Fresh News

Tuesday, 30 January

Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă met with the European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu

PM Viorica Dăncilă: A good liaison between Government and the European Commission will mean steps forward in the absorption of European funds

 

Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă discussed today, at Victoria Palace, with the European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu, the Government’s objectives for the next period, with a view to increasing the absorption of European funds. Also attending the meeting were: Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration Paul Stanescu, Minister of European Funds Rovana Plumb, State Advisor Sevil Shhaideh, and Deputy Secretary General within the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration Camelia Coporan.

„I asked Ministries’ involved to present solutions within two weeks in order that on December 31, 2018, Romania doesn’t lose a single euro from the European funds allocated to it,” stated the Head of the Executive. Also, Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă outlined her intention to boost the European dimension of the government. In this respect, the Head of the Executive stated that she had asked the members of the Cabinet to personally attend the ministerial meetings of the Council of the European Union, and she also requested the Minister of European Affairs to present the state of implementation of the EU directives. As regards the absorption of European funds, Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă deems very important for Romania a good liaison between Romania’s Government and Brussels. "If we do this and we will take it seriously, I think we can talk about steps forward in EU funds absorption," added the Head of the Executive.

The members of the two delegations reviewed the important steps taken by Romania to absorb European money after the accreditation of all the managing authorities.

European Commissioner Corina Cretu confirmed Romania’s progress in increasing the EU funds absorption, expressing at the same time her confidence that the Romanian Executive would take care of all the outstanding issues and would provide quickly the best solutions to accelerate the absorption of European funds. "We agreed to find together an action plan and to receive proposals to accelerate European funds by  February 23. I have once again assured the Prime Minister of my full support and the support of the Commission, like in recent years, when I helped Romania to make the best use of EU money, " stated the European official.

Referring to the stage of priority investment projects under the Large Infrastructure Operational Programme(POIM), Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă stated that within one month, she would analyze with the relevant Ministers the extent of the current delays, in order to identify viable solutions. It is the case of projects such as: the Câmpia Turzii - Ogra - Târgu Mureş highway, construction of the M6 ​​Metro Line Gara de Nord- Otopeni and the construction of the three regional hospitals in Cluj, Iaşi and Craiova. Under the same operational programme, the projects of the Sebeş-Turda highway and the rehabilitation of the Radna-Gurasada-Simeria railway are on schedule.

The Government will also support the inclusion of the Jiu Valley in the pilot project launched by the European Commission to finance mining areas development projects, Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă and European Commissioner Corina Creţu agreeing on Romania sending a request in this respect to the European Commission in the next period.

In 2017, Romania had 34 conditionalities to fulfill and finalized the accreditation of the managing authorities. Currently, the total budget for calls launched is 21.7 billion euros, which stands for 79% of the allocated amount.

In 2017, Romania requested the amount of EUR 1.24 billion from the European Commission; as comparison, no reimbursement amount was requested in 2016 for the 2014-2020 financial framework.

Reimbursements made by the European Commission in 2017 totaled EUR 1.09 billion and for 2018, the total amount that the Romanian authorities should claim for reimbursement in order to avoid the risk of decommitment to the EC is EUR 1.73 billion.

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Joint press statements by Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, and the European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu

 

Corina Cretu: Good afternoon! I am glad to be here again, at the headquarters of the Romanian Government. I had an open and constructive discussion with Prime Minister Viorica Dancila who I want to congratulate once again, in front of you, for the responsibility she undertook, and for the fact that she is the first lady invested as Head of the Executive after the Revolution. From our point of view, of the European Commission, we have a good relationship and a permanent dialogue. I conveyed to Prime Minister all the European Commission’s openness regarding the field I am coordinating. As to date, the Commission, me, personally, our services will help with whatever we will be asked. We discussed about projects in progress, and obviously, about the problems and risks that Romania is confronted with.

As I have mentioned before, Romania has achieved progress, especially in recent months, after the accreditation of the authorities for the management and control of European funds. Since August, the absorption rate has reached one billion euro, having started, as you know, from zero. The previously lost steps have been recovered, but even so, one should not slow down the pace, but quite the contrary. You very well know that Romania was earmarked EUR 20 billion from the funds I am coordinating. One billion has been paid from August to date, and 2.8 billion are committed on retrospective projects, road projects, which should have been completed in the previous financial period. Unfortunately, it was not possible, and then we made this decision, in order not to lose the money, to phase the projects over two periods of time. Therefore, the good news is that all these roads will be finalized, the bad news is that they unfortunately consume from the budget for 2014-2020. From our point of view, I told the Prime Minister that this year, unless major efforts are made, Romania risks losing important funds, unused in recent years, despite the progress achieved last year. There are still areas with delays which hopefully would not cost Romania. As regards regional development, first of all, problems exist, and we mention here the risk of decommitment in 2018, of million euros, and there are also delays regarding transports and regional hospitals. Of course, I have all confidence that the new Cabinet will take care of these outstanding issues, and will act fast, coming up with the best solutions to accelerate implementation. Practically, we agreed to find an action plan and receive proposals of EU funds acceleration by February 23. I have assured the Prime Minister of my full support and the support of the Commission, like in recent years, when I helped Romania to make the best use of European money. You know very well that throughout 2007 -2014, the absorption rate reached nearly 90 percent of the previous budget, which means more than 51,000 jobs created, more than 3,000 small and medium sized enterprises, etc. Decisive actions must come from here, from Bucharest, from the country’s authorities, and the work pace must be accelerated day after day, month after month, because, as it was told yesterday too, some of you attended the conference organized by the National Bank, if there are less intense periods, if breaks occur, this can be seen in the everyday life of the people as well as in the financial market. I also informed the Prime Minister of other initiatives of the Commission, and for example, we tackled the importance of projects such as the Bucharest Ring Road, Metro line 6, Bucharest - Otopeni . I also informed the Prime Minister about an action related to the regions that lost or risk losing their coal production and at this stage, we have invited Romania to apply, in order to act with our funds for the recovery of one of the the poorest areas in Romania that is the Jiu Valley. I think it is an important initiative to enter this pilot project and Romania should play an important role, given its experience in the field. I also agreed with Mrs. Dăncilă to send us a request in this respect, to me and to Vice-President Šefčovič.

I can say therefore that there is openness on the part of the Commission, to do our best to help Romania. Also, we discussed about major decisions to be taken within the European Commission this year, about the future financial framework and about the way Romania will deal with all these, even before assuming next year’s presidency. As you know, President of Romania will be present tomorrow, at the College of Commissioners, where they will also discuss about Romania’s Presidency and the future financial framework.

Before concluding, I would like us not to overlook the overall picture: Romania has hugely benefitted from European funds, it is a net beneficiary. More than 60 percent of public investments made in Romania over the last ten years, were achieved with European funds. The European programmes represented and further represent the main source of investments, job creation and supporting the small and medium sized enterprises, and recovery of development gaps. This is why I am sure that Romania is entitled to have a budget at least equal to the one it has had so far, and surely, it is important that until May, when the Commission presents the draft budget for 2020- 2027 to the European Parliament, we show that Romania can use this European money because it is no secret that this cohesion policy like the agriculture is under heavy pressure, especially after Great Britain leaves the EU. As far as I am concerned, I will strive for the cohesion policy budget not to be very much affected, but what matters first is the states’ performance to attract the funds allocated in the current financial framework. You know very well that alongside the Commissioner for budget, Mr. Gunther Oettinger, we are committed to discussing with all members the extent to which some states are willing to contribute more to the EU budget. Therefore, I wish you good luck, Mr. Prime Minister! I am sure that you will accelerate the absorption and implementation of the projects which are necessary to Romanians. You know well that we are talking the way we talked these years, when we were colleagues in the European Parliament, about Romanians’ needs, the healthcare needs, needs pertaining to modernization of schools, for an accelerated development of road infrastructure, in order that the income and development gaps with the West to be reduced as much as possible. This is why I am sure that as I know you, you will do your best to achieve these things. I wish you great success, Madam Prime Minister and also to your team, and of course, we are waiting for good news and results! Thank you very much!

Viorica Dancila: Thank you, Madam Commissioner!  It was not by accident that my first meeting as Prime Minister is with Commissioner Corina Cretu. Romania has a huge chance with Corina Creţu, she has a portfolio that is so important for the entire European Union and especially for Romania - the regional policy, it is known how important the cohesion policy is for Romania. I believe that together we will be able to re-launch this European component and, as I have said since my appointment, I very much want to see a boost in the European dimension of government. In 2017, we had 34 conditionalities fulfilled, and we were able to complete the accreditation of managing authorities in August. Currently, the total budget for calls launched is 21.7 billion euros, which represents 79% of the allocated amount. In 2017, EUR 1.24 billion was requested from the European Commission compared to 2016, when no reimbursement was requested for the 2014-2020 financial framework. The reimbursements made by the European Commission in 2017 amounted to 1.09 billion euros, and for 2018, the total amount that the Romanian authorities have to claim for reimbursement, in order not to risk decommitment to the European Commission, is 1. 73 billion euros. I tried to make a review, I specified these figures in order to get a clear picture of the starting point, and especially of what we have to do in the future. I requested the involved ministries to come up with the identified solutions in two weeks, so that on December 31, 2018, Romania will not lose any euro. As regards the POIM situation, because you reminded this situation, Commissioner,

Corina Cretu: Infrastructure.

Viorica Dăncilă: ... yes, the Operational Program for Large Infrastructure, the construction of the three regional hospitals through ROP, the Regional Operational Programme, we found that works are on schedule as regards the Sebeş-Turda motorway projects and the rehabilitation of Radna-Gurasada-Simeria railway, and I want to thank you for your agreement, Commissioner, unfortunately, there are delays regarding the Campia Turzii - Ogra - Târgu Mureş Highway, and the construction of the M6 ​​Metro line, Gara de Nord- Otopeni, as well as the construction of the three regional hospitals in Cluj, Iaşi, Craiova that I have mentioned earlier. Within one month at maximum, I will analyze alongside the relevant Ministers the extent of these delays, and we will identify solutions, so that over the next period of time, we will discuss with you those solutions. As you saw from the first meeting with Ministers, last evening, I requested the Minister for European Affairs, to draw up a review of the situation with all the European directives that have not been implemented and the stage of their implementation. I requested that each Ministry brief me on the inflow of European funds, and to attend the EU Council meetings, because I deem as very important for Romania, for the absorption of European funds, a good liaison between Romania’s Government and the European Commission. If we take this step and we will look at it with seriousness, I think we can talk of steps forward regarding the European funds absorption.

I would like to thank you Commissioner for your briefing, your commitment and support in relation to the mining regions’ platform and it is true that, for us, including Valea Jiului in this pilot programme is a priority. We will continue to cooperate on this topic, in the future, and I am sure that as I know you and how time has demonstrated in these nine years since we worked together in the European Union, the European Parliament, Commission respectively, we can take important steps for Romania, both on the part of the Romanian Government, European Parliament, and especially the European Commission in which we put great hopes. Thank you once again!

Corina Cretu: Thank you and I wish you once again great success!

Viorica Dancila: Thank you, Madam Commissioner!

 

 

 

 



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