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While President Traian Basescu was triumphantly announcing that Romania had obtained an 18 pc rise of budget in 2014-2020, Premier Victor Ponta declared himself ‘deeply disappointed’ in the outcome in Brussels.
President Traian Basescu announced from Brussels on Friday that Romania had obtained an increase by 18 per cent of its 2014-202 financial allocation compared to the previous period, being one of the few countries that had obtained a bigger budget. The total financial allocation for the 2007-2013 period is EUR 33.5 bn and the 18 per cent rise stands for a total allocation of EUR 39.5 bn for the next financial period.
‘The EU budget for 2007-2013 was EUR 994 bn. The 2014-2020 budget is EUR 960 bn. It is the first time in the EU history that the budget decreases. Under these conditions, the fact that Romania has obtained more by 18 per cent is a very positive thing and also the most important growth percentage obtained by one of the 28 states,’ Mediafax quotes Traian Basescu as having said. The president also noted that he had obtained ‘a range of facilities of interest to Romania,’ the most important one being that VAT was made eligible. ‘It means that, the highest Romania’s VAT is, the more money EU funds will bring to the national budget,’ Basescu said. ‘Evaluation shows that this new measure will bring about EUR 2 bn to Romanian state budget during the entire 2014-2020 financial period,’ he explained.
The head of state said negotiations had also been finalised regarding the rate of co-financing for the cohesion funds that was raised from the initially proposed 75 per cent to 85 per cent, ‘which takes off a lot of the pressure from the state budget.’
‘An equally important thing is the pre-financing, initially proposed to be 2 per cent, but eventually approved at 3 per cent of the project value in general and 4 per cent for the states that had an agreement with the IMF and the EU in 2010. Romania therefore falls under the 4 per cent category,’ said the president. Traian Basescu noted that a flexibility of CAP had also been obtained, meaning the possibility to transfer funds between Pillar I Rural Development and Pillar II Direct Payments up to 25 per cent of the allocation for the financial period’. ‘The sums may be spent in 10 years, we will not have disengagements of money during that period. As far as Romania is concerned, this lowers the risk of not spending the money from the EU to minimum,’ he also said.
The president noted that, for the Cohesion Policy, during the current financial period 2007-2013, Romania’s allocation was EUR 19.841 bn and EUR 21.825 bn for the 2014-2020 financial period. In 2007-2013, Romania’s allocation for the Common agricultural Policy was EUR 13.828 bn and EUR 17.516 bn in 2014-2020, standing for an increase with EUR 3.7 bn. He explained that, for the Rural Development, Romania had EUR 8.2 bn available and will have EUR 7.1 bn in 2014-2020, therefore a decrease of the rural development budget with EUR 1 bn. Basescu noted that, overall for PAC we had marked an increase by 27.1 per cent.
President Basescu said that, apart from the almost EUR 40 bn Romania had obtained in the negotiation of the 2014-2020 budget, at least EUR 4 bn could still be saved from disengagements during the 2007-2013 financial period thanks to concessions made by the European Council and EC.
The president said in Brussels Friday night, referring to the EU summit, that ‘it had been hard’, but he had liked it and he thought he and his accompanying team had done his duty.
Ponta: I am deeply disappointed
PM Victor Ponta told Mediafax he was deeply disappointed in the outcome of the EU financial allocation to Romania. ‘I am deeply disappointed in the final result which we are anyway presenting in a nicer packaging whilst in reality it is considerably worse than the EUR 48 bn initially proposed by the Commission and President Barroso. Romania has obtained EUR 39 bn, meaning it lost EUR 9 bn compared to the initial proposal and none of our special requests regarding the pre-financing – which was decreased from 7 per cent to 4 per cent – , rural development cofinancing – from 85 per cent was decreased to 75 per cent – and many other technicalities, in reality we have got nothing. Compared to November, Romania has not obtained one extra euro and no benefit. I believe this is an unfair allocation as far as Romania is concerned, it’s pointless to delude ourselves,’ Ponta said. ‘Anyway, we would like to present the figures, it’s a very poor, the poorest result we could have had, a big disappointment,’ Ponta said, indicating that figures were being presented as positive by President Basescu through ‘a PR trick’.
‘I consider that, again, we have received less money than we should have had, given the size of the territory and population of Romania. The legend of President Basescu as a great negotiator has just died today,’ Ponta added.
Ponta also said during a statement he made in turn, on Saturday, that Romania couldn’t use the veto in the European Council on its own when the 2014-2020 budget was approved, because President Basescu had removed the country from the ‘Friends of Cohesion’ group and managed to come back with ‘nothing’ regarding budget allocations.
Basescu attack on Ponta
In a public statement he made yesterday afternoon, President Traian Basescu answered Victor Ponta’s criticism with an attack, showing ho hesitation to call him ‘the national disappointed’ and say that ‘all those disappointed would have barely obtained money to pay for their plane fare back home’.
‘Those gentlemen who are voicing their disappointment should first of all make efforts to spend the money so that we can demonstrate that we can spend it,’ the president accused, speaking of ‘blokes who have never negotiated anything but party positions in their entire lives’. ‘Their lack of experience is easily visible in how the agreement with the Fund (IMF) was negotiated. I am urging them not to teach lessons,’ Basescu said. ‘If there are disappointed politicians in Romania, my recommendation to them is to instruct their respective groups in Parliament to obtain higher amounts,’ he added. The president said that, after his return from Brussels, he had not seen PM Victor Ponta, ‘the national disappointed’, on the result obtained for the 2014-2020 EU financial period, as he has been in Italy ‘taking care of Berlusconi’. Basescu pointed out he could apply the equivalent treatment and return the budget law back to the pm.
The head of state called on Romanian MEPs to support without reserves the EU budget in the European Parliament as it had been decided by the European Council, stressing that it was the first time the EU budget did not stay as the Council established it.
Traian Basescu said Romania had obtained the maximum possible in Cohesion allocations from the 2014-2020 EU budget, that ‘it is not easy to obtain something while home realities contradict you’. He further noted that there had been ‘enormous difficulties in convincing that we can spend two billion more, because of the very low spending rate in the last five years, since the beginning of the current financial period’. Basescu emphasised that Romania would benefit from an additional EUR 6 bn during the 2014-2020 financial period compared to the previous one, representing a 10 per cent increase in cohesion funds and 27 per cent for the Common Agricultural Policy. Basescu also stressed the budget proposed by the European Commission last year, according to which Romania would have got EUR 48 bn, had never been addressed by the European Council.