Romania: Relaunch of the Economic and Social Council
A new Government emergency ordinance is expected to re-launch the activity of the most important consultative tripartite body, the Economic and Social Council.
On 28 June, the Romanian Government passed an emergency ordinance regulating the functioning of the Economic and Social Council (ESC). The ordinance provides for new procedures regarding the division of seats within the Council and for the formation of a new plenary in the eventuality that the representative organisations cannot reach a consensus. The ordinance is expected to re-launch the ESC activity, which was de facto blocked since 2013.
ESC is a tripartite consultative body, created in 1997, that gives approval to all important legislative drafts in the area of taxation, industrial relations and economic and social policies. In 2011, the new Social Dialogue Act (62/2011) replaced the representatives of government with representatives of civil society (non-governmental organisations). The Council has 45 members (15 for each group – civil society, employers and trade unions) with a four-year mandate. In 2013, the 15 government representatives had to be replaced by the representatives of civil society and a new plenary had to be formed. Although the mandates of all 45 ESC members expired in 2013, the Council failed to renew its plenary and continued to function with the representatives of two groups – employer organisations and trade unions. This was possible due to a legislative gap that states that until the setting up of the new plenary, the former plenary will continue its activity and allows the Council to perform its activity with at least 24 members.
In September 2015, the Government appointed the 15 representatives of civil society, but they could not start their activity in the Council, as the government representatives did not resign until January 2016 and effectively left the Council only in May 2016. The new emergency ordinance is expected to unblock the situation – according to it, the actual ESC members will be laid off within 30 days from the date the emergency ordinance becomes effective and a new plenary formed within this period.