I don’t talk much about Romanian politics and can’t keep up with everything that is happening there. However, when I browsed the Internet today, I found the latest news from Romania to be pretty disturbing. Corruption is now a big thing. I was under the impression that when Romania earned a long awaited place in the EU, Romanians would start doing things the right way.
I remember I was in elementary school and my mom had to “bribe” my teacher with gifts so I can get good grades. This continued all the way through college. People would “buy” their entrance exam scores with a bottle of whiskey and a carton of cigarettes. Money was always welcome especially if it was hard currency. It applied anywhere from dentist and medical visits to jumping the line to get a passport.
Even Wikipedia knows that “As of 2016, Romania is regarded as the fifth most corrupt country in the European Union, after Bulgaria, Greece, and Italy, and at the same level with Hungary, as revealed by the annual Corruption Perceptions Index conducted by Transparency International”. Some people sincerely hoped that after 1989 things would finally change for good. Unfortunately, things are getting done the same way as before.
If you want to get anything accomplished in any area of life in Romania you still need to open your wallet and “buy” it on the side. This still pertains to education, health care, and any branch ruled by the Government. That was how people had “more” in communism and this is how people got “rich” in the new “free” country.
I don’t think that getting out in the street, shouting slogans, and waving flags are going to solve this problem. Corruption has been embedded in the day -to-day life for decades. It will probably take a decent amount of time for everybody to come to a consent and find a viable solution.
Changes will definitely make some people “uncomfortable”, especially those that have money. Romanians need to start taking risks and do things on their own. It would be a good idea to start with a strong and very well organized judicial system. I truly wished that this issue would get solved in a more subtle way. Now, the whole world knows their “business”.
Here there are excerpts from an article released by the United States Embassy in Bucharest to make American Citizens aware of corruption in Romania before they decide to conduct business including purchasing real estate or trying to get retired there.
For a full view of the article go to: http://romania.usembassy.gov/acs/corruption.html
“Past and current RLA projects include the topics of money laundering, drugs, corruption, undercover operations, witness protection, forfeiture, speedy trial, guilty pleas, plea bargaining, cybercrimes, bank fraud, and ethics.”
“Corruption is a serious problem in Romania. The RLA offers the following general observations, but persons with specific concerns are strongly encouraged to consult with their own legal counsel.”
“American citizens seeking or doing business in Romania should be aware of the United States’ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. (FCPA.)”
“The penalties for FCPA violations include imprisonment for up to 5 years and various fines up to $2,000,000.”
“On the Romanian side, receiving a bribe, giving a bribe, accepting undue benefits and influence trafficking are specifically prohibited by Romanian penal law. These laws are to varying degrees enforced. During the years 1994-1999 the Romanian government reports that 2,681 individuals were convicted for various acts of corruption. Of this number, the largest amount of convictions were obtained for accepting a bribe, 1359, just over 50%. In 2000 Romania amended its corruption laws by expanding the scope of the pre-existing laws, and increasing some penalties. These amendments are now in force. Under these amendments, private business managers are now exposed to the same penalties as public employees for accepting a bribe or influence trafficking.”
“Bribery is destructive and bribery is illegal.”
“Will there be adverse consequences? Perhaps, but there are ways of blunting those consequences.”
“To whom does one complain?”
“Options also exist that can involve the United States Department of Justice. Under the FCPA referred to earlier bribes paid outside of the United States to benefit a business operating in the United States are covered by the FCPA.”
“American citizens are encouraged to pass on their experiences to the Embassy.”
“It must be noted that the United States is no longer alone in its fight against foreign corruption. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD,) which consists of a number of the most economically developed countries in the world, has developed a treaty that requires signatories to outlaw foreign bribery in business transactions.”
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