Romania, at risk of losing EUR169mln of European funds

Romania is at risk of failing to absorb €169 million under the pre-accession assistance. Another €745 mln under pre-accession structural instrument that funds transport and environmental schemes are also in danger of being frozen, should no request of refunding is submitted by next year, European Commission said in a special report.

Romania could fail to absorb €169,055 million of pre-accession funds under PHARE which covers projects aimed at strengthening the administrative and institutional capacity, adapting the legislation to EU’s framework and socio-economic cohesion projects.

The special report on the management of EU funds in Romania and Bulgaria was requested by the European Parliament and submitted on Friday by the European Executive to the Committee on Budgetary Control with the European Parliament.

“The deadline for PHARE contracts was November 31, 2008. €169.055 million can be deemed as unused, and have been partially recovered or will be soon. Another €211 million are to be disbursed, with the condition that the disbursement requests are submitted on time and are eligible”, reads the report.

As for the pre-accession program SAPARD, destined for agricultural and rural development programs, the deadline was extended until December 2009, after last year, the European Commission decided to freeze payments on irregularities and vulnerabilities in public acquisitions and internal management. Payments have been resumed in July 2009 after an independent audit confirmed that Romanian authorities have put in place the programs requested by the European Commission. Therefore, Romania still has to receive €100mln of SAPARD funds.

“Up to now, all SAPARD funds have been used, but the risk of not using the money remains for the remainder of the year”, EC said.

As for the infrastructure funds ISPA, the deadline for payments entry is December 31, 2010. “Funds haven’t been lost yet, but €745.7 mln haven’t yet been requested for refunding. Any amount that is not claimed before the deadline, will be lost”. EC said.

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