Progress report Romania - Increasing the absorption of Structural and Cohesion Funds

Abstract from the National Reform Programme Progress Report - European Semester

 'In 2012, efforts of the national authorities were directed towards the implementation of the Priority action plan for increasing the capacity to absorb structural and cohesion funds (PAP), reviewed with the European Commission services. Progress has been made in improving project cycle management through the approval by the Romanian Government of several simplification measures in the process of verifying the reimbursement applications for contracts financed by structural instruments. In order to improve the procurement process, the standardisation of the public procurement documentation for transport and environment fields was approved through ministerial orders. Although some progress has been made in implementation of PAP, the absorption rate was still below expectations. Consequently, in November 2012, the European Commission has proposed the development of a new action plan for improving the administrative capacity for EU funds management. The new plan includes all unrealized measures of the PAP and contains new short, medium and long term measures.

 In December 2012, the first version of this plan was elaborated and agreed with the European Commission. A revised version of the plan is currently under inter- institutional consultation procedure.

Based on GEO No 96/2012, actions for more effective coordination and management of structural instruments were carried out at central public administration level, the most important measure consisting in the setting up of the MFE. The new approach of MFE is to work closely with management authorities and to ensure the necessary support to solve problems. Institutional changes undertaken in the management system of structural and cohesion funds, especially the establishment of the management authorities/intermediate bodies in the new ministerial structures, were carried out smoothly, without affecting their functioning.

By March 15th, 2013, the payments to the beneficiaries reached approximately 5.2 billion Euro, representing around 24.48% of the EU allocation for 2007-2013, while the intermediary reimbursements from the European Commission reached 2.46 billion Euro, which represents an absorption rate of 12.82%. Between July and October 2012, no payment claims have been sent to the European Commission for four Operational Programmes (Regional Operational Programme, SOP Environment, SOP Transport and SOP Increase of Economic Competitiveness). In November - December 2012, the transmission of expenditure statements to the European Commission was resumed for these programs, which allowed the minimization of decommitted amounts at the end of 2012.

In August 2012, the European Commission pre-suspended the SOP Human Resources Development (SOP HRD). As a result of corrective measures taken by the Romanian authorities, payments were resumed in February 2013, and the EU funds attracted by Romania increased to 410.4 million Euro. As a result of pre-suspension (in October 2012) of three Operational Programmes (SOP Transport, Regional Operational Programme – partially and SOP Increase of Economic Competitiveness – totally), a number of action plans to address existing deficiencies are currently under implementation.'

Read the full National Reform Programme Progress Report
Source: European Commission