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EC will direct to Romania over 1 bln euros to address effects of coronavirus crisis

The European Commission will direct to Romania over one billion euros to address the effects of the coronavirus crisis, shows a document published on the Facebook page of the Representation of the European Commission in Romania.

According to this document, Romania will receive 483 million euros from the European Commission, which relinquishes this year the obligation to request the refunding of recoveries of unspent pre-financing for the European Structural and Investment Funds. Additionally, the Commission will pay Romania the 2020 pre-financing of 637 million euros in two installments over March and early April.

On March 18, 2020 Commissioners Elisa Ferreira responsible for Cohesion and Reforms and Nicolas Schmit responsible for Jobs and Social Rights have sent letters to all the EU countries to inform them on the individual support they can receive under the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative (CRII) intended to mobilize cohesion policy to flexibly respond to the rapidly emerging needs in the most exposed sectors such as healthcare, SMEs and labour markets, and help the most affected territories in member states and their citizens. To this effect, the EC made a series of proposals on March 13, 2020 to amend legislation that will allow member states to benefit from more financial back-up and targeted assistance.

Under this initiative, the Commission proposes to quickly direct 37 bln euros of European public investment to address the impacts of the coronavirus crisis. The Commission proposes to relinquish this year the obligation to request refunding of recoveries of unspent pre-financing for the European Structural and Investment Funds for 2019 and use this money for investments under the CRII. In Romania’s case this amounts to around 483 million (indicative amount pending the final outcome of the examination and acceptance of accounts).

To accelerate and enhance the support, the Commission also proposed to make coronavirus related expenditure eligible under the structural funds from February 1, 2020. This can mean in practice extended support for the healthcare systems, in particular through the financing of health equipment, medicines, testing and treatment facilities, disease prevention and awareness raising, e-health, the provision of protective equipment, medical devices, to adapt the working environment in the healthcare sector, and ensure access to healthcare for vulnerable groups.

Furthermore, the Commission proposed that the ERDF can support the financing of working capital in SMEs, where necessary to tackle short-term financial shocks, including through grants.

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