Expenditure for social assistance in Romania is seven times lower than EU average

The non-governmental organisations active in social services are the most effective investors in the community, as they produce measurable, sustainable and impact results. This was the main message that NGOs have sent to the Romanian and European authorities, to the media and the participants attending the international conference "Public policies for accessible social services. We build bridges between social service providers", held in Bucharest on 7th and 8th of April. The community of people benefiting from social services include persons with disabilities and rare diseases; children who are born and raised without an ID card and are invisible to the authorities, including when they become adults; victims of poverty or sexual violence, etc..

„NGOs invest twice in the community ”, summed up Mihaela Munteanu, Director of Development and Communications of the Alături de voi (ADV). "First: we bring European money and we move business, because we subcontract. Second: we create jobs and pay taxes and duties. The community services that we bring are free for the beneficiaries. We do not reach out, and do fundraising for these people, as part of an imperative mix of funding in order to work long term." Munteanu stressed that NGOs should "promote this message", especially since the non-governmental sector, which accounts for almost half of the accredited suppliers of social services in Romania, also has another extremely important role, that of ”guarding the system operation”.

The message of the ADV representative came in the context of the debate on the difficulties faced by the non-profit providers in carrying out their current activities, amid low budgets allocated by public authorities. If the average social assistance expenditure in the EU is Euro 7,279 / person, in Romania the ensured cost is of Euro 1,061 / person.

The International conference "Public policies for accessible social services. We build bridges between social service providers" was organized by the Civil Society Development Foundation (CSDF) operating the NGO Fund in Romania, whose overall objective is "to support the development of civil society and enhance the contribution to social justice, democracy and sustainable development”.

The context of the conference - which hosted debates, case studies and interactive sessions devoted to good-practice - is launching in February 2016 by the Romanian Government, of the national anti-poverty package. The package includes 47 measures and targets all age groups, but focuses mainly on children - the category with the highest risk of poverty. 1.7 million children in Romania are at risk of poverty, a phenomenon that affects 40% of the population in Romania. The package proposed by the Government is based on the good practice models already in operation, proved by non-governmental organizations.

 „We view this package as an opportunity to multiply and retrofit to a larger scale patterns of intervention in the community," said Simona Constantinescu, Director of Development and Advocacy of the Civil Society Development Foundation (CSDF), in the opening of the conference. The CSDF Representative stressed the fact that NGOs should be "equal partners of public authorities" when formulating policies of social intervention, because their actions are not limited to address one single vulnerability of a group of people, but tries to act from several perspectives. The NGOs models of intervention manage to activate those categories of people who are usually passive recipients of social assistance (which we commonly call social aid/welfare).

Paul Trantina, President of Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship Section of European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) said, in turn, that the social services, which European Union "recognizes and respects", need many things to work, especially in the economic downturn, among them being specialized training and "financing on favorable terms." "From the point of view of EESC, the modernization of social service sector is needed," concluded the official from Brussels.       


The schematic structure of the contribution of the projects funded under the NGO Fund in deining the government
package of measures is presented HERE.