by Dumitru Loredana Marlen and Ciobanu Andreea Corina, Lawyers at Luca Mihai Cătălin Law Office
It is notorious that, at the level of public administration in Romania, there is at least one constant that over time has remained unchanged, namely: THE BUREAUCRACY. The folder with fastener seems to be deeply rooted in the institutional consciousness of both the administrative apparatus and any person in need of public service.
Given this everyday aspect of our lives, the idea of simplifying administrative procedures appeared, until recently (and even in the age of technology), as a fantastic desideratum, as a bitter repressed desire which became a habit – the habit of queuing, the habit of drawing up the classic file for any request, the habit of preparing extensive documentation containing (most of the time) documents that the administrative authorities should have been able to take notice ex officio.
In the content of this article we intend to bring to the readers’ attention an attempt to normalize/simplify the administrative procedures recently entered into force, as a result of the promulgation of Law no. 267/2021 for completing the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 41/2016 on establishing simplification measures at the level of the central public administration and for amending and supplementing some normative acts (hereinafter referred to as Law no. 267/2021 and GEO 41/2016, respectively) and we will analyze what are the chances of success of such a regulation, as well as the impact of legal provisions on activities specific to the field of gambling.
Thus, following the entry into force of Law no. 267/2021, GEO 41/2016 was supplemented with a new article 2^1, which stipulates, as a novelty, the following:
(1) It is forbidden for public institutions and specialized bodies of the central public administration to request natural persons or legal persons, in order to process the requests for the provision of a public service, copies of notices or other documents which have been issued by public institutions or specialized bodies of the central public administration.
(2) The public institutions and the specialized bodies of the central public administration shall require from the entities that issued the documents provided in par. (1), in electronic format, copies or extracts thereof, based on the express consent of the beneficiary of the public service, the provisions of art. 2 para. (2) and of art. 4 being applied accordingly.”
In other words, the regulation has the following OBJECTIVES:
- Simplification of administrative procedures at the level of central public administration by eradicating the need to submit unnecessary copies;
- Creating databases (where they do not exist)
- Interconnection of databases of public institutions and specialized bodies of the central public administration in order to facilitate the exchange of documents between institutions;
- Technologization/Modernization of public administration;
The SUBJECTS OF THE PROHIBITION, regulated in the mentioned legal provisions, include the following subjects of law:
- The public institutions of the central public administration, as they are defined in art. 5 let. w) of the Emergency Ordinance no. 57/2019 on the Administrative Code, according to which the public institution is “a functional structure that acts in public power and/or provides public services and which is financed from budget revenues and/or from own revenues, in accordance with the law on public finances;”
Considering that the regulatory field of the Emergency Ordinance no. 41/2016 includes a set of measures to simplify administrative procedures only at the level of the central public administration, our opinion is that the provisions of Law no. 267/2021 apply only to public institutions established by the central public administration authorities, and not to those of county or local interest.
- The specialized bodies of the central public administration, namely: Ministries, other specialized bodies subordinated to the Government or Ministries.
- Examples of Institutions and specialized bodies of the central public administration to which the regulation is addressed: Ministries, National Authority For The Regulation And Monitoring Of Public Acquisitions, National Authority for Property Restitution, National Authority for Consumer Protection, National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority, National Institute of Statistics, National Office for Prevention and Combating Money Laundering, Romanian National Gambling Office, Driving Permits and Vehicle Registration Regime Directorate, General Directorate of Passports, National Trade Register Office, General Inspectorate for Immigration, General Inspectorate of Romanian Police, General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, National Agency for Fiscal Administration, Directorate for Persons Record and Databases Management, the National Agency for Cadaster and Real Estate Advertising, the National House of Public Pensions, etc.
It is clear, from the regulation content, that the PROHIBITION CONCERNS ANY TYPE OF DOCUMENTS issued by public institutions or specialized bodies of the central public administration, for which is required the submission of a copy by other or even the same public institutions or specialized bodies of the central public administration in order to resolve a request or provide a public service.
This category includes, for example, the identification documents of the natural person (ID card, passport, residence permit) or legal entity (registration certificate) issued by the Romanian state authorities, the civil status documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate), car permits, tax identification certificates, retirement decisions, study papers and school documents, authorizations/permits issued by the recipients of the regulation (licenses, operating permits, sanitary-veterinary permits, environmental permits, fire safety permits) etc. .
With regard to the field of gambling, it follows from the above that the Romanian National Gambling Office is part of the category of recipients of the mentioned prohibition and that, from 1 January 2022, it will no longer be able to request (for the resolution of the requests for suppling the services falling within its attributions) copies of notices or other documents that have been issued by this institution or by other public institutions or specialized bodies of the central public administration such as those indicated by example above.
Regarding the implementation of the regulation, we would like to point that some specialized structures of the central public administration have already started to apply the provisions of Law no. 267/2021, such as, for example, the General Inspectorate for Immigration which published on its website that, starting with 01.01.2022, it will no longer request from the applicants, in order to solve the requests, copies of the identity document, marriage certificate, birth certificate or, in the case of legal persons, copies of the company’s registration certificate, the company’s articles of incorporation, court decisions of establishment, the certificate with the entries made in the ONRC (if applicable), the operating authorization and the specialized technical approval.
Regarding the application of the regulation, we would like to emphasize that the provisions of Law no. 267/2021 shall apply automatically from the date of entry into force, public institutions or specialized bodies of the central public administration having the obligation to comply with them without the need to issue any other internal regulations.
Therefore, as of 01.01.2022, the public institutions or specialized bodies of the central public administration, including the Romanian National Gambling Office, do not have the legal possibility to refuse to process a request or to provide a public service on the grounds that the applicants, individuals or legal, have not submitted copies of documents such as those indicated by example above, but it remains to be seen to what extent this regulation will be successful in practice, given that most of the institutions in our country do not even have databases and, consequently, do not have the tools to comply with the rule in question.
In conclusion, even if we are aware of the flaws of the administrative system in our country and the fact that the simplification of bureaucracy promises to be a long process, we are confident that technology is a natural approach of today that can be successfully implemented in our system as a result of both the auspicious regulations in this direction and the efforts of the applicants who hope to get out of the habit and put pressure on the public administration in order to comply with legal provisions.