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May 17, 2022

PM proposes creation of European Funds Ministry in future USL government

The new ministry would have direct prerogatives in coordinating management authorities, a single institution in this domain set to exist after January 2014.

Premier Victor Ponta pointed out that European Affairs Minister Leonard Orban is preparing to “occupy an important office” at EU level. He reminded that management authorities are currently subordinated to several ministries. Vasile Puscas, Romania’s former chief-negotiator with the EU, considers that Premier Victor Ponta’s proposal to set up a European funds ministry “seems rather an excuse for what hasn’t been done” and a change that “doesn’t look like a solution at all.” In a statement for Mediafax, Puscas underlined that he does not see the point of a new European funds ministry since the current European Affairs Ministry has prerogatives in what concerns the management of EU funds. The Premier pointed out in a press conference yesterday that Romania “will definitely suffer” as a result of the defective way in which certain programmes were implemented from 2007 to November 2011, including through financial corrections. “The biggest disaster in the absorption of European funds was caused by ANRMAP in 2009-2011, by those that manage public procurements. There was a lady in charge there who was a catastrophe and basically all the projects that went through ANRMAP are considered by both the national and European audit authority as being completely unsatisfactory. ANRMAP was in fact a legal counseling firm for whoever wanted to access funds, that’s how ANRMAP behaved until May 7,” the Prime Minister accused. The Premier pointed out that the government has made the proper notices and expressed his conviction that at one point “DNA will have the time to study these things.”Ponta also stated that procedures were modified when it comes to public procurements and the Romanian authorities are currently negotiating with the European Commission the corrections and how much the potential sanctions for the programmes implemented until November 2011 can be reduced, the programmes implemented in 2012 having no problems.The Premier also announced that the government will set up a working group for the negotiation of funds earmarked for Romania in the EU 2014-2020 budget, but although the final decision on the budget will be taken during the extraordinary European Council meeting on November 22-23, which President Basescu will attend, the government will not collaborate with the presidency because “the Romanian President has no kind of constitutional prerogative in the budget domain.”He also added that in October he will take part in a new meeting of the Prime Ministers of countries that benefit from structural and cohesion funds, a meeting which the President of the European Commission will try to attend too.According to official sources quoted by Mediafax, the EC will lower, through financial corrections, the funds put at Romania’s disposal for regional, environment, transportation and competitiveness programmes because of the irregularities discovered in public procurements. After July 1 Romania no longer sent to the European Commission reimbursement requests for these four operational programmes, the EC analyzing during this period whether the Romanian authorities respected the conditions established at the end of last year.

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