Romania risks losing over 2.6 billion euros in EU funding for the 2007 – 2013 programming period, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu said on Friday.
“I think significant efforts have been made in recent years, the 2015 absorption rate is somewhere around 75 percent. We avoided any decommitment of funds. So basically all the money assigned for 2015 has been spent, but there is the risk of losing between 2.6 billion and 3.2 billion euros for the entire period 2007 – 2013. The figure depends on what the authorities will certify until March 2017 and on the findings of the audit authorities, but the amount stands somewhere between 2.6 billion and 3.2 billion euros,” said Corina Cretu.
She mentioned her concern that the absorption rate under the new financial framework is zero at this time.
“I hope the Romanian authorities learn the lessons of the past. I am concerned that we are already at mid-2016 and virtually the absorption of EU funding is zero. I think we should focus in the first place on results, on clear impact indicators on the quality of people’s lives. My recommendations are clear. Fulfill all ex-ante conditionalities, particularly in healthcare, an area we will look into on Monday, when we will discuss the three regional hospitals. I urge the local authorities in the cities concerned – Cluj Napoca, Iasi and Craiova – not to politicize this issue, I think this would be a big mistake,” the European Commissioner said.
52pct of Romania’s children, living near poverty line
More than half of Romania’s children (52 percent) are living near the poverty line or are facing poverty risks, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu said Friday in Bucharest.
“Child poverty data worry me a lot. As many as 52 percent of Romania’s children are living near the poverty line or are facing poverty risks; as many as 75 percent of the poor children are in the countryside. Child death rate is the highest in the European Union, 2.5 times higher than the EU average, while Romany children are four times more likely to face poverty risks. There are 60,000 children registered under the social protection system, of which nearly 20,000 are in a residential setting; 5,000 children join the social security system each year, mainly because of poverty, absence of family means and because of domestic violence,” Cretu said after meeting Romania’s Minister for European Funds Cristian Ghinea.
She added that estimates show nearly 75,000 Romanian children will stand to profit from the rehabilitation of the country’s social services infrastructure under operational programme regional development.
“We want to pool together all the instruments at our disposal, all national and European resources, particularly because operational programme regional development, a social programme, provides significant opportunities to alleviate poverty and to improve educational as well as healthcare infrastructures. We are expecting some 75,000 children to stand to benefit under operational programme regional development from improved infrastructure for social services,” Cretu added.
She mentioned having discussed alleviating child poverty with Ghinea.
“We had a very useful conversation about children in Romania. At our previous meeting, I received a draft project for child poverty alleviation that we analysed at the European Commission. I guess this assessment of needs is a necessary condition that we should have had long ago related to improving the situation of children. I came here to listen to the proposals of the Ministry of European Funds about the implementation of an anti-poverty projects for children. We want to work together to pool together the projects of the Romanian Government and operational programmes that approach multiple sides of child poverty and deprivation in a comprehensive manner. We wanted to pool together all the instruments we have in the areas of healthcare, education, social work and deinstitutionalisation, because, unfortunately, there are very many children joining the social protection system,” said Cretu.