European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu on Wednesday said that in Romania the absorption rate for the funds allotted for the 2007-2013 period will exceed 90 percent and that invoices corresponding to this period are still received until the end of this month.
“I have made all possible efforts to increase the absorption rate. When I became a European commissioner, Romania had 60 percent absorption rate. Romania has no longer lost any euro on the period 2015-2016 from the allotments it had. I want to inform you that until 31 March we still receive invoices for the 2007-2013 programming period, after which the Commission has at its disposal five months to analyse them. Indeed, our estimations reveal that the absorption rate will exceed 90 percent. The losses are estimated at round 2 billion coming mainly from the period 2007-2011, when the financial programme began with delays. We have made all efforts to stage the projects that couldn’t be completed,” Corina Cretu said in the joint parliamentary committees on European affairs.
Previously, the chairman of the committee on European affairs, Victor Ponta, had said that together with former minister Marius Nica and Eugen Teodorovici, Corina Cretu was among those who made it possible for Romania to have over expectation results in the area of EU funds absorption.
“If the figures are correct, I believe that in the end Romania will absorb 90 percent of the funds allotted for the 2007-2013 period, which is much beyond my expectations, at least, I believe everyone’s expectations. I know that when Mr Teodorovici and Mr Nica told me we’d absorb 80 percent, I told them not to utter this figure, because we’d make fools of ourselves. There you see that we’ll end up with 90 percent,” Victor Ponta showed.
“Zero percent intake of European funds worth 23 billion euros for Romania”
European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu says she will discuss with the Romanian Government the latest developments in Romania absorbing European funds in the 2014-2020 financial framework, adding that this is a worrying situation.
“Worries have been in existence since the beginning of the 2014-2020 financial framework. This is March 2017. There is zero percent intake of European funds from the 23 billion [euros] at Romania’s disposal. We are mainly concerned that the management and control bodies be accredited as soon as possible because that is the only way in which Romania can send invoices that we can pay. I am interested in finding out why the contracting rate is so slow, because there are other countries that also do not have such bodies accredited, but Ireland for instance has contracted 80 percent of the funds at its disposal under the 2012-2020 framework, and I will try to find out why. The average contracting rate in Romania is 5 percent. To me, the main indicators are the contracting rate and how much is paid to the beneficiaries on the ground. These will be ten main topics for discussion with Government,” Cretu said at the end of a meeting in Romania’s Parliament with members of ten joint committees on European affairs of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
Asked if she got explanations for the delays from Romanian officials, Cretu said all governments are facing difficulties.
“This is a complicated policy, so I would rather not point fingers. I believe we have to work together to solve the issues,” she said.
Cretu mentioned that the Romanian authorities have been given the helping hands of experts from the European Commission in order to improve the country’s administrative capacity and make up for the delays.
“In two years, more than 200 meetings were held of Romanian Government’s officials and the European Commission, at technical level, because we created this group for better implementation; the group comprises the eight member states that recorded massive delays when I took over office and I have seconded the best experts that go almost biweekly at various ministries. From this point of view, I believe we are working well on improving the administrative capacity and making up for the delays,” said Cretu.