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December 1, 2022

Gov’t strategy on allocation of EU money, again under attack

According to the EC, the allocations are not covered properly and priorities are still missing.

The European Commission (EC) warned the Government that the budget allocation proposed within the Partnership Agreement for the EU money over 2014-2020 period still displays unbalances, which is a concerning fact, and the mechanisms to detect and prevent conflicts of interests regarding acquisitions must be enforced.
“The proposed allocation for the environment within the European Fund for Regional Development and within the Cohesion Fund was reduced even more compared to the initial proposal, further weakening Romania’s ability to implement the infrastructure requested by the acquis. The allocation must be backed up properly, according to the importance of challenges taken into account, the financing necessities and the possible complementary funding,” warn the EC officials in the document sent to the Romanian authorities and obtained by Mediafax.
They say that the description of the funding priorities lacks a clear prioritization and coves a large range of interventions, by introducing local public services provided by public and private companies, as this approach must be revised.
As for the transport planning, they warn that the trans-national context and the international connections with the neighbouring countries are not sufficiently described.
They also indicate that the Romanian authorities will have to provide a summary of the plans of action taken into consideration for the ex-ante conditionality that failed to be accomplished, either fully or on specific criteria, in the case in which the Commission has a contrary opinion. For this conditionality, the Commission reserves the right for a final evaluation regarding the possible significant damage to the efficiency and proper accomplishment of specific targets, up until the moment these programmes are sent and all necessary information is made available. The Commission warns Romania about the possible significant risks resulting from a late adoption and implementing of these strategies.
Problems still present at environment protection and public acquisitions
Another warning has been issued regarding the conditions for the waste water and waste sectors, as the same warning has been issued for the sector of youth on labour market and reducing poverty.
As for public acquisitions, the Commission does not agree with the possible fulfilment of this conditionality. The European officials say that, in spite of the recent low progress, the public acquisitions system still needs a significant improvement to be deemed efficient. The transparency of the procedures to grant the contracts for public acquisitions is jeopardized by the lack of coherence and consistency of opinions voiced by various institutions. The mechanisms to detect and prevent conflicts of interests must be effectively implemented, regardless of the funding source.
The commission also warns that the conditionality regarding the government aid is not met, that the role of the Council of Competition must be clarified to ensure that the provisions regarding the government aid are observed and that Romania should evaluate the necessity to modify the government aid in order to modernize this process.
Emergency ordinance to protect consumers
On other topic, the measures protecting the consumer, adopted by the European Commission and for which Brussels warned Romania that it might suffer penalties as they failed to enforce them, were approved by the Government through emergency ordinance after they were initially approved by the Government by law with later enforcement.
More precisely, the ordinance in 1999 establishes that a consumer has a deadline of seven working days available to denounce a contract unilaterally, and the ordinance in 2000 establishes a ten-day deadline to enforce this right by the consumer.
The EC decided to adopt a single directive with standard rules regarding the common aspects of long-distance contracts and of the contracts negotiated outside the commercial areas, whose deadline comes into force on June 13, 2014. Thus, consumers will have a unique deadline of 14 days in which they can withdraw from contracts signed long-distance or negotiated outside the commercial areas and the traders are forbidden to ask fees from consumers which exceed the cost supported to use a means of payment.

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