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Too little EU money spent on the environment

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Autor: Alexandru Nastase 13 Mar 2009 - 00:00

In the two years since the integration in the European Union, Romania has absorbed almost 18% of the money that were supposed to get into our country from the European Commission, sources from the Ministry of Environment inform. The excessive bureaucracy, the lack of trained personnel, the lack of projects and the corruption are the reasons for the reduced rate of absorption.



Romania needs urgent environmental investment, but the corrupt system prevents the absorption from EU money.

Approximately 5.6 billion euros, 4.5 billion euros of which would have come from the European Union, is the sum for the Romanian environmental investments for the period between 2007 and 2013 (water, waste, biodiversity, forestation, protected areas and species). The money (about 4.5 billion) comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and from the Cohesion Fund (CF), and this is added up to the national co-financing of approximately 1.1 billion euros.

The best situation is met in the waters sector, which will receive most of the European funds allocated through the Environment Operational Program (60%). According to the officials of the Ministry of Environment, this is the area that requires major investments "in order to comply with the European standards". In 2007 and 2008, Romania received approval from the European Commission for eight major projects, which reached 850 million euros. Our country has received another 5.2 millions for 30 investment projects considered a little smaller. For 2009, the Ministry of Environment is bragging about 80 projects approved having a total value of more than 5 billion.

THE WATER WINS, THE BIODIVERSITY HAS TO WAIT

The Operational Program for the environment targets the water and used water sectors (33 projects reaching 3.5 billion euros) as well as the waste management (30 projects with a total worth of 750 million euros). For another area, urban heating, eight projects were submitted, their value reaching 460 million euros. The list of major investments counts flood prevention, the projects totaling approximately 200 million euros. The biodiversity sector is the least considered, since during the two years since the European Union integration Romania managed to collect only 1.8% of the money for this sector. 172 million euros is communitarian financing, while 43 millions come from the required national co-financing. According to sources in the Ministry of Environment, 48 projects have so far been submitted. The Managing Authority for the environment Operational Program in the Ministry validated less than one third, which is 15 projects worth a total of four million euros.

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