ZF English

Romania loses 28bn euros if EU fund absorption stays at current rate

Romania loses 28bn euros if EU fund absorption stays at current rate
20.10.2009, 16:20 54

The biggest problem as far as the European fund absorption isconcerned is communication, say EU funding specialists andjournalists.

Two and a half years after Romania's accession to the EU, theEuropean fund absorption rate stood at 4.6% at the end of June,which means that out of the 30 billion euros the country shoulddraw from 2007 through 2013, only 553 million euros have been paidto beneficiaries.

Out of the 8,221 projects submitted for structural funds aloneby the end of May, 37% were rejected, that is 3,113 projects, while1,057 had already been approved for financing. The very lowabsorption rate of projects can be explained by the fact that thepotential beneficiaries did not build their applications, as theyshould have, which means they did not have enough accurateinformation sources available.

The main authorities in charge of managing and implementingEuropean funds are the management authorities. The better theycommunicate with the others involved, such as beneficiaries,consultants, representatives of the business sector, the quickernon-repayable funds are released.

Communication of the management authorities is done with thepotential beneficiaries, through the information provided aboutwhat options they have to get funding for their projects and withthe applicants (represented either directly or by consultancyfirms).

The main sources of information for applicants, consultancyfirms, and journalists are the websites of the programmes and theguides for beneficiaries. The complexity of the guides and theirlanguage most of the time leads to a "mistranslation" ofinformation, consultants say.

On the other hand, management authorities launch new calls forprojects mainly via press releases sent to journalists.

"Some key institutions for managing EU funds have sent onerelease about important topics per month at best this year. One maysay that, unfortunately, the information seems to be 'pour lesconnaisseurs', more precisely for those who know when and wherecertain data are published. Although some documents and figures areof the utmost importance, they are not advertised through pressreleases, so that their only chance at media coverage is theability of journalists to constantly monitor the websites of thespecialised authorities," says Ioana Morovan, HotNews journalist.