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Interview| Minister Bogdan Ivan: Romania supports public-private partnerships as a tool to accelerate innovation and economic growth and promotes dialogue between the public and private sectors in key areas



© Ministerul Cercetării, Inovării și Digitalizării/ Facebook

Romania supports public-private partnerships as a tool to accelerate innovation and economic growth and promotes dialogue between the public and private sectors in key areas such as technology or infrastructure, underlined the Minister for Research, Innovation and Digitalization, Bogdan Ivan, in a wide-ranging interview for CaleaEuropeană.ro on Romania’s actions and positions on the big digital and technology dossiers at European level such as the Interoperable Europe Act, the future of European competitiveness, cyber security and the future of the telecommunications industry.

Interoperable Europe. Romania’s vision and commitment

In his view, companies play a key role as ”providers of the technology that the administration wants to use to modernise Romania”.

So ”the state and the private sector can only evolve together for the modernisation of Romania”, Ivan replied to a question about the role private companies could play in innovation in the context of the Interoperable Europe Act.

The Romanian official also described the act as ”the European interoperability platform – this act is a Schengen agreement in IT, where borders disappear and technological solutions circulate freely in Europe”.

”This cross-border approach is even more relevant in cybersecurity because cyberspace has no borders and cyber attacks do not require visas. The Interoperable Europe Act targets both the public and private sectors: annual cost savings as a result of achieving cross-border interoperability range from €5.5 to €6.3 million for citizens and €5.7 to €19.2 billion for businesses, according to the European Commission. The forecast for business is that it could save up to 30 billion working hours per year. But the main benefits of the Act are for European citizens. Citizens could save up to 24 million hours (lost in queues and traffic) every year. Public institutions at local, regional and national level will have improved IT systems and administrative processes, so they will offer more efficient and accessible services to citizens. Interoperability will make it easier for EU Member States to work together across borders,” explained the Minister for Research, Innovation and Digitalization.

Bogdan Ivan added that ”the Act will promote a more favorable framework for public-private partnerships through a more efficient exchange of resources, expertise and technologies between the public and private sectors, with direct benefits in the development and implementation of innovative technological solutions in public administration”.

Asked about the measures adopted by our country to digitalize and improve the efficiency of public services through public administration modernisation projects, the Romanian official mentioned the NRRP projects, worth €6 billion, which have a final implementation deadline of 2026.

He also listed the main projects underway: the government cloud and the National Interoperability Platform.

”It is a paradigm shift for the way the citizen interacts with the administration and it is an internal revolution, of the administration itself. We already have an architecture in place for the future digital administration: Romania has an e-government strategy, a road-map with clear targets. We are working on a National Catalogue of Public Services in the central administration – in this catalogue, of the almost 3000 services inventoried, more than 50% are already digitized or partially digitized. We have the legal framework for big, decisive reform projects – the government cloud, interoperability: I personally participated in the drafting of the Interoperability Law and I know how relevant the impact of this law is for the efficient functioning of the Romanian state and for the well-being of every single Romanian”, said Ivan.

Competitiveness in Europe. Romania supports public-private partnerships to accelerate innovation and growth

Switching to another facet of the European Union, the competitive one, the Minister for Research, Innovation and Digitalization stressed that, in terms of regulation, ”Romania is balancing the need to ensure a robust regulatory framework that protects citizens with the need to maintain a flexible and innovative business environment”.

In his view, ”smart regulation is needed, which does not unnecessarily burden the private sector, but ensures compliance with a coherent legal framework and the protection of citizens’ data”.

”In the EU debates, Romania can contribute with proposals that reflect its national interests, but also those of the EU as a whole: promoting cohesion policy and supporting sustainable economic growth. We actively promote policies that encourage innovation and competitiveness, including through investments in digital education, research and development and innovation, and thus contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the Romanian economy, but also of the EU as a whole, on the global stage”, elaborated Bogdan Ivan.

Romania’s approach to the future of the telecom industry in Europe

In order to achieve the ambitious goals of the Digital Decade, as well as those of the European Green Deal, Romania has elevated connectivity to the status of a strategic sector.

”Rapid technological progress in priority areas for the EU, such as Cloud, Edge, AI, 5G, implies major investments in developing a high-performance and sustainable digital infrastructure, but also in strengthening cyber security. In addition, investments are needed in network capacity, implementation of next generation infrastructures, access to large amounts of reliable data, computing resources”, detailed Bogdan Ivan.

In addition, he stressed that “an integrated European approach could improve coverage across national border areas and support the EU in cases of harmful interference by third countries at external borders”.

”Removing obstacles, in particular diverse and difficult sectoral regulations, can facilitate the strengthening of cross-border cooperation. We have concrete, permanent contacts with the institutions at European level, we collaborate excellently with the competent institutions in Romania and we coordinate in defining Romania’s strategic objectives and in the tactical implementation of practical measures”, the Romanian official believes.

On how Romania is addressing the challenges of European regulation in the context of rapidly evolving technology, Bogdan Ivan said that ”for the Romanian Government, digital transformation is a country project”.

”Legislation must reflect the evolution of technology and European principles, which put the citizen at the centre and shape Europe as a global player with a decisive role in the promotion and development of technology,” says the Minister.

Cybersecurity: ”A strengthened cybersecurity legislation in Romania is an imperative for the digital systems of public institutions”

And because the digitalization of public institutions cannot be possible without cybersecurity, ”cybersecurity cooperation is not a luxury but a necessity in our digital age”, said Bogdan Ivan.

He called for ”a clear legislative framework, with short deadlines, which would provide a basis for rapid and effective action by the relevant institutions”.

”We have a National Cyber Strategy, which we updated on 31 January. We have strong institutions protecting our critical infrastructure. We have dedicated experts working tirelessly to counter cyber threats. IT experts recommend cloud solutions for public data infrastructure – these are considered to be the best protected against cyber threats. Romania has chosen the safest solution for cyber security – the government cloud. This 3rd millennium infrastructure helps to increase the security of Romania, located at the border of the EU and NATO. The government cloud is, according to our world-renowned cyber experts, Romania’s next line of defence”, he concluded.

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Romanian Space Agency and University Politehnica of Bucharest, joint workshop dedicated to identifying innovative solutions and facilitating partnerships between public and private actors in the fields of cybersecurity and space




The Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) and the National University for Science and Technology Politehnica Bucharest, with the support of the EU Cybersecurity Competence Centre (ECCC), organised on Wednesday, 20 March, a workshop on “Cybersecurity and Advanced Space Technologies”, to explore innovative solutions and to stimulate strategic actions, as well as to facilitate the forging of partnerships between public and private actors in the fields of cybersecurity and space.

The workshop hosted by the National University for Science and Technology Politehnica Bucharest was held in a hybrid format, with the participation of representatives from academia, ROSA and ECCC, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of National Defence, the National Cyber Security Directorate, but also from the private sector, with companies such as certSIGN, Thales, CS Group Romania, Eviden or AROBS, which are active in the digital transformation, big data, encryption, software solutions development, electronics and cybersecurity markets.

The discussions, open to stakeholders from the industry, research sphere, academia and students of the National University for Science and Technology Politehnica Bucharest, focused on current trends in advanced space technologies, in particular on redefining and strategically strengthening the cyber resilience of critical infrastructures and services in space taking into account lessons learned from large-scale incidents on Earth; the role of technological innovation in preventing and countering cyber risks and threats, as well as managing future challenges and exploiting opportunities to create robust defence mechanisms.

Also, Romanian companies with a tradition in the IT&C field highlighted tangible results achieved for the development and innovation of the field and for the extension of technological solutions to the space domain, as well as the partnerships established with public and private stakeholders, both at national and European level, aimed at researching and developing innovative technological solutions for civil and military applications.

Finally, discussions also focused on the collaboration between the cybersecurity and space domains, with an emphasis on identifying the most appropriate pathways for cooperation between the two industries to address common cyber risks and challenges, e.g. based on a risk assessment model or through a cyber security operations centre serving entities in a common administrative area.

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Csaba Borboly, President of Harghita County Council and CoR rapporteur, supports the introduction of an infringement procedure against EU countries that do not seriously consider compensation for damage caused by large carnivores to livestock or crops



© European Union / Fred Guerdin

Csaba Borboly, president of Harghita County Council and rapporteur of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) for the draft opinion on ”Biodiversity protection and coexistence with large carnivores in Europe – challenges and opportunities for local and regional authorities”, supports, among other things, the introduction of an infringement procedure in European legislation against countries that do not take seriously the compensation of damage caused by large carnivores to livestock or crops.

At a local dialogue organised by Harghita County Council and the CoR on 8 March in Miercurea-Ciuc, Csaba Borboly discussed the need to strengthen EU action for a European policy on large carnivores, underlining the transnational nature of the issue of harmonious coexistence with these animals and calling for sustained efforts at European, national, regional and local level to find new ways for the sustainable and safe coexistence of farm animals, humans and large terrestrial, marine and flying carnivores.

Borboly stressed that dialogue with the European institutions is essential to promote these concerns at the European decision-making level. In addition to ongoing negotiations with the European Commission and the European Parliament, he said, regional and local authorities must be actively involved in the process of developing specific solutions. He also stressed the importance of supporting politicians who back these initiatives and underlined the desire to create a platform at the regional level in Harghita County to develop specific solutions.

“With the report, we are in permanent negotiations with the representatives of the European Commission, here I am referring first of all to the Directorate General for Environment where there is a department for biodiversity, and, besides, to the European Parliament where we try to support with arguments the work of the MEPs who support us, and at home we would like to achieve the creation of a regional platform for large carnivores in Harghita County in the framework of the new European platform for large carnivores, where we can elaborate specific solutions. We also hope that the Government and Parliament will consider these things, and in parallel, there are several analyses and studies on what is not working and how we could improve things, and we are trying to formulate amendments to the legislation. Then we go further to the European Union level, where we have the opportunity to present the report when there are preparatory discussions for the decision-making act, then we can regularly present it at the European big platform meetings and at several public policy debates. Now we have Hungary coming up for the EU Presidency in the summer and if the Hungarian Presidency finds the issue important enough to put it on the agenda, then we will most likely have better results. These are the directions we can take”, said the President of Harghita County Council, CoR rapporteur.

He also highlighted the need for a more coherent and coercive approach at the European level in terms of compliance with biodiversity conservation and habitat protection legislation. He stressed that the lack of enforcement levers in international legislation makes it difficult to implement and comply with these rules, insisting on the need to find effective ways to monitor and sanction Member States that do not fulfill their obligations.

“As I said, on many levels we are moving forward and so far we have been able to solve many things at home, for some we have also had political decisions and regulations, for others we have not. I don’t follow that path – what would happen if we didn’t do anything? – we are moving forward. What has changed from the previous report is that we have included a provision saying that it is not okay if a Member State does not take citizens’ problems seriously. There is a new element in this report, to see if we get support from Brussels to launch an infringement procedure against those states that are not serious about providing compensation and solving the whole problem. Because I have worked with many ministers here, all of whom were well-meaning, but somehow in Parliament, here and there, on the stairs of the Academy, some things got bogged down, not all of them, but some of them, and we see that if there is infringement for waste management and everyone takes the position of the righteous, the mayors are fined for things they did not do, or for waste dumps that were there for who knows when; if there is infringement for air, for water, then we need this infringement procedure on this subject too. I believe that the international legislative framework is not complete here, and there is no coercive leverage. We have levers, what species are protected, and how to protect them, but for Articles 14 and 16, for habitats, for ensuring they are respected, for ensuring that human life and health come first, we do not have any levers. This is why I am saying this, when we also have elections for the European Parliament and this is why I wanted to have this debate and I hope that the two representatives of the RMDSZ in the European Parliament will take up this issue”, explained Csaba Borboly.

Finally, Borboly expressed the hope that through sustained efforts at European level and the active involvement of local and regional stakeholders, it will be possible to find appropriate solutions to a complex problem such as the harmonious coexistence of humans, domestic animals, and large carnivores, thus contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and the protection of the interests of local communities.

“The mills are working slowly to solve this problem. Let’s hope that the Environment Ministry and Brussels will be more courageous on this issue. At the moment I don’t see a better solution for this, than just to work together, to collect data, because I see that things are getting simpler ‘to shoot or not to shoot’; if we stick to this it all gets bogged down. If we simplify things to protected-unprotected status again, things get stuck again. There are many facts that people don’t know because we don’t have data. We know how many birds there are at European level, but we don’t know how many bears, and we could list the rest of the things, the compensation, etc. In 2028 the new funding period starts at the EU level, there will be a lot of opportunities, but there is no point in going for separate money for large carnivores then because it is late. Now a solution is being prepared and at these events we attend I see that many geese beat a pig and somehow we have to put our opinion forward in the European Union”, concluded the President of the CJ Harghita and CoR rapporteur.

The event “Biodiversity protection and coexistence with large carnivores in Europe – Challenges and opportunities for local and regional authorities”, held in Miercurea-Ciuc, brought together numerous speakers and addressed various topics related to biodiversity conservation and the relationship with large carnivores.

During the first part of the dialogue, European perspectives were discussed, with presentations and debates given by key figures such as Csaba Borboly, President of Harghita County Council, László Csák, expert, and Robert Zeman from the European Committee of the Regions. Other notable participants were MEP Herbert Dorfmann and Dr Miklós Heltai, Director of the MATE Wildlife Management Institute.

The second part of the dialogue focused on the situation in Romania and Harghita County, with presentations by officials such as Gabriel Oltean, Ministerial Advisor, and specialists such as Dr. Róbert Szép from the Research and Development Institute for Wildlife Management and Mountain Resources. Also included were perspectives from civil society, represented by Levente Miklós and Hadnagy Lehel.

The dialogue also included video messages from Professor Dr. Ovidiu Ionescu and Dr. Valeria Salvatore, who made important contributions related to the presentation of the Harghita County Regional Platform.

Moderated by journalist Dan Cărbunaru, the event focused on bringing together local and regional authorities, scientific experts and other stakeholders to share experiences and ideas on biodiversity conservation and coexistence with large carnivores, taking into account the Romanian legislative context. Professional presentations and networking sessions resulted in a better understanding of current challenges and possible solutions, as well as the creation of new connections and exchange of ideas among participants.


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Harghita County Council and the European Committee of the Regions organise a local dialogue on biodiversity protection and coexistence with large carnivores in Europe (LIVE, 8 March, 09.00)



© Consiliul Județean Harghita

Harghita County Council, together with the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), is organising a local dialogue in Miercurea-Ciuc on Friday, 8 March 2024 on the protection of biodiversity and the coexistence of large carnivores in Europe, based on the draft opinion of CoR on this issue, coordinated by the President of Harghita County Council, Csaba Borboly (EPP-RO), as rapporteur.

Entitled “Biodiversity protection and coexistence with large carnivores in Europe – Challenges and opportunities for local and regional authorities –“, the event will start at 09.00 and will be broadcast LIVE on CaleaEuropeană.ro and on the Calea Europeană Facebook page.


The event will address both the European, national, and local dimensions of the topic. The full agenda is available here.

The first part of the dialogue will address the European perspective and will start with a presentation by the rapporteur, President of CJ Harghita Csaba Borboly, followed by a debate with László Csák, who will present the expert’s point of view, and Robert Zeman (CZ/ECR), shadow rapporteur at the European Committee of the Regions.

The panel will also include MEP Herbert Dorfmann and Dr Miklós Heltai, Director of the MATE Wildlife Management Institute.

The second part of the dialogue will address “Protection of biological diversity and coexistence with large carnivores in Romania and Harghita County”. This panel will include:

– Gabriel Oltean, Ministerial Advisor, Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests;

– Levente Miklós, Rural Development Association of Harghita County Council, on “Wildlife damage caused by brown bears in Harghita County. Aggregated data of the last ten years”;

– Director Dr. Róbert Szép, Research and Development Institute for Wildlife and Mountain Resources Management, on “Practical research results of the Institute for Research and Development of Wildlife and Mountain Resources”;

– Hadnagy Lehel, Engineer, Silos Hunting Association, on “To shoot or not to shoot – the situation of bears through the eyes of a game manager in Harghita”;

During this panel, Professor Dr. Ovidiu Ionescu, ICAS, and Dr. Valeria Salvatore, ecologist, Institute of Applied Ecology, Italy, will deliver video messages on “Regional platform support in meeting the challenges posed by coexistence with large carnivores in 2024”.

The local dialogue is moderated by journalist Dan Cărbunaru, director of CaleaEuropeană.ro.

The aim of the event is to bring together local and regional authorities, scientific experts, and stakeholders, providing an opportunity to share experiences and ideas on biodiversity conservation and coexistence with large carnivores, considering Romanian legislation.

Professional presentations in various fields will contribute to a deeper understanding of current challenges and possible solutions, while networking sessions will provide an opportunity to make new connections and exchange ideas.

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