President Traian Basescu said that European funds represent Romania’s economic growth resource and underscored that from this point of view, 2007 and 2008 were „wasted years”, which is why Romania needs the period for the spending of structural funds to be extended from ‘n + 2′ currently to n + 3’ years.
„We do not need to take out another loan, all that matters now is our capability to use these funds fast enough. We have so far spent a rather small share of the European funds. It is true that in the last six months the absorption process has picked up speed, but I am not sure that in the ‘n + 2’ variant we will manage to entirely absorb the funds because 2007 and 2008 were wasted,” Basescu said at the beginning of the meeting at the Cotroceni Palace with Chair of the Germany-Romania Parliamentary Friendship Group Susanne Kastner.
Basescu stressed that he also raised the issue at the European Council in May and that he sent European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso a letter on the same subject.
„I certainly do not ask for a positive response now, but I want to inform you that Romania has already made a relevant request and I can tell you, for instance, that we asked for a derogation for ISPA (pre-accession) funds, we asked the Commission to grant us a derogation of one year. We got the Commission’s nod and we managed to spend 98% of the pre-accession funds. Maybe this example could help us understand that Romania would be able to put the money to work if we had ‘n + 3’ instead the ‘n + 2’ formula,” said the Romanian head of state.
On June 1, during a meeting at the Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest, Traian Basescu explained to Jose Manuel Barroso the reason why Romania has such a low absorption rate of European funds.
At the end of the May 23 informal European Council meeting, President Basescu said that Romania asked for Brussels’ approval to redirect EU funds from one program to another and for the extension of the period for spending structural funds.