Commisioner Cretu in Bucharest: More political stability would be more beneficial. Investment agreements worth 1.23 billion lei from European funds were signed on Monday at the Gov’t seat

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It is important that Romania’s economic growth be maintained, on Monday said the visiting European Commissioner Corina Cretu at the Gov’t seat, adding that “more political stability would be more beneficial.”

“Congratulations (…) because, with all this slow beat the financial exercise has kicked off, there, we could say that all the objectives the Government of Romania has proposed to accomplish, are attained. (…) The forecast for the next year, if keeping the pace, I’m positive they will be reached. Important is to maintain this economic growth, the highest in the European Union. Perhaps more stability would be more beneficial,” said Corina Cretu at the signing ceremony of the financing contracts submitted to two priority axes, within the POR (Regional Operational Programme, ed. n.) 2014 – 2020 and POIM (Large Infrastructure Operational Programme, ed. n.).

According to Cretu, investments worth over EUR 280 million (1.23 billion lei)  were signed during the ceremony.

“We are on the right track. Not only that we have not zero absorption anymore, but the forecast some of us didn’t believe happen, came true. As many as EUR 4.3 billion has been swallowed by the economy in Romania, from all of the six funds, ever since August, from the moment the management and control bodies were accredited,” Corina Cretu said.

“We have an approximately 90pct absorption rate for the 2007-2013 budget, with 100pct to the competitiveness projects and 93pct to the regional development projects. Unfortunately, most of the losses are recorded by the transport field for the 2007-2013 period. I hope this will be a lesson to us all. From the allocations of 2007-2013, EUR 800 million is totally lost, whilst EUR 2.8 billion has been rescheduled for the 2014-2020 period, so we could go on with the works that were not completed in 2007-2013, although the Romanian authorities had committed to finalise them. That’s why we hope dearly in this field,” Corina Cretu said.

Moreover, the EU commissioner announced the launch of a platform for the yielding coal regions.

 

“Reducing bureaucracy is a top priority for Romania”

 

Reducing bureaucracy is a top priority in Romania, said European Commissioner Corina Cretu on Monday at the Victoria Governmental Palace, adding that many times she felt horrified by what she saw in Romania in terms of bureaucracy.

“I believe that Romania complicates its own existence when it comes to procedures. (…) Simplification is one of the top priorities of my mandate. (…) What I saw in Romania many times, in terms of bureaucracy, horrified me, for these are not requirements of the European Union. We already receive online all applications in many countries, without the need of tens of stamped and signed pages, and Romania needs to get there too. Therefore, in our opinion, reducing bureaucracy is a top priority,” stated Corina Cretu at the signing ceremony of the funding agreements submitted on two priority axes, under the Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020 and the Large Infrastructure Operational Programme.

She specified that there is need of a simplification of the procedures in line with the European norms.

“Starting next year, with January actually, you will be able to use what we call omnibus regulations changes, which will give you the possibility of using global estimates when it comes to rentals, employees and so on, which will facilitate the combination of funds. What it important is that you, as beneficiaries, together with the national and local authorities, with a legislation that will transpose these changes in the European legislation, simplify the procedures according to the European norms,” said Corina Cretu.

The European Commissioner specified this in the context in which, for the event that took place at Victoria Palace, the head of the Bistrita-Nasaud County Council, Radu Moldovan, asked for the support of PM Mihai Tudose to improve public procurement laws.

“If a public procurement procedure continues take up two years on average, as it happens right now – because of all those challenges on top of other challenges that the economic operators participating in this public procurement procedures, unfortunately, I believe that all the efforts you made so far, with the help of the European Commissioner, and the entire team, will be for nothing. (…) I know that you are working right now to update these laws, but please do it with celerity,” said Moldovan.

 

“Authorities are ready to intervene and save lives in case of catastrophe”

 

In case of a catastrophe, authorities are prepared to intervene and save lives, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu told a news conference occasioned by the “Multi-risk – Module I” project.

“I believe that is a very important signal for Romania’s citizens to know that, in case of a catastrophe, which, certainly, no one wants, authorities are prepared to intervene and save lives, and I am glad that our funds, of the European Union, participated in the reception of these high-quality equipment,” Corina Cretu stated.

She mentioned that the amounts which are earmarked to equip the Inspectorate General for Emergency Situations (IGSU) will increase in order to ensure an enhanced capacity to take quick actions.

“In the 2014-2020 period, based on the studies that were carried out, we realised that the amounts must be raised, basically there is an earmark of 135 million euro for the Priority Axis 5. (…) Unfortunately, over the past year we witness a multiplication of natural disasters, whether they be earthquakes, fires or other types. Including your unit had interventions ten times more than in the previous period, over the past years, this is why I believe that it’s important to earmark this money and, indeed, there is this request to contribute with another 600 million euro for a greater support for the IGSU, which will be shared for land, sea and air interventions, and for equipment,” Corina Cretu also pointed out.

The European Commissioner said she wishes that, in parallel with the purchase of equipment, a personnel training be made, because having a high-quality equipment also needs qualified personnel.

Chief of the Department for Emergency Situations (DSU) Raed Arafat presented to the European Commissioner the new equipment which arrived for the “Multi-risk – Module I” project.

“By the end of this year, we will be getting close to the 100 million euro actually spent and, for a part of them, we have already sent the refund requests. Out of the 600 million euro that have been discussed with the Prime Minister (…) I can say that a part of the equipment is staring to arrive, we have there 106 million euro already contracted,” Raed Arafat added.