PM Dacian Cioloș told the 19th General Assembly of the Romanian Communes Association on Monday that the mayors’ role is crucial in enforcing the anti-poverty and social inclusion measures.
He warned that many local public authorities are exclusively relying on the state budget aids, which are allotted according to political standards. In the premier’s opinion this might jeopardise the EU-funded projects.
“The issue of the financial resources available to local public administration is they have poor revenues of their own. Many local public authorities rely almost exclusively on various transfers from the state budget. Such transfers are often allocated in a non-transparent way, according to political preferences or other criteria. (…) There is a serious risk that many of the projects made with European funds should come down and should fail to provide the intended services, due to the lack of resources for operating or maintenance expenditure,” the prime minister said.
PM Cioloș also warned over the risk of the fragmentation of the public local administration especially in the countryside.
“We have many poor territorial administration units, with low population and big operating expenses, lacking resources and unable to provide other than poor quality public services to the population, at extremely high costs,” he argued, adding the problem is also visible at a regional level.
“County councils are mainly targeting strictly their territorial interest; there are some territorial administration units which are too small to decisively boost economic development in a certain area. The regional development councils also fail to fulfill their mission under these circumstances,” the prime minister said.
The head of the Romanian Executive warned about the increasing competition for European funds. “We must also consider the post-2020 perspective, when the philosophy of European programmes will place a major stress on the development of competing projects; we must be ready for this challenge, have a local and regional administration with adequate financial capabilities,” he stressed.
Dacian Cioloș expressed his hope that, despite the current electoral year, mayors and local leaders running for new seats would endorse the Government’s anti-poverty and social inclusion programme, as these measures have no chance if are promoted only on central level.
The premier underlined that one aspect of this programme is to make children attend kindergarten, as it represents an extra chance to prevent potential dropout.
At the same time, the premier told the commune mayors that he would like to cut down the allotments from the Executive’s emergency fund. “These allotments should be intended only for really exceptional situations so that we should not award the low performance,” Cioloș pointed out.
He also suggested to mayors that they should consider adopting a new type of local taxing based on the market value of the real estate and not on their location.
About 400 commune mayors are attending the General Assembly of the Romanian Communes Association, as well as mayors from the Republic of Moldova, the president of the European Region Committee, Markku Markkula, and foreign diplomats.