European Commissioner Corina Cretu is worried about the planning and implementation of transport infrastructure projects in Romania.
The main opposition party in Romania, the
National Liberal Party, is calling for the resignation of Prime Minister
Viorica Dancila and the Ministers of Transport and European Funds, Lucian Sova
and Rovana Plumb respectively, whom they hold responsible for the poor rate of
absorption of European funds devoted to transport.
The President of the Chamber of Deputies'
Transport Committee, the Liberal MP Lucian Bode, spoke about a letter of
European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu addressed to the Prime
Minister and the two Ministers regarding the infrastructure projects that have
been implemented. The main concern is linked with the inability of the
Government of Romania and the two aforementioned ministries to attract funds
under the 2014-2020 Large Infrastructure Operational Programme. Romania has been
allotted some €5.1 billion from the Cohesion and the European Regional
Development funds. Lucian Bode told us more:
"The tone of this letter is imperative for the
authorities in Bucharest. The letter makes it clear that we will use the
European funds devoted to infrastructure, because we only have four major
projects. We will lose money because the authorities are unable to draft
projects. Brussels wants the two ministries to get involved in the process of
implementing infrastructure projects. We are calling for the resignation of
Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, Transport Minister Lucian Sova and the Minister
of European Funds Rovana Plumb."
Minister Sova, however, claims that
Commissioner Cretu's letter does not refer to the activity of this government and
says the level of absorbing European funds in the field of infrastructure is
already double the country's capacity for implementing such projects. Lucian
"Right now, the Ministry of Transport already
is running infrastructure projects at 200% its capacity. I believe Corina
Cretu's letter refers to the period prior to the current Government's term in
office. In terms of absorption, the Large Infrastructure Operational Programme
is also managing other fields, which is why Commissioner Cretu referred to it
in the first place."
In her letter, Commissioner Cretu says the
process of drafting and submitting new projects for the current financial
framework has reported significant delays. In the last four years, Romania has
submitted only four such projects. To allow the absorption of budget
allocations over the coming years, Romania needs to launch new projects on the
ground. To this end, the authorities must give special attention to the budget
for 2019 and the coming years to avoid the decommitment of European funds",
Corina Cretu adds in her letter.