Romania sent to the European Commission (EC) payment demands worth EUR 187 M for the Operational Sectorial Programme (POS) Environment, which was unblocked in November, the Romanian minister of Environment, Rovana Plumb announced Monday in Brussels, after the meeting of the ENVI Council, capital.ro reports, quoting Agerpres. “Around December 19, Romania will receive EUR 107 M and, by the end of the year, we will receive from the EC an additional sum of approximately EUR 49 M. This is because we have a very good partnership with the EC. We have a very competent team at the management authority and we were the first that were able to resume payments after a 6-month stagnation,” Rovana Plumb mentioned. She added that the interruption of payments for the POS Environment programme should be blamed on the Boc government, which “knew since December 2011 that all POS are under scrutiny by the EC and these pre-suspensions would occur.”Rovana Plumb added that the payment demands most likely to be honoured, which were sent during the eight months since she became minister of Environment and Forest represent for more than half of the entire sum paid by the EC to Romania during 2007 – May 2012.“Between 2007 and 7 May 2012, regardless of the date when the operationalisation of this POS Environment started, EUR 335 M have been drawn from the EC. Between 7 May 2012 and now we are certainly drawing (money) from the EC; now, December 17, we are drawing EUR 160 M and we could draw EUR 27 M more by December 31,” the minister added.As for the issues identified by the audit authority in the POS Environment programme, these “mainly regard the way projects were auctioned, the criteria provided by task books, which the auditing authority often identified as being subjective.” The conclusion of talks between the minister and fellow members of the Cabinet and of the letters sent by the EC is that “the main issue with all programmes is related to the public acquisitions system.”“We also have three files sent by the Department for Fight against Fraud with regard to the incompatibility criterion represented by the conflict of interests,” Rovana Plumb added.
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