European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu on Thursday said that Romania could not possibly absorb European money from regional development and cohesion funds because it had failed to set in place the organisations to manage the funds for operational programmes in 2014-2020.
“Strictly about the funds under my management – the regional development and the cohesion funds – I can tell you that when I took over the office in 2014 the absorption rate for the 2007-2013 programme was somewhere below 60 percent. I set up a working group to improve and speed up the implementation, a group of eight member states, Romania included, and I am glad to tell you that the absorption rate for the 2007-2104 programming period is currently at 88.7 percent, which includes the advance payments already made by the European Commission. As far as the funds I am managing are concerned, the absorption rate for the years 2014-2020 in Romania is currently zero. It could have not been otherwise, because Romania has failed to put into practice the organisations that are to manage the funds for the operational programmes in 2014-2020. About the designation of the management and control units the European Commission has not been notified that they are in place, as it has not received any receipt so that it may pay bills,” Cretu said at Parliament Palace in Bucharest.
She added that Romania is working on speeding up the procedure, focusing on completing its IT system and clarifying the role of the National Public Procurement Agency and its relationship with the management authorities, and that problematic instances have to be clarified, especially when they relate to large infrastructure and competitiveness.
“Our hope is that the organisations will be designated by the end of the year,” said Cretu, mentioning that regional policy is for the citizens and there is no benefit from politicising it.
Cretu said projects to improve energy efficiency of buildings are very popular all over Europe, because the citizens can feel their benefits immediately, but the projects so far submitted by Romania under operational programme regional development make up just 20 percent of the total allocations, with a denial rate of 35 percent for failure to meet the requirements.
European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu on Thursday met members of the committees on European affairs with Romania’s Parliament to introduce to them the objectives and priorities of the European Commission for the next 12 months