Thursday, 19 October 2022, Emergency Government Ordinance 140/2022 regarding the single industrial licence (“EGO 140”) was published in the Official Gazette.
This ordinance implements the provisions National Plan for Reconstruction and Resilience on the reform of the industrial and manufacturing licenses in Romania.
The main goals are more than laudable as we talk about matters such as digitalisation, one stop shop, overall simplification of permitting process.
However, at a first glance, EGO 140/2022 is extremely unclear. We will try to provide below a brief description of the main matters.
What seems clear
- A new authority is established: the Office for the Industrial Licence (the “Office”).
- within 120 days, a new Government Decision should be enacted to regulate for the organisation and functioning of the Office.
- within 150 days, all relevant authorities should review their regulations and propose adequate legislative amendments.
- within maximum 180 days since submission of all documents, the Office shall issue the so called single industrial licenses which, in theory, should combine and replace a multitude of other acts.
Note: relevant authorities seem to be any and all authorities responsible with the issuance of permits/authorizations/licences in a broad range of industries including production, transport and distribution of electricity, production of oil or gas, mining, various manufacturing industries, etc.
- by the end of 2023, an online platform shall be established by the Office. Such platform should be the sole point of contact for industrial licenses.
What is unclear
- What is exactly the sole industrial license.
- In which phase a project is this license issued: prior to construction or during the operational phase.
- In other words, what is the correlation between the single industrial license and all existing permits/authorizations/licenses, especially considering such acts need to be issued at a very different point in time, i.e. there cannot be one single license governing an activity from the start of construction works, to the finalisation of such works and further on to operation.
Note 1: although the initial draft mentioned that it does not apply to building permits or environmental permits, the final version of EGO 140 mentions that its provisions shall apply for building permits and environmental permits issued after 1 January 2025. This would indicate that the sole industrial license is issued prior to construction and one initial question would be if a new license is issued for the operational phase or if the existing one is somehow renewed.
Note 2: in relation to the energy sector, ANRE is included as a relevant authority, but no other references are included. ANRE also issues licences and authorisations depending on the stage of the project and, as such, the above question raises again.
We do hope that the above will be clarified by the future enactments and we also expect for EGO 140/2022 to be properly amended.
Again, simplification and digitalisation are a must for the Romanian permitting process but if the legislation is not adequate it might very easily create the exact opposite effect.
To finish with a positive note, the Government seems to have at least one year to clarify matters.
Anca Mihăilescu, Mihăilescu Legal