Following the recent meeting in Brussels of the Commissioner for Regional Policies Johannes Hahn with the Romanian Minister of Regional Development and Tourism, Elena Udrea, and the Transport Minister, Anca Boagiu, the European Commission offered to dispatch to Bucharest experts to help us in drawing up a plan to put to use EU funds. “I proposed appointing someone in the Government to be exclusively in charge of European funds. People from other countries have got the expertise, and appointing someone who’s got the know-how pays off,” Hahn stated, quoted by “Adevarul”. “If we can do a better job with EC experts, we are ready to collaborate with them and welcome them in our team as soon as possible,” Udrea stated, in turn, according to the same source. Other recommendations by the Commission refer to acquisition procedures, which need to be standardised as well, rather than be conducted as every local administration sees fit. “The Regional Development Ministry proposed the standardisation of these procedures to the National Authority for the Regulation and Monitoring of Pubic Acquisitions. This is a very difficult task, especially at the level of regional projects, to be able to implement regulations in a fair and unified manner and to conduct acquisitions properly. The local authorities do not have the needed expertise in organizing bids,” Udrea argued.
It is yet to be seen how the EC’s offer to provide us with experts in the absorption of European funds will be materialized. On the other hand, MEPs accused Romania, in the latest session of the EP’s Regional Development Committee, of not having sufficient specialists involved in the absorption of regional funds because these migrate from the public sector to the private one. Furthermore, MEPs asked for evidence of Romania’s use of these funds.
“When our countries ask us why we give away funds to be used in 2014, we have to be able to prove that the funds we allot are really put to use. If we ask for money for the future, we have to prove that it is in our best interest to spend what we’ve got now. I’m looking forward to an explanation regarding the low absorption of EU funds by Romania,” Dutch MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij (EPP) stated, quoted by the aforementioned paper.