Romania’s absorption rate of European funds under the 2014-2020 financial framework has neared 1 percent, with the phantasmagoric 0 percent just a myth, Minister for European Funds Cristian Ghinea is quoted as saying in a press statement on Monday reporting on his first 100 days in office.
“The then government did not start accreditation in 2014, as it was supposed to do. The only designated management authority is for rural development, for the national rural development programme. This is also where reimbursements have started. Thus, this May, two and a half years after the start of the ongoing financial framework, the first reimbursements worth 57 million euros were extended. On August 8, the European Commission approved for reimbursement yet another 231 million euros related to the rural development national programme. That makes the absorption (reimbursement) rate of European funds in Romania near 1 percent. The phantasmagorical 0 percent became a myth after reimbursements started flowing in in early May 2016,” the statement reads.
Ghinea adds that the Ponta Cabinet was two years in office (2014 and 2015) with a 0-percent absorption rate, which did not seem to bother anyone.
“Realistically speaking, that shouldn’t have been a reason for public hysteria. The EU average is currently 1.5 percent. The official absorption rates as of May 31 were: Bulgaria (0.07 percent), Cyprus (0.23 percent), Spain (1.87 percent), Hungary (0 percent), Italy (0.39 percent), Poland (0.87 percent), Romania (0.18 percent). The accreditation process is expected to complete this year, for which we have been assiduously working. This way, with the accreditation of all the management authorities in 2017, Romania will immediately receive from the European Commission 3.6 billion lei (more exactly, according to our estimates: 3,671,203,258 euros),” reads the statement.
It also says that the results of the credit lines opened in 2016 will be reflected in the absorption rates only in some years’ time.
“This is the course of nature, the pace in the relationship with the European Commission. Politicians are confounding things when they talk about ‘absorption’, with the clear intention of overflowing the public space with phony figures. As far as the funds under the previous financial framework are concerned, the Ciolos Cabinet has managed to increase the current absorption rate from 58.67 percent (the total between 2007 and 2015) to 76.69 percent. In 2016, 2.9 billion euros worth of European funds came to Romania. (…) The absorption of European funds under the current programming period is rather a theme for political disinformation than a necessary preoccupation. What matters now are the guides released and calls for projects, and the Ciolos Government has released guides for 13 billion euros for motorways, heating, reducing school dropout, poverty alleviation, entrepreneurship, road safety, and social economy. The amount is 47 percent of the total structural funds under the 2014-2020 financial framework, even more when rural development is included,” the statement says.