Oradea Metropolitan Area was founded by the association of the Oradea municipality with the administrative territorial units surrounding it, namely the local authorities of Biharia, Bors, Cetariu, Nojorid, Osorhei, Paleu, Sînmartin, Sîntandrei. Therefore the 9 founding members, located on the western border of Romania set, through the general’s assembly decision, on the 9th of May 2005 the first intercommunity development Association legally established, in a form of Metropolitan Area was set in Romania.
On the 31st of July 2007, Girisu de Cris local authority adhered to the association thus increasing the number of members to 10 administrative units. Girisu de Cris local authority was divided, thus creating Toboliu local authority, increasing by one the number of members of the association.
As of the 2nd of June 2010, Oradea Metropolitan Area (OMA) has a number of 12 members, the general assembly adopting unanimously the membership of Ineu, giving it full rights amongst the other associates.
The common goal of the associates, according to the constitutive documents, is to stimulate and support the growth and prosperity of the area, improvement in life standards among the inhabitants, having as guide the goal to continuously improve the overall quality of life.
The overall objective underlines the sustainable development of the metropolitan territory, envisioning the creation of a common urban space of the 9 founding members, following all the necessary principles for insuring a coagulated territorial cohesion. The set specific objectives are related to aligning Oradea Metropolitan Area to the Euro-Atlantic economic and social standards, according to the national ones, by the alignment of the metropolitan market climate to the international competition procedures, and last but not least to insure the socio-economic growth of the area. Among the main activity direction of the association, key elements such as, promoting a coherent sustainable development strategy, promotion of public policies that support the continuous growth of added value, attracting, facilitating and supporting direct investments that have a major impact on the sustainability of the area, are core priorities for the local authorities, to which a number of consideration can be added, that refer to the viability of a major polycentric cross-border position.
The development strategy of Oradea Metropolitan Area is done within the project “Local development strategies in Oradea Metropolitan Area” implemented by the association and co-financed by the European Social Fund through the Regional Operational Programme for Developing the Administration’s Capacity, SMIS code 13072. The general objective of the project is to overall improve the capacity of the local administrations within Oradea Metropolitan Area. Throughout the implementation process of the project the persuaded goal is to improve the capacity of local authorities to formulate and create public policies and to update their own local development strategies.
The project budget is of 653.100 lei, with an implementing period of 18 months. The target group of the project is formed by the employees of each local administration forming Oradea Metropolitan Area. The results of the project focus on (1) training a number of 40 public clerks from each member of OMA and (2) the creation of 12 updated local development strategies and one document that combines all of them (the strategy of the Oradea Metropolitan Area), creating and including a Good Governance Charta in these strategic documents, translating them into English and printing all the strategic documents.
The general objective of the sustainable development strategies is to improve life standards by exploiting the existing resources and promoting the potential of the subjected administrative territorial unit. In order to reach this objective, a through and realistic analysis of the current situation must be made within the local administrative territorial units, the Metropolitan Area as a whole, in correlation to the situations of the Bihor county and the North-West Development Region, thus identifying the existing problems, measures needed to be adopted and outlining the strategic profile.
The associates agree upon the fact that they can delegate to the technical and operational apparatus of the Association, coordinated by the Association's Board of Directors, certain competences connected to:
(1) Bringing to date the Economic Development Strategy of Oradea Metropolitan Area
The continuous adaptation and updating of the Economic Development Strategy of Oradea Metropolitan Area, taking into account the demographic, economic and cultural local evolution as well as the international, national and regional macro-economic contexts.
(2) Land planning
Supporting the activities of the municipality and county chief-architect, so as to harmonize the urban plans (PUG, PUZ, PUD*) of the targeted area, taking into account the economic development strategy of Oradea Metropolitan Area;
Initiating and making spatial territorial plans of shared interest.
(3) Promoting Oradea Metropolitan Area
Creating a brand concept for Oradea Metropolitan Area and promoting it on the market by following coherent and viable plan, which would lead to the implementation of actions attracting private investments – primarily foreign direct ones – either directly or by means of subcontracted services; later on, the Association would transfer the management of the attracted investments to the member administrative units, depending on the case.
(4) Public services and utilities
Elaborating the necessary studies for grant proposals for the rehabilitation and modernization of urban and rural infrastructure items that are needed to support economic development: water supply, sewage and water treatment systems, waste, thermal energy and others.
Organizing the metropolitan transportation system for the area and its public services, which should all be transferred to the territorial-administrative units members of the association, from case to case.
(5) Management of funding for development projects
Programs and projects of impact to the area, that benefit from international funding or co-funding;
Programs and projects done by means of the member territorial-administrative units' own funds;
Subventions and contributions from members for supporting Oradea Metropolitan Area's activities.
(6) Representing Oradea Metropolitan Area
Representing Oradea Metropolitan Area as a shared economic and urban spatial development area, for purposes of general interest to the Area.
(7) Other competences
These will be established based on the approval of the General Assembly or the Board of Directors, depending on the case.
The Municipality of Oradea, which is the nucleus of Oradea Metropolitan Area, is the tenth largest city in Romania, with a population of 204.6 thousand Inhabitants (1 July 2010). During the last 20 years, Oradea has maintained its leading position in the national hierarcy of largest cities, although its demographic decline was as high as 10.6%. Cities with a similar number of inhabitats are Ploieşti (227.2 thousand inhab.) and Brăila (210,2 thousand inhab.).
Oradea Metropolitan Area is the first of Romania's 12 metropolitan areas that had a juridical status. By the total number of inhabitants on the metropolitan territory, 251 570 inhabitants, Oradea Metropolitan Area takes the ninth place, after Ploiești Metropolitan Area and ranking higher than the urban sprawls built around the municipalities of Târgu Mureș, Baia Mare and Bacău. By its Association for Intercommunity Development, Oradea Metropolitan Area is a founding member of the Metropolitan Areas and Urban Agglomerations Federation in Romania, whose members are the metropolitan areas of Bacău, Braşov, Constanţa, Cluj, Iaşi, Oradea, Tg Mureş, Timişoara and Baia Mare Urban System.
The largest metropolitan areas in Europe are the ones around London (12.3 mil. inhabitants), Paris (11.5 mil. inhabitants), Istanbul (11 mil. inhabitants) and Madrid (6.3 mil. inhabitants).
The largest metropolitan areas in the European region that Oradea belongs to – found at the confluence of Central Europe with Eastern and South-Eastern Europe – are Budapest, Bucharest and Belgrade, all of them being also state capitals. Other important cities in relative closeness which developed metropolitan areas are Kosice (Slovakia), Cluj-Napoca, Timişoara, Braşov etc. The closest urban center is Debrecen, the second largest city in Hungary, with demographic dimensions similar to those of Oradea.
Other metropolitan areas in Europe that are similar in size with Oradea Metropolitan Areas are Uppsala (Sweden), Limoges (France), Munchengladbach (Germany), Heerlen (The Netherlands), Trier (Germany), Braga (Portugal), Trondheim (Norway), Trieste (Italy) and others.