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Romanian Senate rejects proposal to ban foreign financing for NGOs but Chamber of Deputies vote still pending

The Romanian Senate has rejected legislation which would have banned foreign financing for NGOs in Romania however the bill still needs to go through the decisive vote in the Chamber of Deputies.

The legislation change, proposed by a Social Democratic Party MP, was meant to prevent political parties get financing from abroad via various NGOs. The Romanian law does not allow political parties to receive financing from abroad.

As several recently created NGOs stated they have a political aim, or support certain parties, the MP who proposed the legislative change argued the ban needs to be applied to NGOs as well.

That would however impact NGOs which are totally unrelated to the political scene, many of which rely on funding from abroad to support their causes in Romania.

The proposed legislation change includes banning donations from other states, foreign organizations, individuals or companies from abroad not only for political parties in Romania, but also for NGOs and other non profit entities or individuals who support political parties directly or indirectly, as well as for NGOs whose managers are part of a political party’s leadership.

The proposal was however rejected in the Senate by 89 votes against, six for, and an abstention.

Earlier this year, Romanian president Traian Basescu said he plans to join the new Popular Movement NGO after ending his presidential mandate in 2014, but he will not be a member of the party, a recently spin-off the foundation project.

The Popular Movement is an NGO started earlier this year by a group of the Romanian president’s counselors. The NGO turned into a right party under the same name. The decision was made after a poll on the NGO’s website showed that that only 11 percent of the respondents wanted the new movement to stay a foundation, while the rest saw it becoming a party.