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Survey :European Funds on Paper and In Reality

The absorption rate, i.e. the effectively spent money, of the European Union structural funds is very low at this moment in Romania, at a little over 7 percent for the Regional Operational Programme (ROP) and nearly 20 percent for the Operational Programme for the Development of Human Resources (OPDHR), said the Public Policies Institute Director Violeta Alexandru on Tuesday.

'We are only interested in spending as much as possible of the 19.7 billion euros assigned Romania for seven years, without also paying the proper attention to the efficiency or manner that these funds are accessed. Moreover, the management authorities have a low transparency rate with respect to the procedure for the selection of the winning projects and to such projects' activities. The European funds are public money and any European citizen has the right to know what is happening to this money, but the management authorities do not want to observe this principle, as they claim this is what Brussels asks them to do', said Alexandru, who unveiled the survey called European Funds on Paper and In Reality.

The ROP has a budget totalling 3.27 billion euros for 2007-2013; as many as 1,387 projects had been approved for the ROP by this May, i.e. 60.7 percent of the overall financial allotment of the programme for the seven years. According to the Public Policies Institute report, the effective money absorption rate (i.e. the payments already made by the beneficiaries and repaid by the European Commission) was only 7.37 percent.

The budget earmarked for the OPDHR totals 3.476 billion euros for 2007-13; as many as 2,006 projects had been approved by end-May worth 2.794 billion euros. The effective absorption rate of the money was 19.10 percent, according to information provided by the Authority for the Structural Instruments Coordination.