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March 29, 2023

PM Boc: Funds reimbursed by EC at low level, money may be lost

The funds reimbursed by the EC remained at a low level of just EUR 700 M last year, so that there is a major risk of losing them unless the absorption rhythm is improved this year, Premier Emil Boc stated yesterday during a government meeting that focused on the absorption of European funds. “I don’t want zeal in setting the quarterly absorption targets, I want responsibility,” Boc said.

According to the data presented by the Premier, the projects supported with structural and cohesion funds as well as national co-financing, projects that have been contracted and are in process of being implemented, totaled EUR 19.8 bln (64 per cent of the total) at the end of last year, while payments to beneficiaries totaled EUR 3 bln (14.85 per cent). The data that the authorities announced at the end of last year pointed to the same situation, namely the fact that the intermediary payments reimbursed by the European Commission by November 30, 2011, totaled approximately EUR 716 M, which corresponds to an absorption rate of 3.72 per cent of the total funds earmarked for Romania in the 2007-2013 interval.  He reiterated that the government recently decided that management authorities will have to verify the reimbursement requests within a 45-day deadline, before the requests are forwarded to the European Commission, and warned that delays were registered in the case of intermediary bodies for competitiveness programmes, with complaints in particular in what concerns SMEs, energy and human resources sectors, the development of administrative capacity, where existing problems affect even the functioning of Ministries and the applying of important laws, such as the education law, and partially regional development. The Premier also mentioned the intermediary bodies subordinated to the Ministry of Communications.

The setting up of the Ministry for European Affairs, with the ruling coalition’s support, was the right decision the Prime Minister pointed out, adding that Minister Leonard Orban played a decisive role in the EU’s resumption of payments. Until January 16, Orban will evaluate the situation of each Ministry and management authority in order to ascertain where supplementary personnel is needed in order to implement EU projects.

In order to avoid a new suspension of payments, the Premier informed the EC that existing problems in implementing public procurements will be solved.

This year the government plans to tap approximately EUR 6 bln in European funds, representing an absorption rate of 20 per cent.

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