The prioritisation of austerity measures has not solved the crisis but rather is causing social problems with lasting impacts. About 40 percent of Romanian citizens are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, ranking 2nd after Bulgaria, while the European average is 25 percent, according to European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan (photo L) who paid his first official visit to Romania on March 12-13.
„In Romania, poverty is strongly concentrated in rural areas, due to poor infrastructure and lack of employability. We must ensure that all people in rural areas can see that EU funds are spent to improve agriculture at national level,” EU official said on Friday, attending an event organized by the European Commission Representation in Romania – “Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion in Romania’s Rural Areas. The Contribution of the National Rural Development Program 2014-2020”.
Romania will advocate before the European Commission EUR 1 billion funds for its main irrigation infrastructure under the Juncker programme, given that under its National Rural Development Programme EUR 370 million were approved for the rehabilitation of the secondary irrigation infrastructure, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Daniel Constantin said in his turn.
He mentioned that in his conversation with the European Commissioner he underscored the importance to Romania’s agricultural output of the irrigation sector.
As far as the underdeveloped areas of Romania are concerned, Constantin mentioned that Romania is at an advantage because such areas have doubled under the new European criteria.
European Commissioner Hogan added that European funds for agriculture will have an impact on 2.5 million people, both directly and indirectly, by funding local road and irrigation, infrastructures, agri-tourism services and the conservation of the local cultural heritage. Hogan also said the outlook for Romania’s agriculture is positive, especially because in 2014 Romania’s commercial balance was positive, having recorded some of the best outcomes of the last 25 years.
Romania in mid-April will receive the letter of conformity from the European Commission, so as to be able to launch its National Rural Development Programme (NRDP) 2014-2020, following by early May the authorities to launch all the measures comprised in the programme, minister Constantin added.
The Minister of Agriculture announced that the first projects are already expected to come on March 25 under the two measures where the negotiations with the European Commission are already completed, investments in farms and the young farmers related measures respectively.