Romania spent 1.1 percent (EUR 400.4 million) of the European funds available to the country in the 2014-2020 programme for structural and investment funds.
During the same period, states like Bulgaria or Poland have had an absorption of 7.5 percent and 6.5 percent respectively, according to European Commission data obtained by Agerpres.
The largest part of the total amount Romania has spent was through the European Regional Development Fund – EUR 241.9 million.
The countries that spent less than Romania out of their available structural and investment funds were Austria (0.3 percent) and Ireland (0.9 percent).
Portugal has spent the largest percentage of allocated funds (10.9 percent), followed by Lithuania (9.1 percent) and Estonia (8.4 percent).
European Funds Minister Marius Nica recently stated that by 2023 Romania will be an example of European fund absorption, and he thinks that the 88-89 percent absorption of the 2007-2013 period was “not bad”.
Nica referred to a recent meeting with all European Funds Ministers in the EU on the subject of the 2014-2020 period, where he claims that “20 out of 27 member states have complained about the same thing: bureaucracy, audits, and difficult procedures for implementing European funds”.
“There is an online database which presents live stats on absorption. And you’ll see that Romania is currently in position 19 or 20 out of 27 regarding Cohesion Funds and that the differences among all member states out of this database are not larger than EUR 200-300 million. If we want to be fair and honest, let’s use official data. I don’t consider Romania to be far behind other member states, as we’ve been hearing. It’s true that we have more problems in implementing infrastructure projects compared to other states, when it comes to acquisitions, appeals or frauds. But at the moment, thanks to the procedures imposed by the EU, all member states are in a similar position, without significant differences. There are member states which are much more powerful than Romania, with decades of experience in the EU, but which have a lower absorption of funds. I am convinced that at the end of this year, Romania will be somewhere in the middle of the chart.”, said Nica.