The European Commission threatens the Romanian Government in a press release with the suspension of EUR 500 million in EU funds from the Administrative Capacity OP if the changes made to the Administrative Code by the Parliament will be approved.
“The Commission services follow closely the process of the adoption of the Administrative Code in Romania, as this legislative initiative contains important provisions for the initiation of the reform for public administration, negotiated and agreed in the context of the ex-ante conditionalities. The Common Provision Regulation (CPR) requires for the implementation of the necessary public administration reforms as a pre-requisite for ESF intervention. Moreover, Romania adopted a self-suspension clause, based on which the Administrative Capacity OP shall support interventions in the field after the Commission services consider the conditionality fulfilled”, the European officials stated.
According to the EU Commission, the amendments proposed significantly endanger the efforts of professionalizing the civil service and reduces the mandate and remits of work of the National Agency of Civil Servants, the institution that was at the core of the reform.
“Delays in pursuing the reform of civil service have as well a negative impact as well on the capacity of the administration to fully exploit the opportunities offered by the EU funds. Please note that, in accordance with Article 19(5) and 142(1)(e) of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013, the failure to complete actions to fulfil an applicable ex ante conditionality constitutes a ground for suspending payments to the priorities of the programmes concerned that are affected. The scope of suspension shall be proportionate, taking into account the actions to be taken and the funds at risk”, the Eu official stated.
Anca Dragu, former Finance minister, stated that the quality of public services is threatened by these changes made to the Administrative Code. “Public institutions are falling apart one by one under an unprecedented attack of the ruling coalition to weaken the state, the rule of law, and to dilute the conflict of interests and incompatibilities. Such measures will affect both the large majority of honest civil servants and all of us – individuals and companies – who interact with the state on a daily basis. If the Code is voted in the current version, it endangers the efforts of professionalizing the civil service, which is a precondition for accessing the EU funds. The immediate effect will be the cancellation of half billion euros for improving public administration. It is another missed opportunity for Romania for the sake of a few dishonest people”, she stated.
Catalin Predoiu, PNL MP and former Justice minister, stated for Business Review that a debate on the Administrative Code would have been a good occasion to move forward in reforming the system. “Unfortunately we are going backwards and the European Commission has reacted. The PSD-ALDE Government should avoid this conflict that has a EUR 500 million bill attached”, Predoiu stated.