Two of the 17 projects were implemented by the end of 2018. Two of the seven thematic funds have been closed. The completed and ongoing projects have yielded substantial positive and concrete results.
Results in Romania
An overview of the results:
Job Orientation Training in Businesses and Schools (JOBS)
Taking part in teaching modules geared towards the job market has helped over 9,000 students and apprentices at 180 schools assess their skills and get to know the real working world. More than 900 teachers were trained to improve their careers guidance and student-centred teaching skills. In addition, new interdisciplinary subject matter responding to job-market requirements has been integrated into school curricula nationwide.
88 doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers have completed a fixed-term research residency at a Swiss university thanks to a scholarship. A total of 27 research partnerships have been established as part of the fund for joint Romanian-Swiss projects. Researchers have published 137 articles in scientific journals and presented their findings at over 170 conferences.
Support for SMEs
Many Romanian SMEs lack the collateral needed to qualify for a loan on the credit market. Switzerland is therefore contributing CHF 24.5 million to a fund which enables creditworthy SMEs in eight selected sectors to access the finance they need to grow. With the fund as collateral, one of Romania's leading commercial banks is offering secured loans of up to CHF 300,000 to help SMEs invest in their business and improve their competitive standing. By the end of 2018, the bank had financed over 460 loans, thereby securing some 3,000 jobs to date.
An electronic document management system for Romania’s ministry of finance
Few administrative services have regular contact with a wider variety of stakeholders than national tax authorities. This is no different in Romania, where the National Agency for Fiscal Administration is part of the Ministry of Finance. The electronic processing of (tax) transactions and data security are areas with scope for improvement. Switzerland is therefore supporting the Romanian Ministry of Finance to help it improve the security of its existing electronic document management system and modernise the system.
Although Romania has a long tradition of commercial agriculture and wood processing, these industries have so far mainly served its domestic market. Now a Swiss project aims to make SMEs in organic farming and wooden furniture manufacturing fit for the export market. So far, 82 SMEs have received training in marketing and management in two export business hubs in central and north-eastern Romania. Their products were analysed, quality assurance criteria such as organic certification introduced, and business clusters formed in order to produce the necessary quantities and meet the quality requirements of foreign countries. A total of 30 SMEs from both sectors presented their products at two international exhibitions in Budapest and Dubai.
A better and safer air rescue service
As part of a partnership, Swiss Air-Rescue (Rega) organised and coordinated training courses for Romanian helicopter pilots. Some 34 pilots improved their flying techniques in 47 training modules. Another 30 aircraft maintenance and flight mechanics also received basic training in security.
Integrating Roma and other minorities
Three projects aim to improve Roma access to public institutions and services, for example in education and health. More than 4,000 members of the Roma community benefit from the projects, including over 1,700 children, who can now go to preschool or attend after-school activities. Health projects include vaccination campaigns, medical assistance and training of professionals.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy
With Swiss cooperation, Romania has selected four pilot energy cities: Arad, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca and Suceava. Based on the action plans jointly developed with these cities, Switzerland is supporting a number of infrastructure projects that promote a more sustainable use of energy. Three cities have installed a total of around 7,500 new, energy-efficient street lights. In two cities, the refurbishment of four schools to make them energy efficient is almost complete. The first 11 of Romania's new electric buses are circulating in Cluj-Napoca, running on electricity from 13 charging stations. Suceava has purchased 16 electric buses and installed 28 charging stations for electric vehicles. The city has also introduced an e-bike rental scheme. In addition, smaller cities with fewer financial means are receiving support to help them carry out less complex infrastructure projects. A total of 12 projects are planned, most of them to improve street lighting.
In Bucharest, the urban metro system is in need of investment. Metro operator Metrorex is planning among other things to extend metro line 4 to better connect the city's periphery with its centre. Switzerland supports this project by co-financing various studies which may facilitate the search for donors for the construction work. A mobility study was completed at the end of 2018 in the vicinity of the extended metro line and a preliminary study based on this was prepared and approved. The launch of a detailed feasibility study and development of a safety concept are under way. A Swiss company is part of the consortium that is undertaking the studies.
Combating corruption and organised crime
The Romanian judicial office has trained around 10,000 judges and prosecutors in the application of new criminal laws. Training manuals to help implement the laws have also been distributed throughout the country.
Prevention and security
Switzerland is supporting the reform of the Romanian police. Around 2,500 police officers took part in training courses on communication and mediation, both of which are indispensable skills for community policing. In addition, 240 officers took a course in Romani to learn the language of the Roma. This is helping to improve safety in rural areas. Furthermore, one workshop has been set up in which offenders perform services in communities. Exchanging prison sentences for community service increases the chances of reintegration.
Switzerland has lent its support to about 40 partnership projects which promote the exchange of knowledge and experience between Swiss and Romanian institutions. Around 200 experts in fields such as environmental protection, social welfare and health, have benefited from this. Around 100 Romanian non-governmental organisations active in these fields also received funding. As the mouthpiece of civil society, NGOs must actively participate in political decision-making processes and be able to expand their institutional capacities.