Romania Scores Net Gains From European Funds

Since joining the EU in 2007, Bucharest has received around 21.3 billion euro from European funds compared to its contribution of some 10.6 billion euro, the Romanian Central Bank has said.

“Romania paid more than it received only in the first year in the EU; apart from that, every year since then, we have recorded a positive balance in relations with the European Union,” Adrian Vasilescu of the Romanian Central Bank told reporters last week.

“So it is important to counteract the common belief that Romania is not a net beneficiary in relations with the EU,” Vasilescu said.

Last year was the most profitable year for Romania in terms of accessing European funds, with the country receiving a total of 5.6 billion euro, of which 2.6 billion euro represented capital transfers.

Vasilescu said that another advantage of membership was that Romania has increased trade with the EU, with 70 per cent of the country’s exports now going to the 28-member club.

But despite many improvements in recent years in its relations with the EU, Romania is still lagging behind other eastern European states.

Romania’s rate of absorption of EU funds, which is around 25 per cent, is among the lowest in the EU. The absorption rate is the percentage of potential EU money that the country spends.

Most of the money from EU structural and cohesion funds was used to finance the construction of highways, but according to media reports, none of these projects has been fully finished yet.

In September 2011, the government decided to set up a new ministry aimed at tackling the country's low rate of absorption of EU funds. Since then, some tangible results have been achieved, with the absorption rate almost doubling.

Data from the...

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