Minister of European Affairs Leonard Orban told the government session Wednesday that suspension decisions are likely with respect to EU funded programs, after the European Commission evaluation over five of seven operational programs. ‘Audit missions were conducted during summer and we expect the results in September, or early October at the latest,’ said Leonard Orban, according to Money.ro, quoting Agerpres. Orban mentioned that the payment stoppage regarded the environment operational program, following an evaluation mission by the Romanian Audit Authority, which ascertained conflict of interests.
Also, according to Orban, the payments were interrupted to projects related to the national Company for Motorways and national Roads in Romania (CNADR). It all started from a fraud suspicion at the Arad-Nadlac Motorway stretch and consequent stop payment. Payment stoppage also applies to S&MEs part of the sectorial operational program increase of competitiveness, also following a fraud suspicion. ‘There have been made investigations and we are awaiting their result,’ the minister indicated, who added that, since late June, no disbursement applications have been sent to the EC, which led to the absorption rate staying put at 10 pc. Leonard Orban also said that Romania is negotiating with the EC a 25 pc disbursement correction.
In his turn, PM Victor Ponta said that the ‘mistakes in 2010 – 2011’ over EU fund management will have to be paid “at some point’. ‘I don’t care what others say on TV, strictly political, yet, I ask you to explain people what’s going on and to make efforts, not just government, but all the responsible people, to understands that at stake are things from the past which we need to improve only by working together,’ Ponta told Leonard Orban during the sesion. The premier also said he dealt with the EU funds issue ‘quite fairly and non-politically,’ yet, he has been under political attacks since the Social Liberal Union (USL) came to power over not a single euro being absorbed from those funds despite ‘figures showing an absorption rate 50 pc higher than last year’s’.