Romania was set to lose seven billion euro in European Union funding allocated for the current budget period under operational programmes transport and competition, Romanian daily Gandul reported on October 22.
Regional development commission Johannes Hahn would officially notify authorities in Bucharest of the suspension of funding in the near future. The main reason was the programme flaws and fraud, the newspaper said, quoting unnamed diplomats.
Romania has been allocated 19.2 billion euro in EU funding during the current budget period (2007-2013), but has used only 9.7 per cent of those funds so far. In the two operational programmes to be suspended, the payment rate is even lower – 6.46 per cent for transport and 6.76 per cent for competition, Gandul said.
An action plan drafted by the government in Bucharest, meant to improve the rate at which EU funds are used, has been dismissed by the European Commission as inefficient, offering only short-term fixes without fixing the systemic flaws, according to the newspaper.
The problem was not new – the Commission first warned Romania that it was failing to use the EU funds efficiently in 2010, but progress in reforming the state administration overseeing EU funds absorption has been slow, Gandul said.
The news of the impending suspension of funds comes only a month before EU heads of government are set to meet to discuss the bloc’s next six-year budget period. Bucharest could see its allocation cut drastically if the bloc decides that future funding be based on usage efficiency during the current budget cycle, the newspaper said.
(Photo: Päivi Tiittanen)