The European Council summit was unsuccessful, the leaders of the member states failing to reach a consensus on the allocations for the EU’s 2014-2020 budget. The next Council summit on this issue is expected to be scheduled early next year, in January-February. During a press conference that followed the summit President Traian Basescu presented the main agreements reached. Thus, Basescu stated that at this point it is known for sure that the European Commission’s initial proposal for the EU’s 2014-2020 budget will be cut by EUR 100 bln. He added that “indeed, an agreement on the EU’s 2014-2020 budget has not been reached but progress has definitely been made.” The President added that during the negotiations the co-financing of projects was brought back up from 75 per cent to 85 per cent and it was accepted that the pre-financing will stand at 4 per cent, pointing out that what was agreed will remain in force even though an agreement on the budget was not reached. “At the same time, at least from our point of view, the goal was to relax the accessing criteria. The document that was circulated yesterday night, and that is the result of both inter-state negotiations and of negotiations between each state and Council President Van Rompuy and European Commission President Mr. Barroso, reflects these negotiations, these discussions. For Romania the criterion for accessing European funds was very important,” the President pointed out.“The problem that we always had was the lack of local capital, which was a criterion for co-financing. In recent years this problem has been heard much less because Romania obtained all kinds of derogations when it comes to lowering her own contribution in using European funds. For us it became essential first of all to ensure the national co-financing criteria. I would like to remind you that in 2011 and 2010 too, after we entered a strong budget restructuring process, that process that started in May 2010, we always obtained some wavers, such as including the VAT within the eligible expenditures, co-financing up to 95 per cent with European funds by making a top-up of 10 per cent above the 85 per cent we already had. The pre-financing grew from 6 per cent to 9 per cent for Romania. All these things allowed us to have in the budget the money needed to co-finance European projects,” Basescu explained. He added that he knows for certain that at this moment the 2014-2020 budget features a hike of at least EUR 5 bln in direct payments for Romanian farmers. “So we add another EUR 5 bln to the EUR 5.5 bln already existing,” Basescu stated. He estimated that the subsidy for Romanian farmers could reach EUR 190-200 per hectare in 2020, up from its current level of EUR 117. The Head of State added that Romania will weather off the effect of the EU budget cut, stating that he is “more optimistic” than he was when leaving Bucharest. The President pointed out that one should not blame the net contributors to the EU’s budget because the crisis makes itself felt within those states too and “massive cuts” were implemented there too in domains such as education, health, public order. Asked whether he will inform Parliament about the talks that took place at the European Council, Basescu answered that he made a public statement and has nothing else to inform the current Parliament about. Likewise, asked when a new agreement with the IMF will be signed, Traian Basescu answered: “It’s hard to say, it depends how fast the government moves because one can’t talk about a new agreement when one has deficiencies in finalizing the current agreement.”
PM Ponta banters Basescu, Antonescu is more of a pacifist
Premier Victor Ponta stated on Saturday in Suceava that President Traian Basescu negotiated in Brussels in the sense that no agreement was reached and “the man defeated.” He pointed out however that the President understood that he has to consult the government and the parliament like other European leaders are doing too. Ponta added that the President is a good salesman, knowing how to pass a glass half-empty for one half-full. Victor Ponta added that the government’s and Parliament’s firm position helped the President not to give in from the start only for the sake of not offending the other European leaders. On Friday evening the Premier stated that in the following period Romania will have to negotiate the EU’s 2014-2020 budget in order for a better earmarking to be obtained and for the stipulations that disadvantage Romania to be eliminated. PNL President Crin Antonescu referred to the conclusions of the summit in Brussels too. Antonescu was more balanced however, stating that he will not be among those “jumping on” President Traian Basescu if Romania fails to obtain what it plans to obtain in what concerns European funds for 2014-2020, stating that our country cannot pound her fist on the table.
European Council conclusion: Work will continue
The talks during the European Council meeting of 22 and 23 November “show a sufficient degree of potential convergence to make an agreement possible in the beginning of next year,” said the summit statement.“We will need some more time to finalise this solution,” said the president of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy. “This is the budget for the rest of the decade. And the next 7 years will be crucial, to put Europe back on the path of recovery and growth. So we must get it right.”He pointed to the complex nature of Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations and to the fact that the negotiations on the current MFF also required two rounds of talks at leaders’ level in 2005.