Romania’s EU funds absorption rate could reach as high as one hundred percent, but with retrospective projects that do not meet certain requirements, the current rate is 75 percent, Minister for European Funds Aura Raducu told the Chamber of Deputies’ European Affairs Committee.
“We have the right to sign contracts for retrospective projects until March 31, 2016. We will include here all the scholarships, for instance those for pupils and students. We could increase the absorption rate to 100 percent, but we are faced with very serious issues, as we cannot find national projects that meet the three standard conditions: comply with public procurement requirements, have a building permit and also hold an environmental approval. We hope to reach 80 percent or even exceed this limit, but with the these impediments to national projects, we’ll see what rate we’ll reach in the end,” said minister Raducu.
She explained that current payments account for an absorption rate of 75 percent.
“The payments made so far account for over 75 percent of the total funds. They haven’t yet been refunded by the Commission, given that this is the audit period at the beginning of the year, when payments are being analysed; every year the refunds from the Commission flow in after the end of February or early March. Refunding applications filed with the Commission amount to 750 million euro and we hope to have a 75 percent absorption rate, but it can be increased by this particular solution of including retrospective projects, projects financed from the state budget alone,” explained the minister for European Funds.
Suspicion of fraud with European funds in over 10pct of beneficiaries of 2007-2013 programming period
Suspicions of fraud exist as regards over 10pct of the European funds beneficiaries of the 2007 – 2013 programming period, yet an exact situation will be known in April, on Monday said the European Funds Minister, Aura Raducu at the Parliament Palace.
“There is a number of projects with irregularities mainly in Transports, but there are also issues in other fields, in Human Resources, projects analysed with irregularities or suspicion of irregularities that are under analysis at various institutions in charge with verifying these projects. We’ll know details on the sums of money or their situation in the second half of April. We are speaking of projects underway or not yet finalized,” said Raducu.
She specified that the European funds cover 15pct – 20pct of the national investments.
“From the analyses with the banks, the International Monetary Fund we learned that the European funds are only 15pct of the total of the national investments. So, we must take care of the national investments package. 15-20pct, I’d say, but where are the other 80pct? There is no website to show us the national investments projects. We try to be transparent, everywhere there is a list of projects, how much each project is financed with, who is the owner of each project, etc. And yet for the national projects, we have no transparency,” the European Funds minister concluded.