European Commissioner for Regional policy, Corina Cretu has told a debate organized in Bucharest on Monday that Romania cannot afford „the luxury” of considering a RoExit.
„Romania cannot afford the luxury of thinking of leaving the European Union. Particularly now, that the Presidency of the European Council lies ahead, when it has the opportunity as a EU leader to change things for the better, from inside,” Cretu stated.
She added that the UK exit from the EU is not fully understood for UK contributed by over 10 percent to the cohesion funds allotted to the member states.
EU funds absorption, Romania’s weakness since its EU accession
Corina Cretu has also stated in Bucharest on Monday that Romania’s „slow” EU funds absorption has been its weakness since our country joined the European Union, while launching the proposal for „a permanent dialogue with the Government”.
„From the first day of my term, I have considered that the EU has this weakness of not being able to communicate enough the way that the cohesion policy is improving people’s life (…) Romania is one of the states that benefit from the cohesion policy. I have focused in the past months to ensure a balanced budget that should contribute to reducing social disparity after 2020 as well,” Cretu told EuroIMPACT conference in Bucharest.
The commissioner informed that the EU funds have helped over 14,000 SMEs in Romania during 2013-2017, which generated 51,000 jobs. 40,000 apartments have been rehabilitated, 100 medical clinics have been revamped and 2,448 equipped with Internet. „We can say that the EU funds have minimized the effects of the economic crisis”, Cretu pointed out.
However, she added that even since the accession, Romania has had a weakness on attracting European funds.
„Within the 2014-2020 Romania has about EUR 31 billion at disposal, including money for agriculture. The EU funds provide financing for 60-65% of the public investment in Romania. Every time when there were problems in implementing the European projects, I talked about the slow administrative capacity. There are not issues that happened yesterday or in the past year, it’s a weakness we have had every since the accession to the EU. During 2007-2011 the absorption rate stood at 4% (…) My plan is to have a permanent dialogue with the Government during the rest of my mandate, I commit to improve the weak quality of the infrastructure, which is restricting the perspectives of economic growth and to talk to authorities to expedite the projects,” Cretu stated.
According to her, Romania has already lost EU funds worth almost EUR 2 billion that could have been used for the transport infrastructure projects.
She explained that starting the next multi-annual financial cycle, regional actors will be encouraged to come up with projects to access EU money. „Each country will be compelled to directly allot at least 6% of the allotment to regions and cities,” she said, adding that starting 2021, Romania will have 8 pc more European funds as against the current multi-annual financial framework.
Creţu: I am not denigrating the Gov’t, but it’s my duty to put it plainly”
Commissioner Cretu also said she is denigrating the Government when she says that it is 100% responsible for the problems in attracting EU funds, explaining „ it’s her duty to put it plainly.”
„I can assure you that I planed to have a very good relationship with all Governments from those 28 EU member states and from my point of view I have had a good collaboration relation with the governments in Bucharest, regardless of their political colour. I am not critising the Government as a whole, but it is my duty to warn over the sectors that are facing problems. There must be political will and administrative capacity at national level to attract EU funds. It’s my duty to put it plainly, otherwise we won’t move on,” she said in a press conference when asked what is her stance on the cross talk with the Executive on the EU funds topic.
Cretu added she is not denigrating the Romanian Government.
„Unfortunately, there are still problems to solve in such fields as transport infrastructure and regional hospitals. So, the fact that the responsibility is 100% of the member states when it comes to projects is not denigration, it’s reality”, she argued.