European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu stated on Thursday, at the Victoria Palace, that Romania has so far received EUR 95 million in European grants, with another EUR 350 million set to be paid. Cretu warned that there are still many things left to solve, pertaining “exclusively” to national authorities, referring to the rhythm at which projects are prepared and implemented.
“European money has already started to flow in Romania, we’re no longer talking about zero absorption rate. During the summer, the Commission already reimbursed 95 million for the initiative for SMEs and for technical assistance. We are still analysing bills, meaning payment requests, worth EUR 350 million, which will be paid as soon as possible. Despite these good news, I told the Prime Minister that there are many things to solve, which pertain exclusively to national authorities. I’m talking about the rhythm at which projects are prepared and implemented. The accelerated rhythm in these domains must be maintained, precisely because the 2014-2020 financial exercise has started so slowly,” Corina Cretu stated.
The problems signalled by Corina Cretu have to do with waste management, public procurements, research infrastructure and the transportation domain.
“We all want a much more serious preparation of infrastructure projects,” the European Commissioner emphasised.
Premier Mihai Tudose invited Corina Cretu to take part in the opening of the Government meeting. At the meeting, she stated she hopes the forecast on the absorption of as many European grants as possible “would materialise.”
“I hope your forecast on absorbing as many European grants as possible would materialise. I believe the conditions are very good. Romania is the country with the highest economic growth in the EU, a fact reconfirmed by Eurostat. I believe that through structural reforms and with the aid of European grants, by improving the business environment, the investment environment, I believe this economic growth could be made sustainable in the long term,” Corina Cretu told the ministers and congratulated the authorities for the fact that “the 2007-2013 financial exercise ended in unexpectedly good conditions.”
Commissioner Cretu hopeful 1 bln euro worth of development and cohesion funds absorbed by year-end
European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu expressed on Thursday hopes that Romania will be able to take up by the end of the year one billion euro worth of development and cohesion funds, specifying that she is now more optimistic than in spring, but that there are still many aspects to sort out that fall exclusively under the competence of national authorities.
“This time I am more optimistic than in spring. I have good news, which needs to be highlighted. As you know, this August all management and control authorities for the 23 billion euro worth of budget allocated to Romania for the programming period 2014-2020 have been certified. European money has already started flowing to Romania. The absorption rate is no longer zero,” Corina Cretu said at the Victoria Palace of government in a joint statement with Premier Mihai Tudose.
“In our opinion, we hope for an absorption by year-end of one billion euro from the development fund and from the cohesion fund, and if it’s 1.2 billion euro, as per the government’s estimations, so much the better. We are almost at the end of 2017 and the rhythm of contracting must be sped up. If Mr. Prime Minister gives the ministers in charge a boost, I am convinced that we’ll have some progress on site,” said Corina Cretu.
The EU Commissioner added that however, there are still several issues to solve, mentioning concerns about the projects’ preparation and implementation pace.
“In spite of this good news, I told Mr. Prime Minister that things need to be stepped up and that there are still many issues to solve, which fall exclusively under the responsibility of the national authorities. I am referring to the projects’ preparation pace and to implementation. The sped up pace in these areas must be maintained because the start in the 2014 – 2020 programming period was so sluggish. We are particularly concerned about a few areas, the ex-ante conditionalities that still exist in waste management, public procurement, research infrastructure and, last but not least, transport, Corina Cretu said, adding that everyone wants “infrastructure projects to be much more seriously prepared.”
Commissioner Cretu meets Parliament Speakers: Money start flowing to Romania, all management, control bodies accredited
On Thursday, European Commissioner Corina Cretu also met Lower House Speaker Liviu Dragnea and Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, announcing “good news” about European grants that have started flowing into the country, all management authorities being accredited.
“We’ve got this good news, the European money started to flow to Romania, all management, control bodies are being accredited, so from now on the Romanian authorities may send their bills. In August alone, the Commission already paid EUR 95 million to Romania and bills worth EUR 350 million are still there under analysis and will get to Romania as soon as possible. Many other things are still to be done, I’m going to go to the Government to talk to the Premier and ministers in detail about each domain, about the problems and their solutions,” Corina Cretu asserted at the Parliament Palace. She added that on the 2007-2013 exercise, Romania absorbed 90 percent of the European funds it had been granted.
“On the 2007-2013 exercise, I’m glad we are somewhere at 89- 90- 91 percent, the figure may vary upon the financial corrections and the decisions that will be made in connection with some activities that are interrupted, which was unacceptable, in 2012 we saw 4 percent absorption of EU funds, nobody would’ve believed it could be possible. We made huge efforts to attain this absorption rate which in fact means the creation of 51,000 jobs, thousands of small and medium companies. Obviously, only 300 km of expressways were built, but then again thousands of county roads have been repaired, alongside 1,000 schools, educational units, kindergartens; from this viewpoint, I believe there is no locality where the results brought by the EU grants are not concretely visible, and this is why we must continue fighting so that Romania gets a budget tailored to its needs to develop and reduce development gaps,” the European Commissioner added.
Liviu Dragnea stated he does not know what Cretu has done for other countries but the European Commissioner has permanently supported the Romanian Government.
“I very much appreciate Ms Corina Cretu’s activity as European Commissioner. I don’t know what she has done for other countries, I’m sure she did, but the Romanian Government and all of us felt support from her and from her team in Brussels. (…) We must admit she has had an important merit in us managing to recoup very many delays generated since last year,” the PSD President said.