The simplification of procedures for the processing of refund applications regarding European funds proposed by the Ministry of European Affairs was analysed during the Government meeting yesterday, PM Victor Ponta said. According to Leonard Orban, the Minister of European Affairs, the simplification of procedures has to be discussed both from the point of view of the structures that are involved, and supporting beneficiaries, who should have to submit less paperwork in order to obtain the due refunds. ‘Before not long ago, there was a backlog of thousands of refund applications, but, after sustained efforts, their number decreased to just a few hundred at present,’ the minister said at the conference ‘European funds. A chance to our economy,’ evz.ro informs. According to him, ‘we will however need to show the European Union that the domestic management and control system works well and that the EU budget is not in jeopardy. At this point, we are complying with the EU calendar, but we will need to find a solution regarding the Operational Programme for the Development of Human Resources (POSDRU) in order to mitigate and even remove the issues that have come up. The minister of European affairs also noted that, since 2007, Romania had received EUR 13 bln from the EU and contributed EUR 7 bln to the EU budget. ‘The EUR 13 bln have targeted three distinct areas: the post-accession funds, the pre-accession funds as well as the process of refinancing. In what regards the first area, from the total envelope of EUR 35.4 bln, 25 per cent of the funds – EUR 8 bln – have been absorbed. The amounts have been mainly used for making direct payments and rural development,’ Orban also said. According to Orban, the way in which things will develop in the upcoming period is crucial for a success in what concerns the fulfilment of the aim of the Romanian economy with respect to the spending of available EU funding. The official stressed out the fact that the biggest risks coming from a possible reduction of the funds were about the cohesion policy. However, he hopes that, during the summit that will take place on Friday, a message will be sent to the EU referring to a significant allocation in the future budget of funds reserved for the cohesion policy. Minister Orban also emphasised the fact that the funds allocated for the 2014-2020 period would be spent under more difficult conditions compared to those applicable until now, because the requirements for obtaining them would be harsher. There is also a possibility that certain activities that can not be very well managed by the state authorities to be outsourced in the future.