The forum aims to create a platform of expertise, good practice, and ideas in order to find innovative solutions for better governance and policy making in Romania. Government officials, business associations and leaders, technology enthusiasts and NGOs will have the chance to debate, engage and propose solutions to drive governance efficiency.


After joining the European Union in 2007, Romania has achieved significative progress in terms of governance and capacity building, but the country still faces many challenges.

In the latest Country Partnership Framework for Romania, the World Bank states that Romania has not managed to consistently reform its state to increase the capacity needed for better public service delivery and growth sustainability. In addition, fragmentation of sector responsibilities leads to diffuse accountability and poor coordination. Policy planning units in line ministries, for example in health and education, are weak and do not connect strategic and budget planning to day-to-day operations. Setting and monitoring measurable results is rare, leading to spread of suboptimal policies, such as poor targeting of social transfers. Also, at the subnational level, many municipalities do not have the capacity to prioritize, plan or manage capital investments, which curtails their access to funding and delays improvements in key economic infrastructure.

Moreover, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, Romania’s institutional evolution has stagnated over the past decade, with gains only witnessed in terms of transparency, while Romania continues to perform poorly in terms of government favoritism, wastefulness, and diversion of public funds.

In the UN E-Government Survey 2018, Romania ranks 67 in terms of level of e-government development, from 75 in 2016.

Furthermore, in the 2016 Public Governance Review scan on Romania, OECD argues that the digital transformation of the public sector requires that several key ICT enablers are in place. In order to better sustain the development of digital government in Romania it is a priority to invest in interoperability frameworks, public base data registers, national electronic identification system (including e-authentication and e-signature) and shared services that can promote better integration and optimization of IT solutions across the public sector.

On the other hand, at a global level there is an important discussion on digital transformation, agile approaches on policy making which can be used to make faster steps in reform the public service delivery and growth.


  • Learn stream – Share successful experiences, good practice and lessons learned in capacity building actions and programs in Romania, European Union and larger Black Sea are;
  • Engage stream – Bring together recommendations from different international organizations – OECD, Council of Europe, World Bank, EBRD, UN – and collaboratively design a road map for good governance;
  • Innovate stream – Establish an annual event that focuses on government and hands-on innovative solutions in order to help Romania overcome its development challenges.

Areas of interest

  • E-government, digital transformation and innovation;
  • Accountability, transparency and quality of public services;
  • Public policies formulation and implementation designed to strenghten public institutions in order to deliver high-quality public services.

About the Aspen Institute Romania Governance and Society Program

The Aspen Governance & Society Program builds on the experience and work of the Global Governance Forum convened in Prague since 2011 and other similar efforts and it is centered on a community of individuals and institutions that consider the next stage of EU integration of CEE countries focused on building a Good Society. The program is centered on the dialogue between institutional actors, representatives of international organizations active in the field, NGOs, media and business from Romania and the neighboring region, which together tackle ways to bring forth the fight against corruption and policies aiming for better governance.

Institutional Partner: CNAS
Main Partner: GlobalWorth
Partners: eMag, UPC
Knowledge Partner: McKinsey&Company


The rise of digital challengers: Perspective on Romania

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– Eminescu Hall, Romexpo –

– June 13, 2019 –

08.30 – 09.00 Registration

09.00 – 09.30 Opening Remarks

  • Mircea Geoană, President, Aspen Institute Romania

09.30 – 10.00 Opening Speeches

  • Alexandru Petrescu, Minister for Communications and Information Society of Romania
  • Juan Navas-Sabater, Acting Practice Manager, Digital Development Global Practice, World Bank

Moderator: Radu Puchiu, Open Government Partnership Envoy

10.00 – 11.00 Panel: Towards a Digital Single Market and Digital Transformation

According to the European Commission, moving from individual national markets to one single EU- wide rulebook could contribute €415 billion per year to economic growth, boosting jobs, competition, investment and innovation in the EU. This panel aims to explore how digital transformation can contribute to improving business and organizational activities, processes, competencies and models and accelerate impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way.

  • Bjorn-Soren Gigler, Senior Digital Innovation Policy Officer, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, European Commission
  • Harald Gruber, Head of Digital Infrastructure Division, European Investment Bank
  • Bogdan Chirițoiu, President, Romanian Competition Council
  • Oleg Roibu, Head of Public Policy, eMAG

Moderator: Dorin Pena, General Manager, CISCO Romania

11.00 – 11.10 Coffee break

11.10 – 11.20 Keynote Address

  • Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society

11.20 – 13.30 Sessions:

11.20 – 12.00 Learn: This panel aims to explore different projects implemented at European, national and local levels in order to understand how smart solutions have helped public and private sector be more efficient. From Estonia to South Korea and Singapore, governments and municipalities have invested in innovation in public services in order to provide quality for its citizens. Also, the discussion will focus on lessons learned and unexpected results in implementing pioneering solutions.

  • Charlina Vitcheva, Deputy Director-General, Joint Research Center, European Commission
  • Emilija Stojmenova Duh, Director, Digital Innovation Hub, Slovenia

Moderator: Roxana Voicu-Dorobantu, Associate Professor, Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ASE)

12.00 – 12.45 Engage: Anticipating the future in the making. The digital transformation is disrupting every sector, including private equity and financial services. How are or will be economies affected by 5G and IOT, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, AI and machine learning? How is cyber security ready for this totally transformed environment? This panel aims to engage the speakers and audience in a lively debate around some future scenarios, risks and opportunities.

  • Keynote Address: Leonardo Badea, Chairman of the Board, Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF)
  • Barbara Sztokfisz, Deputy Director and Editor in Chief of the European Cybersecurity Journal, CYBERSEC Hub
  • Ion Sturza, President, Fribourg Capital
  • Mihnea Rădulescu, Chief Executive Officer, UPC Romania

Moderator: Augustin Jianu, Digital transformation consultant

12.45 – 13.30 Innovate – powered by World Bank: In a context of numerous changes, rapid pace of technology innovation, citizens increasingly expect a more open and agile approach from their Governments in policy development and implementation. Can these new concepts of Open Government and Agile Governance help to develop a more human-centered, inclusive and sustainable policy-making as a result of an increasingly multi-stakeholder effort?

  • Stela Mocan, Manager Technology and Innovation Lab, World Bank Group
  • Yih-Jeou Wang, Councellor for Cyber Policy and Digitalisation, The Permanent Representation of Denmark to the EU
  • Kristina Posavec, Deputy State Secretary, Central State Office for Developement of Digital Socitey, Croatia

Moderator: Ionuț Țața, Founder and CEO of Iceberg

13.30 – 14.30 Networking lunch