BUSINESS

EC slams Bucharest for poor absorption of structural funds

Bureaucracy and corruption reigning in the European funds-access system are well-known by the European Commission (EC) and risks faced by Romania are huge, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, stated, quoted by “Adevarul”. The Romanian official calls attention to the high risks Romania is facing on account of its poor absorption of European funds. A number of civil servants ask for bribes in exchange for a speedier solving of applications or recommend the services of particular consultancy firms, Ciolos added. The commissioner argues Romania risks becoming a net contributor to the European Union and that the low degree of funds absorbed could serve as an argument for countries which wish to limit the funds allotted.

When asked what Romania’s burden of responsibility was and what the Romanian central and local authorities could do, Ciolos pleaded for a change in the attitude towards the beneficiaries, who need support and a genuinely constructive attitude from the public servants entrusted with managing the funds. In his view, the beneficiaries need clarity, simple procedures, less red tape. According to the latter, it is essential that the legislative frame regarding public acquisition procedures should be better defined, as related legislation is modified often and becomes hard to understand, especially for the local authorities in small communities. Moving on to another topic, nearly 780,000 applications for aid per surface were filed at the Romanian Payment and Intervention Agency for Agriculture (APIA) between March 1 and April 30, 2011, for a total surface of approx. 4.5 million hectares. At the same time, the president of the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), Emil Boc, stated, yesterday, that the coalition had addressed the motion on agriculture filed by the opposition and problems in this sector. Agriculture Minister Valeriu Tabara, said yesterday at the motion debate in Senate, that the problems in this area are accumulated over 20 years, PSD and PNL governments having no solutions.

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