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Romania, out from list of EU pilot project for increasing absorption of European funds. Commission to help Bulgaria, Poland, Croatia, Greece and Spain

de Victor Bratu , 3.6.2018

The European Commission (EC) has selected five national or regional authorities from Greece, Spain, Poland, Bulgaria and Croatia to be part of a pilot project aimed at strengthening governance and administrative capacity to manage European funds.

The fact that Romania is missing from this pilot project seems at a first glance difficult to explain:

Champion of EU funds thrown away

According to an information on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2007 – 2013, over one third of the funds decommitted in the previous European financial year are funds lost by Romania.

It seems equally difficult to explain the inclusion of Poland in the list, as the same information shows that this state has lost only EUR 353,409 from the allocated funds, or Bulgaria, which has decommitted amounts almost 6 times less than Romania.

There is, however, a simple explanation:

The European Commission published on 9 February 2018 an announcement that contained the call to national authorities to express their potential interest in improving their administrative capacity in the field by including one of the national programs in the pilot project.

The deadline for submitting applications was April 9.

Sources from the European Commission told cursdeguvernare.ro that only 14 eligible applications were sent to the Commission across the European Union and none of these 14 came from Romania.

Following the insistence of cursdeguvernare.ro to get details about the absence from the pilot project of the country that lost the largest amounts from the European money, the answer from Brussels was short: “the commission does not comment on the quality and eligibility of the projects received.”

The Romanian authorities have once again demonstrated “professionalism”, by proceeding identically as in the case of the request launched in 2014 by President Jean Claude Juncker when he asked member states to send large projects to receive financing through the so-called Juncker Plan.

More specifically, they have sent again now to Brussels the list of ongoing national programs. That, despite that the call launched in February contained clear eligibility criteria.

Pilot project of which Romania refused to be part

To improve the management of EU funded programs in the post-2020 period, experts from Commission and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) will provide tailored support” on a case-by-case basis – the official European Commission release says (HERE-LINK).

The five selected programs are:

  • “Developing regions” in Bulgaria;
  • “Competitiveness and Cohesion Program” in Croatia;
  • “Transport, Environment and Sustainable Development Infrastructure” in Greece;
  • Extremadura Regional Program in Spain
  • Lubelskie Regional Program in Poland.

The pilot project is designed to fully unlock the potential of public investment in terms of development and jobs.

Conclusions of the pilot project will also be used by authorities in other countries.

Within the project, experts involved “will focus on building the right organizational structures and developing the skills needed for the staff. Experts will help authorities coordinate better with other actors involved in the implementation of the cohesion policy programs such as the social and business partners, development agencies and organizations of civil society.”

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