ECONOMY ENERGY

Commissioner Cretu hopeful Magurele-based ELI-NP project, EU’s flagship research investment in Romania, can be saved

The ‘Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP)’ project is the “most important” European research investment in Romania, European Commissioner for regional development Corina Cretu said on Thursday, adding that she hopes that the project, which is currently blocked by a contract dispute, will be “saved”.

“I confess that I am very concerned about the latest developments regarding the Magurele-based ELI project, and I am referring specifically to the dispute between the project’s beneficiary, the ‘Horia Hulubei’ National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH), and the European consortium EuroGammaS (EGS) on the implementation of a gamma-ray system, which puts at jeopardy the project’s completion,” Cretu wrote on Facebook.

She announced having instructed the DG REGIO Directorate-General she is heading to provide technical support for the parties involved “to overcome the hindrances in the implementation of this project caused by the termination of the contract.”

Cretu reminded that together with EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas she organized this January a meeting in Brussels with all the parties involved, and held talks with the Romanian Minister of Research, Italy’s Deputy Minister of Education, Universities and Research, the Secretary General of the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and representatives of the Swedish government.

“At that meeting, I asked the Romanian authorities and their counterparts to make every effort to settle this dispute, so that the works be resumed as soon as possible and the project is completed in the 2014 – 2020 programming period,” Cretu informed.

After the meeting, Commissioners Cretu and Moedas sent the Romanian PM and all the other parties involved a letter “inviting them to meet the commitments undertaken at the January meeting in Brussels.”

According to Corina Cretu, “from the European Commission’s standpoint, the only common base for finding a solution that allows the project’s completion is provided by the joint conclusions of the January meeting in Brussels, as well as by the commitments pledged at that time.”

“In absence of a fast response by the government of Romania to the European Commission, there is a risk that this project is no longer completed in the current programming period (2014 – 2020), which will cause significant financial losses and will also affect the credibility of the entire investment. This would also undermine EU’s efforts to promote cooperation among research and innovation institutes and the business environment,” Cretu said.

The Commissioner for regional development described the Magurele-based ELI-NP project as “the most important European research investment in Romania, part of a pan-European research infrastructure that has Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary participating, and which has about 800 million euro assigned in European funding.”

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