Regional hospitals, the thorn in the current ruling coalition’s eye. Commissioner Cretu slams Gov’t again

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The European Commission has not been notified about the Dancila Government decision to spend the EU funds allotted for the regional hospitals within the current budget year only for documentation, commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu said on Thursday, saying the commission won’t agree on that.

Cretu’s statement comes after PM Viorica Dancila had stated on Wednesday that the Romanian state cannot afford building the three regional hospitals for there is no money left for the current budget year. The Romanian premier had also said that she had a conversation with Corina Cretu on this topic.

“I saw the prime minister’s stance, she referred to a discussion we indeed had at Victoria Palace on February 18, 2018, so at the beginning at her mandate. After that meeting, I publicly said I am concerned about the overdue stage of the three regional hospitals. We discussed different possibilities back then. Unfortunately, I see we are always starting from scratch, it is an absurd discussion, I sent a letter to PM Dancila in March and I asked her which is the Romanian Government’s stance, considering the discussed options. The European Commission hasn’t got any response to that letter. I sent another letter in April this year. The EC has been asking for clarifications for one year and a half,” Commissioner said.

Cretu argued she had learnt from the media that PM Dancila had said the money allotted so far for the regional hospitals are only used for documentation and that more money is needed from the future budget year for the enforcement of the projects.

“The EC has not been officially notified about this decision and we are not comfortable with the fact that the allotted funds should be used only for documentation. We would have liked to see an effective implementation”, Cretu added.

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PM Dancila had told a private TV broadcaster yesterday there is no money left within this budget year to build the three regional hospitals and that the allotted money had already been spent on documentation, while proposing the sums needed for the construction works to be allotted in the next budget year of the EC.

A regional hospital is assessed to EUR 460 million. Three hospitals would have meant more than one billion euro. The Romanian state cannot afford that”, the premier argued, adding that the allotment so far for the three hospitals was EUR 150 M, and the documentation cost mounted to EUR 130 M.

The PM revealed there are ongoing talks for the hospitals to be build in partnerships, for instance the one in Constanta in partnership with the Turkish Government.

The next EU financing budget year is envisaged for 2021-2027.

The construction of 8 regional hospitals and of one huge hospital in Bucharest following the AKH Vienna’s pattern should have started in 2017, according to the PSD ruling programme. The projects have been yet delayed ever since, and, moreover, their number dropped from 8 down to 3.

FinMin makes controversial statement: Forget about EU money for hospitals

On the other hand, in a debate with the hospital managers these days, Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici had told them “to forget about European money”, for they do not exist, and that only public funds exist.

Look, gentlemen, forget about this area, about European money, there is no EU money, there is only an income from the state budget and that’s it. We make our own rules in our country and we assume if we want to pay from European money or not. There is no EU money, there is only money from the state budget, period”, Teodorovici said, as quoted by Digi24.

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