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Romania: Digitizing During and After the Pandemic

Romania: Digitizing During and After the Pandemic

Issue 10.7
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It is said that every cloud has a silver lining. As unfortunate as the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic were, one of them was in fact positive: Romanian legislators sprang into action to adopt measures accelerating the digitalization of public services.

As a consequence, a plethora of new legislation appeared. In 2020, the Authority for the Digitalization of Romania (ADR) became operational. The ADR is subordinated to the Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Digitization, having the role of implementing public strategies and policies in the field of digital transformation and the information society as well as the role of ensuring compliance monitoring and control of the same.

Following negotiations within the European Council between July 17 and July 21, 2020, Romania was in the position of having budgeted a package for recovery and resilience estimated at EUR 79.9 billion in reimbursable and non-reimbursable external funds. These amounts were the main drivers behind the speed with which digitalization legislation became a reality in a relatively short time.

As a consequence, in 2021 and 2022, a series of very important pieces of legislation were enacted:

Government Emergency Ordinance 104/2021 on the establishment of the National Cyber Security Directorate – the National Cyber Security Directorate is a specialized body of the central public administration, replacing and taking over the responsibilities of the former National Cyber Security Incident Response Center, the authority overseeing the security of networks and IT systems ensuring the provision of essential services or of digital services;

Law 163/2021 regarding the adoption of measures related to IT and communications infrastructures of national interest and the conditions for the implementation of 5G networks imposes independence and rule of law conditions on operators delivering 5G equipment and services for Romanian infrastructures;

Law 179/2022 on open data and reuse of public sector information addresses the legal framework for the reuse of data and documents in the possession of public entities and public enterprises created within their own activity;

Law 198/2022 amending and supplementing some pieces of legislation in the field of electronic communications and establishing measures to facilitate the development of electronic communications networks transposes into the national legislation the provisions of the European Electronic Communication Code and significantly amended Government Emergency Ordinance 111/2011 on electronic communications – the main piece of legislation in electronic communications, including from the perspective of adding the purpose of contributing to the creation of the internal market within the European Union in the field of electronic communications networks and services;

Law 242/2022 on the exchange of data between IT systems and the creation of the National Interoperability Platform regulates adopting measures related to technologies, equipment, and software programs and the data used by such to contribute to an increased interconnection between authorities and public institutions’ IT systems;

Government Emergency Ordinance 89/2022 regarding the establishment, administration and development of infrastructures and cloud IT services used by public authorities and institutions is probably the most impactful piece of legislation for IT businesses since it creates the framework for the infrastructure deemed to power all public administration services. Operators who wish to participate in deploying this infrastructure must be authorized for 5G deployment as per Law 163/2021 though.

In 2023, some important older projects became laws, such as the law on Romania’s cybersecurity and defense, now Law 58/2023.

Some equally important pieces of legislation have just entered in line for approval, such as the law approving Government Ordinance no. 12/2023 for the amendment and supplementing of some normative acts that include provisions regarding the records of persons and the electronic identity card. Electronic identity cards are currently released as a pilot project in Cluj, but it is expected that in 2023, the program will be extended to Bucharest and later in the rest of the country.

Romania is well on its way to becoming digitized, and citizens can already see improvements in the ease of use of public services. However, the solutions deployed so far are still patchwork, and there is much to do until public services run seamlessly.

By Cristina Cretu, Partner, and Flavia Stefura, Managing Associate, MPR Partners

This article was originally published in Issue 10.7 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here

Romanian Knowledge Partner

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații is a full-service independent law firm, employing cross-disciplinary teams of lawyers, insolvency practitioners, tax consultants, IP counsellors, economists and staff members. It also operates a secondary law office in Cluj-Napoca (Romania), and has a ‘best-friend’ agreement with a leading law firm in the Republic of Moldova. In addition, thanks to the firm’s dedicated Foreign Desks, the team provides the full range of services to international investors seeking to gain a foothold or expand their existing operations in Romania. Since 2019, the firm and its tax arm are collaborating with Andersen Global in Romania.

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii is providing legal services in every aspect of business, covering all major areas of practice: corporate and M&A; litigation and international arbitration; corporate tax; public procurement; TMT; employment; insurance; banking and finance; capital markets; competition; healthcare and pharmaceutical; energy and natural resources; environmental; intellectual property; real estate; regulatory legal services.

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii is a First-Tier law firm in all international legal directories and a multiple award-winning law firm both locally and internationally. It received the CEE Deal of the Year Award (DOTY Awards 2021) and the Law Firm of the Year Award: Romania (IFLR Europe Awards 2021). 

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