The European Affairs Ministry received on Monday evening an official letter from the European Commission, informing it of the interruption of payments for the payment requests filed as part of the Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development (POSDRU), newly appointed government spokesperson Dan Suciu stated, Mediafax informs. “It’s not a surprise, Minister Orban had announced this,” Suciu said. He pointed out that from February 29 to March 2 an EC delegation will analyze the situation and the reason why the initial recommendations were not implemented. The result will be sent to Brussels and the government hopes the situation will be remedied by the end of March. The government official gave assurances that the state budget can continue to finance the projects. Asked whether the decision will affect the economy, Suciu pointed out that if the interruption remains in force only until the end of March “the effect will be nil.” “If the period is so short, around three weeks, there will be absolutely no problem from any point of view, neither for those operating the projects nor for the economy. Their share is not spectacular at the current moment anyway, unfortunately, if only we had more funds to really interrupt,” Suciu said. USL MPs will file a simple motion against Minister Leonard Orban next week within the Lower Chamber, on account of the European funds issue.
Orban: fingers were pointed at me but maeur’s responsibility is “practically minimal”
Also yesterday, Minister of European Affairs Leonard Orban stated that his responsibility and the responsibility of the Ministry of European Affairs (MAEur) are “practically minimal.” “Fingers were pointed at me. Ever since I took over this office (of Minister – editor’s note) I stated I will do everything possible to set the ball rolling within our limits. Because we have limits,” Orban stated at the end of a hearing that the Senate’s European Affairs Commission organized on the POSDRU issue. The new leadership of POSDRU’s Management Authority was present at the hearing too. Orban underlined that the responsibility belongs to the Management Authority. He underlined that in 2014-2020 the operational programmes’ management authorities will have to be accredited under MAEur control in order to avoid any other similar problems. During the hearing he pointed out that the government’s goal is the resumption of payments within POSDRU by the end of March and that the projects’ beneficiaries will not be affected because the Romanian side will make the payments during this period of interruption.
POSDRU beneficiaries to declare on their own liability that they haven’t offered bribes
Likewise, all beneficiaries of POSDRU projects have to declare on their own liability that they have not offered any bribes to any public servant employed within the POSDRU Management Authority (AM) and Regional Intermediary Bodies (OIR) in order to file the projects and have their reimbursement requests processed, the Labour Ministry informed. The institution has taken several measures in order to remedy the problems discovered within POSDRU. Likewise, the Ministry announced that the “unique registry for reimbursement and pre-financing requests” domain will be introduced on the www.fseromania.ro website in 45 days’ time. At the same time, starting on March 1, the POSDRU AM and OIR will have to offer audiences every Thursday at noon. Their help desks will become operational on the same day. “Labour Minister Claudia Boghicevici has asked POSDRU AM General Manager Carmen Rosu for simpler procedures for the beneficiaries, a better monitoring of projects, the filling up of the personnel scheme and the speeding up of projects. A pro-active attitude, transparency and efficiency are essential in the relationship with applicants and project beneficiaries,” the communiqué reads. The Labour Ministry points out that the interruption of payments is a usual short-term procedure, a precaution taken by the European Commission, a measure that is lifted once the member state corrects the deficiencies. The suspension of payments entails the blocking of the whole programme. “At this moment POSDRU AM is making payments from the state budget and the project selection is progressing normally. The leadership of POSDRU AM is exerting efforts in order to implement all recommendations by mid-March so that the European Commission will resume reimbursements.”