The European Commission is recommending Romania to keep its transport masterplan as agreed by the Romanian Government with the European Commission and the World Bank, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu said Tuesday at the Romanian Parliament.
“The transport masterplan was a document negotiated on for years between the European Commission and the Romanian Government. I believe that next day after it is agreed upon and signed, the document should enter implementation. Unfortunately, such documents agreed upon risk losing their intent as they reach the Romanian Parliament and thus risk failing to meet the requirements of the European Commission. So, as far as we are concerned, the European Commission is recommending Romania to leave the transports masterplan as it is,” Cretu told a debate on European funds in 2016-2020.
She added that she has heard a lot of ideas on this matter circulated by the Romanian Parliament to take the railway sector chapter out of the transport masterplan.
“Romania should use all opportunities under 2014-2020 financial framework”
Romania is lagging badly as far as its uptake of European funds is concerned, as the absorption under the current financial framework is at a minimum and the country should use all the opportunities provided to it under the 2014-2020 financial framework, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu told the 3rd edition of the European Funds Forum in Bucharest.
She mentioned that all the conditions were secured in Brussels for Romania to attract as many European funds as possible, and it all depends now on the Romanian officials.
Cretu added that the objective of the European Commission and the Romanian officials is for the structural and cohesion funds to resume supporting economic growth and jobs creation in Romania.
“In a country where public investment on European funds makes up 70 percent of the total public investment, not absorbing European funds endangers economic growth as well, which is a shame because according to all statistics Romania is now recording the highest economic growth in the European Union. So, if absorption fails to take off in the months ahead, Romania will risk setting barriers for itself to sustainable economic and social development. The absorption rate in 2007-2013 is 75 percent on paper, thanks only to huge efforts of the past two-three years. (…) Without an adequate national policy, without a strategy, without action plans and improved administrative capacity, structural funds for investment will not suffice. (…) We have 23 billion euros for the next four years made available to Romania by the European Commission, but in order to absorb them and for them to lead to real improvements in the lives of all Romanians, improved project preparations and administrative capacity must occur. That is why I want to hail the efforts of the Government to improve its administrative capacity as we work together…” said Cretu.
“Failure to adopt public procurement laws will paralyse all operational programmes”
The Romanian Parliament failing to pass public procurement legislation will horizontally paralyse all operational programmes, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu said on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, we are in mid-2016, therefore time doesn’t work in Romania’s favour. The current challenges, translated to absolute priorities, in the European Commission’s view – and I am personally very concerned with these topics – are medical assistance, public procurement and waste management. Because, first of all, if the public procurement law is not adopted as promised by Mr Dincu [deputy PM and regional development and public administration minister] in the national parliament, this failure to adopt the legislation will horizontally paralyse all operational programmes. In the medical assistance area, we very well know that the European Commission’s 2016 country report certifies and highlights that healthcare is a critical field; in respect to waste management – it may sound apocalyptic but these are the steps in the European Commission – Romania has already missed the deadline for the implementation of the community aquis regarding separate waste collection, waste recycling and storage. The commission has already notified Romania that it has another deadline by which, if these exact requirements aren’t met (…) we shall go further to the European Court of Justice. Unfortunately, if these requirements aren’t met by the end of 2016, the commssion might be compelled to suspend payments,” Cretu told a third edition of the European Funds Forum in Bucharest.
She said the public procurement directives haven’t been transposed in the aquis, and the deadline for transposing them was April 19, 2016.
According to her, another area which the European Commission sees as needing to be dealt with as a priority is the audit experts evaluating the efficiency of the formal and functional framework specific to the implementing, management and certification bodies.