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Assessing the impact of GDPR and AML legislation on the NGO sector in Romania

In recent years, Central and Eastern Europe has seen various initiatives  aimed at shrinking the space for NGOs and civic action in general. What is concerning is that some of these governments have sometimes claimed that these initiatives are merely seeking to implement EU requirements.

However, little is done to raise awareness and capacity of NGOs to comply with these new rules. This combined with the excessive sanctioning regime for non-compliance increases significantly the risks of abrupt closure of NGOs.

The entering into effect of the GDPR in May 2018 and the legislative initiative transposing the 4th EU Directive on Anti Money Laundering adopted by the Romanian Parliament in autumn of 2018, raise serious difficulties for the NGOs to understand and comply with the new legislation.

The main challenges Expert Forum identified for the Romanian NGO sector are in regard to the fact that oversight authorities on AML and GDPR have limited knowledge about the NGOs sector and no official guidance exists on how the standards on AML and GDPR should be applied in practice by NGOs. The standards on AML and GDPR set at European level introduce very high requirements for NGOs, requirements that do not match the compliance capacity of the Romanian NGOs sector, thus putting NGOs in a vulnerable position to the state.

Project objectives

In order to solve these problems, EFOR aims to:

  • Improve the capacity of the Romanian NGOs sector to comply with the standards on AML and GDPR, as well as the understanding of oversight authorities about the sector
  • Connect the Romanian NGOs sector to the European debate on GDPR and AML in order to voice the concerns about compliance challenges to the standards
  • Improve the IT capacity of Expert Forum to comply with GDPR and AML standards

In achieving these objectives, the following activities will be organized:

  • 7  Training sessions in Bucharest and at the local level on the subject of compliance with AML and GDPR standards applied to the specificities of the sector, with representatives of the national authorities overseeing these domains. These trainings shall be completed by guidebooks on AML and GDPR applicable standards.
  • Participation in European debates and events regarding the AML and GDPR standards to voice these concerns and raise awareness about the shrinking space for NGOs.
  • Articulate the compliance concerns of the Romanian NGOs sector with the AML and GDPR standards to the responsible authorities.

Project duration: December 2019 – March 2020.


Calendar of sessions:

Iași – 1st of February 2019

Timișoara – 17th of April 2019

Constanța – 27th of June 2019

Cluj-Napoca – 24th of October 2019

*For further sessions, please make sure to check this page.



The project is financed by Romanian-American Foundation (RAF).

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