According to the EC, Romania can receive a total 116 million euros in structural funds for environment, transportation, regional development, human resources and technical assistance projects, out of which 86 million euros are through Jeremie funds. Therefore, only 30 million euros are sums to be paid for specific projects.

The Jeremie program is an EU instrument for supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to access risk capital funds and Romania has allocated some 100 million euros.

The Romanian executive set as a priority this year to absorb as many community funds as possible.

The prime minister announced on July 7 that in the period 2007 – June 30 2009 some 2,154 projects were approved for a total value of 3.7 billion euros.

Romania paid contributions of more than 3 billion euros in the three years of EU membership and received in exchange pre-adhesion funds of 1.8 billion euros, as an advance for several projects, but only spent a small part of the amount.

The EC drew attention on some problems tied to the way ministry clerks treat the absorption of European funds.

The problem is that ministries in Romania are under such great political pressure to spend the EU money that they prefer to underestimate the sums so that they can latter on report their objectives have been exceeded, stressed the EC official.

Red tap, incompetence and slowness in contracting EU funds by Romania

The EC representative says numerous Romanian projects have been selected, but now they need to the contracted and then fulfilled. Then the actual money from community funds are sent to cover expenses.

Brussels warns that intermediary payment demands are pretty small, also due to red tape and delays in starting the projects.

Romania will have to contribute some 10.2 billion euros to the EU budget in the period 2007 – 2013, but the structural funds it can access are almost double, of 19.67 billion euros.

The EC has so far approved 11 major Romanian projects for environment protection, in a total value of around 1 billion euros.