Romania has over EUR 5 billion within the Large Infrastructure Programme, and yet to efficiently absorb this sum of money it needs a down-to-earth planning, a thorough preparation and an efficient implementation of the transport projects, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu said in Brussels on Wednesday, when meeting Romanian Transport Minister Felix Stroe.
“In his capacity of former managing director of the Water Company Constanta, Mr. Stroe was very efficient in using the EU funds and understands the importance of certain well prepared projects. Hence, I hope the until now delay in preparing and implementing the new transport projects is recovered,” Corina Cretu said.
Cretu stressed the necessity that the Transport Ministry has the leading role in the management of the parties involved in the projects. The contract litigations between contractors and major transport beneficiaries, such as the CNAIR (National Road Infrastructure Administration Company, ed. n.) and CFR (Romanian Railways, ed. n.), have led to delays in implementing the projects.
Currently, the Romanian authorities collaborate with international experts to draft a new standard contract, with arbitration clauses for conflict resolution, instead of resorting to ordinary courts, a step that would ease and speed up the implementation of the transport projects with both European and national funding.
The EC official appreciated the Romanian authorities’ acceleration of the preparation of the large projects, such as the Gurasada-Simeria railway segment and the Campia Turzii-Targu Mures and Sebes-Turda motorway segments, that are to be sent to be approved by the European Commission by year-end.
Corina Cretu also appreciated the progress accomplished by the relevant authorities of Romania as regards the fulfillment of the transport investments’ relevant preconditions, in particular the closing of the performance contracts with the transport major suppliers and the beneficiaries – CNAIR, CFR and Metrorex (the Bucharest underground, ed. n.) – and the setting up of the Railway Reform Authority.
“It is very important for Romania’s transport sector’s sustainability that the reform and reorganisation process in the railway and road sectors continues and it is sped up. The Romanian citizens should have access to better roads, railway services and other public transportation, and as soon as possible,” Cretu said.
Commissioner Corina Cretu received on Wednesday in Brussels Transport Minister Felix Stroe to address the transport projects and the proposals within the 2014-2020 Large Infrastructure Operational Programme (POIM), co-financed through the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund.