Management authorities and intermediary bodies will be certified by mid-year, so that intermediate payments to the European Commission can be made, Minister of European Funds Aura Raducu told a specialist conference on Friday.
“We are preparing guides and institutions – two extremely important activities. We must certify the system, the institutions that manage European funds. We intend certification to be completed by mid-2016, to be able to make intermediate payments. The certification is not preventing us from launching projects but we cannot request intermediate payments from the European Commission,” Raducu said, according to Agerpres.
Raducu added that authorities are focusing on meeting ex-ante conditionalities.
“As far as the stage of implementation of the 2014 – 2020 operational programmes is concerned, we are focusing a lot on meeting the ex-ante conditionalities, which, if we fail to meet, at the end of 2016 there is a risk that allocation of funds for Romania will be reduced. We are making efforts; we have almost daily meetings with the relevant ministries so that we manage to meet these conditionalities. They are in fact national policies. For instance, the waste sector is a pretty sensitive area. There is a national plan for managing waste without which, as per the Accession Treaty, Romania could become subject to infringement procedures. There are many conditionalities regarding the transport sector. The approval of the Master Plan for Transport is necessary, and so is the establishment of the Railway Reform Authority – failed deadlines, as well as Metrorex and the Ministry of Transport concluding public services contracts so that European funds can be used to equip the transport operator,” Raducu added.
“There are legislative blockages in Romania related to large infrastructure projects”
There are legislative blockages in Romania when it comes to preparing large infrastructure projects and the content of feasibility studies, Minister for European Funds Aura Raducu told a news conference on Friday.
“There are very many blockages in Romania as far as the legislative framework is concerned for the preparation of large infrastructure projects and the content of feasibility studies, technical studies, that are not correlated with the applications demanded by the European Commission, a work contract that does not adjust for needs. We have considered trying to modify things in order to simplify the preparation of major projects. Big projects had problems, while smaller projects were good,” said Raducu.
She added that the Ministry of European Funds (MFE) wants to improve project quality for the 2014-2020 programming period.
“We want an approach that will increase project quality, more efficient projects and to use the European funds for a greater impact on the development of all of Romania’s economic sectors,” said Raducu.
EU funds absorption rate calculated at 78.74pct for 2007-2013 period
The absorption rate of EU funds is calculated at 78.74pct for the period 2007-2013, Minister of European Funds Aura Raducu stated on Thursday in a press conference.
‘At the end of 2015, the absorption rate, meaning the payments received from the European Commission, neared 60pct, but there are over 750 million euros in payments sent to the Commission for reimbursement. These payments will be made by the Commission in the second half of February after they are assessed according to procedures. At the end of the year there was a great effort, we reached 75pct in payments to beneficiaries, and in the first half of 2016 it was possible to send payment requests from beneficiaries to the management authorities,’ Raducu explained.
The minister said she hoped that the absorption rate for 2007-2013 will near 80pct.
‘78.74pct is a moderate rate which we analysed together with the Finance Ministry, we hope for it to grow. We are trying our best to increase this rate and to get close to 80pct. We could have done more. We had certain solutions. We could have included national projects, financed by the state budget to be considered for the structural funds for 2007-2013, just that, assessing a large number of projects, in the case of the water sector, for instance, out of 1,000 assessed, unfortunately they do not comply with certain rules and only a small number of projects could be selected. As far as national projects are concerned, public acquisitions, there is no compliance with environmental and building permits. They should be complied with; we could have increased the rate towards 90-95pct, had we been able to count on these national projects. We are still assessing,’ the Minister said.
Moreover, Aura Raducu brought to mind that by March 31 many national projects can still be assessed to be later considered for European funds.