Return Sep 16, 05 EU grants Romania over 31.5 billion euros ($38 Billion)
Jan 30, 06 Bucharest is intensely preparing for the arrival of the structural funds
Dec 12, 06 Absorption of structural funds noticeable towards the end of 2008

EU grants Romania over 31.5 billion euros ($38 Billion)
Bucharest Daily News - September 16, 2005
Alecs Iancu

The European Union intends to grant a total of 44.3 billion euros in financial aid to Bulgaria and Romania in the
first seven years of their membership of the bloc which is expected to start in Jan. 2007, Bulgarian News Network agency reported.
Out of the total,
Romania will receive 31.5 billion euros and Bulgaria 12.8 billion euros.
The financial aid has already been approved by the Budget Committee of the European Parliament.
The two countries are to use 22.6 billion euros for structural reforms, 16 billion euros for agriculture, 3.5 billion euros for home affairs and 919 million euros for administrative infrastructure.
Euroactiv.ro Website added that German MEPs opposed this decision, arguing that the projected aid for the two countries is too high.
German conservative groups in the European Parliament have criticized Romania in the past, suggesting that the country will not be able to join the EU on time.
The European Commission's Country Report, due this fall, is expected to settle any doubts or criticism, as it will contain definitive judgments on Romania's evolution toward accession, according to Integration Minister Anca Boagiu, quoting Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn.
The report, which will be detailed, balanced and correct, said the minister, will outline the country's progress to date, as well as the efforts that still need to be made for integration.

Absorption of structural funds noticeable towards the end of 2008 - Bucharest authorities forecast a 85 pc structural fund spending rate by 2010.
Nine Oclock by Matei Harnagea December 12, 2006

BUCHAREST – The absorption of structural funds will begin to become visible after a year and a half as from the accession date to the European Union, the program official from Unit Romania within DG Regional Policies of the European Commission, David Sweet, stated at an economic seminar, yesterday. On the other hand, Public Finance Minister Sebastian Vladescu said that the first structural funds would be attracted during the first year after accession, while noting that the Romanian authorities estimated a structural spending rate of 85 per cent by 2010. ‘Based on our experience so far, we can count on an absorption rate of structural funds of over 80 per cent. We hope that Romania will have reached 85 per cent absorption rate by the end of 2010’, stated Minister Vladescu.

Sweet however also pointed out that delays in spending structural funds, mainly for infrastructure, had been reported by all the countries that had joined the EU bloc as part of the previous enlargement waves. The European official explained that infrastructure projects regularly need environmental permits and a range of tendering procedures that need to comply with strict rules. In fact, Minister Vladescu noted that the cohesion funds earmarked for the development of the infrastructure would present a lower spending rate compared to money going into other sector to be financed. ‘Like in the other countries, the commencement of infrastructure projects will present delays compared to other programmes benefiting from EU funding, because the procedure is much more complex in the former case’, explained the minister.

Fund absorption - a priority

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu who attended the same event reiterated the fact that the spending of European structural funds had been made a priority to the Government, and explained that a successful absorption would take a lot of work and reliability in developing projects to be financed. ‘I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this money is not going to be given to us in just about any condition, the money will be allocated based on projects. Those who may imagine that it will be raining Euros after the 1st of January are wrong’ (...) We shall need to work very hard to obtain that money’, said the premier. According to Tariceanu, the development of the programming documents in connection with the structural and cohesion funds were approaching an end and they will be negotiated in the former half of 2007 with officials of the European Commission.

Modernisation of the road infrastructure will benefit from 46 per cent of the structural funds totalling EUR 5 bln allotted for 2007-2013 under the Transport Sectoral Operational Programme, executive director of the Foreign Financial Directorate General Florentina Teodorovici announced yesterday.The railway sector will take up 43 per cent of the programme funds, followed by the naval segment – eight per cent, inter-modal segment – one per cent and air transport sector – 0.6 per cent.

Local authorities to co-finance two per cent of the value of the project

From 2007 to 2013, Romania will receive over EUR 20 Bln. in structural and cohesion funds from the European Union, for which Romania will have to provide around EUR 5 Bln. as co-financing. Romania will have to contribute either 15 or 30 per cent to every project developed with structural funds, as only very few projects can be conducted with European funds exclusively. The contribution of the local authorities to such projects has also been recently established – only two per cent of the value of the project, and the balance will be met from the central budget.

Bucharest is intensely preparing for the arrival of the structural funds
Nine O'Clock - January 30, 2006
Corvin Ariciuc

Bucharest - The Executive has decided to unfreeze 8,500 positions of civil servants, to be hired in February in domains connected with the absorption of the European funds.

The Government met yesterday in an extraordinary session to discuss and approve the necessary measures for the increase of the administrative capacity of absorption of the European funds. The Executive considers that after the accession to the EU in 2007 the efficient spending of the European funds will allow Romania to develop rapidly and to fill up the gaps separating it from other member countries.

Romania will receive after accession structural funds worth around EUR 30 bln, according to the decision of the European Council from December 2005. Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu stressed that the 8,500 new civil servants that will handle the community funds can gain 75 per cent more money than the others.

“There are around 11,000 jobs in Romania that were blocked. We decided to unblock 8,500 jobs, that will be distributed to various institutions,” explained Tariceanu. The same said that the 8,500 new civil servants will be hired subject to examination, starting on February 7, in domains such as the European integration or the absorption of the community funds, and that all the employees who will work with European funds will receive a salary 75 per cent bigger than normally. This means that those who deal with the elaboration of projects will get a salary of about ROL 7 M, as Finance Minister Sebastian Vladescu explained.

According to a press release, most of the new employees will go to the Agriculture Ministry - over 6,000 of them.

The Interior Ministry, the Integration Ministry and the Environment Ministry, the Prefectures and also other ministries will receive specialists in the elaboration of projects in order to make possible the absorption of the community funds to a higher degree.

Basically, each ministry will receive, to a larger or smaller extent, specialists in the elaboration of projects. decentralisation Government decided also yesterday to modify the institutional framework for the coordination, the implementation and the management of the structural funds.

PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu said that the modifications were made at the recommendation of the monitoring missions of the European Commission stressing that this is a necessary decision in view of the decentralisation of the management of the cohesion funds.

The management of the cohesion fund, held so far by the Public Finance Ministry, is assumed by the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Tourism, and the Ministry of Environment and Water Management, as managing authorities for the structural operational programmes,” explained Tariceanu.

According to the new regulations, Ministry of Administration and Home Affairs will also manage and implement the financial assistance allotted to the administrative development operational programme.

Another modification targets the designation of the Public Finance Ministry as institution responsible “for the control ex-ante in the domain of public acquisitions for the structural instruments, at central and local level, according to the legal provisions,” Finance Minister Vladescu stated.

He explained that the inspectors from the Court of Audit will make the control ex-post, meaning the control of money utilisation, while the system of remedies - meaning the monitoring of the notices, will be performed by an independent institution.

“The European institutions have requested to split these controls, in order to avoid the interference into the activity of the state organisations,” Sebastian Vladescu explained.

Dispute over cross border funds

Minister of European Integration (MIE) and Foreign Minister (MAE) have different opinions about the rate of absorption of PHARE funds intended for the Romanian-Bulgarian cross border cooperation.

In a press release issued on Friday, European Integration Minister Anca Boagiu stressed, referring to PHARE CBC Romania-Bulgaria programmes, that Romania has recorded high contracting and absorption rates, giving the example of 2003 with 98 per cent. The payments are between 91 and 89 per cent. “The management of PHARE-CBC funds is a proof that Romania can absorb and use to maximum the European money for the benefit of the local communities,” Minister Boagiu declared.

In retort, Foreign Minister Mihai Ungureanu criticised, also on Friday, on the occasion of the conference “Romanian-Bulgarian cross border cooperation - European realities and prospects,” held in Ruse, the rate still insufficient of absorption of PHARE funds. Ungureanu said that the funds for cross border cooperation were insufficiently or erroneously used.

“The Romanian-Bulgarian cross border cooperation does not develop as we like. The European funds are not used up at a sufficient level,” Minister Ungureanu declared.

The same pointed out that “taking into account the funding volume, the absorption rate is below 40 per cent,” he added.