On Tuesday evening, President Klaus Iohannis warned the Government to better handle the absorption of European grants, pointing out that European grants worth EUR 31 billion are at Romania’s disposal and only EUR 4.9 billion, namely 15.8 percent, have been tapped so far. “It’s money we could benefit from, that can be used for Romania’s development. It would be a shame not to use this money earmarked to Romania for development,” Iohannis stated.
The Head of State pointed out that, theoretically, from 2014 to 2020 Romania has at its disposal EUR 31 billion, and only EUR 4.9 billion, namely 15.8 percent, has been used so far.
The President said that each financial framework spans seven years, which means we are halfway through the current financial framework and not even EUR 5 billion of the EUR 31 billion has been used.
Iohannis said he has the figures from the European Commission website and the Government, however the last Government report on this topic was released on February 2.
“Out of the desire to present accurate information, I have searched for the latest data, both on the Government’s and the European Commission’s websites. The last posting found on any Romanian Government website is dated February 2. Now we are halfway through the year. I don’t know why the Government is not posting up-to-date figures. Some will believe they are hiding something, others that they had other things to do. On the EC website the figures are up-to-date,” Iohannis said.
He explained that European grants consist of two large categories – cohesion funds, which are used for development, the funds used to co-finance agriculture, and smaller funds, and for cohesion Romania has approximately EUR 23 billion at its disposal, out of the EUR 31 billion, representing money that can be used for highways, hospitals, the repair or construction of sewerage networks.
“How we use these funds and how we implement the projects is up to us. Out of EUR 23 billion, the amount we can use to develop Romania, we have so far used 2.2 billion. Not even a tenth. And we are beyond the halfway point of the budgeted period. Now, someone could say ‘it’s ok, we’ll work more intensely, and we’ll use the money.’ This means projects should exist. But we find out that the contracting rate, namely projects filed and accepted, that can obtain financing, covers only 40 percent of these funds. So not even half. It’s very late. These projects must be drafted with the support of the ministries, the agencies. Overall, my warning is the following – the Government must handle more intensely this issue. It’s money we can benefit from, that can be used for Romania’s development. It would be a shame not to use the money earmarked to Romania for development,” the President said in a press statement on the topic of EU grants and the Pillar II Pension Fund.
The President to Gov’t: Do you still have money for this year’s pensions and salaries?
President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday asked the Government and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) to specify “of a clear, precise manner and with arguments” what are their plans with the pension Pillar II and if they have enough money at this point to pay for the salaries and pensions for this entire year.
“They must give us an answer. And I believe that the Government and the PSD need to answer publicly, with arguments, to two questions: What are their intentions with the pension Pillar II? And they need to answer very clearly, of a precise manner, and with arguments to this one, and the second question is: Do you still have enough money to cover for the salaries and the pensions until the end of this year?,” asked Iohannis at the Cotroceni Palace.
The head of the state referred thus to the “total mess” reflected by the statements that the PSD representatives and the members of the Government made regarding the pension Pillar II.
“They have been discussing for a while now about the pension Pillar II. Unfortunately, the Social Democrats contradict each other. Now they say that they are going to dissolve pension Pillar II, then they say that they are going to suspend it or that this is a project that they did not assume yet. A total mess. But the people still have questions: Why all this incertitude from PSD, what are their real intentions? Did they not manage to come to an agreement among themselves? This is hard to believe. Some are even wondering if this money that will result after Pillar II is suspended, if this happens, if this money will, probably, be used for something else. I don’t know,” said Iohannis.