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Romania's main European source for motorway projects dips from 9 to 3 billion euros

The main non-reimbursable European money fund used by Romania for motorway projects, the Cohesion Fund, is currently halved as against the previous appropriations approved by the European Commission, senior official with Romania's Ministry of European Funds (MFE) Mihaela Toader said on Thursday.

Under the next budget currently under consideration by the new European Commission, the Cohesion Fund will get about 3 billion euros, compared to almost 9 billion allocated for the previous budget, Toader told Smart Transformation Forum 2019.

"There is a significant decrease in the Cohesion Fund, the one that finances the member states with a gross per capita income below 75pct of the EU average, and that was our main fund that we used to build motorways; to put it simply, it has been halved. The Cohesion Fund is currently halved. After transferring 1 billion to the Connecting Europe Facility, managed directly by the European Commission, we are left with 3 billion. In the current financial year, we have had almost 9 billion," said Toader.

She added that no additional amounts to this Fund are expected, given the ongoing political and economic events in the EU.

On the other hand, she named one of the policy objectives that receive European funding from Brussels, "A more connected Europe," as "Romania's pain," adding that the objective does not have a financial pre-allocation.

Toader also noted that the European Social Fund Plus has the largest increase in financial allocation in Brussels.

She said, however, that Romania is fortunate because it has received, along with Bulgaria and Greece, an increase in the allocation on European structural and investment funds, although they no longer include a national rural development programme.

Toader also argued that Romania has to change its waste management in order to join programmes that meet policy objective "A cleaner Europe,"mentioning to the point the Green Deal package initiated by the new European Commission.

She recommended the Romanian officials focus less on verifying the way the European funds are spent and be more adaptable and active in offering project implementation alternatives.