Commissioner Corina Crețu: Country report shows poverty, bureaucracy and low investments still challenges for Romania. Cross talk with FinMin on EC forecasting

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While in Bucharest on Friday to present the Country Report for Romania released by the European Commission on February 27, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu has launched new criticism against the ruling power in Bucharest. She argued that bureaucracy and low investments in education, healthcare and infrastructure are still the main challenges of Romania. Due to these shortages, Romania has been ranked by the Commission among countries with macro-economic imbalances.

Cretu further said that not everyone benefit of the sustained economic growth in Romania, while poverty among children and rural inhabitants has significantly increased.

There are four points in the country report that concern me. First of all, poverty remains a major issue for Romania, while regional inequities are on the rise. Although there is a sustained economic growth and new jobs are created, it’s obvious that not everyone is benefiting of these results. Poverty among children and in the rural areas has significantly increased, which worries me the most,” the commissioner for Regional Policy underlined.

„Secondly, the development is hampered by the lack of administrative capacity. As the 90-page report shows, bureaucracy, responsibilities and the fragmented resources prevent public administration become more efficient and hurt investments,” Cretu added.

Thirdly, investments are needed, I think about education, medical assistance, social inclusion, transport, energy and environment infrastructure. Investments in these sectors would strengthen the growth potential of Romania on long term and would improve the quality of life. Citizens feel and understand these things,” she argued.

The commissioner said that, fourthly, local regions and particularities do count. „Cohesion and competitiveness cannot be reached by applying a unique recipe. Every region should improve its weaknesses. We need differentiated investments at regional level and flexible, adjusted policies that should respond the local needs and challenges,” Cretu further said.

Cross talk with FinMin Teodorovici

At the same time, Romanian Finance minister Eugen Teodorovici, attending the same event, has embarked on a cross talk with Commissioner Corina Cretu on the EC half-yearly country report.

The Romanian FinMin claimed that citizens are not treated equally within the EU, exemplifying with the double standard on food. “I can tell you that most of the time dialogues and respect for all EU citizens is faking”, Teodorovici said.

Moreover, he added that the European Commission is much more pessimistic than it should be regarding Romania and has put our country on the list of those 13 countries with macro-economic imbalances, although Romania doesn’t fall under any criteria reproached by the Commission.
“The country report represents a pessimistic vision on Romania (…) The Commission’s forecasting are more pessimistic, and the difference of figures, which have been significant in the previous years, is affecting the groundwork of the analysis and the conclusions,” Teodorovici argued.

In retort, Commissioner Cretu said:

It is no surprise that you don’t agree with many of this report’s conclusions (…) This event today is not an electoral one, it is an action organised by the EC Representation every year, when the European half-year is presented. Mr. Juncker recommended that every commissioner presents the report in his/her country. Romania is holding the EU Council Presidency. If you want me to totally disappear, I cannot, for I have to do my job as a commissioner”.

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