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15,000 citizens supported the petition sent to the parties and the PEA regarding political party subsidies

EFOR has petitioned political parties and the Permanent Electoral Authority asking for transparency in the allocation and spending of public subsidies. The petition was supported by nearly 15,000 signatures. EFOR thanks to all those who supported the petition. The full text can be found below:


Nicolae Ionel Ciucă, President of PNL,

Marcel Ciolacu, President of PSD,

Kelemen Hunor, President of UDMR,

Cătălin Drulă, President of USR,


George Simion, President of AUR,

Pambuccian Varujan, Parliamentary Group of National Minorities,

Ramona Strugariu, Dragos Pâslaru, co-presidents Reper,

Victor Ponta, President of Pro Romania,

Eugen Tomac, President of PMP,

Constantin Florin Mituleţu Buică, President of the Permanent Electoral Authority


Dear Madam/Sir,


We are writing to request transparency in the allocation and expenditure of political party subsidies, as well as reconsideration of the mechanisms for providing these funds. This letter is backed by a petition with over 15,000 signatures. We are also showing our willingness to participate in efforts to amend the legislation.


Since 2018, Expert Forum has been highlighting the detrimental consequences of a legislative reform to enhance the sums provided to political parties from grants. The amendments resulted in an exponential growth in the amount of public money distributed from 5-6 million lei each year prior to 2015 to 258 million lei in 2022. Although, in principle, subsidies do not pose a risk to democratic mechanisms; on the contrary, they can support integrity in politics and stimulate the development of both parliamentary parties and those who do not obtain seats in the Parliament, in Romania, public funding mechanisms have created a number of problems that distort democratic, electoral competition, and affect media independence and the right to information:

  • Large sums allocated to only six parties create political monopolies. Local parties have no chance of receiving money, as the allocation mechanism favors large parties with national representation.
  • The amounts allocated have increased significantly and could increase even further. As previously stated, the parties will receive 258 million in 2022. More than 1.2 billion lei have been granted since 2006 and parties will only receive around a fourth of the entire sum only in 2022. And if we look at the maximum thresholds, i.e. 0.04% of GDP, subsidies could reach half a billion lei per year.
  • The parties spent just over half of the money received in 2021, not having to return the unspent money at the end of the year. Last year, parties spent 111 million lei out of the 232 million lei received. In the 2024 election year, some parties will benefit from abundant funding, which they will be able to spend during the campaign, with a potential risk on the electoral competition. AUR, for example, did not spend any money, but neither returned the amounts already received.
  • PSD and PNL, in particular, use most of the money to buy advertising, without transparency. Articles, reports, or shows are not marked, such as those in the campaign, and, basically, a citizen cannot know what is a purchased advertisement and what is a non-biased article. The risk is even greater if parties pay to stop some news reaching the public or to get distorted. In the first six months of 2022, the two parties spent 75% of the money buying propaganda, more than in 2021 – that is 26 million for PSD and 18 million for PNL.
  • Parties refuse to publish contracts signed with service providers. Even if the law does not oblige parties to publish these contracts, that does not mean that they cannot publish them ex officio. USR is the only party that constantly publishes data regarding contracts. The other parties refuse to provide data despite public pressure, and their leaders invoke unjustified arguments such as economic discretion. As public money is concerned, the general expectation is that these entities need to be transparent.
  • Control mechanisms are not strong enough. The Permanent Electoral Authority is mandated to check how the money is spent, but it does not check in detail the content of the contracts. In other words, no one looks at what kind of content the parties are buying. Furthermore, it is unclear what strengthening measures the PEA has taken for the oversight regarding the expenditure of subsidies in the wake of high level convictions for the illegal use of public funds.
  • Notwithstanding the fact that the parties do not spend the money allotted, the PEA is requesting even more money for budget adjustments with no justification. It is unclear what the reasons and legal basis are, as the institution refuses to answer this question, citing the fact that it is not public information. We further notice that the PEA consistently uses this reason to refuse to release public information. We remind you that EFOR and other groups have consistently condemned the increases through budget revisions, with the most recent objection being sent on August 22.
  • The National Audiovisual Council, as a whole, does not seem to support the marking of political promotion messages or the transparency of contracts.
  • The European Commission, the Council of Europe, and OSCE noted serious problems with subsidies and media independence in recent reports.

In this context, we submit the following requests for the parties:

  • To publish contracts financed though subsidies and amend Law 334/2006 to allow for higher transparency.
  • To modify Law 334/2006 to allow the marking and thorough reporting of ads financed with public funds outside of electoral periods.
  • To clarify what political advertising means, by amending the law – there is already such a commitment in the National Anticorruption Strategy.
  • To lower the yearly budget for subsidies, including by modifying the law to lower the maximum threshold. The budget for 2023 might be a good moment for this decrease.
  • To amend Law 334/2006 in order to decrease the approval limits for grants for non-parliamentary parties, so as to support their functioning and development. For example, a party can also receive funds if it gets fewer votes than the electoral threshold would imply reaching, and the allocation is made on the basis of results at local level.
  • To impose certain percentage thresholds on the annual budget as to how much a party can spend on promotion.

For the PEA:

  • To publicly justify why it requests an additional allocation for subsidies during budget rectifications and to stop these unjustified practice.
  • To strengthen subsidy verification mechanisms and communicate transparently the findings of the control reports. The extracts from the control reports are insufficient.
  • To communicate the measures taken after identifying cases of illegal spending of subsidies.
  • To respond to requests submitted on the basis of Law 544/2001 on access to information of public interest and not to constantly invoke personal data or the fact that it is not public information.

For electoral recommendations in the field of political financing, please consult EFOR’s database on electoral recommendations recomandari-electorale, and for more details on subsidies, you can consult the platform.


Read more about EFOR’s efforts to produce open data in fields related to political financing on the Participatory and Relevant Local Public Policies project page and on

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