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September 16, 2021

Ponta in Tulcea: One billion euros is enough for Danube Delta development

The funds under the Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) European financial instrument, one billion euros, is enough to change the Danube Delta for the better, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Friday in Tulcea.

“The best thing is that one billion euros for the Danube Delta alone is enough to change the area for the better. I was glad that some of the issues facing Tulcea County have been solved this way,” added Ponta.

Asked about a project for a bridge over the Danube, Ponta mentioned that public procurement is the main problem facing the implementation of the project. “We have European funds, but the tragedy facing Romania now is tenders held and challenged. Maybe the new public procurement law will allow us to do things much more quickly, but the important thing is there is funding for the bridge included in the master plan approved by the European Commission, and procedures for it have been started,” Ponta added.

He said he cannot tell how soon all the procedures end, because they do not depend on the Government. “I have said that the public procurement law is an essential project for this autumn, because we have investment funds, but we do not manage to spend them because of the public procurement procedures in force. That is why we have a surplus of 1-percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Normally, that should have been a reason to joy, but I am not glad at all because we have to spend the money but we cannot keep the pace up as needed because of procedures,” added Ponta.

In his turn, Chairman of the Tulcea County Council Horia Teodorescu said that in conversations with the Government officials a solution was found for one of the problems facing the communities in the terraced areas of the county that are outside the scope of ITI. “A problem emerged because we did not have access to the operational programme regional development funds. The county infrastructure under the operational programme outside ITI will be eligible now,” said Teodorescu.

Among the issues discussed by the county council officials and governmental officials at an informal meeting on Friday was investment in healthcare, education and transport infrastructure.

“The Ministry of European Funds has signed today [Friday] a contract for the funding of modernisation works on the Danube Delta aerodrome, and another very important thing is that we will get RON 45 million under the Local Development National Programme,” added Teodorescu.

ITI, the only financial instrument mentioned in a partnership agreement between the Romanian Government and the European Commission of August 2014 has a 1-billion-euro budget made up of European and national funds for the parts of the counties of Tulcea and Constanta located in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.

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