All 17 projects and 7 thematic funds were completed by December 2019. Most of the initial objectives were achieved and in some projects even exceeded.
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 instructors received training to improve their career 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 therefore contributed CHF 24.5 million to a fund which gave 500 creditworthy SMEs in eight selected sectors easier access to the credit market. Some 3,000 jobs were created or saved as a result. The repaid loans flow back into the fund and can then be used for new loans.
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. Switzerland supported the Romanian Ministry of Finance in efforts to improve the security of its existing electronic document management system and modernise the system.
Although Romania has a long tradition of commercial farming and timber processing, these industries have traditionally mainly served only the domestic market. Now a Swiss project aims to make SMEs in organic farming and wooden furniture manufacturing fit for the export market. A total of 82 SMEs received training in marketing and management at two export business centres in central and north-eastern Romania. As part of this training, their products were analysed, quality assurance criteria such as organic certification were introduced, and business clusters were formed so as to produce the quantities and quality required for export. 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. More than 34 pilots upgraded their flight techniques in 47 training modules. Another 30 aircraft maintenance and flight mechanics also received basic safety training.
Inclusion of Roma and other minorities
Three programmes improved Roma access to public institutions and services, for example in education and health. More than 40,000 members of the Roma community benefited from the programmes, including over 25,000 children who attended preschool, intercultural activities or after-school programmes. Health projects included vaccination campaigns, medical assistance and training of healthcare professionals.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy
With Swiss cooperation, Romania has selected four pilot energy cities: Arad, Braşov, Cluj-Napoca and Suceava. Based on the action plans jointly developed with these cities, Switzerland supported a number of infrastructure projects promoting more sustainable use of energy. For example, three cities installed energy-efficient street lights. Four schools and the district heating system of Braşov were renovated in an energy-efficient manner. 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 vehicles and installed 28 charging stations for them. The city has also introduced an e-bike rental scheme. In total, the cities supported can now save more than CHF 1 million in energy and maintenance costs every year and reduce their annual CO2 emissions by around 7,000 tonnes.
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 supported this project by co-financing various studies which will help to secure funding for the construction work. A Swiss company was part of the consortium 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 supported the reform of the Romanian police. Around 3,000 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 security in rural areas. Furthermore, a workshop was set up where offenders perform community service. Exchanging prison sentences for community service increases the chances of reintegration.
Switzerland has lent its support to 42 partnership projects which promote the exchange of knowledge and experience between Swiss and Romanian institutions. This has benefited some 200 experts in fields such as environmental protection, social welfare and health. Around 100 Romanian NGOs received financial contributions. As the mouthpiece of civil society, these NGOs actively participated in political decision-making processes and were able to expand their institutional capacities. This benefited some 260,000 people who were targeted through various NGO activities (campaigns, training, information events, etc.).
Overview of the projects implemented through the Thematic Funds Civil Society Participation and the Partnership and Expert Fund: