The European Commission and intercountry adoption from Romania

1 February 2013

The EU and International Adoption from Romania

Ingi Iusmen*

+ Author Affiliations

*Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK


The European Union (EU) has applied an anti-inter-country adoption (ICA) policy in Romania as part of EU accession conditionality, while after 2007 the EU promoted a pro-ICA approach. Romania had to overhaul its child protection system and ban ICA before it could become an EU member, while its current legislation maintains the ban on ICA. However, since 2007 the EU has been demanding that Romanian authorities resume ICA from Romania. This article examines the factors and processes which shaped the EU’s ‘chameleonic’ policy on ICA in relation to Romania. The child protection system in Romania still faces significant shortcomings. However, it is shown that the EU’s embrace of a pro-ICA policy after 2007 does not constitute a response to the problems faced by child protection in Romania. On the contrary, the EU’s plea for the liberalization of ICA from Romania is the outcome of a combination of endogenous factors, such as the EU’s own embrace of a children’s rights policy and its biased interpretation of key international instruments on ICA and child rights, and exogenous factors, such as adoption lobbies, which succeeded in getting their grievances onto the agenda of EU institutions.

© The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: