Romania will be among the first countries in the EU to have its rural development program for the period 2014-2020 approved by the European Commission (EC) and to launch call for projects, said George Turtoi, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) during the first day of the Foreign Investors Summit (FIS), organized by Business Review.
“Romania has sent the National Program for Rural Development (NPRD) 2014-2020 to Brussels and we have received the EC’s official observations on the document. On October 22 we will begin negotiations and we will try to maintain our position with regard to the ministry’s strategy. We hope that by yearend the program will be approved and starting January, February we will launch call for projects under NPRD 2014-2020,”explained the state secretary.
Increasing agricultural production through higher productivity and investments in the production of value-added goods are the main two objectives the Romanian authorities had in mind in drafting the NPRD for 2014-2020, added Turtoi.
Regarding negotiations with the EC, he said that the objections raised so far are not substantive and the proposed NPRD should not suffer significant changes at the end of the negotiation process. One of the EC’s main observations refer to the fact that too much was allocated for investments in farms and too little was left for environment measures, explained Turtoi adding that during the negotiations Romania will try to maintain the initial ration. The EC also recommended that Romania reduce the funds allocated for local actions groups under the LEADER measure and expressed concerned over the fact that in the case of investments in farms EU funding can reach 90 percent of a project’s value, a level considered too high.
Romania’s NPRD for the period 2014-2020 regulates how local farmers can gain access to the EUR 9.85 billion available for investment projects for the period 2014-2020. Although the program has not yet been approved by the EC, this Maythe MADR launched the first call for projects under the new NPRD and farmers could apply through Measure 121 – the modernization of farms, for which EUR 150 million is available.