Youth participation in Romania

romanian flag

Is there a national youth council, representing young people in your country? If yes, please provide the name, number of member organisations and number of young members.

YES - Romania Youth Council, with a number of more than 15 national NGOs as official members. There are many young people represented within this council (thousands), but the permanent bureau has 9 members.

 

Is there a ministry dealing concretely with the youth affairs in your country? If yes, please provide the name of the ministry.

YES - Ministry of Youth and Sports

 

Does the government in your country has a specific youth policy/youth strategy?

YES

 

From what age are young people allowed to vote in the elections? If different age for different elections (parliamentary, local, regional, etc.), please specify.

18 years – universal

 

From what age are young people allowed to be elected in the elections to the representative bodies? If different age for different elections (parliamentary, local, regional, etc.), please specify.

Over 23 years old – for Chamber of Deputies (parlamentary, national level)
Over 33 years old – for Senate (parlamentary, national level)
Over 23 years old – for membership in regional and local councils

 

Are there any youth participation initiatives at the local level (in municipalities), e.g. local youth parliaments/youth councils, meetings of young people with decision-makers? Please describe.

There are some initiatives at local and regional level, but their strenght is different. In some counties the youth organizations are well represented and they can actually cooperate with the state institutions, but in others they aren’t taken so seriously. Young people have usually at least 1 representative in municipal councils and he may represent youth NGOs, youth from schools, youth centers, etc . At national level exists The Youth Council that reunites many of these well represented youth NGOs. This body has enough influence to be able to have meetings with decision-makers and actually make some changes. Still, some changes may come very slow, considering the general run of politics in Romania.

 

Are there youth participation/decision-making bodies at schools, e.g. school parliaments, student councils, etc.? Please describe.

This is not a very popular activity throughout schools in Romania, in general. There are few highschools that have an active decision-making body, similar to a school parliament. In general, there are student representatives that gather with teachers and talk about problems, but these meetings are mostly focused on education issues and different celebrations. Also, the students are not often taken seriously with their demands because they aren’t as influential as the teachers.

In universities, things are a little bit better because there are many students organizations that fight for their rights. Every university has students representatives that may have a greater negotiation power with the decision-making body (ex: The Dean’s Chamber). This is possible mostly because students are regarded to be more responsible and serious.

 

Are there are youth parliaments or other youth participation bodies on the national level? Please describe.

Yes, there is The Youth Parliament, functioning at national level. It’s a structure initiated by youth for youth and wants to give a chance for the new generations to express themselves. It has branches in all counties of Romania and elected representatives. Basicly works as a regular Parliament, but it is formed and runned by young people. It doesn’t have so much power in bargaining with state institutions, but it is growing continuosly since the forming, in 2007.

 

Is there any kind of education to youth participation/active citizenship included in the school curricula in your country, e.g. civic education? Please describe.

Yes, according to the curricula, in gimnasiumn exist a course on civil education, which is focused mostly on teaching young people how to behave in the society, teaching about the major actors on the social scene, etc. In high schools, especially the ones with profiles on social sciences, there are classes that can describe civic education more into debth. However, all that young people receive in school is just theoretical support and overall knowledge. There is no real teaching about active citizenship, active participation and even classes about European citizenship have been introduced just in the recent years. So in terms of theory things are decent, but as practice, they are movin quite slow.

 

Do media inform about youth issues? Are young people involved in media and their production, e.g. as journalists? Please describe.

Yes. In Romania, media is quite sensitive to young people and their problems. It is not very hard to find media support for a project or a initiative if it’s at national level and involves many young people. Especially student events are promoted by media. Also, romanian media promotes youth problems and campaign that fight against issues that affect youth: sex education, ecology, alcohool and drugs problems, violence, etc.

Many young people are involved in media production, especially journalists and reporters. They write articles, make videos and some youth clubs even have their own magazines and newspapers to distribute monthly. There is a TV channel that is runned just by students from various universities of Bucharest (capital of Romania) and it’s the best example of young people’s involvement in media.

 

Are there youth information centres, official youth websites or other sources of youth information available for young people? Please describe.

Unfortunately, there are more websites than information centers. In Bucharest and major cities it is pretty easy to find relevant information, even though there is a lack of info centers in general. In smaller cities and communities it’s hard to find information and most of it is in the local city hall or school. So the sources are few and have limited information. The Internet can solve this problem, but still not everyone has access and knowledge on searching for these topics.

 

Are young people in your country informed about the European youth policy and its priorities? What do you think can be done to make young people aware about this? Please describe.

There is a lack of information when it comes to European policies in general. Because of this many people don’t show interest or don’t regard European Union with so much trust. The European youth policies have been introduced in Romania since it became a member country in the “Youth” and “Youth in Action” Programme. There are many NGOs, including our own, that are trying to make programs like this one more popular among young people and to determine the young generations be more involved in the systems that may very well determine their future. Even though we have a high popularity of YiA and a few other projects like this in Romania, most of the young people and students have insufficient information when it comes to youth policies and youth rights.

In order to make an impact, there should be more campaigns that popularize European Union and its youth policies. Right now, considering how it was in the past, things are actually moving in Romania and progress has been made, in a slow manner. For the future there is need of more projects and more involvement from the EU side, in close collaboration with our national decision-makers. Mentalities will change, eventually, and young people will be able to have more rights and have a few words to say when it comes to issues they are concerned about, when it comes to decisions that can directly influence their future life. More projects,more campaigns for promoting, more international involvement, more cooperation with authorities – this will get young people to become more involved!

 

Author: Adrian Cocardan, Andrei Daicer, Alexandra Chirulescu
E-mail: meisxmaster@yahoo.com

The surveys were submitted by the participants of the YouthVoice project from the respective EU Member States. The questionnaires were part of their preparation for the Youth Voice project and each national group had to undertake a small research about youth participation in their country. The organisers cannot guarantee correctness of the answers.