The situation of European funds in Romania seems to be very complicated. The outgoing minister for European Funds, Aura Răducu, has this week submitted her resignation upon request by PM Dacian Cioloş who expressed discontent with the short-term objective
After Romania joined the EU in 2007, the authorities were faced with a big challenge, namely how to attract and absorb European funds. The situation is even worse since attracting European funds is a critical issue for the country’s economic development. Outgoing European funds minister, Aura Răducu, had intended, among other things, to introduce a new approach and a new type of management in the European funds domain.
The most difficult problem is how to access funds for the long-term projects for whose implementation big amounts of money are needed. The small projects are also a hard nut to crack, given that the applicants point the finger to the complicated procedures and excessive bureaucracy they are faced with.
The European Commissioner for European Funds, Corina Cretu, talked on Radio Romania about the current stage of European funds accession: “As regards the 2007-2014 programming period, which has not ended yet, we have managed to absorb more than 70%, but we risk losing between 2.6 and 3.4 billion euros. Many jobs have been created in the past years, namely over 14,000, and 850,000 people have been trained or received counseling. More than 2,000 small and medium sized enterprises have been supported to make direct investments. The poorest results have been obtained in the transportation field, in the sense that only 122 kms of railway have been repaired and 368 kms of new roads have been built. European funds were also channeled into the repair works of healthcare, education and social institutions, which accounted for over 400 projects.”
Corina Cretu has called on the Romanian authorities to speed up the preparation and launch of the calls for proposals and also to intensify efforts for the simplification and reduction of the administrative burden for the beneficiaries of European funds.
Corina Cretu : “The fact that in the next 7 years Romania will benefit from more than 22 billion euros should prompt the Romanian authorities to speed up the preparation of the projects. First of all, they should designate the institutions that will manage the money in the coming period, because the European Commission has not yet been notified about the designation of these management institutions.”
The European Commission has established permanent dialogue and cooperation with the Romanian authorities, Commissioner Corina Cretu pointed out. She added that the European institution finds it important for the Romanian authorities to comply with the pledges made under the Partnership Agreement, so that the citizens should make best use of European funds and have direct benefits from them in their daily lives.