Economy Minister Florin Spataru sat down with Business Review and talked about the Ministry’s plan to finance green projects developed by the manufacturing industry with the aim of encouraging the implementation of the circular economy model at a larger scale.
By Anda Sebesi
The Economy Ministry is currently working to develop a state aid scheme to support the manufacturing industry in its adoption of circular economy principles. How many projects do you expect this scheme to target?
The circular economy must be a goal for management teams in all companies in Romania. Implementing the principles of the circular economy results in environmental protection and added value on the entire economic chain. The Economy Ministry has created a Mechanism to offer state aid financing for the manufacturing industry through the Transition Plan Towards a Circular Economy. All applicants whose projects will include the circular economy component will benefit from financial support between EUR 15,000 and EUR 200,000 under the state aid scheme. We are currently working on the programme guide, which will set up the implementation of the scheme and the steps companies should take in order to access these funds. The call for proposals will be open by the end of this year. The maximum budget of the state aid scheme is EUR 8 million and will be available in two instalments: EUR 2 million in 2022 and EUR 6 million in the 2023-2025 period. The transition towards a circular economy is one of the main objectives our country has committed to as a member of the European Union. We need both a national strategy that is adapted to the realities of the Romanian economy and a legal framework that can support companies operating in this industry through this transition.
What can you tell us about the state aid scheme meant to support the refurbishment and development of new production lines in the manufacturing industry so that companies can cut their carbon emissions?
The Economy Ministry is dedicating a state aid scheme to the manufacturing industry for the first time in the last 30 years. Large companies in Romania now have access to EUR 300 million in grants for large investment plans worth at least EUR 3 million. As a result of an in-depth market analysis, we decided to prioritise investment plans that aim to cut dependence on imports in order to support the essential value chain in the development of the local economy. Green investments of minimum 10 percent of the value are mandatory for a project to be eligible. In addition, companies that will make investments in vulnerable of underpopulated areas across Romania, as well as those that will employ more than 100 individuals, will get a higher score in the evaluation process.
What can you tell us about the Ministry’s approach on the circular economy and environmental projects?
The current Industrial Policies team in the Economy Ministry has played a crucial role in the development of the circular economy strategy, which has already been approved by the Government.
This strategy is a milestone within Romania’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) that’s due to be achieved by the end of September—so we’re right on schedule! Our entire team has contributed to the development of this strategy, which has changed the paradigm of the last few years and added crucial elements in terms of the role of waste recovery in the economy. In the coming period we will be working on the implementation plan for this strategy, which will be ready in May 2023. It will require all the important players in this sector to work as a team in order to set tangible targets within the strategy.