International adoptions of Romanian children ground to halt after the government banned the practice, under EU pressure. Now its laws on adoption are being criticised as too restrictive.
By Paul Ciocoiu for Southeast European Times in Bucharest – 16/01/07
Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu made it clear that Romania will invest more money in social services for children awaiting adoption. [Getty Images]
Two members of the European Parliament (EP) are calling for a change in Romania's restrictive adoption laws, only three years after the same laws were enacted at the insistence of the European Commission.
The proposal came from EP members Jean-Marie Cavada and Claire Gibault, both from the centre-right Union for French Democracy. They claim that Romania does not have the financial means to maintain the necessary social services to care for institutionalised children whose adoption process has been prolonged due to entangled bureaucratic and legal procedures.
In the years after the fall of the Ceaucescu regime, some 30,000 Romanian orphans were adopted worldwide. Under EP pressure however, Romania banned international adoptions, except in cases where a family member living abroad requests guardianship.
The EP's rapporteur for Romania at the time, Emma Nicholson, threatened that she would propose suspending accession negotiations unless a ban was imposed. Legislation to that effect was drafted by Romanian and EU adoption policy experts.
Cavada and Gibault say Europe's view of international adoptions has changed, due to a decline in child trafficking. Nicholson, an MP representing Britain, now says the issue is a county's sovereign matter and does not fall under EU competency.
The Romanian media has scorned this new stance. The government, moreover, has made clear that it plans to stick to the policy of banning international adoptions and encouraging domestic adoptions.
Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu has pledged that the government will invest more money in improving the needed social services. Statistics show that domestic adoptions have been on the rise since the ban went into effect.