Our increasingly connected world has evidenced the need for governments to find new ways to come closer to their citizens, reducing red tape and making their lives easier. In this regard, Romania has become an example for the world, as it has implemented successful policies aimed at integrating technology into public life.
In 2001, communications and information technology were declared national priorities for the development of Romanian economy. As a result, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology concentrated its efforts on the creation of Information Society services and conception of laws for the regulation of personal data processing, protection of privacy in telecommunications, protection against cyber crime, regulation of electronic signatures, e-commerce, e-procurement, and e-tax. Thus, in 2003, E-Guvernare was born.
E-Guvernare is an Internet portal where citizens can perform different legal tasks in an easy way. Paying taxes, obtaining an authorization for construction, getting a driver’s license, setting up a new business, registering a vehicle, or even obtaining a new passport are processes that can be simplified with the help of E-Guvernare. All the forms necessary to perform these and many other processes are available.
According to a research paper by Popeanga Vasile and Vatuiu Teodora, E-Guvernare is “the best way of organizing public management in order to increase efficiency, transparency, accessibility and responsiveness to citizens, as well as to reduce bureaucracy and corruption.” E-Guvernare makes overall interaction with the administration “more efficient and comfortable while reducing costs for both public and private entities and increasing the public trust in the administration.”
The success of this new way of connecting governmental institutions with their citizens even led a neighboring country, Moldova, to launch a similar initiative. The website date.gov.md provides access to information and forms from all of the country’s ministries, plus news on the technological development of the Moldovan government. This way, citizens are just one click away from their administrative institutions.
Scholars are already analyzing E-Guvernare’s case in search for the possibility of spreading this example to other nations. Some researchers have even concluded from their observations that the access to online information and knowledge advances democracy. Romania’s experiment has been working well for some years now, so it shall not be long until other countries catch on and become much more accessible to their citizens through the use of technology.