Romania’s foreign ministry launches new program aimed at providing correct information for Romanians abroad.
“Dialogue with the Diaspora on consular themes” is a program launched early this week by the Romanian foreign ministry. According to the ministry, the program is meant to provide Romanians at home and abroad with correct information and full access to modern consular services. “Efforts have been made in recent years to modernise these services” writes a foreign ministry release, “and it is high time this modernisation was reflected in the interaction between people and the consular staff”.
The program sets new guidelines as to the behaviour of consular staff, who are encouraged to be open, friendly and reliable and show concern for the needs of each citizen requiring their services, as laid down in the Code of Conduct of the Romanian Consular Corps.
The program is carried out in the first half of 2015, with a foreign ministry team travelling to countries with large Romanian communities where Romanian consular offices are particularly busy, countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Belgium and Greece. The foreign ministry experts will meet the Romanian communities in these countries and present them with E-cons, the new system of computerised consular services. The first meetings will take place next week in Rome and Madrid.
In addition, the Romanian Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department has launched a Facebook page containing news alerts, useful consular and travel information and announcements about the activity of the Consular Department. Twice a month, Romanian citizens will be able to use the Facebook account to interact with the staff and ask questions related to given consular topics. They will receive an answer in 24 hours at the most. Besides meetings with the representatives of the Romanian Diaspora, and in an attempt to make an exchange of best practices, the Romanian authorities will also hold regional meetings with diplomats and consular staff from the states located in the proximity of the countries with large Romanian communities.
The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu, believes that, in the long term, the program could be extended to cover other topics of interest for the Romanians abroad, such as the voting process abroad. In last November’s presidential elections, thousands of Romanians living abroad could not exercise their voting right due to a flawed management of the election process.
Last week, while on a visit to Paris, Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis pointed out that providing legislative solutions to improve the voting system was not only a constitutional obligation but also a sign of respect for Romanian voters. The president also said that if Romanians wanted to be respected in Europe and the world, the Romanian authorities should be the first to respect them.