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Comparison of the Status of Bratislava and Bucharest within the Administrative Division of the State

09 agosto 2018 -
Comparison of the Status of Bratislava and Bucharest within the Administrative Division of the State


Bratislava as the capital city of Slovakia and Bucharest as the capital city of Romania have not many common characteristics at first glance. Slovakia is in Central Europe and Romania is a part of Balkan Peninsula. On the other hand, I try to focus in my contribution just on mutual features of both mentioned cities. The basis will be a specific law on the capital city. Bratislava and Bucharest too have this legal norm. Another aim of this paper will be the definition of interesting differences and identification of position within the administrative division of the state.



In the administrative division of Slovakia and Romania are several connections. One of them is for example the number of municipalities (communes). In Slovak conditions, we recognize 2933 of these units, in Romania 2827. The self-government operates in both countries at a similar level and municipalities have their own powers. Territorial self-administration of Slovakia shall be composed of a municipality and a higher territorial unit. The territory is divided except mentioned municipalities into eight regions and 79 districts. There is a dual system of deconcentrated state administration and autonomous regional and local self-government. A dual system of decentralisation and deconcentration of public administration has been enacted in order to ensure the independent functioning of regional and local state administration and self-government on the basis of mutual cooperation. The framework of self-government is organised into two main levels – the regional level represented by eight autonomous regions (higher territorial units) and the local level represented by municipalities. Since 2002, the eight Slovakian regions have been responsible for specific competences in several areas, and also for carrying out competences delegated by the central level of government. Within 2933 municipalities, 140 of them have status of the city (“mesto”). This status is granted by the Slovak parliament to municipalities which are an administrative, economic and cultural centre and provide public services to neighbouring cities. Moreover, the country has two main municipalities, Bratislava and Košice. They have special status and are sub-divided into city districts.1 This fact is interesting and important in terms of my article. Territorial self-administration is carried out at meetings of municipal residents, through local referendums, referendums within the territory of a superior territorial unit, and by the municipal bodies or the bodies of superior territorial units. Central government is in charge of any responsibility that is not expressly attributed to municipalities or regions. The process of decentralisation consists of three main aspects – the political decentralisation and the decentralisation and deconcentration of powers and fiscal decentralisation.

Regions may issue generally binding regulations applicable to all natural and legal persons within their jurisdiction. Competences have been transferred from State administration bodies to self- governing regions. This six-phase process was launched on January, 1 2002. The regional and district offices of the State administration were phased out, and their residual powers were transferred to the regional self-governments, the local State administration in the centres of regions, and to the specialised field offices of certain ministries. On the other hand, Romania has 314 towns, 103 municipalities and 2827 communes that are grouped into 41 counties and the capital city of Bucharest - it makes up the region at NUTS III level. In 1998, eight regions were created for a better orientation in regional planning. These regions correspond to NUTS II units but do not fall within the administrative units of Romania. Their institutional framework, subjects and powers of the regional policy were established in 2004. The regional disparities within Romania were at the low level in transitional phase before the accession to EU. On the other hand, the differences have gradually emerged, mainly as a result of the growth of the Bucharest-Ilfov region. In relative terms, the differences may be comparable to those in the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Among the least developed regions are included the frontier ones, especially at the border with the former socialist states. Economic and social analysis revealed, after 1990, a process of increasing economic and social development disparities between regions. Development differences between the most developed region (Bucuresti-Ilfov) and the least developed (North-East), in terms of GDP per capita increased almost threefold.


Bucharest metropolitan area as the most important region in Romania

The municipality of Bucharest, the capital of Romania, together with the surrounding Ilfov county (NUTS 3 territorial unit) are the two constituents of the Bucharest-Ilfov NUTS 2 region. This region has the smallest surface - 1821 sq km, of which 13.1% represents the surface of Bucharest and 86.9% the surface of the Ilfov county. In terms of population, it ranks second in decreasing order among the eight NUTS 2 Romanian regions, with approximately 2,260,000 people, out of which Bucharest accounted for 86%, with 2,106,144 inhabitants. The share of urban population in Bucharest Ilfov region’s total population is 91.6%, which is by far the highest in Romania, of an overall urbanisation degree of only 54.9%. This is due to the very large number of inhabitants residing in the Bucharest municipality, i.e. 93% of the urban population of the Bucharest-Ilfov region. The other eight towns counted a total population of 150,000 people [1]. In 2003, the proposal aiming to create the Bucharest metropolitan area (BMA) was launched. It started from a series of needs and opportunities determined by historical, economic, social, territorial evolutions, entailing the development of economic and demographic relationship between Bucharest and surrounding localities. As a result, its purpose is to embed in it the entire Ilfov county, as well as localities from other four counties (1 from Ialomita county, 5 from Dambovita county, 5 from Calarasi county and 16 from Giurgiu county), which would lead to a total area of approximately 1800 sq km and a stable population of 2.4 million people (i.e. 11% of Romania’s total stable population). As regards the Ilfov county, even if the entire county is conventionally included in the metropolitan area, it should be mentioned that, besides the eight towns and some wealthy communes, there are also several poor localities which are not functionally integrated with Bucharest city [2]. In a broader view, it is considered that the Bucharest metropolitan area also influences the seven surrounding counties belonging to the South-Muntenia region (NUTS 2). This region as a whole (apart from the localities of the Ialomita, Dambovita, Calarasi and Giurgiu that are to be incorporated in the metropolitan area) plus Bucharest metropolitan area are viewed as the Bucharest metropolitan region. The most important links between the metropolis and the surrounding region consist of the dense road and rail network, facilitating good connections not only within the region but also between the region and many important destinations from Romania and from abroad as well. There are good perspectives for water transportation too, the navigable canal Bucharest – Danube along the Arges river being envisaged as a potential future axis. The most important positive influence of Bucharest on the surrounding region can be identified in education and health care services provided by the capital, whereas the negative impact comes, in an important degree, from the strong attraction exerted by the capital and the whole metropolitan area over the human resources and investments, which leaves especially the South part of the metropolitan region in a stage of underdevelopment, preserving its rural/agricultural profile. For the development in the next few years it will be important to know strengths and weaknesses of the region. We can highlight these strengths of Bucharest metropolitan area:

  • Macroeconomic stability of the region;
  • High number of workforce with good initial education;
  • High level of skilled IT workers;
  • Natural resources, energy sources;
  • Selected successful primary and manufacturing

On the contrary, in this region, but also throughout Romania, the weaknesses still dominate. We can mention some of them:

  • Excessive concentration of the low-value-added sectors;
  • Low level of research, development and innovation and their weak links with market needs;
  • Poor access to business finance;
  • Low level of sophistication of consumer markets;
  • High energy intensity;
  • Old technology and high cost of non-working inputs;
  • Poor environmental management;
  • Poor infrastructure of tourism and

There is also an increased chance to drawing the European money and creating of new projects with the entry of the country into the European Union. It is related to the development of new opportunities for whole country and for Bucharest’s region too. To this group, we can include new sources of investments; new tourist destinations; distribution of gas, oil or renewable resources; implementation of new public procurement legislation; privatization of markets and modernization of business models; development of business infrastructure; agricultural rationalization and modernization; modernization of key urban centres or quick adoption of changes. However, it does not have to miss even the threats. There are several obstacles that could slow down the positive direction. For example – increased exposure on globalized markets; a long period of stagnation or a possible economic downturn at European and global level; migration of existing industries abroad to reduce costs; strengthening the position and image of a low-value economy; migration of more educated workers or climate change and degradation of the natural environment.


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Tribunale Bologna 24.07.2007,
n.7770 - ISSN 2239-7752

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