The Institute of Public Policies (IPP) has criticised the low absorption rate of structural funds, inefficient spending and lack of transparency shown by management authorities. “The absorption rate is very low, very little money is spent by beneficiaries. We are far behind Bulgaria and the gap is quite wide between the figures circulated publicly and the reality on the ground in a great number of cases,” say the authors of the study “Structural funds, from development opportunities to plunder budget,” published yesterday. The Institute states that hardly 7.37 per cent have effectively been spent this year of all the funds available. Also, the IPP accused that the administrative apparatus of the institutions set up to coordinate and implement structural fund projects is “bloated, a consumer of financial resources from European funds, the technical assistance to such institutions amounting to EUR 450 bln, “with the greatest portion of the money being used to externalize almost all the tasks to other companies or to pay the staff,” with law writing projects accessed by the Ministry of Administration and Interior a case in point.
According to the survey on the drawing of EU funds per regions, Bucharest-Ilfov stands at the bottom of the list, with only 70 projects totalling a paltry RON 346 M. At the opposite end, the North-East region, with 235 projects worth RON 1.940 bln. County wise, Iasi tops the list, RON 500 M, and Ialomita, lays at the bottom of the list, RON 55 M. There are 17 counties – Arad, Bacau, Bihor, Calarasi, Caras Severin, Galati, Giurgiu, Ialomita, Ilfov, Maramures, Mures, Satu Mare, Sibiu, Salaj, Tulcea, Vrancea and Bucharest – that have so far failed to win even a single integrated urban development project.
At the same time, the survey quantified the amount of structural funds drawn by each party. Thus, IPP says that PDL and PSD (more precisely the local and County Councils controlled by PDL and PSD) have won most Sectoral Operational Programme for Human Resources Development projects. Thus, the Democrat-Liberals won 13 projects totalling EUR 10.6 M, the Social-Democrats won 12 projects that total approximately EUR 4.5 M, while the Liberals won only 6 projects, totalling approximately EUR 2.3 M. Approximately EUR 3.4 bln are earmarked for this operational programme for 2007-2013, with only 19.1 per cent of those funds being spent until now.
PDL won most Regional Operational Programme projects – namely 271 projects totalling approximately EUR 1.37 bln. On the other hand, PSD won most Operational Programme for Administrative Capacity Development projects – namely 69 projects totalling EUR 8.5 M.