International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

EU Suspends Funds For Romania Citing Fraud Concerns




The European Union has suspended some 1 billion euro in funding for Romanian projects, concerned about financial irregularities in a number of planned projects.

Romania's Minister for European Funds, Marius Nica, on Friday (08.05.2015)  confirmed that the EU has temporarily suspended allocation of about 1 billion euro for Romanian projects because of allegations of corruption and other irregularities.

They were "investigating complaints related to alleged irregularities in some human resources, water supply and subway projects,” Nica said.

Romania’s poor rate of absorption of EU funding on offer has been a subject of disputes for years.

The rate has increased in recent years but remains the lowest in the EU. The absorption rate is the percentage of potential EU money that the country spends.

The rate was only 29.87 per cent at the end of 2013 and was supposed to exceed 50 per cent last year.

In September 2011, the Romanian government set up a new ministry to tackle the low rate of absorption of EU funds, since when some tangible results have been achieved, with the absorption rate almost doubling.

But it still lags behind its neighbours. In other Eastern European countries, such as Poland and Hungary, the rate of use of EU funds is around 60 per cent. The Baltic states of Estonia and Lithuania manage over 70 per cent.

Romania joined the EU in 2007. Since then, Brussels has temporarily suspended payments several times, citing flaws and fraud in EU-funded programs.

Romania is near the top of the rankings when it comes to the attempted fraudulent use of EU funds.

In 2013, Romania submitted 109 false claims worth 36.6 million euro, according to the European Commission report, “Fight Against Fraud 2013”. Romania came second in the fraud stakes, although well behind Italy in terms of the actual money involved.

Marian Chiriac


Source: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/romania-still-faces-problems-with-eu-funds





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