BUSINESS

Hoyer, EIB: Romania fares well financially, but still far from EU level

During his visit to Bucharest, the EIB president said that the investments with money provided by the EIB and the absorption of European funds often go “hand in hand.”

The president of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Werner Hoyer yesterday paid an official visit to Romania, where he met state authorities, the first being President Traian Basescu, at the Cotroceni Palace. The two officials talked about the financial situation of Romania, in the context in which still needs the support of the European financial institution. The EIB delegation included Mihai Tanasescu – EIB vice-president, Luca Lazzaroli – operations director for South Eastern Europe, and Flavio Schiavo Campo – the EIB representative in Romania.Financially, Romania fares well, said Werner Hoyer, although he admitted that there is still much to do before reaching the level of the other countries of the Union. “There is certainly much to do in your country. And it is an honour for me being in Bucharest and doing business in Romania,” Werner Hoyer mentioned. “However, this year we have few resources to co-finance projects, but we hope that, once the money is allocated, Bucharest will create a fiscal space for the second part of the year,” Traian Basescu said in his turn.“The European Bank is ready to grant you financial support and do more for Romania. Of course we are aware of your budgetary constraints, but we cannot stop noticing that the situation was stable in your country these years,” the EIB president added.The two also discussed about the situation of European non-reimbursable funds which Romania is unable to attract as it wants.“How come we are capable to obtain money from European banking institutions and we are unable to absorb money from European funds? Can you explain this contradiction, because we must meet the same conditions, more or less?” Traian Basescu rhetorically asked. The EIB official answered that the investments with money provided by the institution he represents and the absorption of European funds often go “hand in hand.” “I think we must make sure that we do not lose money, because eventually it would be a shame if the funds that are available for your country – in theory – are not absorbed,” he mentioned. Hoyer added that creativeness is needed in order to benefit from the existing resources. Basescu proposed three projects EIB may contribute to: the Siret – Baragan Canal, the Bucharest – Danube Canal and the Tarnita hydropower plant in Cluj County.

Works continue on Metro Main Line 5

During his official visit to Romania, the president of EIB also had a meeting at the Victoria Palace with Premier Victor Ponta, also attended by deputy PM Daniel Chitoiu the delegate minister for Budget, Liviu Voinea and the minister of European Funds, Eugen Teodorovici.On this occasion, PM Victor Ponta said in a joint press statement that the loans taken from the EIB are “the cheapest and the most serious” when it comes to successful projects. A successful project will be the Metro Main Line 5 Universitate – Drumul Taberei, where the EIB contributed EUR 465 M, as the prime minister said that he was assured by construction companies Astaldi and Max Bogel and by the top management of Metrorex that the works have not been stopped, as reported by media of late.

“The financing needs of this project will continue to be secured. First, we still have EUR 300 M from the EIB loan, which will be accessed within a calendar that will meet our obligations regarding the budget deficit. This is also about governmental funds that are affected,” Ponta claimed. He added that the investment’s value amounts to EUR 1.2 bln, a sum equal to that necessary for the construction of the Bucharest-Comarnic motorway.” EIB might extend to Romania, this year, loans between EUR 700 M and EUR 900 M in total, EIB President Werner Hoyer announced after the meeting with PM Ponta, adding that last year the bank extended a loan of EUR 335 M to Romania. According to the bank official, Romania is very actively involved in solving the problems related to the budget. He mentioned that, in the cases where cofinancing is difficult, the EIB can become involved and can grant support.During the meeting, the sides also approached the matters of principle of the collaboration between EIB and Romania, with emphasis on the projects in which the bank can become involved by granting expert technical assistance in sectors such as energy, research-innovation, the financing of SMEs and the financing of projects in local and national infrastructure. Daniel Chitoiu expressed his conviction that, by intensifying the partnership with EIB, economic reforms will move forward in Romania, in the sense of increasing the competitiveness of the country, consolidating the market economy and its institutions, informs a press release issued by the Ministry of Public Finance. Werner Hoyer also referred to the decision made by the Government of Romania regarding the country’s contribution to the increase of the EIB capital. In his turn, minister Daniel Chitoiu outlined Romania’s interest for the European Commission accepting that many eligible expenses made during this financial term, relative to the EIB portfolio in the transport sector, are included in POS Transport, so that Romania can avail of a larger fiscal space to finance other projects. In the conclusion of talks, the Finance minister extended the invitation to the EIB invitation that the next meeting of the EIB Board, outside Luxembourg, is hosted by Romania in 2014.

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