A thousand tons of paper. Both the government, the parliament and the mayor’s office of the capital have spent so much in the last 10 years. Romania remains the country of digital transportation in terms of digital services, maintaining its last place in Europe. Watch the new episode of the “Head to State” campaign.
Citizen PopescuA week ago I had an unpleasant family incident, my father-in-law died. There were some significant costs involved in performing all the Christian funeral rites. Knowing Law 263, which gives me the right to recover some of my money through funeral assistance, I tried to agree on this situation, to get that money.
Mr. Popescu lives in Bucharest and his father-in-law in Yalomita County. It was considered that the easiest and fastest way was to send the necessary documents online. Excluded, he was sent by the officials of the Pension House. They also explained why. The official must stamp the death certificate of the father-in-law, so it is necessary to send the original document.
Citizen Popescu. First of all, it would save me the time I lost traveling from Bucharest to Slobozia, whether it was Satu Mare or some other distant place.
Mr. Popescu’s story is the story of millions of Romanians who have been wasted time and money by the state moving documents from one institution to another. According to the report of the European Commission, in terms of digitalization of public services, our country occupies the last place in Europe. The main reason is the indifference or incompetence of politicians and officials.
Octavian Oprea, Vice President of the Romanian Digitalization Body. The dynamics of change in policy makers have affected it in one way or another. Second, until 2020, Romania did not have a digital institution, there was a mammoth ministry with many responsibilities, and digitalization was left to others.
Technology is evolving every day. However, the Romanian structures are taking a step back. It continues to consume thousands of tons of paper. This is happening even in the most important institution of the state, the Romanian parliament, which should have been an example in terms of digitalization. Last year, the Senate bought 11.2 tons of paper, or almost 2.3 million sheets, just 10 years ago, in 2012.
Horatio Gorun, Secretary General of the Senate. Things have not changed. Things have not changed yet, but they will. The amount of paper currently consumed in the Romanian parliament is impressive.
Deputies have access to digital format documents, but they receive them on paper
The session of the Senate leadership will start soon. All elected officials have access to the documents and laws they discuss in digital format. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. Paradoxically, each of them gets a folder full of pre-printed documents.
Journalist. I saw that you are now coming to the Permanent Bureau, you և your colleagues, each with such a folder under it.
Florin Chitu, President of the Senate. Know. I have never read them.
Journalist. You had two files.
Florin Location: I know, I know, I know …
Journalist. Why did you have them?
Florin Location: That’s right- this is a habit. I read everything from the document, I have only one thing, I have the folder on the paper in front, but I read well from the tablet.
In other words, tons of paper are consumed, on which hundreds of thousands of lei are paid out of habit.
Journalist. Why is the folder still there?
Horatio Gorun, Secretary General of the Senate. You did that great campaign with a track file, probably out of a habit that was spread by officials year after year… I don’t even know, I’m trying to find excuses, but you know it’s me. m no.
The same situation in the commissions. We enter the sitting room of the agricultural commission. It is the irreplaceable folder for each senator. It seems that only one deputy uses a laptop. A thick pile of papers is sitting in front of the chairman of the commission. He does not consider it a problem, especially since he deserves the height of his position.
Journalist. Why not have a laptop?
George Scarlatt, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture. I have it in my office …
Journalist. And why not use it during the session?
George Scarlatt. Here I understand, let’s see what important points we have discussed today on the agenda, after that the part of digitalization, we have and we are doing.
The vice-chairman of the committee is more ingenious. Blame the officials quickly.
Lucian Truffle, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture. We do not ask the staff for that, but the staff provides us with the materials in writing.
Journalist. Well, why not?
Lucian Truffle. Well, we do not ask for that.
Journalist. And why does he make it available to you?
Lucian Truffle. It would be good to ask colleagues who do this.
Journalist. Look, employee’s, if a second is possible, why are print materials available if I do not ask?
Lucian Truffle. The lady of the staff has a boss here, so the chief can answer.
Journalist. Oh, we’re going to the chief of staff, I understand.
The papers were moving from one office to another
I went, but did not receive an answer. Most of the documents in the Senate “Departments of the Chamber of Deputies” are also transmitted in printed format. Everywhere in the parliament halls you meet officials who carry papers from one place to another. It’s not necessarily their fault that they did so in the end. This is how the system works.
Adina works in the Chamber of Deputies. He is looking for an office with a piece of paper in his hand, where he should get a signature and a stamp.
Age: There are many directions, many offices, where a physical signature և stamp և after անհրաժեշտ is needed, but really, it can be done on the principle of electronic signature, electronic stamp և etc. We will see when that really happens.
In addition to the Senate, last year the Chamber of Deputies also bought 6,000 paper shirts, equivalent to 15 tons, while the Romanian government bought 9120 tops or 22.8 tons. So far, the main municipality of the capital stands out with 15,000 peaks, more precisely, with 37.5 tons. In the last 10 years, only these institutions have consumed almost a thousand tons of paper.
Fear of digitalization
Horatio Gorun has been the Secretary General of the Senate for only a few months. He has previously worked in other government agencies, including the government and the Ministry of Finance. He mentioned that they, the directors and officials, are very resistant to the idea of digitalization.
Horatio Gorun, Secretary General of the Senate. Maybe it’s the fear that people will feel somehow endangered by their job, thinking that the moment you go to e-mail, you do not need the same number of employees.
In addition, Romanian civil servants, especially local government officials, have major shortcomings in terms of digital skills.
Octavian Oprea, Vice President of the Romanian Digitalization BodyThere is no digital education of those officials … Romanians and civil servants, as these people are also civil servants, prefer to use technology only for socialization, for pleasure, so to speak, not to provide public service, to facilitate the life of a citizen.
Romania now has a huge potential for accelerated digitalization. Through PNRR we will receive not less than 6 billion euros. In addition to money, you also need a change of mindset. Let all of us, politicians, heads of institutions, officials, citizens, step out of our comfort zone and understand that the digitalization of public services can make our lives much easier for all of us.