CEFIDEC is the Carpathian Development Training Center of the Agency for the Romanian Mountain Areas, a government agency which is part of the Ministry of Agriculture. In Romania, 30% of the surface area is in mountain areas. Mountains are home to more than 3 million people, divided into 27 departments.
CEFIDEC has been a member of Euromontana since 1998. We met Danut Gitan, Director of CEFIDEC, to discover more about their work and the preparation of the 2018 European Mountain Convention, which will be held in Vatra Dornei in Romania from 25 to 27 to September 2018.
Euromontana: What are the CEFIDEC’s main projects in the Carpathian region?
Danut: “We are currently working on the introduction of the optional quality term for mountain products in Romania. We are trying to transpose European legislation into Romanian legislation. To do this, we visited each department during the past 6 to 7 months to explain this new instrument. Today, we are at the beginning of the process. We have set up a national register of mountain products where all mountain products of producers who have applied for and obtained the right to use the optional mention are registered. Since then, the indication “Produs montan” and the reference attributed in the national register is mentioned on each product. It’s a way for consumers to check the quality of mountain products.”
Why did you join Euromontana almost 20 years ago?
“When CEFIDEC joined Euromontana in 1998, Romania had just come out of the communist regime where mountain areas did not have a great opportunity to be heard. To us, Euromontana could bring us experience and allow us to get in touch with other European associations. It was necessary especially at that time, because Romania was not yet a member of the EU, so we needed to learn the “know-how”.”
Could you give us some examples of what the Euromontana network brings to you?
« Without a doubt, Euromontana’s main attractiveness, for the CEFIDEC, is the possibility of exchanging with other members and creating projects together. Romanian members have already participated in projects with other members of Euromontana, projects funded by Swiss or Norwegian funds.
Euromontana provides the ideal framework for launching joint actions, mobilizing European and national policy-makers to promote coherent policies for mountains. ”
A few words on the next European Mountain Convention (EMC) that you are organising in 2018?
“We are happy to host the next EMC in Romania. Indeed, in Romania there is a very large mountain area and many people still live in the mountains. We hope to fight against the depopulation of these mountain areas, which is why the theme of enhancing cultural heritage appeals to us; we have many monasteries that are part of UNESCO’s heritage sites, we have a very diversified population and an important mixture of cultures. We are convinced that we must maintain this valuable resource. 2018 is the International Year of Cultural Heritage, so it’s the perfect timing. You will have the opportunity to witness this wealth during several study visits that will be organised during the EMC, and to play an active role for the development of mountains.”
« The next Convention will focus on how to valorise the richness of cultural heritage for the future development of mountain areas in Romania and Europe. »
This interview was produced by Euromontana secretariat in November 201727 June 2018