Editor’s note: This article first appeared on AVFM Romania.
It has already been said a few times that organized opposition to feminism is not necessary in Romania – and the reasons for those claims were in many cases variations of “it’s not like that here” or “it won’t be like that here” – as if Romania is somewhere on Pluto and not a net contributor and a full member of the European Union (EU).
Whether we like it or not, the EU is determined to aggressively promote and implement feminist ideology in all of the 28 (un)fortunate nations that are part of this club – and ignoring the problem won’t make it go away; on the contrary, it will only make things worse. (Just as happened when we ignored the directives on agriculture until the bureaucracy bit us on the bottom and now the average Romanian food producer is buried in useless bureaucratic costs for certificates that nobody cares about. But let’s not digress.)
In this series we will be talking about the bureaucratic brushwood through which millions upon millions in money that come from taxing the Romanian stipendiaries at a 70% rate and from taxing other EU citizens with similar tax rates, are filtered through various Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and dubious firms. And it all happens with the blessing of the EU and in the name of “gender equality” – a term so vague when used by the EU that it can literally mean almost anything, as long as it advantages women and only women – even when there’s already a considerable female advantage in the particular area targeted for funding.
Many Romanians have this mistaken impression that the EU institutions are some nice little angels that are corruption-free and that the issue solely comes from our local corrupt politicians. In 2011, 56% of Romanians believed that the EU institutions have a certain degree of corruption1 while 89% of them believed the same thing about the institutions of the Romanian State2.
In other words, Romanians are expecting corruption from the Romanian State (and good for them), but they tend not to expect the same or a higher degree of corruption from Brussels – and they are mistaken.
The Centre for Consultancy and European Studies (CCSE – Centrul de Consultanță și Studii Europene)
CCSE (founded in 2005) and its sister institution — The Centre for Professional Qualification and Requalification Social Trade — are according to the CCSE website3, part of a holding with a primary objective of organizing professional qualification, development and specialization training – approved nationally by the Ministry of Labor, Social Solidarity and Family and by the Ministry of Education and Research through the branch called the National Council for Professional Formation.
CCSE is, however, a business, and apparently a prosperous one, as it’s considered a top business in Galați county4 and they even have a certificate for this5. In 2013, CCSE reported a profit of 2.353.765 RON (a little over 530.000€). Not bad for a business in the educational field which has only 3 employees (!) and which in 2010 had been reduced to only one employee.
SC Centrul de Consultanță și Studii Europene SRL also appears mentioned in the National NGO Registry where, through its representative, Mrs. Ramona Oțelea, teamed up with other entities to found the Association “The German Centre for the Internationalization of SMEsnote 1” on September 24, 2013. This NGO was registered with the number 10661/A/20136. According to the same registry, Mrs. Ramona Oțelea also has the position of general secretary in this NGO.
Ramona Oțelea is the wife of Mihăiță Oțelea, who was prosecuted for aggravated fraud, forging public documents and perjury in a criminal case regarding a fraud of 1.1 million RON (250.000 €), money that were taken from AJOFM Galaținote 2, according to the local newspaper Viața Liberă (Free Life)7. In that case, Oțelea was eventually convicted by the Galați Court to 4 years and a half in jail and to paying one million RON as reparations to AJOFM Galați alongside with Social Trade SRL Galati, the holding of which CCSE is also part8.
These crimes took place when Mihăiță Oțelea was a representative of SC Social Trade SRL, and the company’s administrator was Ramona Oțelea. So now we know why the name Social Trade SRL became The Centre for Professional Qualification and Requalification Social Trade, and then it was unified in a holding company with CCSE. It would be also interesting to know whether the founding of CCSE in 2005 has any connection with the finalizing of the preliminary inquiry of the law enforcement in the same year on SC Social Trade SRL. But we’ll leave this discussion for some other time.If we look on this graphic, the profit of CCSE (marked with red) collapsed somewhere in the middle of the year 2010 and the firm continued to struggle financially for another year during the Social Trade scandal. But here, somehow, CCSE and its holding managed to rise back to even larger profits than before despite being hit by a huge scandal that ended in prison sentences.
How? Thanks to the EU funds.
If we go on CCSE’s official page, http://cursuriccse.ro/, we are greeted with the shiny announcement that you can see bellow (click on the image for the full dimension):
Translation: Sign up to participate to one of our FREE courses for people with disabilities, ROMA, single parent families, families with over 2 children, young adults who just left the orphanage, and women: 1. Technician masseur; 2. Construction and pluming worker; 3. Hairdresser; 4. Old people’s home carer; 5. Commercial worker.
So we notice that CCSE promotes free courses unless you are a healthy non-gypsy man – which exactly the category of people which dominates the unemployed in Romania9 in 40 of the 42 administrative units of the country10. This is a bit hypocritical coming from CCSE given that they themselves write on their website that they do not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, sex, or religion11.
We also notice that these courses are part of an EU-funded project through the contract POSDRU/165/6.2/S/142962. So we take this ID and go to the Regional Intermediary POSDRUnote 3 Organism, which tells us that the beneficiary of the project is the Local Council of the 6th sector of Bucharest12 and the first funds on this project have already been approved – the amount being 327,917.54 RON13 (roughly 74,000€).
We dig a little further and we find out that the real beneficiary is the General Directorate of Social Welfare and Child Protection (DGASPC) of the 6th Sector of Bucharest14 and the total budget of the project is 6,558,350.88 RON (1.5 milioan€) according to a table published by the Government in June this year which also qualifies this project as being in the in implementation stage15. Most of this amount is paid by the EU according to a communication published by the DGASPC 6th Sector16 which mentions CCSE on the list of its partners alongside with other two organizations – The Foundation for Communitarian Support Bacău and the “Four Change” Association.
It is also worth mentioning that the DGASPC 6th Sector spent right in the first days of the project roughly 24.000€ (104,838 RON) on audit services17. With only the money spent on auditing, one could buy EU-wide recognized courses (not just nationally, as CCSE offers) of things like technician masseur for 110 people (a private company offers these courses for just 950 RON18). With the same amount of money one can acquire in Galați (the city of residence for CCSE) hairdressing courses for 361 individuals19.
Considering these realities, with 1.5 million euros, which is the total budget of this project, one could qualify and train the entire population (not just half) of an entire Romanian county – not just the 780 people who are the target group of this project.
But this is not the only weird project in which CCSE is involved. In the Projects section of their web page we find a few other similar projects which involve the spending of the taxpayers’ money as inefficiently as possible.
Another example of such a project is the one called Gender equality and access to healthcare (EGAS) – which is a project that aims to develop and promote the principle of equality of opportunity and gender in the healthcare indistry of the region [the South-East region, note] by identifying the main problems which women who work in this sector face as they pertain to gender equality and equality of opportunity.
EGAS starts with the premises that there is no equality of opportunity and gender in the healthcare industry and that inequality affects only women. But is this true? Well, not really. It hasn’t even been a year since the EU and the Romanian Government spent 6.2 million RON (1.4 million euros) on a study that ended up telling us what we already knew – that 80% of the employees in the healthcare industry are women20.
The same study noted that although only 20% of the people in leadership positions are women, the women in the system are not bothered by this at all; over half of them firmly deny, in absolute terms, the very idea that such thing as sexual (or ”gender”) discrimination exists in the healthcare system.
In other words, those women involved assert that equality of opportunity already exists. Yet the EGAS project still wants to help the women in the healthcare system to develop their professional careers because… equality. And in the good ol’ fashion of the EU, it doesn’t even matter if the supposedly affected women need the program or not, the taxpayers’ money will still be spent in their name – because potato.
The budget of the EGAS project is not huge – but it’s still big considering that the objectives of the project are addressing an issue that clearly doesn’t even exist. The Romanian state healthcare system is indeed in a state that varies between semi-disastrous and catastrophic (while the private system thrives) – but the problem exists for other reasons and not because of a discrimination on the basis of sex in employment or promotions.
The total budget of the EGAS project is 2,144,132 RON (roughly 500.000€)21 coming from three sources – the EU (POSDRU), the Romanian State and the Union Federation „Sanitary Solidarity”. One would wonder what is the opinion of the very few men in that respective union, when their money are being taken by force from their already small salaries in order to advance the already advanced careers of… women? This is a question that ought to be asked more often.
If you look at the document placed as a source for the budget of EGAS, you will notice that the entire page is filled with a series of projects that are unrelated to CCSE but which have an identical aim and are also paid by us – the taxpayers. For instance, on the same page we have the project Femeile P.O.T.(Putere, Organizare, Tenacitate) (Women CAN – Power, Organization, Tenacity), that takes place in Vaslui county, a project which also swallows roughly 1.7 million RON. On what? No-one knows. Why is this happening? Because the EU and the Romanian Government have a lot of money to through out on the window — in the middle of the recession.
Evolution, Value, Entrepreneurship for women on the labour market (EVA) is another project in which CCSE is involved alongside the DGASPC 6th Sector, the “Four Change” Association, the Foundation for Communitarian Support Bacău, The White-Yellow Cross Foundation, and SC Green Team Actual SRL. It’s interesting to note the involvement of DGASPC 6th Sector in a project that’s not even regional – but national. We’ll come back to some of these organizations in future articles.
It becomes even more interesting when we look up the EVA project by its ID – POSDRU/144/6.3/S/125842 – and we noticed that it’s registered at the Intermediary Regional POSDRU Organism for the West22, hundreds of kilometers away from Bacău, Bucharest or Galați (the residence of CCSE). The total budget of the EVA project is 8,333,292.66 RON (1.88 million euros).
And what do they do with this amount? Well, they’re going to award 5 prizes for the best 5 business plans brought up by 5 women with the fabulous amount of 10,000 RON per plan (plus the flat tax of 16%, so 11,600). Wouldn’t everyone be better off if the prizes would just be written off as tax-free? We say this because it’s truly bizarre: the State gives the money to the NGO, the NGO gives them to the 5 award winning women, who then go to ANAF (Romania’s IRS) to pay back the tax. It’s absurd! Even if we only take the banking commissions into account and there is already a significant amount of money lost through this totally inefficient scheme.
Anyway, this means 58,000 RON in prizes. But what about the rest, until over 8 million? According to the communicate published on the “Four Change” Association’s website, the rest is being spent on training and seminars about nothing, 30 meetings with “communities of women” (can someone please let them know there is no such thing in Romania?) or courses of “formation of formators” (seriously! You can’t make this stuff up!) and a visit of “study and experience exchange” in Suffolk, UK for 15 of the female beneficiaries and 8 representatives of the partners23. In other words, the NGO employees and collaborators will have a short “free” vacation paid by the taxpayers following their tireless work to promote
male exclusion “gender equality.”
Do we believe that CCSE and its partners are a bunch of ideologically motivated feminists? No, not really. Judging by the evidence, CCSE is more likely an organization with a recently dubious past which found a perfectly legal way to extort some more money from the taxpayer. In the case of CCSE, we have a serious doubt that misandry is their main goal – but rather the means. However, in the case of the source of the problem — the European Union — misandry is the main purpose, and the EU truly is an ideologically-motivated organism first and foremost.
And herein lies the problem: What CCSE is doing, no matter how immoral, hypocritical and irresponsible might seem to us is, for all intents and purposes, legal. It may be barely legal, but legal nonetheless.
The Romanian State can’t cut the funding for POSDRU because the EU deemed this program a priority – so if our government does it anyway, it may face a lawsuit at the ECJ (the European Court of Justice) based on the legal precedent set in 199724, according to which legal discrimination against men is not discrimination because all people are equal in front of the law, but women are more equal.
Sure, we can blame the employees of DGASPC 6th Sector, which is a public institution and which is involved in surprisingly many projects of this kind, given that if we add only their financial contributions we get a relatively high amount for the budget of a sectoral DGASPC. But the main problem remains: That all these issues are not the result of the Romanian corruption, but merely a symptom of wider crass corruption and morally-bankrupt ideology promoted en fanfare by the great European Union.
Whenever such scandals that cost the taxpayer untold amounts of money are revealed, our Romanian press points the finger at local corruption, and then they curse the government and the party that happens to be in power. There is no doubt that that local corruption factors and all the parties that have been in power since 1990 are partially to blame – but, at least in this area, it is essential that we understand that the source of the problem is in Brussels – not in Bucharest, Vienna or Vilnius.
If these kinds of programs addressing non-issues were not funded by the EU, organizations such as CCSE would go bankrupt (as should have happened when Mihăiță Oțelea was sent behind bars) and the morally corrupted employees from institutions such as DGASPC 6th Sector would find something else to do, or quit because of the lack of the generous grants offered by the EU for doing exactly nothing.
In the second part of this series, we will continue to expose the way the public funds are being spent in the name of advantaging women and only women, following incentives from the EU – actions that are, at the end of the day, detrimental to everyone in society.
note 1: SME = Small and Middle Enterprises
note 2: AJOFM = Agenția Județeană pentru Ocuparea Forței de Muncă (The County Agency for Occupying the Labor Force)
note 3: POSDRU = Programul Operațional Sectorial – Dezvoltarea Resurselor Umane (The Sectoral Operational Programme – Human Resources Development)
2 The European Commission’s Corruption Report, pag. 17, published in February 2012 http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_374_en.pdf (accessed at August 2, 2014)
3 http://cursuriccse.ro/?p=86 – The “About us” section of CCSE’s website (accessed at August 2, 2014)
5 http://www.listafirme.ro/top_2014/diploma_1254047.htm – Diploma CCSE (accessed at August 2, 2014)
6 http://www.just.ro/Portals/0/WWWW/files/registrul_ong/Asociatii18072014_2.pdf – The National Registry of NGOs – the Index of the non-profit judicial persons – associations, part 2, page 49 (accessed at August 2, 2014)
7 http://www.viata-libera.ro/justitie/24121-teapa-de-miliarde-data-ajofm – Maria Fabian – Ţeapă de miliarde dată AJOFM, published on November 9, 2011, Viața Liberă (accessed at August 2, 2014)
8 http://gazetadebuzau.ro/dezvaluirile-facute-de-eduard-dumitrascu-au-zdruncinat-sedinta-cj/ Dezvaluirile facute de Eduard Dumitrascu au zdruncinat sedinta CJ, published on June 13, 2013, Gazeta de Buzău (accessed at August 2, 2014)
9 http://www.ziare.com/locuri-de-munca/piata-muncii/cat-a-crescut-somajul-tinerii-cel-mai-puternic-afectati-1289749 – Ziare.com – Cat a crescut somajul – tinerii, cel mai puternic afectati, published on March 25, 2014 (accessed at August 2, 2014): „By sex, the unemployment rate for men was 7.8% and 6.6% for women”
10 http://old.econtext.ro/dosar–2/analiza/barbatii-romaniei-condamnati-la-somaj-criza-a-dublat-rata-somajului-masculin-in-unele-judete-vezi-unde-somajul-a-urcat-drastic-dar-si-unde-a-scazut-uimitor–2.html – Ioan A. Murgu – BARBATII ROMANIEI, condamnati la somaj: criza a dublat rata somajului masculin in unele judete. VEZI unde somajul a urcat drastic, dar si unde a scazut uimitor, Ecotext, published on March 14, 2013 (accessed at August 2, 2014).
11 http://cursuriccse.ro/?page_id=95 – The „Papers required for application” section of CCSE’s website: „any person regardless of age, sex and origin has access to our services;”
12 http://www.oiposdrubi.ro/registre2014/cereri%20de%20prefinantare.pdf – The registry of pre-financing requests, page 2
15 http://www.data.gov.ro/storage/f/2014-07-14T09%3A07%3A29.648Z/contracte-finantare-iunie2014.xls – The element no. 741 from this Excel file.
16 http://www.protectiacopilului6.ro/noutati_doc_1371_persoanele-vulnerabile-au-o-noua-sansa-de-incluziune-pe-piata-muncii_pg_0.htm – Persoanele vulnerabile au o nouă şansă de incluziune pe piaţa muncii, published at May 28, 2014 (accessed at August 2, 2014)
19 http://www.invatapentrutine.ro/detaliu-curs/vrs/IDevent/1659 – The 361 number is the result of the division of the amount spent on audit (104838 RON) to 290, which is the amount required for a hairdresser qualification course in this link.
20 http://www.wall-street.ro/articol/Social/157285/baraban-cri-80-dintre-angajatii-din-sanatate-sunt-femei-insa-doar-20-au-functii-de-conducere.html – Cristina Negraru – 4 din 5 dintre angajatii din sanatate sunt femei, insa doar 20% au functii de conducere, published on November 14, 2013, Wall Street.ro (accessed at August 2, 2014)
21 http://www.fonduri-ue.ro/posdru/images/doc2014/contractate052014.pdf – The list of contracts signed – April 30, 2014 – The Sectoral Operational Programme – Human Resources Development (p. 153)
22 http://www.oirposdru-vest.ro/liste%20grant/FSE/Lista%20contractelor%20de%20finantare%20semnate%20in%202014.pdf – The Intermediary Regional POSDRU Organism – Region West – The List of the Signed Financing Contracts, p. 9 (accessed at August 2, 2014)
23 http://4change.ro/proiecte/evolutie-valoare-antreprenoriat-pentru-femei/ – EVA – Evolutie Valoare Antreprenoriat pentru femei, published on June 5, 2014. (accessed at August 2, 2014)
24 http://www.nytimes.com/1997/11/12/world/european-union-court-upholds-affirmative-action-for-women.html – EDMUND L. ANDREWS – European Union Court Upholds Affirmative Action for Women, The New York Times, Publicat pe 12 noiembrie 1997