Although many children in Romania are still living in institutions, the number of adoptions remains low despite efforts to make legislation in this area more flexible. Quite apart from the extremely complex nature of the actual adoption procedure, major difficulties arise before it can even commence, since very few children actually ‘qualify’ for adoption. Under the current rules, the ultimate objective for each child is either reintegration into his or her natural family or adoption. This is the ideal solution in theory but impossible in practice. Lack of staff, indifference, prejudice, legislative obstacles and the lack of juvenile courts are adduced as the reasons for children remaining in the system until they reach adulthood, without even a chance of qualifying for adoption, despite the fact that everybody, regardless of age, health or ethnicity is, in theory at least, entitled to a family.

What instruments are available to the Commission to simplify adoption laws in the Member States?