1.7 Funding youth policy
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As of January 2022, the institution responsible to the budget for the youth policy is the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities. Part of this budget is allocated to administrative and staff costs for the Ministry and for the County offices for Family and Youth. This part of the budget cannot be separated from the allocations for other family and equal opportunities programmes and an exact figure cannot be evaluated as funding for the youth policy. The same situation hindered the evaluation of the funding for youth policy when the youth policy was under the responsibility of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the youth and sports budgetary allocations were combined, until December 2021.
The budgets for the four framework youth programmes are separated and publicly available on the website of the Ministry of Finances.
In 2021 the budget allocated for the programmes and projects was as following:
- For the youth activities of the County Offices for Youth and Sport 5 840 000 lei
- For the Youth Centers’ activities of the County Offices for Youth and Sport: 945 000 lei of which 816 457.10 lei were spent
- For the students’ culture houses activities 1 982 769,30 lei were allocated of which 1 879 584.73 lei were spent
- For the student camps 2 499 640 lei were allocated of which 2 234 393.54 lei were spent
- For the National Youth Projects’ competition 1 050 000 lei were allocated of which 712 843.98 lei were spent
- For own projects and activities on youth of the Ministry, 390 000 lei were allocated of which 183 352.69 lei were spent
- For the National Students’ Projects competition 780 000 lei were allocated of which 687 889.04 RON were spent.
In 2022, the budget for four framework youth programmes is 8 million lei (about 1.6 million Euro), excluding the activities of the County Offices for Family and Youth. In 2020, the budget allocated for programmes and projects was 13.84 million lei (under 2.89 million Euro) and in 2021 the allocation was 12.9 million lei (about 2.6 million Euro), including funding for a national and 41 local (at county level) global grant programme for youth NGOs, a national global grant programme for student projects, youth projects implemented by the Ministry itself and by its structure: county offices and students culture houses, funding of youth centres managed by the county offices and the youth camps organised by the Ministry for young people and students.
According to the Youth Law, local communities (local and county councils) have to allocate local budget for local youth policies and activities, based on the consultation of the local youth civil society. However, there are not aggregated data on the level of budgets allocated at local level for youth local policies.
Additional funding was planned for the infrastructure of leisure centres where youth and students’ camps are organised, but the budget was planned and reported under the same budgetary line with the funding for the sports infrastructure. In 2022, 6.44 million lei (about 1.3 million Euro) was allocated for preparing and planning large investments in the infrastructure of youth and students’ camps are organised.
The Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities (and the Ministry of Youth and Sport, until December 2021) implements four framework programs every year: a programme supporting Youth Centres, a programme supporting youth projects, a programme supporting student projects and a programme for youth research.
The Budget is also financing the functioning the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities and of its offices at county level. It is also supporting the organisation of youth and students’ camps and of students’ cultural events organised by students organisations and funded through 15 Students Culture Houses in the most important university towns in the country. However, due to the limitations exposed above, there is not possible to estimate the budget allocated only for youth policy among other elements funded by the Ministry.
The Romanian Court of Accounts is the public body to which all public institution are accountable for their use of public funding, including the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities and Ministry of Youth and Sport, and private institutions receiving public grants (including NGOs receiving grants for their projects from the Ministry). Its mission is to conduct the control function over the way state and public sector financial resources are established, managed and used. It subsequently provides the Parliament, authorities, public institutions and taxpayers with reports on the sound use and management, so as to ensure economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Taking actions according to the recommendations of the Court of Accounts is mandatory for any institution or organisation spending public money.
The EU funds used for youth policy are the funds of Erasmus Plus programme - the field of Youth. The evaluations of the European Social Fund (ESF) programmes in Romania (an evaluation report on the European Social Fund interventions targeting youth from 2015; the first evaluation report on the Youth Employment Initiative from 2016; the second evaluation report on the Youth Employment Initiative from 2019 and the third evaluation of the Youth Employment Initiative, integrated in the evaluation of the Evaluation of the Operational Programme Human Capital from 2020) show that ESF had been mainly used for scholarships, trainings and active measures for employment (counselling, employment mediation etc.) and for projects aiming at preventing school dropouts, but they have not been focused on other youth policy areas.
Since 2021, the Ministry of Youth and Sports started the implementation of large EU funded projects for the education and employment of young NEETs. Although the funding for these projects is part of the Ministry budget and was transferred to the Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities in 2022, it is contributing more to the youth employment component of the youth policy and is reported under chapter 3 of Youth Wiki. The projects are not contributing to the overall development, implementation and coordination of the youth policy.
Under Erasmus Plus, the main activities are the national events and the transnational and international activities that offers the space for information and also for debates having as theme active youth participation, opening up a dialogue space with the decision makers. The reunions, seminars and information events, as well as the debates involving both young people and decision makers are also notable activities that aim at boosting up youth participation in the development and implementation of youth policies. Within Erasmus Plus, the Romanian participants were part of training courses and international activities tackling the theme of active youth participation.
In 2020, 24 youth mobility projects (out of 35 applications), 26 strategic projects (out of 195 applications) and seven projects of youth dialogue have been funded by Erasmus Plus in Romania. In 2019, 19 projects have been implemented under Key Action 1 - learning mobilities in the field of youth, with 8 115 participants for a total of 4.8 million Eur. 18 strategic projects in the field of youth have been implemented with a total funding of 2.3 million Euro. In 2018 in Romania, 150 projects (out of 844 applications) have been funded under the Youth component of the Erasmus+ programme, Key Action 1, mobility projects. 10 projects of Strategic Partnership in the field of Youth (out of 96 applications) and 4 projects of dialogue with young people (out of 38 applications) have been also funded in 2018. 95.5% of the participants in youth mobility projects have been highly satisfied with the experience.