development. In 2002, the Ministry of Education and Research was appointed as the State authority for research and development. In addition, a government ordinance of February 2002 on science and technology parks established a framework for cooperation between enterprises and university research units.

The budgetary resources allocated to research remain very low and need to be increased considerably so as to achieve the target of 3% of GDP by 2010 set by the Barcelona European Council.

To ensure Romania's successful association with the Research Framework Programmes as well as its effective participation in the European Research Area, research-related administrative capacity should be built up further and the research infrastructure consolidated. The 2005 report also notes that there is still a need for more staff to be assigned to Framework Programme activities.

Telecommunications

With regard to telecommunications, a law of 1996 laid down the general framework for market regulation. Secondary legislation has been adopted on the authorisation of data transmission on CATV networks, paging, trunking, CATV networks and the interconnection of telecommunications networks. Romtelecom held a monopoly for fixed line telephony until 31 December 2002. Romania's penetration rate for fixed line telephony is one of the lowest of all the candidate countries.

In 1998, the autonomous administrations Romtelecom, Radio-comunicatii and Posta Romana were restructured as commercial enterprises. The separation of the management functions of national operators from the Ministry's regulatory functions provides the basis for the privatisation of the telephone operator, Romtelecom.

In May 2002, the Government approved an emergency ordinance creating the general framework for telecommunications regulation. The legislation provides for the creation of a National Agency for Communications Regulation (ANRC), whose primary role is to act as a regulatory authority implementing national policies in the field of electronic communications and postal services. The National Regulatory Authority for communications became operational in September 2002.

The adoption of legislation creating the regulatory framework represents a major step towards Romania's achieving its target date for full alignment with the acquis in this area by the end of 2003. This regulatory framework establishes authorisation procedures for electronic communication networks and services, the allocation of numbering resources and management of the radio frequency spectrum. In January 2002, Romania adopted legislation transposing the acquis as regards access to electronic communication networks and associated infrastructure. The same legislation provides the framework for ensuring the interoperability and interconnectivity of these networks. In December 2002, the Regulatory Authority adopted a decision on the general authorisation regime for the provision of electronic communications networks and services. In January 2003, minimum requirements were established for the provision of publicly available communication services. This resulted in high numbers of notifications at the beginning of 2003, gradually heading towards market saturation in the summer of 2003. A total of 15 operators were issued licences and granted numbering resources, and interconnection obligations were imposed on mobile and fixed line telephony providers.

In July 2003, with the aim of finalising the transposition of the new telecommunications acquis, legislation was adopted on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services. The 2005 report shows that the mechanism for implementing universal service has met with weak support from operators, but that it is currently being reviewed in order to verify that it complies with the relevant legislation.

Liberalisation of the telecommunications market became fully effective on 1 January 2003. This was made possible by the removal of the incumbent operator's remaining exclusive rights to offer fixed voice telephony and leased wire line services. Four network operators launched their operations on the newly opened fixed line telephony market and more companies are likely to enter into the market soon. However, the incumbent's low and unbalanced price structure remains an obstacle to new fixed network entrants. In 2005, measures were introduced relating to carrier preselection, number portability and the minimum set of leased lines.

Postal services

With regard to postal services, the 1996 framework law defines and classifies postal services and introduces a licensing regime for postal operators. Basic service remained a monopoly until 2001. In January 2002, new legislation enabled the creation of a general framework for postal service regulation and universal service provision.

The ANRC has taken over regulatory responsibility in this sector.

In 2003, the market had, in practice, already been liberalised. A decision was adopted in April 2003 laying down the authorisation procedure for postal service providers. The right to provide postal services is granted either on the basis of the general authorisation regime (for postal services which are not included in the scope of universal services) or by individual licences (for postal services which are included in the scope of universal services). Posta Romana is the only provider to have been granted a licence in the area covered by universal services.

Romania's legislation is therefore broadly in line with the first European Directive on postal services. Since 2004, the state-owned Posta Romana is the only company to have been authorised to provide a universal postal service. In 2005, Romania made renewed progress in transposing the postal services acquis by implementing legislation on the licensing and authorisation of postal services.

Information society

A "national strategy for computerisation and the rapid implementation of the information society" was adopted in February 1998. Its objective is to improve the information infrastructure, promote the information technology industry and develop information technologies for public administration. A State Secretariat for the Information Society has been created for policy development and monitoring, and an independent monitoring body supervises the data processing market and personal data processing.

Internet use seems to be developing rapidly.

Liberalisation in the field of data transmission has progressed. Romania has a wide private cable television network with three million connected users; television companies are also allowed to transmit data and connect to the internet. Romania is participating in the High Level Committee on the Information Society.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

 
Last updated: 30.01.2006
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