Property Restitution Reform – Nine Months Left to Solve a 21 Billion Euro Problem

Policy Memo No.20, October 2011

Author: Andrei Popovici

Romania  has only a few months left to solve the problems, which have been affecting property restitution for the last 20 years. The Romanian Center for European Policies is drawing attention on this important issue in its latest report:”Romania’s Coming Property Restitution Reform – Nine Months Left to Solve a 21 Billion Euro Problem”.

Romania is the number one violator of the right to the protection of property among the 47 nations of the Council of Europe, with over 255 violations of the European Convention on Human Rights since 2005. In October 2010, the European Court of Human Rights exhausted its patience and filed its first pilot judgment against Romania. The pilot judgement pushes the respective state to solve its systemic problem. Thus, the ECHR has stopped ruling in individual Romanian property restitution case cases, as it awaits consistent policy change.  The deadline is 12 July 2012. We are now halfway into this 18-month period, and time is running out. The Romanian government and parliament must act now.

The author of the report, Andrei Popovici, goes into the history of property restitution in Romania, analyzes the ECHR ruling and what has been done by Romanian authorities to this day. He also gained access to the proposals the authorities prepare to bring to the forefront and provides a set of recommendations for policy makers.

About the Author: Andrei Popovici is a graduate student at Columbia Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He holds a BA in Economics from Yale University. The report has been written during his internship with CRPE.

This report was issued as part of the project “Romania Active in European Debates II”, coordinated by the Romanian Center for European Policies (CRPE) and financed by the Soros Foundation, part of the Foreign Affairs Initiative.

The report is available here.