Romanian villages and communes should be revitalised and developed by economic and human inflows, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu said Monday.
‘In my opinion, a development programme for communes and small towns is important to Romania. To this end, I want to inform you first that I and the commissioner in charge with agriculture decided inside the European Commission to pay special attention to a more consistent articulation of urban and rural development, to work closer at the level of directorates general and the European Commission, so that the dynamic and significance of rural development may increase in the period immediately ahead,’ Cretu told the 18th ordinary session of the General Assembly of the Association of Romania’s Communes.
She added that the European Commission believes any region needs a medium and a long-term strategy in order to be revitalised.
‘We have asked the member states to come up with intelligent specialisation strategies. Not any region can become a Silicon Valley, but we can still find something that can be developed – the food industry, tourism, agriculture, energy or new technologies. I urge each of you inside your regions to find the products that can become the emblem of your region, such as the Topoloveni jam. The problems facing the villages and communes of Eastern Europe are more complex and more serious than those in the older member states,’ said Cretu.
She added that European funds cannot be used only to refurbish old and beautiful buildings.
‘In fact, European funds are the best used when they support what we call integrated actions, that is actions with more than just one component, projects that include all that it takes for a better life, economic diversification, adult education, child education, healthcare, leisure time and many more. I can assure you that in the next financial framework – the years 2014-2020 – we can finance all this, provided that you develop concrete projects that meet the demands of your communes and are found in the strategies Romania should have. We need long-term plans and strategies for Romania’s communes, and their citizens,’ said Cretu.
According to her, the particular feature of Romania is that 45 per cent of its population live in the countryside, which faces increased pressure as a result of people migrating to urban areas or other EU member states because of poverty, their problems with securing education at par with competitive conditions, lacking living conditions that fail to live up to European standards, the problem with transportation, running water, sewage and waste collection.