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Cuprins

Cuvnt nainte - 7 Introducere -10 Evaluri repetate privind gradul extrem de sczut al absorbiei fondurilor europene -15 Dimensiunea conceptual - 26 Absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune - 29 I. Precizri preliminarii 29 II. Descrierea fondurilor structurale europene 31 III. Condiiile generale pentru a beneficia de fondurile structurale 62 IV. Principalele dificulti n implementarea programelor operaionale - 67 V. Concluzii i observaii. Recomandri privind modalitile de remediere ale problemelor expuse - 101 Bugetul UE i impactul su asupra Politicii de Coeziune - 118 Reforma regional n dezbaterea public - 128 Concluzii - 137 Anexe - 279

Contents
Foreword - 144 Introduction - 147 Constant evaluations of the extremely low absorption rate of European funds - 152 Conceptual framework - 163 The absorption of structural and cohesion funds - 166 I. Preliminary Considerations - 166 II. The description of European Structural Funds - 168 III. General conditions for obtaining Structural Funds - 198 IV. Main difficulties in implementing Operational Programs - 203 V. Conclusions and observations. Recommendations of remedies for the difficulties referred to above - 237 The budget of the EU and its impact on the Cohesion Policy - 255 Regional Reform in the public debate - 265 Conclusions and recommendations - 273 Annexes - 279

Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Cuvnt nainte

Victor Botinaru Membru al Parlamentului European

Studiul Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013 este rezultatul activitii n Comisia pentru Dezvoltare Regional a Parlamentului European, iar decizia de a-l elabora a pornit de la modul n care Romnia a ratat o ans uria. n materie de incapacitate de absorbie, Romnia nu are precedent de la instituirea Comunitii Europene. Rdcinile acestui eec costisitor trebuie cutate n perioada 2005-2007, cnd guvernul Romniei a omis pur i simplu pregtirea rii sub aspect instituional i administrativ pentru a absorbi fondurile care urmau s ne fie puse la dispoziie. Momentul apariiei acestui studiu este marcat de ngrijorare dar i de speran. ngrijorarea survine ca urmare a faptului c, n perioada 2007-2012, Romnia a absorbit aproximativ 10% din fondurile structurale i de coeziune, fiind de departe ara care, n termeni comparativi, are cea mai slab performan din cele 27 de state membre. De asemenea, ara noastr se confrunt i cu riscul pierderii unor fonduri de ordinul miliardelor de euro, ca urmare a aplicrii mecanismului de suspendarea automat n 2013. 7

Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Singurele sperane sunt alimentate de faptul c din vara lui 2012, guvernul Romniei a adoptat n cooperare cu Comisia European, pachetul de msuri care s permit deblocarea plilor. Mai mult, noul guvern condus de premierul Victor Ponta, a propus reorganizarea arhitecturii instituionale privind gestionarea fondurilor europene i a declanat dezbateri privind reforma regional, pentru a ne asigura c, n sfrit, mcar pentru urmtorul cadru financiar multianual pentru perioada 2014-2020, Romnia i va mbunti substanial performana. Leciile amare ale politizrii excesive a administraiei publice, cu efecte grave de deprofesionalizare a corpului experilor care gestioneaz fondurile europene i leciile instabilitii instituionale i legislative, ne plaseaz n situaia n care trebuie s se acioneze rapid i ferm. n oricare alt perspectiv, riscm adncirea decalajelor dintre Romnia i celelalte state membre ale Uniunii Europene. Studiul realizat de ctre prestigioasa companie de avocatur Muat&Asociaii, reprezint o radiografie instituional, o analiz tehnic i nepartizan. n egal msur, studiu reprezint cea mai bun baz de plecare, acum, n ceasul al doisprezecelea, pentru a ameliora performana absorbiei pentru cadrul financiar care se finalizeaz n anul 2013, dar mai ales pentru urmtorul. Fondurile structurale i de coeziune sunt n opinia experilor printre singurele instrumente de dezvoltare ale Romniei pentru perioada urmtoare i singurul suport real de recuperare a decalajelor de dezvoltare i aa accentuate, mai ales n contextul crizei i pe fondul reducerilor investiiilor strine sau a condiionalitilor teribile impuse de ctre acordul cu FMI. Studiul care continu preocuparea anterioar referitoare la capacitatea administrativ i instituional i regionalizarea, este n acelai timp, o invitaie la a gndi strategic viitorul rii noastre, la nevoia de a planifica dezvoltarea i la necesitatea de a nva din propriile greeli i din experienele similare, relevante pentru o ar de dimensiunea 8

Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Romniei. i aici, m gndesc deloc ntmpltor la Polonia prieten, care, la o scar mai mare dect noi i cu probleme potenial mai complexe dect ale noastre, a fcut din politica de coeziune un motor de cretere economic, de progres social, de reducere a decalajelor dar i de cretere a credibilitii sale ca actor major al Uniunii. La momentul apariiei acestui studiu, Parlamentul European negociaz cu Consiliul i Comisia viitorul Politicii de Coeziune pentru perioada 2014-2020. ansa mi-a surs ca, dup ani de lucru n Comisia REGI, s fiu desemnat raportor al Parlamentului European pentru Fondul de Coeziune, un fond cheie al politicii de coeziune la scara Uniunii. Prin amendamentele aduse de mine acestui amendamentele aduse de ctre Parlamentul European al Politicii de Coeziune, regiunile Uniunii Europene europeni, vor putea s beneficieze de ceea ce noi, REGI, numim cu mndrie investiia n dezvoltare. fond, dar i prin cadrului legislativ i cetenii notri parlamentarii din

Va ti ara mea n sfrit s beneficieze de politica de coeziune? Rspunsul sau rspunsurile depind de noi, de guvernul Romniei, de regiuni, de judee, de comuniti. Dac alte state comparabile ca structur, demografie i indicatori au reuit, noi de ce nu am putea? Victor Botinaru Membru al Parlamentului European

Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Introducere

Analize asupra capacitii de absorbie a fondurilor europene, evaluri privind stadiul absorbiei i condiionalitile care influeneaz succesul sau eecul Politicii de Coeziune a Uniunii Europene, au fost fcute publice n spaiul romnesc n cei ase ani de la aderarea Romniei. ntr-o oarecare msur, analizele reflect complexitatea abordrilor cu privire la Politica de Coeziune, unde fiecare organism intermediar, autoritate de management, minister sau unitate administrativ teritorial, ar trebui s ndeplineasc un rol bine determinat. ns, n ceea ce putem numi tradiia administraiei publice romneti, un sistem descentralizat care s antreneze i s maximizeze integrarea vertical i orizontal rmne n continuare un deziderat. Dac pe latura vertical avem administraia cu diferitele niveluri ale autoritilor europene, naionale, regionale i locale, pe latura orizontal avem companiile, grupurile sociale i organizaiile societii civile care ar trebui s fie la fel de implicate n procesul de proiectare, implementare i accesare al fondurilor europene. Prezenta lucrare nu-i propune s epuizeze subiectul absorbiei fondurilor europene, demers n bun msur irealizabil, ci mai degrab s ofere corolarul evalurilor de pn n prezent. Analizele se bazeaz pe cele mai recente date disponibile n Comisia pentru Dezvoltare Regional a Parlamentului European i subliniaz nc o dat, amploarea unui eec cu grave consecine asupra

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

gradului de dezvoltare al Romniei, a incapacitii de recuperare a decalajelor prin gradul foarte sczut al absorbiei fondurilor europene. Structura studiului urmrete n detaliu i i propune s explice principalele direcii ale Politicii de Coeziune a Uniunii Europene. Astfel, este abordat situaia actual a absorbiei fondurilor europene n Romnia i principalii indicatori de absorbie pe fiecare Program Operaional. De asemenea, este vizat i dimensiunea conceptual a termenilor folosii, pentru ca mai apoi s fie fixat cadrul studiului: care este contextul actual din Romnia privind absorbia fondurilor europene cu analiza capacitii de absorbie, situaia suspendrilor i presuspendrilor fondurilor europene i principalele riscuri pentru anul 2013. Studiul i-a propus s serveasc unor obiective fundamentale pentru dezvoltarea Romniei i s creioneze o strategie de urmat pe termen scurt i mediu. Aceast strategie trebuie elaborat din perspectiva viitorului cadru financiar multianual precum i a viitoarei Politici de Coeziune, innd cont de experiena acumulat pn n prezent i de imperativul ca Romnia s-i amelioreze absorbia, mai ales pe fondul crizei economice i a cvasi-dispariiei celorlalte surse de investiii. Cea de-a doua mare seciune a studiului este n termeni generali, o analiz i o serie de raionamente n baza documentelor disponibile, o evaluare a cadrului legislativ i instituional din perspectiva practicii judiciare, dar i o prezentare a datelor care pot s evidenieze situaia n care ne aflm, cauzele care au condus la aceast situaie i o serie de msuri necesare, att generale, dar mai ales particulare i din prisma procesului legislativ. Capitolele din aceast seciune vor aborda att cadrul legislativ i instituional actual, cu identificarea punctelor slabe, a suprapunerilor, problema stabilitii acestuia aa acum au fost acestea identificate de ctre comunicrile Comisiei Europene i documentele autoritilor de audit, dar i propuneri de corectare i ameliorare.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

n etapa urmtoare sunt corelate cele dou cadre cu identificarea punctelor cheie care au fost cauza slabei absorbii a fondurilor europene i cumulul factorilor care au influenat rezultatele dezastruoase. n aceast seciune este supus analizei impactul cadrului legislativ i instituional actual asupra capacitii instituionale i administrative de absorbie a fondurilor europene, cauzele subfinanrilor cronice, a gradului sczut de pregtire al funcionarilor, modalitile de soluionare a contestaiilor i problematica licitaiilor publice care au atras atenia organismelor de control i anti-fraud. Aceast seciune caut s ofere rspunsuri la o serie de ntrebri fundamentale: Este statul romn capabil s mobilizeze resurse pentru ndreptarea situaiei? Care ar fi principalele msuri de ordin legislativ necesare pentru reducerea procentajului de fraudare? Ce se poate spune despre cadrul legal privind licitaiile publice? Ce se poate mbunti sub acest aspect i care este jurisprudena, inclusiv n alte state? Ultimele dou capitole sunt dedicate dezbaterilor privind bugetul Uniunii Europene pentru perioada 2014-2020 i perspectivelor privind reforma regional din Romnia. Cele dou elemente sunt aspecte eseniale, care vor influena n mod semnificativ viitorul i dezvoltarea Romniei. Principalele concluzii care s-au desprins ca urmare a Consiliului European din 7-8 februarie 2013 au adus noi motive de ngrijorare. Bugetul propus de ctre Consiliu nu va ajuta Uniunea European s-i amelioreze situaia, va accentua srcia dintre statele membre i nu va crea premisele dezvoltrii economice i crerii locurilor de munc. Parlamentul European a atras n mod repetat atenia asupra faptului c sunt necesare negocieri serioase pentru ca noul cadru financiar multianual 2014-2020 s fie un instrument de cretere economic. Ce s-a obinut n schimb este un buget care urmeaz n continuare filosofia obtuz a austeritii i a reducerilor bugetare. Astfel, pe fondul reducerii

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

n termeni absolui a bugetului Uniuni Europene pentru prima dat de la constituirea acesteia, statele vor trebui s depun eforturi mai mari dac vor s beneficieze de fondurile puse la dispoziie. n propunerea Consiliului, Romniei i-au fost alocai aproximativ 1000 euro pe cap de locuitor, n timp ce Poloniei i-au fost alocai 1900. n Romnia, abia n acest moment agenda public se concentreaz pe noul cadru financiar multianual i pe reforma regional. Urmrirea dezbaterilor la scar european i n special n Parlamentul European, va contribui la adoptarea unor decizii n plan instituional legislativ i administrativ cu un evident impact asupra viitorului implementrii Politicii de Coeziune n Romnia i a aducerii n ar a beneficiilor acesteia, inclusiv sub forma unei mai bune absorbii, nu doar cantitative ct i calitative. Pe de alt parte, schimbrile fundamentale care urmeaz s se produc n Romnia i care afecteaz implementarea Politicii de Coeziune trebuie s aib n avans acordul explicit al Comisiei Europene, iar acest lucru se poate obine doar printr-un dialog intens i pragmatic, att n perioada de pregtire ct i n faza de implementare. Planificarea unor astfel de reforme este strict, iar acest lucru trebuie luat n considerare de ctre orice guvern din Uniunea European. Oricare alt abordare, care nu ine cont de experiena teribil a rii noastre sau amnarea deciziilor necesare pentru pregtirea direciilor strategice, reprezint demersuri politicianiste i vor accentua decalajele dintre Romnia i celelalte state membre. Concluziile i semnalele de alarm trase n toi aceti ani, sunt la acest moment la fel de actuale. Ani de zile, guvernele de la Bucureti au mimat angajamentul pentru efectuarea acestor reforme i rezultatul a fost catastrofal. Cum timpul nu mai este aliatul nostru, trebuie s efectum n 2013 att pregtirea ct i implementarea reformei regionale, a reformei

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

instituionale i s pregtim aceasta imens mainrie implicat n gestionarea fondurilor europene. Miza fondurilor comunitare disponibile pn n anul 2013 i-a modificat substanial dimensiunea mai ales n contextul efectelor crizei. Iat de ce ara noastr nu-i mai poate permite pasivitatea n faa unuia dintre cele mai importante avantaje ale apartenenei la Uniunea European.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Evaluri repetate privind gradul extrem de sczut al absorbiei fondurilor europene

Anul 2010 a accentuat n mod negativ capacitatea de absorbie a Romniei pentru c s-au produs dou evenimente n egal msur duntoare: creterea TVA, care a scumpit banii europeni i banii provenii din co-finanare i reducerea salariilor funcionarilor, inclusiv cele ale experilor n atragerea fondurilor europene. De asemenea, s-a produs o destabilizare a sistemului de gestionare a fondurilor europene pentru c au fost eliminai experii din acest sistem. Astfel, soluiile care se impuneau nc de la acea dat, vizau programele de formare, care ar fi trebuit s fie oferite att celor care lucreaz n administraia public n general, dar i celor care gestioneaz fonduri UE, n special. De asemenea, era necesar cooperarea i coordonarea inter-instituional, dar i stimulente economice capabile s-i impulsioneze pe toi cei care gestioneaz proiecte finanate de Uniunea European.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Astzi, cnd evalum importana atribuit Politicii de Coeziune de ctre Romnia, prin intermediul resurselor umane i economice alocate, putem vedea cu uurin cu ct de puin importan a fost tratat aceast politic. Lansat la 1 Mai 2009, la iniiativa i sub coordonarea eurodeputatului Victor Botinaru, studiul Cartea alb a capacitii administrative absorbia fondurilor europene de ctre comunitile mici i mijlocii1 a reprezentat primul demers de cercetare de mare anvergur pentru identificarea problemelor cu care se confrunt actorii locali n procesul de absorbie a fondurilor europene. Studiul s-a bucurat de aprecieri att la Bruxelles ct i n mediul academic din Romnia. Cu un eantion de 874 de primrii, reprezentnd la nivel local peste 7 milioane de locuitori din Romnia, rezultatele studiului au scos n eviden faptul c, pe lng lipsa personalului instruit i capacitatea bugetar slab a administraiilor locale, obstacolele birocratice importante, culegerile de norme prea voluminoase i greu de neles, reglementrile privind cofinanarea lipsite de transparen, ansele mici pentru schimbul de experien dintre susintorii proiectelor, precum i posibilitile nevalorificate de coordonare interregional i pun amprenta asupra capacitii administrative de a gestiona orice fel de proiect. La acea dat, studiul recomanda ca demararea reformei regionale s nceap cu un act normativ referitor la instituirea funciei de Guvernator/Prefect Regional care s asigure coordonarea politicii de dezvoltare regional n interiorul regiunilor de dezvoltare. La aceast msur se poate aduga sprijinul, att din partea administraiei centrale,
Studiul Cartea alb a capacitii administrative absorbia fondurilor europene de ctre comunitile mici i mijlocii s-a desfurat n perioada 4 februarie 23 februarie 2009, pe un eantion de 874 de primrii, reprezentativ pentru unitile administrativ teritoriale mici i mijlocii din Romnia, cu o eroare de +/-2,9%. Tipul eantionului este probabilist, stratificat pe baza datelor oferite de recensmntul din 2002, format din 32 de straturi rezultate din intersecia a 8 zone geografice cu 4 tipuri de localiti urbane i rurale. Studiul este disponibil integral la aceast adres: www.victorbostinaru.ro/Studiu.zip
1

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ct i din partea bncilor n ceea ce privete latura de cofinanare i elementele de garantare a prefinanrii. Introducerea unor condiionri pentru ca firmele de consultan s fie pltite doar dac proiectul este eligibil, iar tarifele practicate s reflecte performanele acestora, constituia o alt msur n vederea mbuntirii randamentului acestor firme. n ceea ce privete reducerea birocraiei, studiul Cartea alb a capacitii administrative absorbia fondurilor europene de ctre comunitile mici i mijlocii recomanda convenirea ntre Guvern i Uniunea Naional a Consiliilor Judeene, Asociaia Municipiilor, Asociaia Primriilor i Asociaia Comunelor a unei agende privind simplificarea i debirocratizarea, n concordan cu rapoartele adoptate in Comisia pentru Dezvoltare Regional a Parlamentului European. i nu n ultimul rnd, se recomanda identificarea i promovarea exemplelor de bun practic i a proiectelor de succes din Romnia. n acest sens, se mai arta la acea dat, c s-ar putea construi cu sprijinul autoritilor naionale i locale o baz de date cu aceste proiecte la nivelul fiecrei Agenii de Dezvoltare Regional din Romnia. n perioada august 2009 ianuarie 2010, Fundaia Soro Romnia a desfurat o cercetare sociologic cu dou componente: una cantitativ, pe baz de chestionar auto-completat, adresat tuturor primriilor din toat Romnia i o component calitativ, n cadrul creia s-au realizat 8 studii de caz. Conform rezultatelor cercetrii, publicate n studiul Autoritile locale fa n fa cu fondurile europene, s-a constatat c2: Cei bogai (primriile cu un buget local mare) sunt cei care acceseaz fonduri europene i se dezvolt de pe urma acestora
2

Alexandru TOTH, Ctlin DRTEANU, Daniela TARNOVSCHI coord., Autoritile locale fa n fa cu fondurile europene, Coordonatori, Fundaia Soro, Bucureti, 2010. http://www.soros.ro/ro/publicatii.php?cat=24#, 30 ianuarie 2013.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

avnd ca rezultat creterea diferenelor inter i intraregionale, fiind n contradicie cu principiile politicii de coeziune ale Uniunii Europene, prin care se dorete tocmai reducerea diferenelor i a decalajelor dintre regiuni. Lipsete o strategie naional pentru sprijinirea i asistarea acelor primrii srace i defavorizate care au probleme n accesarea fondurilor comunitare. Este nevoie ca instituiile statului care coordoneaz fondurile europene s realizeze monitorizarea teritorial a distribuiei acestor fonduri pentru a preveni i stopa creterea diferenelor de dezvoltare inter i intraregionale. Fondurile europene sunt greu de accesat i vor fi extrem de greu de implementat, iar n condiiile n care se vor constata probleme, banii vor trebui returnai. Este foarte probabil ca ntr-un viitor extrem de apropiat s se constate c Romnia rmne doar un contribuitor net la bugetul Uniunii Europene. n momentul de fa, autoritile locale ale cror bugete sunt puternic afectate de criza economico-financiar vor avea, probabil, probleme n implementarea proiectelor deja ctigate (lipsa cofinanrii). Dac pentru muli (n special pentru guvernani, conform declaraiilor primului ministru) fondurile europene sunt o soluie pentru ieirea din criz, realitatea poate fi nsa alta. Fondurile europene se pot transforma ntr-o povar, neputnd fi absorbite, sau pot constitui mrul discordiei, al apariiei insecuritii i a tensiunilor sociale datorate tocmai creterii diferenelor dintre cei avui i cei srcii. ntr-o alt evaluare elaborat n contextul vizitei n Romnia a delegaiei Comisiei pentru Dezvoltare Regional, care a avut loc n perioada 3-5 noiembrie 2010, se arat c:

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n Romnia structurile regionale nu au nicio responsabilitate funcional sau fiscal, prin urmare, nicio competen de elaborare de politici. Prin urmare, una dintre cele mai mari provocri n anii urmtori va fi s abordm acest tip de dezechilibre n avantajul regiunilor. Ca o cerin a aderrii la Uniunea European, Romnia a creat un cadru instituional pentru gestionarea asistenei Uniunii Europene, care include o serie de structuri administrative i mecanisme de monitorizare. Cu toate acestea, rapoartele de monitorizare ale Comisiei Europene sugereaz c Romnia ar trebui s consolideze politica general anti-corupie, n special printr-o coordonare la nivel nalt i pe baza unei evaluri independente de impact a rezultatelor ultimelor dou strategii anti-corupie puse n aplicare din 2005. n plus, n ceea ce privete achiziiile publice, Romnia ar trebui s evalueze eficiena cadrului juridic i a atribuirii responsabilitilor autoritilor competente n ceea ce privete protecia mpotriva conflictelor de interese, i s le modifice, dac este cazul. n plus, autoritile ar trebui s ia n considerare interdicia ca nalii funcionari publici i reprezentanii alei s beneficieze n mod direct sau indirect de contracte comerciale ncheiate n numele instituiei lor i s instituie o transparen total n acest domeniu.3 De remarcat n acest punct este faptul c Raportul Comisiei Europene privind progresele nregistrate de Romnia n cadrul Mecanismului de Cooperare i de Verificare din 30 ianuarie 2013, arat c progresele par foarte limitate n ceea ce privete prevenirea i pedepsirea corupiei legate de achiziiile publice. Paii nainte fcui n combaterea corupiei la nivel nalt nu au fost nsoii de progrese n domeniul achiziiilor publice. Instrumentarea dosarelor pare s dureze mult, parial din cauza necesitii unei expertize financiare specifice,

Ivana KATSAROVA, Situaia economic, social i teritorial a Romniei, Direcia General Politici Interne - Departamentul tematic politici structurale i de coeziune, noiembrie 2010.

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ceea ce conduce la problema special a contractelor ncheiate nainte de pronunarea unei hotrri judectoreti cu privire la infraciune. Pedepsele pentru funcionarii implicai n dosare de fraud n materie de achiziii publice sunt n continuare foarte mici, iar legea nu prevede posibilitatea unei anulri pe motive de conflict de interese a proiectelor care au fost deja executate. Exist, de asemenea, mari ndoieli cu privire la eficacitatea organelor de urmrire penal care gestioneaz aceste cazuri. Propunerile recente par s pun n discuie baza instituional independent i stabil, care este esenial pentru realizarea de progrese reale.4 Ori, aceste remarci, mpreun cu relatrile din pres nc din vara anului 2011, vin s ridice mari semne de ntrebare asupra integritii mecanismelor de control i audit romneti pe de o parte, dar i asupra conducerii ministerelor i instituiilor implicate n aceast perioad n procesul de absorbie, pe de alt parte. Tot n aceeai evaluare a Direciei Generale Politici Interne Departamentul tematic politici structurale i de coeziune se mai arat c: Absorbia eficient a fondurilor structurale depinde n mare msur de calitatea fazei de programare, n cazul creia prioritile stabilite ar trebui s corespund nevoilor i capacitii reale a beneficiarilor. Prin urmare, definirea lor n cadrul consultrii cu prile interesate ntr-un mod descentralizat i transparent necesit dezvoltarea capacitilor naionale care trec printr-un proces de formare n Romnia. De la aderarea sa la UE la 1 ianuarie 2007, Romnia a absorbit fonduri echivalente cu 0,75 % din PIB, comparativ cu cei 2 % planificai iniial, n timp ce n 2008 a fost utilizat abia un sfert din fondurile puse la dispoziie de Bruxelles. Continuarea simplificrii mecanismelor de

Raport al Comisiei ctre Parlamentul European i Consiliu privind progresele nregistrate de Romnia n cadrul Mecanismului de Cooperare i de Verificare, http://ec.europa.eu/cvm/docs/com_2013_47_en.pdf, 30 ianuarie 2013.

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livrare la nivel european i naional va contribui cu siguran la accelerarea procesului.5 Acest lucru nu s-a ntmplat ns, n bun parte pentru c mecanismul de livrare la nivel european nu a cunoscut o simplificare, n timp ce, mecanismul naional s-a confruntat cu o serie de probleme pe care acest studiu i propune s le sublinieze. La aceste evaluri se adaug i articolele din presa romneasc, care citeaz un raport intern al Comisiei Europene. Conform Fin.ro, ntrun articol din iulie 2011, un document al Executivului Uniunii Europene arat gradul de dezamgire pe care l-a produs ara noastr ca stat membru6. Astfel, o analiz asupra modului de utilizare a fondurilor europene detaliaz principalele probleme: corupia i achiziiile publice abuzive. Mai mult dect att, ca urmare a neregulilor sesizate de ctre Comisia European n aproape 100% din eantionul supus verificrilor, sa luat decizia suspendrii plilor pn n luna decembrie a anului 2011. Astfel, decizia suspendrii plilor la Bruxelles a venit ca urmare a unor suspiciuni de fraud, constatate la 61 din cele 64 de proiecte supuse analizei de instituiile europene de combatere a fraudei. Un an mai trziu, n decembrie 2012, alte cinci Programe Operaionale urmau s se confrunte cu suspendarea plilor ca urmare a neregulilor constatate de auditurile Comisiei Europene. Fondul documentului se refer la problema general a absorbiei fondurilor europene, fiind invocat perspectiva retragerii unei mari pri din bani din 2013, n lipsa unor msuri concrete n acest an. Funcionarii Comisiei artau c ratele de absorbie sunt mici n Bulgaria i alarmant de mici n Romnia, cu excepia fondurilor pentru agricultur. n cazul
Ivana KATSAROVA, op cit. Vlad BRLEANU, CE suspecteaz DNA i guvernul c mpiedic investigaiile OLAF din Romnia, Fin.ro http://www.fin.ro/articol_63625/ce-suspecteaza-dna-siguvernul-ca-impiedica-investigatiile-olaf-din-romania.html, 18 iulie 2011.
6 5

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Romniei, rata de absorbie pentru Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regional (FEDR) este de 3,4%, iar pentru Fondul Social European (FSE) - 1,4%. n comparaie, media Uniunii Europene n al patrulea an de implementare a fost de 17%. n pofida eforturilor Comisiei de a aborda aceast situaie, nu se nregistreaz mari progrese. Rspunsul Romniei pare s fie superficial i nu se adreseaz cauzelor iniiale ale problemei. Aceast evaluare negativ este mprtit i de alte instituii financiare internaionale. Directoratele Generale nu au interlocutori la nivel politic, iar directorii din administraie sunt nlocuii des. Capacitatea sistemului de a se ocupa de achiziii publice rmne redus. Dac nu se iau msuri concrete n 2011, Romnia va pierde o mare parte din fondurile Uniunii Europene din 2013. Directoratele Generale au cerut aciuni la cel mai nalt nivel politic din partea Comisiei7, se mai arat n document. Conform Fin.ro, aceste mesaje au fost trimise oficial ctre Administraia de la Bucureti, ceea ce explic i precipitarea n sensul unei remanieri avnd drept criteriu rezultatele n implementarea proiectelor europene sau chiar nfiinarea unui minister special. Astzi, Comisia nu are un interlocutor la nivel central n Romnia, cu suficient influen politic pentru a asigura implementarea unui plan de aciune agreat, pentru a accelera absorbia8, spuneau specialitii de la Bruxelles citai n articolul de pres. ntr-una din concluziile articolului se menioneaz faptul c Politica Regional a Uniunii Europene este pus la ndoial de ctre politica dezastruoas a guvernului. Cauzele identificate de Comisie pentru aceast stare de fapt sunt administraia slab, procedurile ineficiente, interferenele politice, modul formalist de aplicare a regulilor i un sistem judiciar care nu poate proteja suficient mpotriva conflictului de interese, a corupiei i a fraudei.
7 8

Idem Idem

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Consecinele financiare ale ratei mici de absorbie amenin credibilitatea politicii regionale i slbesc poziia Comisiei n negocierile bugetare care vor urma9 este unul din citatele din documentul intern al Comisiei Europene. Funcionarii Comisiei fac un scurt istoric al celor mai recente evenimente n relaia cu Romnia. Astfel, n decembrie 2010, preedintele Comisiei Europene, Jose Manuel Barroso, le-a sugerat liderilor politici de la Bucureti s creeze un portofoliu ministerial special pentru coordonarea fondurilor Uniunii Europene i s stabileasc un plan de aciune, oferind ajutorul Comisiei. Replica Romniei la aceast iniiativ a fost dezamgitoare pn acum. Nu a fost stabilit vreo politic eficient de coordonare la nivel nalt, implementarea unui plan de aciune primit de Romnia n luna mai a depit deja termenele limit i nu a fost primit vreun rspuns la oferta de asisten tehnic specializat10 se afirma n document. n acest context, Comisia afirm c Romnia ar trebui s ia cteva msuri imediate: S transfere coordonarea fondurilor Uniunii Europene ctre o persoan cu rang de ministru, n subordinea primului ministru, pn la 1 august 2011. S implementeze riguros planul de aciuni prioritare pentru creterea capacitii de absorbie a fondurilor, la care s-a angajat n aprilie 2011. Implementarea va fi monitorizat prin ntlniri periodice ntre guvern i Comisie i prin raportri lunare. Daca este necesar, planul va fi revizuit prin decizia guvernului, n consultare cu Comisia European.

10

Idem Idem

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Pn la 1 octombrie 2011 se va stabili mpreun cu Comisia, o list cu msuri de mbuntire a capacitii administrative, care va fi aprobat de guvern. Aceast list ar trebui s includ msuri de mbuntire a stabilitii instituionale, de adoptare a unor criterii de numire transparente, pe baz de merit, pentru poziii de management i de prevenire i detectare a conflictelor de interese n managementul fondurilor. Pn la 1 octombrie 2011 se va stabili mpreun cu Comisia, o list cu msuri de mbuntire a activitii de achiziii publice, care va fi aprobat de guvern, dup o evaluare independent. Msurile vor fi revizuite pn la 1 martie 2012, n urma publicrii unei analize complementare a Bncii Mondiale. Conform cifrelor disponibile la 21 decembrie 201211, Romnia a absorbit efectiv 4 miliarde de Euro din cele 20 de miliarde puse la dispoziie n perioada 2007-2013, cu o rat a plilor intermediare de doar 9,7%. Cifrele plaseaz Romnia pe ultimul loc n Uniunea European. Analizele i evalurile din toi aceti ani sunt surprinztor de actuale i recurente. Din acest punct de vedere, constatrile sunt simple: impasivitatea, corupia i incompetena de la cel mai nalt vrf i-au pus amprenta pe capacitatea de absorbie a fondurilor structurale i de coeziune. Problemele sistemice au ns i ele aportul la situaia dezastruoas n care se afl Romnia. Dac prima categorie de vulnerabiliti rmne n sfera de aplicabilitate a sistemului judiciar i chiar a ciclului electoral n ultim instan, pentru cea de-a doua, sunt necesare decizii politice, adoptate n cel mai larg consens dup discuii cu toi actorii implicai.

11

Anexa 1

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Note i referine
BRLEANU Vlad, CE suspecteaz DNA i guvernul c mpiedic investigaiile OLAF din Romnia, Fin.ro http://www.fin.ro/articol_63625/cesuspecteaza-dna-si-guvernul-ca-impiedica-investigatiile-olaf-dinromania.html, 18 iulie 2011. KATSAROVA Ivana, Situaia economic, social i teritorial a Romniei, Direcia General Politici Interne - Departamentul tematic politici structurale i de coeziune, noiembrie 2010. TARNOVSCHI Daniela coord.,TOTH Alexandru, DRTEANU Ctlin, Autoritile locale fa n fa cu fondurile europene, Coordonatori, Fundaia Soro, Bucureti, 2010. http://www.soros.ro/ro/publicatii.php?cat=24#, 30 ianuarie 2013. Raport al Comisiei ctre Parlamentul European i Consiliu privind progresele nregistrate de Romnia n cadrul Mecanismului de Cooperare i de Verificare, http://ec.europa.eu/cvm/docs/com_2013_47_en.pdf, 30 ianuarie 2013.

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Dimensiunea conceptual

Capacitatea de absorbie reprezint gradul n care o ar este capabil s cheltuiasc efectiv i eficient resursele financiare alocate din Fondurile Structurale1. Capacitatea de absorbie depinde de capacitatea administrativ i instituional, respectiv de existena unor structuri instituionale capabile s elaboreze proiecte i s le implementeze, dar i de capacitatea de coordonare i corelare ntre instituiile implicate. Experiena statelor performante confirm faptul c o capacitate de absorbie este strns legat de capacitatea administrativ i instituional. Legea cadru a descentralizrii nr. 195/2006, definete capacitatea administrativ ca ansamblul resurselor materiale, instituionale i umane de care dispune o unitate administrativ-teritorial, precum i aciunile pe care le desfoar aceasta pentru exercitarea competenelor stabilite prin lege. Conform aceleiai legi, capacitatea administrativ se evalueaz i se stabilete n condiiile legii.

Gheorghe OPRESCU coord.,Daniela Luminia CONSTANTIN, Florinel ILIE, Drago PSLARU, "Analiza capacitii de absorbie a fondurilor comunitare n Romnia", Institutul European din Romnia - Studii de Impact III, p. 9

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ntr-o accepie mai restrns, capacitatea administrativ de absorbie a fondurilor europene este definit ca un set de competene care aparin autoritilor centrale, regionale i locale i care le permit s elaboreze la un nivel rezonabil i la termen, planuri, programe i proiecte, s ia decizii asupra acestor programe i proiecte, s coordoneze principalii parteneri i s gestioneze cu succes munca administrativ i de raportare. De asemenea, capacitatea administrativ de absorbie se refer i la capacitatea de a finana, de a superviza implementarea proiectelor i de a evita fraudele2. Capacitatea instituional desemneaz factorii instituionali3, att la nivelul Uniunii Europene, ct i la nivel naional. La nivelul Uniunii, capacitatea instituional se refer n bun msur la Comisia European i activitatea sa, dar i la rapoartele Parlamentului European sau rezultatul negocierilor din Consiliu. La nivel naional, factorii instituionali privesc structura real a economiei, organizarea sistemului politic i a structurii guvernamentale, precum i politicile economice. Capacitatea financiar reprezint capacitatea autoritilor centrale i locale de a co-finana programe i proiecte sprijinite de Uniunea European, de a planifica i garanta aceste contribuii interne n bugete multianuale i de a le colecta de la diverii parteneri implicai ntrun proiect sau program.

Andrej HORVAT, Absorption Problems in the EU Structural Funds, Ljubljana, 2004, p. 9. 3 Idem.

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Note i referine
HORVAT Andrej, Absorption Problems in the EU Structural Funds, Ljubljana, 2004. OPRESCU Gheorghe coord., CONSTANTIN Daniela Luminia, ILIE Florinel, PSLARU Drago, "Analiza capacitii de absorbie a fondurilor comunitare n Romnia", Institutul European din Romnia - Studii de Impact III.

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Absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune

I. Precizri preliminare Acest studiu a fost redactat de ctre Muat & Asociaii n urma solicitrii domnului Victor Botinaru, membru n Parlamentul European i are ca scop realizarea unei analize juridice a cadrului legislativ i instituional al Fondurilor Structurale Europene i a disfuncionalitilor acestuia, evaluarea consecinelor disfuncionalitilor identificate i propunerea unor eventuale soluii de remediere a disfuncionalitilor. Prezentul Studiu se dorete a fi o analiz a cauzelor care au generat o rat foarte sczut de absorbie a fondurilor europene n Romnia, urmnd a analiza motivele care in de autoritile publice implicate n ntregul proces de finanare european la nivel naional, ct i cele care in de actorii (beneficiarii) implicai. Totodat, prezentul Studiu dorete a analiza capacitatea de absorbie a Romniei n vederea realizrii Politicii de Coeziune, capacitate de absorbie, care n cazul statelor ce au aderat recent la Uniunea European,

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reprezint principalul mijloc prin care se pot ajusta decalajele fa de statele membre cu vechime. Prezentul Studiu a fost realizat n perioada martie 2012 octombrie 2012 (perioad care va fi considerat drept perioada de referin a accesrii documentelor i informaiilor studiate). Concluziile, constatrile i recomandrile Muat & Asociaii coninute n prezentul Studiu se raporteaz i se limiteaz la scopul analizei, astfel cum acesta este descris mai sus. Prezentul Studiu se bazeaz exclusiv pe prevederile legilor romne i reglementrilor europene, aa cum acestea ar putea fi interpretate i puse n aplicare de ctre instanele judectoreti i/sau arbitrale din Romnia. Muat & Asociaii nu i exprim i nu emite nicio opinie n legtur cu sau care ar putea avea consecine legale cu privire la legislaia altor jurisdicii dect cea romn. n acest sens, trebuie menionat c opinia Muat & Asociaii referitoare la incidena unei obligaii sau aplicabilitatea unui document nseamn c obligaia sau documentul analizat are tipul sau forma pe care le-ar aplica instanele din Romnia. Cu toate acestea, avnd n vedere c Romnia este o jurisdicie de drept civil, n care hotrrile judectoreti pot fi diferite n funcie de instana care le pronun, este practic imposibil de stabilit cu certitudine modul n care o instan din Romnia ar putea interpreta drepturile i obligaiile prilor n temeiul legii romne.

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DESCRIEREA FONDURILOR STRUCTURALE EUROPENE 2.1. Introducere n politica de dezvoltare a Uniunii Europene

Odat cu intrarea n vigoare a Tratatului de la Maastricht privind Uniunea European, unul din obiectivele majore ale Uniunii Europene a fost ntrirea politicii de coeziune economic i social. n mod evident, nu toate regiunile Uniunii Europene se bucur de acelai nivel de dezvoltare, mai ales c extinderea Uniunii Europene la 27 de state membre a generat noi probleme n materia competitivitii i a coeziunii interne. Diferena de dezvoltare economic i social ntre vechile state membre ale Uniunii Europene i statele care au aderat n ultimii ani a constituit cauza pentru care decalajele existente ntre statele membre au fost accentuate. n ncercarea de a reduce decalajele dintre statele (regiunile) din Uniunea European, s-a nceput implementarea unei politici de coeziune, care presupune reducerea decalajelor existente ntre regiuni n termeni de producie i productivitate. Pentru atingerea elului politicii de coeziune, statele membre i regiunile vizate au nevoie de ajutor financiar n vederea soluionrii diverselor probleme structurale existente i a realizrii potenialului lor de cretere. Astfel, dezvoltarea fiecrui nou stat membru n vederea reducerii decalajelor ine n mare msur de capacitatea de absorbie, care reprezint gradul n care un stat membru reuete ntr-o perioad de timp determinat (de regul, n cadrul unui exerciiu financiar) s absoarb i s utilizeze fondurile puse la dispoziia sa din bugetul Uniunii Europene, avnd la baz capacitatea administrativ a respectivei ri i capacitatea instituional de a realiza, dezvolta i implementa proiecte pentru atragerea de fonduri europene. La rndul su, capacitatea administrativ1 reprezint ansamblul resurselor materiale, instituionale i umane de care dispune o unitate administrativ-teritorial, precum i aciunile pe care le desfoar aceasta pentru exercitarea
1

Conform Legii nr. 195/2006 legea cadru a descentralizrii.

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competenelor stabilite prin lege, n vreme ce capacitatea instituional reprezint ansamblul instituiilor prin care statul sau unitile administrativ-teritoriale transpun deciziile luate la nivelul administraiei n vederea realizrii politicii de coeziune. Politica de Coeziune economic i social, bazat pe solidaritate financiar, adic pe redistribuirea unei pri din bugetul comunitar realizat prin contribuia Statelor Membre ctre regiunile i grupurile sociale mai puin prospere reprezint o politic a solidaritii, scopul acesteia fiind promovarea unui nalt nivel de competitivitate i de ocupare a forei de munc Totodat, unul din principalele scopuri ale politicii de coeziune este mbuntirea Pieei Unice Europene2, acest fapt avnd drept consecin o cretere a bunstrii rilor membre ale Uniunii Europene. Astfel, Uniunea European a creat un cadru legislativ i instituional pentru a permite atingerea obiectivelor politicii de coeziune. 2.2. Cadrul legislativ general la nivel comunitar

Cadrul juridic al politicii comunitare de dezvoltare regional este prevzut n cuprinsul Titlului XVII al Tratatului Uniunii Europene, prin care este stabilit obiectivul politicii regionale, i anume reducerea disparitilor existente ntre nivelele de dezvoltare ale diferitelor regiuni i a rmnerii n urm a regiunilor mai puin dezvoltate sau a insulelor, inclusiv a regiunilor rurale.

Piaa Unic European const n circulaia liber a populaiei, bunurilor, serviciilor i a capitalului n i ntre rile membre ale Uniunii Europene, ca i cnd ar circula ntr-o singur ar. Aceasta presupune o uniune vamal, o pia intern (constnd n anularea ntre statele membre a obstacolelor fa de cele patru liberti fundamentale: libera circulaie a persoanelor, bunurilor, serviciilor i a capitalului), libera concuren i politica comercial comun.

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Suplimentar fa de cadrul legal general prevzut n cuprinsul Titlului XVII al Tratatului Uniunii Europene, principalele acte normative care constituie cadrul legislativ general la nivelul Uniunii Europene sunt: Regulamentul nr. 1080/2006 privind Fondul European pentru Dezvoltare Regional (FEDR); Regulamentul nr. 1081/2006 privind Fondul Social European (FSE); Regulamentul nr. 1082/2006 privind cooperarea teritorial european; Regulamentul nr. 1083/2006 stabilind prevederile generale privind Fondul European pentru Dezvoltare Regional, Fondul Social European i Fondul de Coeziune; Regulamentul nr. 1084/2006 privind Fondul de Coeziune (FC); Regulamentul nr. 1828/2006 cu privire la regulile de implementare a Regulamentului Comisiei (CE) nr. 1083/2006 care conine prevederi generale cu privire la Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regional, Fondul Social European i Fondul de Coeziune i a Regulamentului Comisiei (CE) 1080/2006 cu privire la Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regional; Regulament (CE) nr.1177/2009 al Comisiei din 30 noiembrie 2009 - privind noile praguri de achiziii. 2.3. Cadrul legislativ la nivelul Romniei

Principalele norme legislative naionale n domeniul gestionrii fondurilor structurale: Hotrrea de Guvern nr. 457/2008 privind cadrul instituional de coordonare i de gestionare a instrumentelor structurale;

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Hotrrea de Guvern nr. 1115/2004 privind elaborarea n parteneriat a Planului Naional de Dezvoltare; Legea nr. 315/2004 privind dezvoltarea regional n Romnia; Hotrrea de Guvern nr. 109/2009 privind organizarea i funcionarea Ageniei Naionale de Administrare Fiscal; Legea nr. 490/2004 privind stimularea financiar a personalului care gestioneaz fonduri comunitare; Hotrrea de Guvern nr. 595/2009 pentru aplicarea Legii nr.490/2004 privind stimularea financiar a personalului care gestioneaz fonduri comunitare; Legea nr. 200/2005 privind aprobarea OUG nr. 22/2005 pentru completarea Legii nr. 94/1992 privind organizarea i funcionarea Curii de Conturi; Ordonana Guvernului nr. 66/2011 privind prevenirea, constatarea i sancionarea neregulilor aprute n obinerea i utilizarea fondurilor europene i/sau a fondurilor publice naionale aferente acestora; Legea nr. 500/2002 a finanelor publice; Legea nr. 273/2006 privind finanele publice locale; Legea nr. 84/2003 pentru modificarea i completarea OG nr. 119/1999 privind auditul intern i controlul financiar preventiv; Legea nr. 672/2002 privind auditul public intern; Ordonana de Urgen a Guvernului nr. 63/1999 privind gestionarea fondurilor comunitare nerambursabile alocate Romniei i a fondurilor de co-finanare aferente, modificat i completat; 34

Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Ordonana de Urgen nr. 64/2009 privind gestionarea financiar a instrumentelor structurale i utilizarea acestora pentru obiectivul convergen; Ordinul nr. 673/13.04.2009 pentru modificarea Ordinului Ministrului Finanelor Publice nr. 752/2006 privind aprobarea procedurii de eliberare a certificatului de atestare fiscal pentru persoane juridice i fizice, a certificatului de obligaii bugetare, precum i a modelului i coninutului acestora; Legea administraiei publice locale nr. 215/2001; Legea nr. 220/2008 pentru stabilirea sistemului de promovare a producerii energiei din surse regenerabile de energie. Hotrrea Guvernului nr. 218/2012 pentru aprobarea Normelor metodologice de aplicare a prevederilor Ordonanei de Urgen a Guvernului nr. 64/2009 privind gestionarea financiar a instrumentelor structurale i utilizarea acestora pentru obiectivul convergen. Obiectivele Politicii de Coeziune n vederea finanrii politicii de coeziune au fost nfiinate un numr de 3 (trei) instrumente structurale de finanare, dup cum urmeaz: 1. 2. 3. Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regional (FEDR), Fondul Social European (FSE) i Fondul de Coeziune (FC).

La rndul lor, aceste instrumente structurale finaneaz urmtoarele obiective:

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(i)

Obiectivul de convergen

Prin obiectivul de convergen, se urmrete dezvoltarea economic a regiunilor mai puin dezvoltate prin efectuarea de investiii n domenii cheie precum: infrastructur, capital uman sau mediu. Regiunile vizate n baza obiectivului de convergen sunt regiunile NUTS II (n englez, Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics) i anume cele care nregistreaz PIB/capita mai mic dect 75% din media comunitar. Pe cale de consecin, n baza criteriilor precizate anterior, ntreg teritoriul Romniei este eligibil sub obiectivul convergen, avnd n vedere ca PIB-ul/capita n fiecare regiune este sub 75% din media comunitar UE253. Totodat, n afara regiunilor menionate anterior, sunt eligibile pentru a fi finanate n baza acestui obiectiv i statele membre ale cror PNB/capita este mai mic dect 90% din media comunitar UE-25. (ii) Competitivitate regional i ocuparea forei de munc

Pentru a beneficia de finanare n baza obiectivului privind competitivitatea regional i ocuparea forei de munc este obligatoriu ca regiunile vizate s nu poat beneficia de finanri n baza obiectivului de convergen. Acest obiectiv este finanat din FEDR i FSE. Referindu-ne la aciunile care pot fi finanate sub acest obiectiv, menionm c este obligatoriu ca acestea s priveasc obiective precum:(i) dezvoltarea regiunilor competitive sau (ii) ocuparea forei de munc. (iii) Cooperare teritorial european

Scopul acestui obiectiv l constituie creterea cooperrii inter-regionale, ncurajarea schimbului de experien respectiv, cooperare transfrontalier n baza unor programe comune derulate de regiunile nvecinate.

UE-25 desemneaz totalitatea celor 25 de state membre ale Uniunii Europene, care formau Uniunea nainte de aderarea Romniei i Bulgariei.

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Pentru perioada financiar 2007-2013, cadrul politicii este legat de ndeplinirea obiectivelor stabilite n Agenda de la Lisabona4, precum i n cuprinsul Agendei de la Goteborg5. 2.4. Instrumentele financiare

n baza celor trei instrumente financiare, din bugetul total al Uniunii Europene pentru perioada 2007-2013, s-a alocat o treime, urmnd a se distribui ntre: (a) Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regional (FEDR)

Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regional este cel mai important fond structural n termeni de resurse, fiind destinat reducerii dezechilibrelor ntre diferitele regiuni ale Uniunii Europene, prin acordarea de ajutoare financiare zonelor defavorizate. Sumele alocate prin intermediul FEDR trebuie s respecte n mod obligatoriu anumite criterii i anume: (i) concentrarea pe obiective i regiuni, (ii) stabilirea unei politici de parteneriat ntre Comisia European, statele membre ale Uniunii Europene i actorii locali, (iii) programarea interveniei i (iv) complementaritatea contribuiei comunitare.

Obiectivele strategiei de la Lisabona, astfel cum a fost aceasta relansat la 2 februarie 2005, includ: susinerea cunoaterii i a inovaiei n Europa, reforma politicii privind ajutorul de stat, mbuntirea i simplificarea cadrului de reglementare n care ntreprinderea funcioneaz i instituirea pieei interne a serviciilor; eliminarea obstacolelor n ceea ce privete libera circulaie n domeniul transporturilor, muncii i educaiei; dezvoltarea unei abordri comune a migraiei economice; susinerea eforturilor n vederea abordrii consecinelor sociale ale restructurrii economice. 5 Obiectivele agendei de la Goteborg pentru o dezvoltare durabil, astfel cum aceasta a fost agreat de ctre Consiliul European n anul 2001 includ: schimbrile climatice, sistemele de transport, sntatea public, gestionarea responsabil a resurselor naturale.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

n plus fa de cele menionate anterior, FEDR are o contribuie semnificativ la creterea coeziunii economice i sociale prin sprijinirea dezvoltrii economiilor regionale i refacerea regiunilor aflate n declin industrial. Astfel, FEDR susine prioritile Uniunii Europene, n mod particular ntrirea competitivitii i inovrii, crearea de locuri de munc pe termen lung i asigurarea dezvoltrii durabile. (b) Fondul Social European (FSE)

Fondul Social European constituie principalul instrument n implementarea politicii sociale a Uniunii Europene, prin intermediul acestuia asigurndu-se susinerea financiar a aciunilor de formare i reconversie profesional, dar i crearea de noi locuri de munc. Totodat, rolul FSE este de a contribui la ntrirea coeziunii economice i sociale, n vederea asigurrii unui nivel nalt de ocupare i a unui numr suficient de locuri de munc, prin mbuntirea oportunitilor de angajare a cetenilor Uniunii Europene. n plus, prin intermediul FSE se dorete sprijinirea politicilor naionale n domeniul forei de munc, precum i asigurarea calitii i productivitii prin accesul liber al cetenilor Uniunii Europene pe piaa comunitar a muncii. (c) Fondul de Coeziune (FC)

Contribuia major a Fondului de Coeziune se evideniaz prin ntrirea coeziunii economice i sociale a Uniunii Europene avnd ca scop final promovarea unei dezvoltri durabile a statelor membre.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

2.5.

Fondurile structurale i de coeziune n Romnia

Pentru perioada 2007-2012, Romniei i-a fost alocat6, n baza fondurilor structurale i de coeziune, o sum total de 19,668 miliarde Euro, din care (i) 12,661 miliarde Euro reprezint Fonduri Structurale n cadrul Obiectivului Convergen, (ii) 6,552 miliarde Euro sunt alocate prin Fondul de Coeziune, iar (iii) 0,455 miliarde Euro sunt alocate Obiectivului Cooperare Teritorial European. n Romnia, implementarea Fondurilor Structurale i de Coeziune este realizat n baza urmtoarelor documente: (i) Planul Naional de Dezvoltare al Romniei 2007-2013 (PNDR), (ii) Cadrul Strategic Naional de Referin 2007-2013 (CSNR), (iii) Programele Operaionale (PO) i (iv) Documentele Cadru de Implementare (DCI). 2.5.1. Planul Naional de Dezvoltare al Romniei 2007-2013

PNDR aferent perioadei 2007-2013 este un document de planificare strategic i programare financiar, aprobat de Guvernul Romniei, elaborat n parteneriat cu structurile specializate ale Uniunii Europene, care are ca scop dezvoltarea economic a Romniei n concordan cu politicile de coeziune ale Uniunii Europene. Strategia convenit cu Comisia European pentru utilizarea instrumentelor structurale i PO n baza crora se vor implementa aceste fonduri au fost elaborate n conformitate cu PNDR 2007 - 2013. 2.5.2. Cadrul Strategic Naional de Referin 2007-20137

CSNR reprezint documentul de baz pentru programarea Fondurilor Structurale i de Coeziune n Romnia. Documentul este elaborat de fiecare stat membru al Uniunii Europene, conform noului acquis
6

Conform informatiilor existente pe pagina de internet http://ec.europa.eu/romania/documents/press_releases/10_07_sinteza_csnr.pdf 7 Idem.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

comunitar8 privind Politica de Coeziune. Totui, trebuie menionat ca acest document nu poate constitui un instrument de management, ci trebuie privit ca un instrument n baza cruia vor fi stabilite modalitile de intervenie ale Fondurilor Structurale i de Coeziune n perioada 20072013. Totodat, prin intermediul CSNR este detaliat modul de implementare al instrumentelor structurale n perioada 2007-2013, documentul servind drept punte ntre prioritile naionale i prioritile la nivel european instituite n baza Orientrilor Strategice Comunitare9 privind coeziunea 2007-2013 i Liniilor Directoare integrate ale Uniunii Europene pentru Cretere Economic i Locuri de Munc 2005-200810. Modelul elaborrii CSNR l-a constituit PNDR, astfel cum a fost acesta aprobat de Guvernul Romniei n luna decembrie a anului 2005, n vreme ce scopul elaborrii CSNR l constituie consolidarea politicilor economice, sociale i regionale ale Romniei n vederea alinierii cu politicile Comisiei Europene impuse prin Strategia de la Lisabona, document care st la baza elaborrii politicilor de dezvoltare economic.
Conform noului acquis privind Politica de Coeziune a Uniunii Europene, fiecare stat membru elaboreaz un Cadru Strategic Naional de Referin (CSNR), ca document de referin pentru programarea Fondurilor Structurale i de Coeziune. 9 The Community Strategic Guidelines on Cohesion 2007-2013 Aceste orientri elaborate de Comisia European i adoptate de Consiliul Uniunii Europene se refer la mbuntirea atractivitii statelor membre, regiunilor i oraelor prin mbuntirea accesibitii, serviciilor i mediului, ncurajarea antreprenoriatului, inovativitii i creterii economice prin mbuntirea capacitilor inovative i de cercetare i crearea unor noi locuri de munc prin dezvoltarea spiritului antreprenorial, mbuntirea adaptabilitii lucrtorilor i companiilor i majorarea investiiilor n capitalul uman. 10 Consiliul European ntrunit n luna martie a anului 2005 a relansat strategia de la Lisabona prin reorientarea pe dezvoltare i ocupare n Europa. Astfel, s-a decis c Uniunea European i fiecare stat membru i vor concentra atenia ctre aceste domenii i vor lua toate msurile necesare promovrii cunoaterii, atragerii a ct mai multor oameni pe piaa muncii i crerii a ct mai multe locuri de munc.
8

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

n cele din urm, obiectivul CSNR const n reducerea decalajelor de dezvoltare economic i social dintre Romnia i statele membre ale Uniunii Europene prin generarea unei creteri suplimentare de 15-20% a PIB pn n anul 2015. 2.5.3. Programele Operaionale

PO reprezint documentele aprobate de Comisia European n vederea implementrii prioritilor sectoriale i regionale menionate n cuprinsul PNDR i aprobate spre finanare, acestea fiind chiar instrumentele de management prin care se realizeaz obiectivele CSNR. La data redactrii prezentului document, Romnia utiliza un numr de 7 (apte) PO sub obiectivul Convergen: (i) Programul operaional dezvoltarea resurselor umane (POSDRU); Programul operaional creterea competitivitii economice (POS-CCE); Programul operaional de transport (POST); Programul operaional de mediu (POS-MEDIU); Programul operaional regional (POR); Programul operaional asisten tehnic (POAT); Programul operaional dezvoltarea capacitii administrative (PO-DCA).

(ii)

(iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii)

n privina finanrii trebuie menionat c, cu excepia POS-MEDIU i POST fiecare PO este finanat dintr-un singur instrument, totodat, fiecare PO fiind completat de un DCI, aprobat de Comisia European, n baza cruia sunt prezentate detaliile privind proiectele i cheltuielile eligibile, potenialii beneficiari, modalitatea de decontare a cheltuielilor 41

Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

eligibile, dar i rolul autoritilor n ntregul proces de acordare a fondurilor europene. n continuare vom detalia pe scurt principalele caracteristici ale fiecrui program operaional: (i) Programul operaional Sectorial Dezvoltarea Resurselor Umane (POS DRU)

POS-DRU reprezint programul operaional elaborat n concordan cu cea de-a patra prioritate din cuprinsul CSNR (i anume dezvoltarea i utilizarea eficient a capitalului uman din Romnia prin obiectivul Convergen). Obiectivul principal al POS-DRU l constituie dezvoltarea capitalului uman i creterea competitivitii, alturi de asigurarea de oportuniti sporite pentru participarea viitoare pe o pia a muncii modern, flexibil i incluziv a unui numr de 1.650.000 de persoane. Obiectivele specifice ale POS-DRU sunt: Promovarea educaiei i formrii iniiale i continue de calitate, inclusiv nvmntul superior i cercetare; Promovarea culturii antreprenoriale i creterea calitii i productivitii muncii; Facilitarea inseriei tinerilor i a omerilor de lung durat pe piaa muncii; Dezvoltarea unei piee a muncii moderne, flexibile i incluzive; Promovarea inseriei/reinseriei pe piaa muncii a persoanelor inactive, inclusiv din zonele rurale; mbuntirea serviciilor publice de ocupare;

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Facilitarea accesului grupurilor vulnerabile la educaie i pe piaa muncii. Realizarea acestor obiective este asigurat prin orientarea fondurilor spre urmtoarele Axe Prioritare: Axa Prioritar 1 Educaia i formarea profesional n sprijinul creterii economice i dezvoltrii societii bazate pe cunoatere, care implic dezvoltarea rutelor flexibile de nvare pe tot parcursul vieii i creterea accesului la educaie i formare prin furnizarea unei educaii iniiale i continue, moderne i de calitate, incluznd nvmntul superior i cercetarea. Corelarea nvrii pe tot parcursul vieii cu piaa muncii, reprezentnd facilitarea accesului la educaie, creterea gradului de ocupare i a nivelului de educaie i formare profesional a resurselor umane printr-o abordare de tip pe tot parcursul vieii, n contextul societii bazate pe cunoatere. Creterea adaptabilitii lucrtorilor i a ntreprinderilor, prin promovarea culturii antreprenoriale, flexibilitii i adaptabilitii prin sprijinirea forei de munc i a ntreprinderilor competente, pregtite i adaptabile. Modernizarea Serviciului Public de Ocupare, prin creterea calitii, eficienei i transparenei serviciilor de ocupare furnizate de Serviciul Public de Ocupare al Forei de Munc (ANOFM).

Axa Prioritar 2

Axa Prioritar 3

Axa Prioritar 4

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Axa Prioritar 5

Promovarea msurilor active de ocupare, urmrind facilitarea integrrii pe piaa muncii a omerilor tineri i a omerilor de lung durat, atragerea i meninerea unui numr mai mare de persoane pe piaa muncii, inclusiv n zonele rurale i sprijinirea ocuprii formale. Promovarea incluziunii sociale, prin facilitarea accesului pe piaa muncii a grupurilor vulnerabile i promovarea unei societi inclusive i coezive n scopul asigurrii bunstrii tuturor cetenilor.

Axa Prioritar 6

(ii)

Programul operaional Sectorial Creterea Competitivitii Economice (POS CCE)

POS CCE reprezint principalul instrument pentru realizarea celei dinti prioriti a PNDR i anume creterea competitivitii economice i dezvoltarea unei economii bazate pe cunoatere. Obiectivul general al POS CCE const n creterea productivitii economice a ntreprinderilor romneti pentru reducerea decalajelor fa de productivitatea medie la nivelul Uniunii Europene, inta fiind o cretere medie anual de 5,5% pn n 2015, aceast cretere permind Romniei s ating un nivel de aproximativ 55% din media Uniunii Europene. Obiectivele specifice ale POS-CCE sunt: Consolidarea i dezvoltarea n acord cu principiile dezvoltrii durabile a sectorului productiv. Aspectul principal al acestui obiectiv const n sprijinirea modernizrii i inovrii ntreprinderilor existente i crearea unora noi, n special a IMM-urilor n sectoarele productive i al serviciilor pentru afaceri. Valorificarea i calificarea echipamentelor de producie, lrgirea bazei de producie, inovarea proceselor de producie i a

44

Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

echipamentelor i sprijinirea adoptrii standardelor internaionale conduc la creterea gamei de produse. Aspectul principal al acestui obiectiv l reprezint crearea unui cadru favorabil dezvoltrii antreprenoriatului, sens n care se urmrete reducerea constrngerilor n domeniile de eec ale pieei (acces la finanare, instrumente financiare, accesul la infrastructurile i serviciile de afaceri - pentru crearea de noi ntreprinderi i pentru dezvoltarea celor existente). Realizarea acestor obiective este asigurat prin orientarea fondurilor spre urmtoarele Axe Prioritare: Axa Prioritar 1 Axa Prioritar 2 Un sistem inovativ i eco-eficient de producie; Competitivitate prin Cercetare, Tehnologic i Inovare; Dezvoltare

Axa Prioritar 3

Tehnologia Informaiilor i Comunicaiilor pentru sectoarele public i privat; Creterea eficienei energetice i a securitii furnizrii n contextul combaterii schimbrilor climatice.

Axa Prioritar 4

(iii)

Programul operaional Sectorial Transport (POST)

POST reprezint documentul programatic al Romniei care stabilete prioritile, obiectivele i intele de atins privind procesul de implementare al instrumentelor structurale n sectorul transporturi n perioada 2007-2013. n comparaie cu celelalte PO, POST, prezint anumite particulariti care n implementare l deosebesc considerabil, i anume:

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

a)

numrul redus de beneficiari eligibili - POST se adreseaz administratorilor infrastructurilor naionale de transport aflai, n mare parte, sub coordonarea Ministerului Transporturilor; toate axele i domeniile de intervenie sunt similare din punct de vedere al structurii investiiilor, diferenierea fcndu-se n funcie de obiectivul general al investiiilor, pe cale de consecin ghidul solicitantului fiind acelai pentru toate prioritile tehnice din cadrul POST; proiectele eligibile POST sunt cunoscute nc din faza de elaborare a strategiei POST; proiectele de investiii de transport au o perioad foarte lung de pregtire care include elaborarea studiilor de prefezabilitate, a proiectelor tehnice a documentaiei de licitaie i obinerea aprobrilor necesare, perioad ce se poate extinde pn la 5 ani.

b)

c)

d)

Obiectivele specifice ale POST sunt: modernizarea i dezvoltarea axelor prioritare TEN-T11, cu aplicarea msurilor necesare pentru protecia mediului nconjurtor; modernizarea i dezvoltarea reelelor naionale de transport, n conformitate cu principiile dezvoltrii durabile; promovarea transportului feroviar, naval i intermodal; sprijinirea dezvoltrii transportului durabil, prin minimizarea efectelor adverse ale transportului asupra mediului i mbuntirea siguranei traficului i a sntii umane.

11

n limba romn - Reeaua Trans-European de Transport.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Realizarea acestor obiective este asigurat prin orientarea fondurilor spre urmtoarele Axe Prioritare: Axa Prioritar 1 Modernizarea i dezvoltarea axelor prioritare TEN-T12 n vederea dezvoltrii unui sistem de transport durabil i a integrrii acestuia cu reelele de transport ale Uniunii Europene; Modernizarea i dezvoltarea infrastructurii naionale de transport n afara axelor prioritare TEN-T n scopul crerii unui sistem naional de transport durabil; Modernizarea sectorului de transporturi n scopul creterii proteciei mediului i a sntii publice i siguranei pasagerilor; Asisten tehnic.

Axa Prioritar 2

Axa Prioritar 3

Axa Prioritar 4 (iv)

Programul operaional Sectorial Mediu (POS MEDIU)

Prin Programul operaional Sectorial Mediu se stabilesc prioritile pentru interveniile prin Fondurile Structurale i de Coeziune (n perioada 20072013) i strategia de alocare a fondurilor europene. Elaborarea POS Mediu a fost realizat de ctre Ministerul Mediului i Dezvoltrii Durabile sub coordonarea Ministerului Economiei i Finanelor, n calitate de coordonator al procesului de pregtire a Romniei pentru accesarea Fondurilor Structurale i de Coeziune pentru perioada 20072013.

12

Aceast ax prioritar se refer la TEN-T nr. 7 dezvoltarea reelei de autostrzi, TEN-T nr. 18 cu privire la transportul naval pe cile navigabile i TEN-T nr. 22 modernizrii infrastructurii feroviare din punct de vedere al inter-operabilitii.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

POS Mediu este cel mai important program operaional din punct de vedere al alocrii financiare i reprezint cea mai important surs de finanare pentru sectorul de mediu, programul fiind finanat din FEDR i FC. Obiectivul general al acestui PO l constituie mbuntirea standardului de via i a standardului de mediu contribuind totodat n mod substanial la ndeplinirea angajamentelor Romniei n privina proteciei mediului, de la momentul aderrii la Uniunea European. Obiectivele specifice ale POS Mediu sunt: mbuntirea accesului la utiliti publice n sectorul de ap i ap uzat prin asigurarea sistemelor de alimentare cu ap i canalizare n majoritatea zonelor urbane pn n 2015 i stabilirea structurilor de management al serviciilor de ap/ap uzat la scar regional. Optimizarea sistemelor de management al deeurilor prin mbuntirea infrastructurii de gestionare a deeurilor i reducerea numrului de zone poluate istoric n minimum 30 de judee pn n 2015. Reducerea impactului negativ asupra mediului i diminuarea schimbrilor climatice cauzate de sistemele de nclzire urban n cele mai poluate localiti pn n 2015. Protecia i mbuntirea biodiversitii i a patrimoniului natural prin sprijinirea managementului ariilor protejate, inclusiv prin implementarea reelei Natura 200013.

13

Reeaua Natura 2000 este o reea european de zone naturale protejate care cuprinde un eantion reprezentativ de specii slbatice i habitate naturale de interes comunitar. Reeaua a fost constituit nu doar pentru protejarea naturii, ci i pentru meninerea acestor bogii naturale pe termen lung, pentru a asigura resursele necesare dezvoltrii socio-economice.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Reducerea riscului de producere a dezastrelor naturale cu efect asupra populaiei, prin implementarea msurilor preventive n cele mai vulnerabile zone pn n 2015. Realizarea acestor obiective este asigurat prin orientarea fondurilor spre urmtoarele Axe Prioritare: Axa Prioritar 1 Extinderea i modernizarea infrastructurii de ap i ap uzat (total aproximativ 3,3 miliarde Euro, din care grant UE 2,8 miliarde Euro14). Dezvoltarea sistemelor de management integrat al deeurilor i reabilitarea siturilor contaminate istoric (1,2 miliarde Euro, din care grant UE aproximativ un miliard Euro15). Reabilitarea centralelor municipale de termoficare n vederea reducerii polurii (458 milioane Euro, din care grant UE 229 milioane Euro16). Implementarea sistemelor adecvate de management pentru protecia naturii (215

Axa Prioritar 2

Axa Prioritar 3

Axa Prioritar 4

14

Conform datelor furnizate de Ministerul Mediului i Pdurilor pe site-ul su oficial www.mmediu.rowww.mmediu.ro/...europene/01...europeana/02.../stadiu_proiecte. doc. 15 http://www.fonduristructurale.ro/Document_Files//mediu/00000029/h7748_Rezumat_POS_Mai_2007.p df 16 http://eufinantare.info/stiri/iul2007/declaratie-ministru-mediu.html

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

milioane Euro, din care grant UE 172 milioane Euro17). Axa Prioritar 5 Dezvoltarea infrastructurii de prevenire a riscurilor naturale n zonele cele mai expuse la risc (329 milioane Euro, din care grant UE 270 milioane Euro18). Asisten Tehnic (174 milioane Euro, din care grant UE 130 milioane Euro19).

Axa Prioritar 6

Programul vizeaz perioada 2007-2013, dar, spre deosebire de restul PO, obiectivele sale urmresc i nevoile de dezvoltare ale Romniei ulterioare anului 2013, prin punerea bazelor dezvoltrii economice durabile. (v) Programul operaional Regional (POR)

POR are ca obiectiv sprijinirea i promovarea unei dezvoltri economice i sociale durabile i echilibrate din punct de vedere teritorial, a tuturor regiunilor Romniei, cu accent pe sprijinirea dezvoltrii durabile a oraelor (poteniali poli de cretere urban), mbuntirea mediului de afaceri i a infrastructurii cu scopul de a transforma regiunile Romniei n locuri atractive pentru munc, via i timp liber. Obiectivele specifice ale POR sunt: mbuntirea gradului general de atractivitate i accesibilitate a regiunilor; Creterea competitivitii regiunilor ca locaii pentru afaceri; Creterea contribuiei turismului la dezvoltarea regiunilor;

17 18

Ibidem. Ibidem. 19 Ibidem.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Creterea rolului economic i social al centrelor urbane. Realizarea acestor obiective este asigurat prin orientarea fondurilor spre urmtoarele Axe Prioritare: Axa Prioritar 1 Sprijinirea dezvoltrii durabile a oraelor poteniali poli de cretere. mbuntirea infrastructurii de transport regionale i locale. mbuntirea infrastructurii sociale. Sprijinirea dezvoltrii mediului de afaceri regional i local. Dezvoltare turismului. durabil i promovarea

Axa Prioritar 2

Axa Prioritar 3 Axa Prioritar 4

Axa Prioritar 5

Axa Prioritar 6

Asisten tehnic implementrii POR.

pentru

sprijinirea

(vi)

Programul operaional Asisten Tehnic (POAT)

Obiectivul Programului operaional Asisten Tehnic (POAT) l constituie asigurarea unui proces de implementare a instrumentelor structurale n conformitate cu principiile i regulile instituite ntre Statele Membre i Comisia European, conform prevederilor din Regulamentul Consiliului (CE) Nr. 1083/2006 privind FEDR, FSE i FC. Astfel, pentru a asigura cel mai eficient mod de utilizare a instrumentelor structurale, fiecrui stat membru i revine obligaia monitorizrii, evalurii i controlului cheltuielilor din instrumentele structurale, precum i informrii i promovrii asistenei financiare i a sistemului de implementare. n acest scop, POAT vine n completarea axelor prioritare

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

de asisten tehnic din cadrul programelor operaionale i reprezint un instrument important pentru coordonarea politicii de coeziune. Axele prioritare de asisten tehnic din cadrul fiecrui program operaional vor oferi asisten specific procesului de pregtire a proiectelor, monitorizare, evaluare i control, precum i activitilor de comunicare care s asigure o publicitate corespunztoare, n conformitate cu specificitatea fiecrui PO. Autoritile de Management20 pot primi sprijin prin POAT n vederea implementrii operaiunilor utile prilor implicate n dou sau mai multe programe operaionale. n acelai timp, POAT ofer sprijin sporit procesului de coordonare i sistemului de control financiar i audit. Obiectivul global al POAT este de a asigura sprijinul necesar procesului de coordonare i de a contribui la implementarea i absorbia eficace i transparent a instrumentelor structurale n Romnia. Obiectivele specifice ale POAT sunt urmtoarele: Asigurarea sprijinului i a instrumentelor adecvate n vederea unei coordonri i implementri eficiente i eficace a instrumentelor structurale pentru perioada 2007-2013 i pregtirea pentru urmtoarea perioad de programare a instrumentelor structurale. Asigurarea unei diseminri coordonate la nivel naional a informaiilor generale cu privire la instrumentele structurale i implementarea Planului de Aciuni al ACIS21 pentru comunicare, n

Autoritile de Management sunt organisme desemnate de Romnia ca fiind responsabile pentru administrarea Programelor Operaionale. 21 Autoritatea pentru Coordonarea Instrumentelor Structurale.

20

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

conformitate cu Strategia naional de Comunicare22 pentru instrumentele structurale. Realizarea acestor obiective este asigurat prin orientarea fondurilor spre urmtoarele Axe Prioritare: Axa Prioritar 1 Sprijin pentru implementarea instrumentelor structurale i coordonarea programelor; Dezvoltarea continu i sprijin pentru funcionarea Sistemului Unic de Management al Informaiei; Diseminarea informaiei instrumentelor. i promovarea

Axa Prioritar 2

Axa Prioritar 3

(vii)

Programul operaional Dezvoltarea Capacitii Administrative (PO DCA)

Programul Operaional Dezvoltarea Capacitii Administrative este finanat din FSE i vizeaz dezvoltarea capacitii administrative, precum i sprijinirea eforturilor de modernizare a administraiei publice din Romnia. PO DCA beneficiaz de o finanare total de 246.014.081 Euro, din care 208.002.622 Euro reprezint contribuia Uniunii Europene, iar 38.011.459 Euro este contribuia statului romn. PO DCA are un obiectiv general i dou obiective specifice. Obiectivul general al PO DCA l constituie crearea unei administraii publice mai

22

Strategia Naional de Comunicare pentru Instrumentele Structurale a fost elaborat pentru promovarea i coordonarea interveniilor structurale n Romnia, aceasta deoarece era necesar s existe un sistem de coordonare central al activitilor de comunicare pentru instrumentele structurale, astfel nct procesul de comunicare s fie coerent i echilibrat, s se evite suprapunerile i informaiile contradictorii i s se acopere golurile din comunicare, s se respecte n comunicare principiul vocii unice.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

eficiente i mai eficace n beneficiul socio-economic al societii romneti. Obiectivele specifice ale POAT sunt urmtoarele: Obinerea unor mbuntiri structurale i de proces ale managementului ciclului de politici publice n administraia public central i local. mbuntirea calitii i eficienei furnizrii serviciilor publice, cu accentul pus pe procesul de descentralizare. Aceste dou obiective specifice se regsesc n cele dou axe prioritare, fiecare din cele dou axe prioritare fiind organizat pe domenii de intervenie. Pe lng aceste dou axe prioritare tematice, exist i o a treia ax prioritar, de mai mic ntindere, care prevede asigurarea asistenei tehnice pentru buna desfurare a managementului PO DCA. Realizarea acestor obiective va fi asigurat prin orientarea fondurilor spre urmtoarele Axe Prioritare principale: Axa Prioritar 1 mbuntiri de structur i proces ale managementului ciclului de politici publice. Prima ax prioritar are drept scop dezvoltarea capacitii administrative la nivel central i local, prin mbuntiri structurale menite s sprijine managementul strategic, precum i prin optimizarea acestui proces n vederea modernizrii performanei n materie de metode, instrumente i proceduri.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Axa Prioritar 2

mbuntirea calitii i eficienei furnizrii serviciilor publice, cu accent pe procesul de descentralizare. Cea de-a doua ax cuprinde dou domenii majore de intervenie, care vizeaz n mod direct furnizarea de servicii publice, punndu-se accent pe procesul de descentralizare.

2.5.4.

Documentele Cadru de Implementare (DCI)

DCI este documentul elaborat pentru implementarea strategiei i a axelor prioritare ale PO coninnd elemente detaliate ale PO la nivel de domeniu major de intervenie23. DCI sunt elaborate de statele membre fiind revizuite de comitetele de monitorizare, potrivit propunerii din partea Autoritilor de Management. Pentru a urgenta procedurile, DCI poate fi naintat n acelai timp cu proiectul de PO. Indiferent de situaie, Autoritatea de Management trebuie s adopte DCI cel mai trziu la 3 (trei) luni dup decizia CE de aprobare a unui PO. 2.7. Cadrul instituional Instituiile responsabile cu coordonarea, implementarea i gestionarea asistenei financiare comunitare, precum i misiunile ncredinate fiecreia, reprezint mpreun, cadrul naional al mecanismelor de accesare a fondurilor europene.

23

Domeniul major de intervenie este o subdiviziune a axelor prioritare care alctuiesc fiecare Program Operaional, prin care se clasific ntr-un mod mai detaliat liniile directoare pentru finanarea acordat n cadrul respectivelor axe prioritare.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Astfel: 1. Ministerul Afacerilor Europene este stabilit ca autoritate pentru coordonarea instrumentelor structurale, avnd responsabilitatea coordonrii implementrii asistenei comunitare prin fondurile structurale. Ministerul Dezvoltrii Regionale i Turismului este desemnat ca Autoritate de Management pentru POR, avnd responsabilitatea managementului, gestionrii i implementrii asistenei financiare alocate acestui program. Ministerul Finanelor Publice este Autoritate de Management pentru POAT i pentru POS-CCE, avnd responsabilitatea managementului, implementrii i gestionrii asistenei financiare alocate acestui program. Ministerul Transporturilor este Autoritate de Management pentru POST, fiind responsabil de managementul, implementarea i gestionarea asistenei financiare alocate acestui program. Ministerul Mediului i Dezvoltrii Durabile este Autoritatea de Management pentru POS-MEDIU, fiind responsabil, ca i celelalte autoriti de management, de managementul, implementarea i gestionarea asistenei financiare programului. Ministerul Muncii, Familiei i Egalitii de anse este Autoritate de Management pentru POS-DRU, avnd, de asemenea, responsabilitatea managementului, gestionrii i implementrii asistenei financiare alocate acestuia. Ministerul Internelor i Reformei Administrative a fost desemnat drept Autoritate de Management pentru PO-DCA.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

n vederea asigurrii rolului de coordonator al instrumentelor structurale al Ministerului Afacerilor Europene, a fost nfiinat Autoritatea pentru Coordonarea Instrumentelor Structurale, n subordinea aceluiai minister.

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

De asemenea, conform Regulamentului Consiliului nr. 1083/2006 privind aspectele generale referitoare la FEDR, FSE i FC, Sistemul de implementare al PO n Romnia cuprinde urmtoarele autoriti: Comitetul de Monitorizare al PO; Autoritatea de Management; Organisme Intermediare; Autoritatea de Certificare i Plat; Autoritatea de Audit. 2.7.1. Autoritatea pentru Coordonarea Instrumentelor Structurale (ACIS)

Autoritatea pentru Coordonarea Instrumentelor Structurale, nfiinat n baza Hotrrii de Guvern nr. 128/2006 (abrogat prin Hotrrea de Guvern nr. 457/2008), are urmtoarele responsabiliti (principale): actualizeaz legislaia privind cadrul instituional i procedural de coordonare i implementare a instrumentelor structurale, dup consultarea autoritilor cu atribuii n domeniu i formuleaz puncte de vedere i propuneri de modificare cu privire la legislaia cu impact asupra procesului de gestionare a instrumentelor structurale; coordoneaz, monitorizeaz i sprijin dezvoltarea capacitii administrative a tuturor structurilor implicate n gestionarea instrumentelor structurale, elabornd i actualiznd n acest sens planuri de aciune i raportnd anual progresele nregistrate n implementarea acestora; elaboreaz ghiduri i ndrumare pentru dezvoltarea procedurilor de gestionare a instrumentelor structurale, asigurnd o abordare unitar a cadrului procedural, i analizeaz i formuleaz recomandri pentru

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mbuntirea operaionale;

procedurilor

de

implementare

programelor

coordoneaz elaborarea i actualizarea PND, ca instrument de baz pentru elaborarea CSNR, precum i elaborarea i modificarea CSNR; coordoneaz elaborarea i modificarea programelor operaionale i a DCI aferente, asigurnd corelarea acestora, precum i concordana cu regulamentele comunitare i cu CSNR; analizeaz oportunitatea realocrii de fonduri ntre PO; avizeaz documentele elaborate de autoritile de management n vederea fundamentrii programrii bugetare a surselor reprezentnd fonduri externe nerambursabile primite din instrumentele structurale, precum i a celor alocate din bugetul de stat pentru prefinanare, cofinanare i finanare a cheltuielilor neeligibile; urmrete i sprijin dezvoltarea de ctre autoritile de management a portofoliului de proiecte aferente PO; asigur armonizarea cadrului legal i procedural pentru funcionarea comitetelor de monitorizare ale programelor operaionale i particip ca membru la reuniunile acestora; elaboreaz standarde i ghiduri de evaluare pentru interveniile finanate din instrumentele structurale; coordoneaz formularea poziiei Romniei cu privire la propunerile de politici i reglementri comunitare n domeniul instrumentelor structurale. 2.7.2. Comitetele de Monitorizare a Programelor Operaionale (CMPO)

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Comitetele de Monitorizare a Programelor au fost nfiinate pentru fiecare PO n parte ulterior hotrrii de aprobare a respectivului PO, dup consultarea partenerilor europeni i a AM corespunztoare. Aceste comitete au responsabilitatea de a superviza ntreaga coordonare a PO, de a asigura coordonarea instrumentelor structurale, precum i de a urmri eficacitatea i calitatea implementrii asistenei comunitare, modului de utilizare i impactului acestora. Printre atribuiile specifice CMPO se regsesc, n principal, urmtoarele: examinarea i aprobarea criteriilor de selecie elaborate de AM (n cel mult 6 luni de la aprobarea PO respectiv), precum i aprobarea oricror modificri ale acestora; analizarea periodic a progreselor nregistrate n obiectivelor programului pe baza documentelor de la AM; propunerea ctre AM de actualizare a PO; examinarea i aprobarea propunerilor de modificare a alocrilor financiare ale PO, n DMI, ntre axele prioritare, precum i ntre regiuni. 2.7.3. Autoritile de Management(AM) atingerea

Autoritile de Management sunt entitile responsabile cu asigurarea implementrii eficiente a programelor finanate din fondurile structurale. Conform Regulamentului Consiliului nr. 1083/2006, fiecare AM este responsabil pentru managementul i implementarea eficient a PO pe care l gestioneaz.

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Astfel, fiecare AM are urmtoarele atribuii principale24: utilizarea eficient a fondurilor aferente PO; dezvoltarea i promovarea de parteneriate la toate nivelurile administraiei publice; coordonarea i armonizarea cadrului instituional concomitent cu dezvoltarea capacitii administrative; informarea prilor interesate n legtur cu derularea programelor operaionale. 2.7.4. Organismele intermediare (OI)

OI ndeplinesc toate atribuiile delegate de ctre AM i Autoritile de Certificare i Plat pe baz contractual, AM fiind responsabile pentru ndeplinirea sarcinilor delegate n legtur cu asigurarea finanrilor din fondurile structurale. Delegarea atribuiilor trebuie realizat cu respectarea i observarea caracterului regional al PO, dar i a capacitii efective i a experienei OI. 2.7.5. Autoritatea de Certificare i Plat (ACP)

Ministerul Finanelor Publice este autoritatea desemnat s ndeplineasc rolul de ACP pentru toate PO, fiind responsabil cu certificarea declaraiilor privind cheltuielile efectuate i a cererilor de plat anterior naintrii acestora ctre Comisie. Fiecare stat membru al Uniunii Europene a desemnat o unitate separat care s funcioneze ca ACP, organism responsabil cu (i) primirea tuturor plilor de la Comisia European aferente FEDR, FSE i FC, pentru toate
24

Hotrrea de Guvern nr. 457/2008 privind cadrul instituional de coordonare i de gestionare a instrumentelor structurale (publicat n Monitorul Oficial al Romniei nr. 346/20.04.2004).

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PO-urile, i cu (ii) efectuarea plilor din resursele comunitare ctre beneficiari (pli directe) sau ctre Unitile de Plat din cadrul ministerelor avnd rol de AM (pli indirecte). 2.7.6. Autoritatea de Audit (AA)

n cazul Romniei, un organism asociat Curii de Conturi a fost desemnat n calitate de AA pentru toate PO. Trebuie menionat c AA este independent fa de AM i ACP. 2.7.7. Procesul de certificare

Certificarea plilor n cazul fondurilor structurale este supus unui proces realizat n 4 (patru) etape i anume: Etapa I de verificare aa numita evaluare ex-ante, este asigurat de beneficiar prin verificarea corectitudinii i eligibilitii cheltuielilor. Ulterior, beneficiarul depune solicitarea de plat n atenia AM/OI mpreun cu documentele justificative. este realizat la nivelul OI printr-o verificare intern a documentelor depuse n acest sens de ctre Beneficiar. este asigurat de AM, similar cu OI, printr-o verificare intern a documentelor. aparine ACP, care ulterior realizrii verificrilor necesare depune ctre Comisia European solicitrile de plat intermediare i certificarea acestora.

Etapa II de verificare

Etapa III de verificare

Ultima etap de verificare

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III.

CONDIIILE GENERALE PENTRU A BENEFICIA DE FONDURILE STRUCTURALE Consideraii cu caracter general

3.1.

Problematica accesrii fondurilor comunitare i, mai ales, aceea a accesrii acestora de ctre noile state membre ale Uniunii Europene reprezint o preocupare major la nivel comunitar25. Astfel, dat fiind c Romnia face parte din ultimul grup de state care au aderat la Uniunea European, problematica accesrii fondurilor europene are o importan deosebit prin simplul fapt c: 1. consecinele unei absorbii deficitare se rsfrng asupra intereselor pe termen lung ale Romniei; Romnia are nevoie de un nivel ridicat de absorbie a finanrii comunitare nerambursabile, la nivel naional, pentru a contracara efectele presiunii exercitate de criza economic i financiar global.

2.

n acest context, nu trebuie ignorat faptul c, n cadrul procesului de negociere pentru urmtorul cadru financiar multianual la nivel comunitar (2014-2020), Romnia are interesul de a rmne beneficiar net, ceea ce nseamn c, atta timp ct, n calitate de stat membru al Uniunii Europene, Romnia este obligat s contribuie la bugetul Uniunii Europene, ar fi n beneficiul su ca fondurile europene la care este ndreptit s fie efectiv cheltuite de beneficiari, pentru a se asigura un echilibru avantajos ntre contribuia Romniei la bugetul Uniunii Europene i fondurile structurale absorbite. n acest sens, planul financiar multianual propus de Preedintele Consiliului European, Herman Van Rompuy afecteaz grav regiunile cele mai slab dezvoltate ale Uniunii Europene, astfel, statele membre srace
Ctlina Constantin, Andreea Florina Radu, revista Consilier European nr. 9/2009, http://www.dae.gov.ro/admin/files/Consilier%20European%20Nr%209.pdf
25

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

(printre care se afl i Romnia) i cu capacitatea de finanare cea mai sczut vor avea cel mai mult de pierdut prin aplicarea planului multianual, diminiundu-se n acest sens chiar unul dintre obiectivele fundamentale ale Politicii de Coeziune i anume: reducerea decalajelor de dezvoltare. Totodat, propunerea privind planul financiar multianual introduce o nou condiie privind alocarea bugetelor - n funcie de capacitatea de absorbie din perioada 2007-2013. Astfel, este notoriu faptul c n perioada menionat anterior, Romnia a avut cea mai sczut rat de absorbie din Uniunea European, fapt care n mod evident, prin aplicarea celor cuprinse n planul multianual, va aduce mai multe deservicii Romniei, prin scderea n mod drastic a fondurilor puse la dispoziie spre absorbie. Pe de alt parte, este de notorietate faptul c accesarea fondurilor nerambursabile nu este un proces facil, ns, atunci cnd eventualul beneficiar este informat din punct de vedere al locului n care poate obine informaiile de care are nevoie, demersurile de accesare ale fondurilor pot deveni mai uor de parcurs. Pentru a obine finanare european, primul pas care trebuie realizat de ctre un solicitant este identificarea PO n cadrul cruia se ncadreaz investiia nvederat, respectiv s consulte DCI aferent respectivului PO pentru identificarea DMI n cadrul cruia este eligibil n calitate de solicitant. n plus fa de modalitile prevzute anterior, beneficiarul va trebui s consulte Ghidul Solicitantului (Ghidul Solicitantului) disponibil pentru fiecare DMI i operaiune din cadrul acestora, n vederea elaborrii proiectului pentru care se dorete accesarea fondurilor europene. Alturi de cele menionate anterior, potenialii beneficiari ai finanrilor nerambursabile trebuie s ia n considerare faptul c, pe lng posibilitatea realizrii unei investiii cu efort financiar relativ redus (datorit nerambursabilitii fondurilor accesate), acetia au i anumite 63

Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

responsabiliti, care, n principiu, intervin dup ncheierea seleciei proiectelor de ctre AM/OI i semnarea contractelor de finanare ntre AM/OI i beneficiar. Astfel, este recomandabil consultarea seciunii Obligaiile beneficiarului din Ghidurile Solicitantului, pentru luarea la cunotin a tuturor ndatoririlor beneficiarului, a cror asumare este obligatorie. n vederea obinerii cu succes a fondurilor europene, un potenial beneficiar trebuie s parcurg urmtoarele etape: Etapa 1: Etapa 2: identificarea ideii de proiect; identificarea PO n cadrul creia se ncadreaz ideea de proiect; informarea asupra existenei unei cereri de proiecte deschis n acest sens, urmat de

Etapa 3:

Etapa 4: iniierea procedurilor de accesare efectiv a fondurilor puse la dispoziie. n plus, solicitantul trebuie s se asigure c ndeplinete condiiile de eligibilitate, c dosarul cererii de finanare este complet, respectiv, c ntrunete toate condiiile prevzute n Ghidul Solicitantului. 3.2. Criterii de eligibilitate a solicitanilor

n primul rnd, potenialul beneficiar trebuie s se asigure c ndeplinete condiiile specifice stabilite de ctre AM la momentul lansrii cererii de proiecte pentru a fi considerat beneficiar eligibil. n general, pentru a primi finanare nerambursabil n baza PO, solicitantul trebuie s fie:

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

o organizaie legal constituit n Romnia, respectiv persoan juridic de drept public sau privat, cu sau fr scop patrimonial, cu sediul social n Romnia; o asociaie ori fundaie constituit conform Ordonanei de Guvern nr. 26/2000 cu privire la asociaii i fundaii, cu modificrile i completrile ulterioare; o organizaie sindical sau patronal constituit conform legislaiei n vigoare; o instituie de cult recunoscut conform Legii nr. 489/2006 privind libertatea religioas i regimul general al cultelor. Totodat, beneficiarul trebuie s fie responsabil pentru managementul proiectului propus. 3.3. Criterii de eligibilitate a proiectelor

n general, toate cererile de finanare primite n cadrul cererii de propuneri de proiecte vor fi evaluate i selectate avndu-se n vedere criteriile de selecie aprobate de comitetul de monitorizare i elaborate n conformitate cu prevederile Regulamentelor Consiliului (CE) aplicabile. Totui, pentru ca proiectul s fie acceptat, acesta trebuie s ndeplineasc urmtoarele criterii eliminatorii: proiectul s fie dezvoltat i implementat pe teritoriul Romniei; proiectul s aib relevan n considerarea obiectivelor specifice ale axei prioritare aplicabile; bugetul proiectului s fie n concordan cu limitele prevzute de cererea de propuneri de proiecte, iar proiectul se regsete pe lista operaiunilor eligibile prezentate n Ghidul Solicitantului;

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

proiectul, durata i valoarea finanrii solicitate s se ncadreze n limitele stabilite n cererea de proiecte". 3.4. Cofinanarea structurale necesar proiectelor realizate cu fonduri

Din costul total al proiectului, beneficiarul trebuie s acopere cheltuielile neeligibile, precum i cofinanarea. Cofinanarea poate fi reprezentat i de contribuia n natur a beneficiarului, aa cum este prezentat n manualul privind eligibilitatea cheltuielilor i n Ghidul Solicitantului. Cheltuielile eligibile pentru fiecare proiect n parte vor fi stabilite de ctre AM n conformitate cu regulile naionale de eligibilitate, astfel nct, n momentul lansrii unei cereri de proiecte", AM face cunoscut i lista cu cheltuielile eligibile pentru acele proiecte. 3.5. Etape pentru obinerea finanrii

Etapele ce trebuie parcurse de ctre solicitani pentru obinerea finanrii europene nerambursabile pot fi sintetizate dup cum urmeaz: Etapa 1: beneficiarul eligibil completeaz cererea de finanare i anexele solicitate de AM; Etapa 2: cererea de finanare este transmis/depus ctre/la OI/AM (dup caz); Etapa 3: se verific conformitatea administrativ a cererii de finanare, n conformitate cu procedurile interne ale fiecrei AM; dup verificarea conformitii administrative urmeaz verificarea eligibilitii proiectului (criteriile de eligibilitate a proiectelor sunt prezentate n Ghidul Solicitantului);

Etapa 4:

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013

Etapa 5: proiectului; Etapa 6:

se procedeaz la evaluarea tehnic i financiar a

se procedeaz la selectarea proiectului conform criteriilor aprobate de comitetul de monitorizare; se aprob proiectul i se ncepe procedura negocierii i semnrii contractului de finanare.

Etapa 7:

IV.

PRINCIPALELE DIFICULTI N IMPLEMENTAREA PROGRAMELOR OPERAIONALE Consideraii cu caracter general

4.1.

Politicile statelor membre ale Uniunii Europene aplicabile pe ntreg teritoriul Uniunii au la baz un principiu fundamental al construciei europene, i anume principiul solidaritii i coeziunii. Obiectivul politicii regionale europene este de a concretiza solidaritatea Uniunii Europene prin coeziunea economic i social, reducnd discrepana dintre nivelurile de dezvoltare ale diverselor regiuni. Politica pentru dezvoltare regional devine, astfel, pentru statele membre, fie vechi sau noi, unul dintre cele mai importante instrumente de dezvoltare. Un rol deosebit n realizarea acestui obiectiv l are capacitatea Romniei de a dezvolta i de a implementa proiecte de dezvoltare durabil, prin atragerea fondurilor provenite din instrumentele financiare europene. n mod evident, eficiena gradului de absorbie a acestora este condiionat de capacitatea administrativ a statului beneficiar, n cazul de fa, a Romniei26.

26

Ctlina Constantin, Andreea Florina Radu, revista Consilier European nr. 9/2009, http://www.dae.gov.ro/admin/files/Consilier%20European%20Nr%209.pdf

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Dei Romnia s-a numrat printre primele state ale Uniunii Europene ale cror PO au fost aprobate de ctre Comisia European, demararea efectiv a implementrii strategiei aprobate a fost mai lent. n acest sens, beneficiarii au ntmpinat mari probleme, soluionarea acestora solicitnd att timp ct i eforturi consistente, ceea ce era de ateptat pentru un sistem nou-creat, aflat la nceputurile sale n procesul de implementare a fondurilor structurale i de coeziune. Conform datelor furnizate27 de Guvernul Romniei, ncepnd cu anul 2007 i pn la nivelul lunii octombrie 2012, situaia absorbiei fondurilor europene era urmtoarea: Pli ctre beneficiari Programul Proiecte Proiecte Contracte/decizii (total milioane de finanare Operaional depuse aprobate lei) POST POS Mediu POR POS-DRU POS-CCE PO-DCA POAT TOTAL 145 626 8.162 10.224 14.545 1.371 129 35.202 90 352 3.525 3.006 3.617 420 110 11.120 82 338 3.216 2.465 2.466 387 103 9.057 1.884,76 3.474,60 6.040,77 5.083,24 2.510,53 217,35 135,48 19.346,73

27

http://www.gov.ro/absorbtia-fondurilor-structurale-si-de-coeziune-proritate-zeroa-guvernului- romaniei__l1a109210.html

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Referindu-ne la o sintez a indicatorilor de absorbie, putem observa din analiza tabelului28 de mai jos c la nivelul anului 2011 procentajul Romniei n ceea ce privete absorbia fondurilor europene era mult inferioar restului statelor nvecinate, acesta fiind chiar mai mic cu 6,7% fa de cel al Bulgariei, ar care a fost admis n Uniunea European concomitent cu Romnia.
Absorbia fondurilor structurale comparaie cu alte state membre UE
ara Total alocri 2007 2013 (miliarde de Euro) Estonia Letonia Polonia Cehia Bulgaria Romnia Ungaria Lituania Slovenia Slovacia 3,4 4,5 67,2 26,5 6,7 19,2 24,9 6,8 4,1 11,5 1,6 1,7 26,4 7,0 1,6 3,3 8,8 3,3 1,6 3,2 46,8% 36,4% 39% 26,5% 24% 17,3% 35,3% 48,0% 38,3% 27,8% 2.540 2.032 1.759 2.520 889 897 2.496 2.088 2.000 2.116 1.190 740 690 667 209 155 881 1.002 767 587 Pli martie 2012 (miliarde de Euro) Rata de absorbie Total alocri capita/Euro Total pli capita/Euro

Analiznd datele prezentate n tabelul de mai sus, nu putem dect s anticipm c, la sfritul exerciiului financiar 2007 2013, poziia Romniei va fi tot la coada clasamentului, n mare parte datorit
28

Raportul anual pe anul 2011, Evoluii i perspective macroeconomice i bugetare. http://www.wall-street.ro/files/131509-255.pdf

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decalajului mare nregistrat de Romnia pe parcursul celor 6 (ase) ani de la aderarea la Uniunea European, care n mod evident, n ciuda msurilor luate n acest sens de administraia central i/sau local, nu vor putea suplini lipsa de activitate, acuratee i consecven nregistrat de Romnia n elaborarea de proiecte i atragerea de fonduri europene. 4.2. 4.2.1. Msuri pentru mbuntirea gradului de absorbie Msuri luate de autoritile din Romnia

Avnd n vedere dificultile ntmpinate n implementarea efectiv a cadrului legislativ i n asigurarea corespondenei ntre cadrul legislativ i cel instituional, Romnia a adus unele modificri la procedura de accesare a acestora, cu scopul de a nltura, pe ct posibil, efectele negative ale unei absorbii limitate. Printre msurile29 luate de autoritile romne n vederea mbuntirii gradului de accesare i absorbie al fondurilor europene s-au numrat: 1. introducerea posibilitii acordrii unor procente importante din valoarea eligibil a proiectului ca prefinanare. Aceast msur a ajutat beneficiarii entiti publice, prin asigurarea fondurilor necesare pentru demararea contractelor de achiziii. n cazul beneficiarilor privai, dei iniiativa autoritilor a fost benefic, obinerea unei prefinanri presupunea o procedur anevoioas condiionat n cele mai multe cazuri de prezentarea unei scrisori de garanie bancar, care n mod evident nu putea fi obinut de ctre micii antreprenori, care nu dispuneau de resurse financiare considerabile din care s constituie garaniile solicitate de bnci. 2. prezentarea, n faza de contractare, a anumitor documente, solicitate pn la momentul introducerii acestei modificri n faza
Ioana Morovan Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale, publicat n numrul 7/februarie 2010 al revistei Policy Memo, sub egida Centrului Romn de Politici Europene http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf
29

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de depunere a cererilor de finanare, a reprezentat o iniiativ salutat de solicitani, totui, n cele mai multe cazuri, aceast nlesnire a fost nsoit de condiionri pe msur, care, n general, erau n dezavantajul beneficiarilor (de exemplu: chiar dac prezentarea documentelor nu era obligatorie, cei care depuneau respectivele documente se bucurau de un avantaj n faa restului beneficiarilor). Pentru a mbuntii gradul de absorbie, n unele cazuri s-a decis renunarea la solicitarea unor documente la momentul depunerii proiectului, prin nlocuirea lor cu declaraii pe propria rspundere a solicitantului i cu obligaia prezentrii respectivelor documente n etapa de contractare. 3. flexibilizarea criteriilor referitoare la datoriile solicitantului ctre bugetul de stat a fost realizat printr-un ordin al Ministerului Finanelor Publice30, care prevedea c societile care nregistrau astfel de datorii puteau fi eligibile sub rezerva restriciilor menionate de ctre fiecare minister n parte, n Ghidurile Solicitanilor. Totodat, un ordin al Ministerului Finanelor Publice meniona c datoriile nu trebuie s depeasc 1/12 din totalul obligaiilor de plat n cazul certificatului de atestare emis de A.N.A.F. sau 1/6 din obligaiile de plat pe ultimul semestru n cazul certificatului de atestare fiscal emis de autoritile locale. modificarea unor cerine i a documentaiei potenialilor beneficiari de ctre AM. solicitate

4.

5.

comasarea unor etape ale procesului de evaluare, respectiv: (i) verificarea administrativ i (ii) verificarea eligibilitii a redus o

30

Ordinul nr. 673/13.04.2009 pentru modificarea Ordinului Ministrului Finanelor Publice nr. 752/2006 privind aprobarea procedurii de eliberare a certificatului de atestare fiscal pentru persoane juridice i fizice, a certificatului de obligaii bugetare, precum i a modelului i coninutului acestora (publicat n Monitorul Oficial al Romniei nr. 355/27.05.2009).

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parte din termenele de evaluare, totui o astfel de reducere nu a avut un impact semnificativ asupra termenelor de evaluare. Simplificarea normelor de achiziii nu a condus n mod real la o simplificare a procesului de accesare a fondurilor europene, rmnnd o serie de probleme nerezolvate (de exemplu: inflaia de documente nejustificate solicitate de ctre autoriti/funcionari) chiar dac s-a ncercat includerea n Ghidurile Solicitantului a unor instruciuni mai clare privind ntocmirea bugetului proiectului i pentru acoperirea diferenelor nefavorabile de curs valutar aprute ca urmare a situaiei economice actuale. n acest sens, trebuie precizat faptul c n jurisprudena naional s-au nregistrat cazuri n care potenialii beneficiari ale cror cereri de finanare au fost respinse, cu ocazia aciunilor n instan introduse din acest motiv, au invocat nenelegerea prevederilor coninute de Ghidurile Solicitanilor, fapt care a condus, n cele din urm la respingerea cererilor31. n plus fa de cele menionate anterior, beneficiarii au fost profund afectai de politica de creditare extrem de prudent a bncilor, mai ales n contextul crizei financiare globale, i de costurile mari ale finanrii32. Ca urmare a celor menionate anterior, se poate constata necesitatea unor structuri instituionale puternice, capabile s asigure aplicarea politicilor publice, implementarea programelor naionale i creterea capacitii de implementare, care poate fi realizat doar printr-o ntrire a parteneriatului ntre administraiile locale i structurile private, cu att mai mult cu ct criza financiar i economic a avut un impact semnificativ asupra problemei absorbiei fondurilor europene.

Decizia nr. 3515 din 24.06.2009 a naltei Curi de Casaie i Justiie, Secia de contencios administrativ i fiscal; 32 http://www.inforegionordest.ro/documente/noutati/publicatii/studiu_privind_impl ementarea_por_in_regiunea_nord_est_decembrie_2010.pdf

31

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Pe cale de consecin, singura modalitate pentru a contracara efectele crizei economice o reprezint mbuntirea capacitii de absorbie, care n cazul Romniei a fost foarte redus n prezent, n principal din cauza: ineficienei instituiilor specializate coroborat cu gradul de informare i experiena sczut a beneficiarilor n realizarea proiectelor, dar i din cauza procesului anevoios de formare a personalului specializat n materia fondurilor europene; gradul de informare sczut al potenialilor beneficiari asupra condiiilor de aplicare i funcionare a fondurilor europene. Totodat, procentul sczut al solicitanilor care au apelat la serviciile specializate ale societilor de consultan n domeniul fondurilor europene, a determinat o lips a calitii proiectelor i, implicit, lipsa finanrii acestora. La cele menionate anterior, adugm i lipsa de predictibilitate a cadrului legislativ i instituional (schimbrile repetate au descurajat poteniali beneficiari); ct i desfiinarea Institutului Naional de Administraie, fapt care a redus numrul personalului calificat din cadrul administraiilor publice centrale i locale. n cele din urm, majorarea cotei TVA n Romnia i influena cursului de schimb Leu/Euro n ultimii ani au determinat potenialii beneficiari s renune n mare parte la proiectele planificate avnd n vedere c planul de afaceri nu mai putea fi realizat ca urmare a schimbrilor de pe piaa financiar. Conform revistei Consilier European, la nivelul autoritilor locale/regionale, inclusiv la nivelul AM i OI, ca i cauze specifice trebuie evideniate: capacitate de reacie redus n raport cu dimensiunea procesului de absorbie a fondurilor, ca efect al personalului insuficient alocat

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acestor proceduri, fapt care a condus la ntrzierea procesului de evaluare a proiectelor i, n consecin, la finanarea unui numr mic de proiecte; respectiv permanenta modificare i actualizare a condiiilor de eligibilitate referitoare la beneficiar sau proiecte, aceste modificri fiind operate chiar n timpul sesiunii de depunere, ceea ce a determinat n majoritatea cazurilor modificarea proiectului sau a condus chiar la imposibilitatea depunerii acestuia sau a lipsei conformitii proiectului, n cazul n care fusese deja depus33. Astfel, problemele ntmpinate de Romnia n procesul de absorbie al fondurilor europene sunt determinate n cea mai mare parte de implementarea ntrziat si neconform a reglementrilor europene n domeniu, la nivelul legislaiei naionale, precum i de modalitatea n care autoritile publice au ales, s aplice respectivele norme. Totodat, un alt motiv al absorbiei reduse l constituie lipsa resurselor financiare pentru asigurarea co-finanrii proiectelor de ctre beneficiari. Este relevant de menionat n acest context faptul c, n practic, instanele judectoreti s-au confruntat cu spee ce au ridicat problema nerespectrii de ctre beneficiari a obligaiei de a asigura cofinanarea naional necesar implementrii proiectului34. Aceast imposibilitate de asigurare a cofinanrii a fost determinat n majoritatea cazurilor, de constrngerile referitoare la buget (n situaia beneficiarilor de drept public), respectiv de lichiditile necesare n cazul beneficiarilor de drept privat.
Ctlina Constantin, Andreea Florina Radu, revista Consilier European nr. 9/2009 http://www.dae.gov.ro/admin/files/Consilier%20European%20Nr%209.pdf. 34 A se vedea Sentina civil nr. 2177 din 26 mai 1999 a Curii de Apel Bucureti, Secia contencios administrativ i fiscal (dei finanarea european ce a constituit obiectul cauzei respective provenea din fonduri PHARE, considerm relevant spe pentru chestiunea ridicat, cu att mai mult cu ct aceasta dateaz din 1999 i pare a nu fi fost rezolvat cu adevrat nici pn n prezent).
33

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n ciuda celor menionate anterior, trebuie adugat faptul c potenialii beneficiari poart, de asemenea, o responsabilitate n creterea propriei capaciti de atragere i implementare a proiectelor finanate din instrumente structurale, printr-o informare interesat i continu asupra acestei probleme. Dintre mijloacele proprii de pregtire a beneficiarilor pentru accesarea fondurilor europene trebuie menionate: informarea continu referitoare la fondurile destinate sectorului de activitate propriu, participarea la seminarii, conferine dedicate fondurilor i accesrii acestora etc.; ndreptarea ateniei n direcia formrii profesionale/specializrii a personalului intern care s aib capacitatea de a elabora proiecte sau apelarea la serviciile profesionale de consultan n acest domeniu; apelarea la suportul oferit de o instituie bancar pentru a identifica soluiile de cofinanare a proiectelor constituie o modalitate optim pentru soluionarea problemelor referitoare la co-finanarea necesar beneficiarului, n vreme ce, pentru investiiile majore este recomandat realizarea unui studiu de prefezabilitate iniial n vederea identificrii cu exactitate a oportunitii investiiei, ct i pentru a scuti risipa de fonduri i timp, att de necesare acestui proces de accesare a fondurilor; n cele din urm, convenirea cu actorii locali (uniti administrativteritoriale, parteneri, structuri asociative) a unui acord pentru garantarea cadrului legislativ pentru un ciclu politic mai mare de 4 ani. Conform celor menionate anterior, principala direcie de aciune pentru combaterea efectelor crizei economice a vizat i se va concentra i n perioada urmtoare asupra accelerrii absorbiei acestor fonduri. Astfel, n ultima perioad, autoritile romane s-au concentrat asupra identificrii acelor msuri care s contracareze efectele imediate ale crizei economice cu impact direct asupra ritmului implementrii strategiei aprobate. n

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acest sens, printre msurile adoptate amintim (i) facilitarea accesului potenialilor beneficiari la liniile de finanare35i (ii) sprijinirea beneficiarilor n implementarea proiectelor deja aprobate. Msurile au inut cont de experiena acumulat la nivelul sistemului de gestionare a fondurilor n primii ani de implementare, precum i de principalele dificulti ntmpinate de solicitani la depunerea de proiecte sau de beneficiari n procesul de implementare. Avnd n vedere necesitatea de a include ct mai repede resursele alocate n cadrul programelor operaionale, autoritile au implementat i alte msuri de simplificare a procesului de depunere a proiectelor, fr a afecta totui procesul de selecie i cerinele impuse de ctre autoritile i regulamentele comunitare. Astfel, pentru a sprijinii eventuali beneficiari, autoritile competente au luat urmtoarele msuri: majorarea cotei de prefinanare pentru beneficiari de la 15% la 30% din valoarea eligibil a contractului de finanare36; introducerea prefinanrii pentru beneficiarii ale cror proiecte intr sub incidena ajutorului de stat/de minimis, n cuantum de pn la 35% din valoarea grantului; introducerea posibilitii beneficiarilor de a gaja/ipoteca active finanate prin proiect n scopul facilitrii contractrii de credite exclusiv pentru asigurarea implementrii proiectelor. De asemenea, n vederea soluionrii problemelor de finanare ale beneficiarilor, au fost continuate discuiile cu instituiile financiar bancare n vederea identificrii i altor msuri de sprijin. n privina cofinanrii
35

http://www.fonduri-ue.ro/res/filepicker_users/cd25a597fd62/Documente_Suport/Rapoarte_Strategice/Raport_strategic_national_2009_RO.pd f- pagina 81, ultimul paragraf 36 Ordinul MFP nr. 2.359/2011.

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de la bugetul de stat, autoritile romne au declarat acest aspect drept prioritate la nivelul Ministerului Finanelor Publice, n plus, pentru a evita existena oricror deficiene n asigurarea cofinanrii publice, n luna martie a anului 2011 au existat discuii referitoare la creterea sumei care urma a fi mprumutat de Banca European pentru Investiii, de la valoarea de 400 mil. Euro la 800-1 miliard Euro, o parte din aceast sum fiind destinat asigurrii cofinanrii de la bugetul de stat pentru proiectele de investiii n infrastructura de transport, mediu i energie. Totodat, autoritile romne au depus eforturi nsemnate pentru simplificarea i accelerarea absorbiei instrumentelor structurale, ca element important al luptei anti-criz. n acelai timp, accelerarea utilizrii acestor fonduri constituie una dintre recomandrile centrale ale PERE37, pentru implementarea creia a fost prevzut i o serie de msuri concrete, mprite n trei categorii: (i) (ii) msuri care nu necesit modificarea regulamentelor comunitare; msuri care au necesitat modificarea regulamentelor comunitare i care au fost legiferate n cursul anului 2009; msuri care necesit modificarea regulamentelor comunitare i care urmeaz a fi legiferate.

(iii)

O analiz a categoriilor sus-menionate relev38 faptul ca la nivelul programelor operaionale implementate n Romnia au fost puse n

Planul European de Redresare Economic (PERE). A se vedea Raportul Strategic Naional pentru Implementarea Fondurilor Structurale i de Coeziune pregtit n ianuarie 2010 i disponibil pe pagina de internet http://www.fonduri-ue.ro/res/filepicker_users/cd25a597fd62/Documente_Suport/Rapoarte_Strategice/Raport_strategic_national_2009_RO.pd f
38

37

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aplicare urmtoarele msuri punctuale din PERE i din Comunicarea Comisiei Cohesion Policy: Investing n the real economy39: folosirea posibilitii de cretere pn la 100% a contribuiei comunitii la nivel de operaiune; introducerea posibilitii ca, n cazul operaiunilor finanate din FSE i FEDR, avnd activitile cheie implementate direct de ctre beneficiar/partener, costurile indirecte ale operaiunilor s fie declarate n mod forfetar; utilizarea FSE ca instrument de combatere a problemelor create de criz pe piaa muncii (fr a fi necesare modificri de program); utilizarea procedurii accelerate de achiziie public; continuarea utilizrii JASPERS40 ca sprijin pentru pregtirea proiectelor majore.

Cohesion Policy - Investing in the real economy reprezinta o important expresie a solidaritii europene i orienteaz sprijinul ctre cetenii europeni cei mai defavorizai. n perioada 20072013, politica de coeziune va investi 347 miliarde de euro pentru a stimula creterea i va contribui la coeziunea economic i social. 40 JASPERS este un parteneriat ntre Comisia European (Direcia General Politic Regional), Banca European de Investiii (BEI), Banca European pentru Reconstrucie i Dezvoltare (BERD) i Kreditanstalt fr Wiederaufbau (KfW). Parteneriatul reprezint un instrument de asisten tehnic pentru cele dousprezece (12) ri care au aderat la UE n 2004 i 2007. Prin acest instrument, statelor membre n cauz li se ofer sprijinul de care au nevoie pentru a pregti proiecte importante de nalt calitate, care urmeaz a fi cofinanate din fonduri ale UE. Consultana JASPERS poate s acopere: (i) pregtirea proiectului (de exemplu: analiza costurilor i a beneficiilor, analiza financiar, aspecte de mediu, planificarea achiziiilor), (ii) verificarea documentaiei (de exemplu: studii de fezabilitate, solicitri de granturi etc.), (iii) consultan privind respectarea legislaiei UE (de exemplu: de mediu, privind concurena etc.).

39

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Astfel, autoritile romne au preluat un numr limitat de msuri prevzute n PERE, motivele principale fiind urmtoarele: unele msuri nu sunt aplicabile sau nu sunt necesare n cazul Romniei (de exemplu: reprogramri la nivelul programelor operaionale); alte msuri sunt relativ dificil de ndeplinit n raport cu nevoile fundamentale de finanare ale Romniei i cu capacitatea/experiena beneficiarilor i a structurilor de gestionare a programelor; n vreme ce unele msuri implic asumarea unor riscuri la nivelul sistemelor de management i control, pe care autoritile romne nu au considerat oportun s le asume la acest moment. n vederea contracarrii impactului crizei economice asupra instrumentelor structurale, n conformitate cu obiectivul specific al PERE, autoritile romane au continuat identificarea msurilor interne de simplificare i clarificare a procedurilor de implementare a PO in contextul cadrului legislativ naional relevant. Totui, n ciuda celor menionate anterior, principalele obstacole ntmpinate au constatat n dificulti n pregtirea portofoliului de proiecte i lansarea cererilor de proiecte, ntrzieri n evaluarea proiectelor, dificulti n implementarea proiectelor de ctre beneficiari, dar i probleme de natur instituional. Pe cale de consecin, o mare parte dintre proiectele depuse au dificulti n accesarea fondurilor comunitare sau ntmpin probleme n implementare, care n cele mai multe cazuri sunt cauzate de greeli realizate chiar la momentul conceperii proiectelor.

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4.2.2.

Studiu de caz: exemplul Poloniei n atragerea de fonduri europene

Spre deosebire de Romnia care poate fi dat exemplu de ineficien n atragerea fondurilor europene, cazul Poloniei poate fi lesne considerat drept un exemplu de succes i eficien n acest sens. Dei succesul atragerii fondurilor e atribuit ntr-o mare msura Ministerului pentru Dezvoltare Regional, condus de Elzbieta Bienkowska, succesul unui asemenea demers nu putea fi realizat fr un sprijin constant al autoritilor locale. ntr-un interviu41, Ministrul pentru Dezvoltare Regional, vorbind despre intele stabilite de guvernul polonez n acest domeniu, preciza c (...) am decis s stabilim un obiectiv n ce privete atragerea fondurilor europene. n 2009, ne-am atins cu succes inta: atragerea i cheltuirea a patru miliarde de euro, era un proiect vzut de experi ca ambiios. Pentru 2010, am crescut miza i ne-am propus s obinem 6,7 miliarde, dar am reuit s ne apropiem de nou miliarde. Obiectivul pentru 2011 a fost de zece miliarde de euro i cel mai probabil c a fost depit. Succesul e seriozitatea i buna pregtire a celor care se ocup de acest domeniu. Sprijinul politic i al administraiilor locale e implicit, nici nu se mai pune n discuie, existena specialitilor nu mai e de mult o problem, neam pregtit pentru a beneficia de aceti bani dinainte de a intra n Uniunea European i se vede. n momentul n care am avut acces la bani, aveam deja o echip de oameni la Bruxelles i o alta n Polonia, care tia tot ce trebuia s tie. Pe de alt parte, n Romnia, atragerea fondurilor europene e mai curnd un insucces. Abia la cinci ani de la aderarea european a fost nfiinat un Minister al Afacerilor Europene. Mai mult, dac n cazul Poloniei, din cele dou mii de comune, doar 30 nu au avut proiecte n desfurare, n Romnia procentul este invers. Cele menionate anterior sunt rezultatul faptului c, n cazul Poloniei, Ministerul Dezvoltrii Regionale coordoneaz ntreaga procedur privind fondurile comunitare, toate PO trecnd prin acest minister, n plus

41

http://m.rfi.ro/articol/stiri/social/polonia-modelul-atragerii-fondurilor-europene

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reprezentanii unitilor administrative fiind evaluai n funcie de modul n care se strduiesc s obin fonduri europene. Totodat, n ceea ce privete responsabilizarea funcionarilor desemnai, avnd n vedere c n perioada 2004-2006, personalul de la Ministerul Dezvoltrii Regionale a fost schimbat la fiecare ase luni, guvernul polonez a decis s majoreze veniturile angajailor, pentru ca salariul s devin competitiv cu salariile existente pe pia, n acest fel, asigurnduse o continuitate a expertizei n sectorul public, i evitndu-se migraia specialitilor, care, dup cum s-a vzut n cazul Romniei, a condus la schimbarea cerinelor de form privind documentele necesare, dar i o incoeren n verificarea dosarelor.

4.3.

Pregtirea de ctre AM a portofoliului de proiecte

Una din principalele probleme ale Romniei a constituit-o pregtirea unui portofoliu de proiecte care s asigure o accesare rapid a fondurilor europene, imediat dup aprobarea i lansarea PO aferent. Totodat, capacitatea limitat a autoritilor publice n ceea ce privete identificarea i pregtirea proiectelor de investiii a reprezentat una dintre cauzele majore care au mpiedicat realizarea demersurilor menionate anterior. Totui, pentru a veni n sprijinul potenialilor beneficiari, au fost identificate diverse surse de finanare a asistenei tehnice necesare, i anume: programele de pre-aderare (ISPA42, PHARE43), mprumuturi
Programul ISPA (Instrumentul pentru Politici Structurale de Pre-Aderare) este unul dintre cele trei instrumente de finanare nerambursabile ale Comunitii Europene i a fost stabilit prin Regulamentul Consiliului Uniunii Europene nr. 1267/1999 n vederea acordrii asistenei pentru pregtirea aderrii la Uniunea European a rilor din Europa Central i de Est, asistena acordat pentru realizarea coeziunii economice i sociale ntre state, n domeniul politicilor privind infrastructura de transport i de mediu. 43 Programul PHARE (Poland Hungary Aid for Reconstruction of the Economy Polonia Ungaria Ajutor pentru Reconstrucia Economiei) este unul dintre cele trei instrumente de pre-aderare finanat de ctre Uniunea European pentru a asista
42

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externe i bugetul naional. Drept consecin, n anumite sectoare (de exemplu: infrastructura de ap i ap uzat) a fost generat un portofoliu substanial de proiecte, care uneori chiar au depit alocrile disponibile din instrumentele structurale44. n plus, Romnia a utilizat instrumentul JASPERS de asisten tehnic, pus la dispoziie de ctre Comisia European pentru a suplini lipsa de expertiz la nivelul beneficiarilor. n acest sens beneficiarii (de drept public) au avut la dispoziie asisten tehnic pentru pregtirea aplicaiilor pentru proiectele majore. Mai mult dect att, sprijinul JASPERS a fost utilizat i pentru asistena tehnic n elaborarea unui ghid metodologic de realizare a analizei cost-beneficiu a proiectelor de investiii finanate din instrumente structurale n anumite sectoare. n unele domenii (de exemplu: sectorul de ap i ap uzat), constituirea cu ntrziere a Asociaiilor de Dezvoltare Intercomunitar (ADI) a constituit o cauz major de ntrziere n procesul de pregtire i depunere a proiectelor. Totodat, dificultile n identificarea terenurilor pentru demararea unor obiective majore de investiii, reprezint n continuare o provocare important care trebuie depit n procesul de pregtire a proiectelor, n ciuda faptului c AM au informat din timp potenialii beneficiari cu privire la condiiile care trebuie ndeplinite.

rile candidate din Europa Central i de Est candidate la aderarea la Uniune.Creat iniial n 1989 pentru a asista Polonia i Ungaria, programul PHARE acoper zece ri: Republica Ceh, Estonia, Ungaria, Letonia, Lituania, Polonia, Slovacia i Slovenia, precum i Bulgaria i Romnia. 44 Studiu asupra POS Mediu elaborat de Guvernul Romniei, disponibil spre consultare pe pagina de internet www.fonduriue.ro/.../Raport_strategic_national_2009_RO.pdf

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4.4.

Probleme majore n procesul de atragere a fondurilor i lansarea cererilor de proiecte

Dup cum am precizat anterior, aprobarea rapid a PO nu a determinat o lansare imediat a finanrilor aprobate, n anumite situaii nregistrnduse ntrzieri care au depit cu mult termenul iniial preconizat. Astfel, printre problemele45 n direct legtur cu lansarea de proiecte trebuie amintite: A. Probleme anterioare lansrii cererilor de proiecte: calendar necunoscut al lansrilor de cereri de proiecte; Rezolvarea problemei a fost posibil prin publicarea de ctre ACIS a unui calendar orientativ aferent lansrilor de proiecte pentru perioada urmtoare. amnarea lansrii unor cereri de proiecte, fa de termenele anunate, ceea ce a condus adeseori la expirarea valabilitii documentelor pregtite de solicitani, expirarea avizelor, modificarea planurilor de afaceri n vederea adaptrii acestora cu cererea pieei. Ca o posibil soluie la aceast problem s-ar putea lua n considerare respectarea calendarului de lansri i formularea unor termene concrete. B. Probleme ulterioare lansrii cererilor de proiecte: decalarea termenelor limit de depunere a proiectelor, fapt care a determinat decalarea termenelor privind evaluarea acestora.
Ioana Morovan Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale , publicat n numrul 7/februarie 2010 al revistei Policy Memo, sub egida Centrului Romn de Politici Europene http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf
45

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Ca o posibil soluie la aceast problem ar fi recomandabil meninerea termenelor anunate. permanenta modificare a documentaiei necesare, i anume implementarea unor modificri numeroase (de exemplu: corrigenda) la Ghidurile Solicitantului. Ca o posibil soluie la aceast problem ar putea fi luat n considerare posibilitatea ca eventualele modificri s se aplice doar proiectelor care urmeaz a fi lansate dup data apariiei modificrii. celeritatea cu care AM au pregtit prima generaie de Ghiduri ale Solicitanilor. Intenia autoritilor a fost de a pregti ghidurile ca nite documente foarte detaliate i cuprinztoare. Detalierea prevederilor menionate n documentaie a presupus n mod evident o analiz aprofundat a prevederilor legislaiei naionale i comunitare relevante, fapt care a necesitat o perioad foarte mare de timp. Totodat, experiena limitat i gradul de ncrcare al personalului responsabil de pregtirea ghidurilor la nivelul structurilor competente a constituit o piedic la realizarea eficient a primei generaii de ghiduri, acestea dovedindu-se incomplete n cele mai multe cazuri. lipsa unor strategii naionale a condus la ntrzieri n implementarea interveniilor, i evident la aprobarea de proiecte. Principalele msuri pe care AM le-au luat n vederea impulsionrii procesului de definitivare a acestor strategii au constat fie n contractarea de asisten tehnic specific pentru elaborarea documentelor relevante, fie n intensificarea dialogului cu structurile responsabile de elaborarea acestor strategii.

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4.5.
4.5.1.

Pregtirea de ctre beneficiari a proiectelor i ncadrarea acestora Criteriile de eligibilitate

Criteriile de eligibilitate a solicitanilor, mai precis tratarea n mod superficial a acestora, constituie una din cauzele care au condus la respingerea nc din faza iniiala a unui numr semnificativ de proiecte. Astfel, criteriile prevzute n Ghidurile Solicitanilor, precum (i) forma de constituire, (ii) vechimea, (iii) profitabilitatea, (iv) activitatea pentru care se solicit finanare i (vi) lipsa datoriilor, trebuie respectare cu strictee, altfel proiectul este respins nc din faza incipient. O importan deosebit o are i ndeplinirea condiiilor de eligibilitate ale proiectului, ncepnd cu modalitatea de atingere a obiectivelor programului de finanare, condiiile referitoare la imobilele cuprinse n proiect sau la capacitatea operaional i financiar a potenialului beneficiar, precum i cele referitoare la durata de implementare a proiectului i respectarea condiiilor de punctaj minim, trebuie ndeplinite cu strictee pentru a asigura calificarea proiectului n grupa proiectelor considerate drept eligibile i pentru a obine finanarea necesar. Totodat, n momentul elaborrii proiectului nu trebuie ignorate nici condiiile administrative ale proiectului i ale solicitantului, precum i timpul, modalitatea, respectiv costurile pentru obinerea avizelor, certificatelor i aprobrilor necesare. Ca o concluzie asupra celor menionate anterior, apreciem c respectarea strict a criteriilor i condiiilor de eligibilitate, astfel cum sunt acestea menionate n cuprinsul ghidului de finanare, va duce n majoritatea cazurilor la evitarea respingerii proiectului n etapa de evaluare a conformitii i a eligibilitii.

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4.5.2.

Analiza superficial a grilei de evaluare

Majoritatea solicitanilor nu acord importan grilei de evaluare a programului de finanare anterior demarrii acestuia. O analiz preliminar a grilei de evaluare ar putea ajuta potenialii beneficiari s estimeze punctajul minim i maxim pe care proiectul lor l-ar putea obine. Astfel, este recomandabil efectuarea unei auto-evaluri pe parcursul elaborrii proiectului, cu ajutorul grilei de evaluare, pentru ca potenialul beneficiar s obin o imagine obiectiv asupra anselor de reuit a proiectului. Aceast auto-evaluare poate conduce la identificarea punctelor slabe ale proiectului i implementarea unor variante de mbuntire a acestuia. 4.5.3. Stabilirea unor obiective neadecvate

Majoritatea potenialilor beneficiari au fcut greeala demarrii unui proiect fr prestabilirea unor obiective adecvate, acest fapt avnd o influen semnificativ n structura, coninutul, activitile i punctajul acordat de ctre evaluatori. Astfel, pentru a preveni respingerea proiectului este recomandabil ca obiectivele proiectului s fie (i) specifice, adic proiectul s indice exact ceea ce se dorete a se obine, (ii) cuantificabile, (iii) realizabile n mod real prin implementarea proiectului i (v) s fie bine definite n timp. Respectarea de ctre beneficiar a acestor cerine ar putea influena n mod pozitiv aplicarea unor criterii de evaluare precum: relevana proiectului pentru obiectivele programului de finanare, calitatea i coerena acestuia. 4.5.4. Menionarea unor activiti incomplete, neclare i/sau necorelate cu obiectivele proiectului Planificarea activitilor care urmeaz a fi realizate pe parcursul proiectului a cauzat probleme majoritii solicitanilor. Astfel, n multe cazuri, potenialii beneficiari au omis a include sau a detalia n proiectul propus unele activiti eseniale i obligatorii precum organizarea licitaiilor, achiziiilor de bunuri/servicii etc. Totodat, n unele cazuri, 86

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chiar dac au fost menionate, descrierea neclar a acestora i necorelarea cu obiectivele proiectului au fost decisive n respingerea proiectului. Pe cale de consecin, pentru a evita asemenea probleme se recomand o planificare detaliat a activitilor, cu o prezentare clar i o estimare real a timpului de realizare, n strns corelare cu obiectivele proiectului spre aprobare. 4.5.5. Lipsa detaliilor de fundamentare i prezentare a proiectului

Studiile efectuate n domeniu au relevat faptul c o mare parte a solicitanilor nu acord atenie fundamentrii proiectului. Astfel, sunt tratate n mod superficial seciunile din cererea de finanare aferente planului de afaceri, memoriului justificativ sau studiului de fezabilitate. Dei aceasta nu este o greeal care ar putea atrage neeligibilitatea proiectului, ar putea influena n mod negativ grila de punctaj acordat anumitor elemente, precum i capacitatea evaluatorilor de a nelege proiectul, fapt care ar putea crea dificulti majore n procesul de implementare i n atingerea obiectivelor propuse46. n acest sens, se recomand beneficiarilor s acorde o atenie sporit cerinelor privitoare la realizarea documentaiilor, prin fundamentarea i prezentarea detaliat a informaiilor coninute n proiect.

4.6.

Evaluarea proiectelor

Perioada de timp n care se realizeaz evaluarea proiectelor constituie o problem major la nivelul tuturor PO. Astfel, n majoritatea cazurilor, de la depunerea unui proiect i pn la notificarea beneficiarului cu privire la rezultatul evalurii se nregistreaz, de regul, ntre 6 i 10 luni.

46

http://antreprenor.money.ro/topul_greselilor_in_accesarea_fondurilor_europene_ cum_le_poti_evita-84297.html

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Principalele cauze ale acestor ntrzieri n evaluarea proiectelor sunt: insuficiena personalului raportat la numrul de proiecte primite sau ntrzierile n contractarea unor evaluatori externi; lansarea simultan a mai multor operaiuni din cadrul aceleiai axe prioritare, fapt care a condus la ntrzierea momentului la care unele proiecte au fost evaluate; lipsa de experien a solicitanilor n ntocmirea de proiecte, n special n cazul societilor mici i mijlocii, acest fapt fiind corelat cu gradul de complexitate al documentaiei solicitate, ceea ce a determinat prelungirea procesului de evaluare i selecie. n plus fa de cele menionate anterior, remarcm i alte tipuri de probleme care au o influen negativ asupra procesului de absorbie, i anume nregistrarea unui numr mare de proiecte n ultimele zile dinaintea termenului limit de depunere, fapt care a condus la ntrzierea procesului de evaluare i selecie a proiectelor depuse sau respingerea unui numr relativ mare de proiecte47. O alt dificultate a fost generat de deprecierea substanial a valorii monedei naionale n raport cu Euro n ultima perioad. Aceast depreciere a afectat pe acei beneficiari care au depus proiecte care necesitau cheltuieli n valut i al cror buget a fost estimat de beneficiarii respectivi n lei, la cursul valutar n vigoare la acea dat. Cele menionate anterior, au condus la renunarea implementrii proiectului de ctre unii solicitani de finanare sau la dificulti ulterioare n realizarea integral a obiectivelor proiectului. Dei ntrzierile n evaluare au fost resimite nc de la debutul perioadei de accesare a fondurilor europene, reprezentanii statului au recunoscut cu greu existena unor ntrzieri n procesarea dosarelor. La aceste ntrzieri
Ioana Morovan Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale, publicat n numrul 7/februarie 2010 al revistei Policy Memo sub egida Centrului Romn de Politici Europene http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf.
47

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s-au adugat i numrul prea mare de proiecte, calitatea slab a acestora i lipsa personalului calificat care s se ocupe de evaluarea lor. Astfel, ntrzierea format odat cu lansarea destul de trzie a majoritii cererilor de proiecte a fost amplificat de ntrzierile n evaluare, care au generat o ntreag serie de ntrzieri ulterioare. Aadar, ntrzierea semnrii contractelor a determinat ntrzierea demarrii proiectelor, care la rndul ei a determinat ntrzierea depunerii cererilor de decontare a cheltuielilor i a plilor efective. n practic, au existat cazuri n care potenialii beneficiari au ateptat mai bine de jumtate de an rezultatul evalurilor, unele contracte fiind semnate chiar dup mai bine de un (1) an de la depunerea proiectelor48. O alt cauz care a avut o influen negativ asupra ntrzierilor n evaluare a fost (i este) numrul prea mic de persoane care se ocup de evaluare, n comparaie cu numrul prea mare de proiecte. Astfel, conform informaiilor disponibile public, ntrzierea este cauzat n cele mai multe cazuri de subdimensionarea aparatului evaluatorilor (de exemplu: n cadrul AM POSDRU activau la un moment doar trei (3) evaluatori pentru aproximativ 1.400 de proiecte). Deficiene similare au fost constate i n cadrul AM POR, cu toate c n 2008 la unul din OI fusese aprobat o suplimentare de personal cu 30 de posturi. Totui, n ciuda unui avnt remarcabil n acest domeniu, toate angajrile au fost oprite odat cu aplicarea politicii de reducere a cheltuielilor bugetare. n completarea celor menionate anterior, reforma aparatului bugetar a afectat i departamentele responsabile cu gestionarea fondurilor europene, acest fapt fiind confirmat indirect de ctre autoriti prin planurile de disponibilizri elaborate i puse n executare n acest sens.

Ioana Morovan Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale, publicat n numrul 7/februarie 2010 al revistei Policy Memo sub egida Centrului Romn de Politici Europene http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf.

48

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n prezent, acest blocaj a fost rezolvat n mod parial prin utilizarea mai multor evaluatori externi. Totui, o astfel de rezolvare este numai parial fiindc, oricum, cea mai mare parte din gestionarea proiectelor se realizeaz intern, de ctre angajai ai autoritilor de stat cu competene n domeniu. Soluii directe: avnd n vedere c prioritatea Guvernului o constituie majorarea gradului de absorbie al fondurilor europene, este recomandabil excluderea de pe lista restructurrilor a departamentelor responsabile cu fondurile europene. Ca i posibile soluii complementare recomandm ncheierea mai multor contracte de colaborare cu evaluatori externi, respectiv realizarea unei baze de date cu evaluatori independeni.

4.7.

Implementarea proiectelor de ctre beneficiari

Referindu-ne la gradul de implementare al proiectelor, putem observa c nivelul nc redus al plilor ctre beneficiari, precum i al rambursrilor efectuate de ctre Comisia European, relev existena unor probleme i dificulti majore la nivelul beneficiarilor, n ceea ce privete implementarea. Principalele cauze sunt determinate de: 1. desfurarea cu dificultate a procedurilor de achiziie public. Astfel, au fost nregistrate ntrzieri n procesul de atribuire a contractelor de achiziie public, din cauza unor factori precum: lipsa ghidurilor orientative i/sau de bune practici; ntrzierile n elaborarea documentaiilor de atribuire; experiena redus sau chiar lipsa de experien a beneficiarilor n promovarea i implementarea investiiilor;

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lipsa unor interpretri concrete ale diferitelor aspecte legislative n domeniul achiziiilor publice; lipsa unor modele de contracte de achiziie sectoriale n cteva domenii cheie; abundena contestaiilor n cazul procedurilor de achiziii publice; reluarea procedurii de achiziie ca urmare a modificrilor criteriilor sau a anulrii licitaiilor. n vederea remedierii unora dintre problemele semnalate de ctre beneficiari, n anul 2009 a fost modificat legislaia privind achiziiile publice n sensul diminurii perioadelor de licitare i al flexibilizrii procesului, prin posibilitatea de a utiliza o procedur accelerat de licitare. Cu toate acestea, persist nc dificulti serioase n realizarea procedurilor de achiziii publice. Totui, n ciuda modificrilor legislative intervenite, neregulile din cadrul procedurii de achiziii publice au fost printre motivele care au cauzat probleme n implementarea proiectelor. Astfel, referindu-se la problemele generate de procedura de achiziii publice n cazul proiectelor finanate prin POS CEE, Compendiul de cazuri de neregul/fraud la nivelul Programului Operaional Sectorial Creterea Competitivitii Economice realizat de DLAF49i dat publicitii50 n cursul lunii noiembrie 2012, a reliefat motive ce in de nerespectarea procedurilor privind achiziiile publice, drept principalele cauze n utilizarea fondurilor europene i implicit implementarea proiectelor pentru care au fost obinute respectivele fonduri.
49 50

Departamentul de Lupt Antifraud. http://www.capital.ro/fileadmin/fancybox/Compendiu_POS_CCE_noiembrie_2012 _11141555.pdf

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2.

asigurarea cu dificultate a resurselor financiare necesare demarrii proiectelor sau a contribuiei proprii la finanarea proiectelor, n special ca urmare a efectelor crizei economice. lipsa experienei i capacitii beneficiarilor din administraia central i local de a pregti i implementa corespunztor proiecte, deficienele principale fiind datorare n mare parte inexistenei personalului specializat suficient; lipsa unor planuri concrete de aciune; respectiv competene sczute n domenii eseniale (de exemplu: managementul de proiecte sau domeniul achiziiilor publice);

3.

4. 5.

Pentru a veni n ntmpinarea acestor probleme, ACIS, ct i AM-urile au ntreprins numeroase iniiative care au vizat, n principal, efectuarea unor cursuri de instruire specifice pentru beneficiarii contractelor de finanare. De asemenea, referindu-ne la cazul POS DRU, AM au finalizat elaborarea unui manual al beneficiarului pentru implementarea proiectelor, precum i un ghid privind parteneriatul ntre diverse entiti de drept public i privat. Un alt aspect relevant n contextul problemelor aprute pe parcursul implementrii proiectelor, l constituie nerespectarea51 de ctre beneficiari

51

A se vedea Sentina nr. 22/F/CA/2008 a Curii de Apel Alba Iulia-Secia contencios administrativ i fiscal, n care instana a reinut faptul c reclamanta (o asociaie familial) a consimit prin semnarea contractului de finanare la cele cuprinse n acesta. Pe cale de consecin instana a decis c reclamanta trebuia s respecte ntrutotul memoriul justificativ ataat cererii de finanare prin care beneficiarul contractului (reclamanta) se oblig s achiziioneze un mijloc de transport 8 + 1 (nu 7 + 1 asa cum a fost achiziionat de ctre reclamant), obligndu-se totodat s asigure executarea proiectului n conformitate cu descrierea acestuia i s pun n aplicare proiectul, obligaie asumat n mod ferm i irevocabil, asumndu-i riscul ca sprijinul acordat s fie recuperat dac obiectivele finanate nu sunt folosite conform scopului destinat, potrivit celor cuprinse in contractul de finanare.

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a cererilor de finanare i chiar a documentaiei depuse (cum ar fi studiile de fezabilitate sau proiectele tehnice depuse chiar de ctre acetia mpreun cu cererea de finanare), aspect care a generat corecii impuse de autoritile competente i, subsecvent, chiar aciuni n instan52.

4.8.

Bariere legislative cu impact asupra ritmului de absorbie

Barierele legislative au intervenit n toate etapele procesului de absorbie al fondurilor europene. Astfel, cele mai importante deficiene legislative deriv din legislaia privind bugetul naional, care conine o serie de prevederi de natur s afecteze implementarea eficient i rapid a proiectelor. Conform unui raport emis de Guvernul Romniei53, o parte dintre deficiene au fost soluionate prin aprobarea Ordonanei de Urgen nr. 64/2009 privind gestionarea financiar a instrumentelor structurale i utilizarea acestora pentru obiectivul convergen. Prin acest act normativ, s-a urmrit o fluidizare a fluxurilor financiar-bugetare n cadrul programelor operaionale finanate din instrumente structurale i, implicit, creterea gradului de absorbie. Totui, nc exist reglementri privind managementul fondurilor publice care ngreuneaz implementarea proiectelor. Astfel, dintre aceste reglementri fac parte i prevederile legii finanelor publice i a legii finanelor publice locale. Pe lng problemele legislative enumerate anterior, AM i beneficiarii au ntmpinat o serie de dificulti legate i de legislaiile specifice, cum ar fi:
A se vedea Sentina civil nr. 374 din 2008 a Curii de Apel Craiova, Secia contencios administrativ i fiscal; 53 Raportul strategic national privind implementarea fondurilor structurale si de coeziune, disponibil la adresa de internet: http://www.fonduriue.ro/res/filepicker_users/cd25a597fd 62 /Documente_Suport/Rapoarte_Strategice/Raport_strategic_national_2009_RO.pdf
52

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lipsa normelor de aplicare a Legii administraiei publice locale nr. 215/2001; lipsa normelor de aplicare a Legii nr. 220/2008 pentru stabilirea sistemului de promovare a producerii energiei din surse regenerabile de energie; legislaia naional din sectorul deeurilor; legislaia privind serviciile de utilitate public i serviciile de alimentare cu ap i canalizare; vidul legislativ alturi de inactivitatea organelor de control au condus la generalizarea fenomenului de licitaii cu dedicaie; ordinele ANRMAP n baza crora autoritatea a intervenit n modul de soluionare a licitaiilor contestate. Totui, n ciuda celor menionate anterior, nu putem s nu observm c majoritatea aspectelor legislative sectoriale sesizate ca fiind problematice de ctre AM au fost modificate sau se afl n curs de modificare n vederea soluionrii deficienelor constatate pe parcursul implementrii. 4.8.1. Probleme la nivelul Autoritii Naionale pentru Reglementarea i Monitorizarea Achiziiilor Publice (ANRMAP)

Pn la momentul actual, frauda sau conflictul de interese n achiziiile publice, avnd component de finanare din fonduri europene, s-a materializat n pre-suspendarea/suspendarea a patru programe operaionale: Transport, Mediu, POSDRU i Programul Operaional Regional, Comisia European ne mai primind cereri de rambursare pentru proiectele din Romnia. n ncercarea de a prentmpina blocajele de acest fel i de a stopa achiziiile cu dedicaie, ANRMAP a decis verificarea documentaiilor de atribuire nainte ca licitaia s aib loc, analiza ANRMAP urmnd a se

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concentra asupra criteriilor de selecie i calificare stipulate n aceste documentaii, respectiv asupra acelor aspecte din documentaiile de atribuire care creeaz bnuiala c astfel de licitaii sunt direcionate ctre anumii operatori economici. Cu titlu de exemplu, printre neconformitile care au generat o atare msur se numr introducerea n fia de date a achiziiei i/sau caietul de sarcini a unor criterii restrictive (aceste documente nefiind verificate pn la acest moment de ANRMAP, ci numai anunul publicat n SEAP), precum i divizarea contractelor n loturi, astfel nct valorile rezultate s permit efectuarea de achiziii directe i nu de licitaii. Cadrul legal pe care se bazeaz procedura sus amintit este reprezentat de prevederile H.G. nr. 801/2011, pentru modificarea i completarea HG nr. 525/2007 privind organizarea i funcionarea ANRMAP (HG 801/2011). Astfel, potrivit prevederilor HG 801/2011, anterior transmiterii spre publicare a invitaiei/anunului de participare ctre SEAP54, ANRMAP este obligat s evalueze conformitatea cu legislaia aplicabil din domeniul achiziiilor publice a documentaiei de atribuire aferente contractelor de achiziie public care intr sub incidena prevederilor Ordonanei de Urgen a Guvernului nr. 34/2006 privind atribuirea contractelor de achiziie public, a contractelor de concesiune de lucrri publice i a contractelor de concesiune de servicii (OUG 34/2006), aceast evaluare neviznd aspectele tehnice ale caietului de sarcini. n termen de maximum 14 zile de la data primirii documentaiei, ANRMAP are obligaia de a emite acceptul n vederea iniierii procedurii de atribuire, dac prevederile din documentaia de atribuire sunt conforme cu prevederile legale privind achiziiile publice sau de a invalida publicarea n cazul constatrii neconformitii cu prevederile legale, precum i de a informa autoritatea contractant asupra neconformitilor constatate la nivelul documentaiei de atribuire i a motivului pentru care
54

Sistemul Electronic de Achiziii Publice

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acestea nu sunt n concordan cu prevederile legale privind achiziiile publice. Pentru motivarea neconcordanelor prevederilor documentaiei de atribuire cu prevederile legale privind achiziiile publice, preedintele ANRMAP a emis Ordinul nr. 509 din 2011, privind formularea criteriilor de calificare i selecie (Ordinul 509/2011), prin care se exemplific situaiile de restricionare a concurenei i de nclcare a principiului proporionalitii prin cerinele de calificare i selecie. n baza acestui ordin au fost instituie noi prezumii legale privind restricionarea concurenei i nclcarea principiilor prevzute la art. 2 alin. 2 din OUG 34/2006. Prezumiile legale menionate anterior sunt completate de cele privind nclcarea principiului proporionalitii, prevzute la art. 9 din Hotrrea de Guvern nr. 925/2006, pentru aprobarea normelor de aplicare a prevederilor referitoare la atribuirea contractelor de achiziie public din OUG 34/2006. Astfel, date fiind noile prezumii legale, este suficient s se arate c prevederile documentaiei de atribuire se ncadreaz n exemplele prezentate n Ordinul nr. 509/2011, pentru ca respectivele prevederi s fie considerate restrictive, fr a mai trebui s se probeze de ce i n ce mod se restricioneaz concurena. Referindu-ne la modul n care sunt respectate prevederile legale n domeniul achiziiilor publice, este de menionat55 c n primele dou sptmni de la aplicarea prevederilor HG nr. 801/2011 doar 49 de documentaii de atribuire din 1.550 au fost acceptate de ANRMAP pentru publicarea acestora n SEAP. n baza celor menionate anterior, se poate trage un semnal de alarm asupra consecinelor grave n cazul unor controale viznd legalitatea
55

http://principiiachizitii.blogspot.ro/2011/11/consecintele-juridice-ale-ordinului.html

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procedurilor de achiziie public demarate anterior intrrii n vigoare a HG nr. 801/2011, avnd n vedere sanciunile prevzute de OUG 34/2006 precum i coreciile financiare aplicate de organismele de control ale Uniunii Europene n cazul derulrii unor proiecte cu finanare european.

4.9.
4.9.1.

Probleme instituionale Probleme instituionale generale

n ciuda deficienelor sistemului instituional romnesc nc de la momentul aderrii la Uniunea European, evalurile de sistem realizate de ctre AA i Comisia European prin intermediul misiunilor efectuate n perioada 2008-2009 s-au finalizat prin acreditarea sistemelor de management i control pentru toate cele apte PO. Cu toate acestea, dificultile instituionale, n special cele legate de complexitatea i birocraia procedurilor i de stabilitatea personalului, continu s existe. Astfel, una dintre problemele majore menionat anterior n cuprinsul prezentului Studiu, o reprezint resursele umane insuficiente i slab motivate financiar de la nivelul autoritilor competente. Volumul mare de munc i gradul ridicat de responsabilitate al activitilor desfurate de personalul intern a condus n cele mai multe cazuri la o fluctuaie a personalului instruit n gestionarea acestor fonduri. Aceste fluctuaii fiind cu att mai puin dorite cu ct, n procesul de constituire a structurilor de gestionare a fondurilor s-a acordat o mare atenie procesului de recrutare i specializrii personalului n domeniul gestionrii instrumentelor structurale. Dintre efectele deja vizibile ale acestei situaii pot fi menionate: ntrzieri n elaborarea ghidurilor pentru solicitani i n contractarea de asisten tehnic; ntrzieri n finalizarea pregtirii proiectelor majore i n aprobarea acestora de ctre Comisia European; 97

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ntrzieri n implementarea proiectelor, cu impact direct asupra gradului de absorbie i eventual a nendeplinirii unor angajamente asumate prin tratatul de aderare al Romniei la Uniunea European (de exemplu: POS Mediu). n plus, dificultile instituionale s-au nrutit odat cu blocarea ocuprii posturilor vacante ca urmare a msurilor de austeritate impuse pe fondul crizei economice i financiare care a lovit toate statele din Uniunea European, printre care i Romnia. Totui, observm faptul c, odat identificate, problemele ntmpinate n implementare sunt tratate de ctre autoritile competente, n vederea gsirii unor soluii rezonabile56. O alt problem major o reprezint birocraia de la momentul solicitrii i procesrii documentaiei. Astfel, dei autoritile locale doresc nlturarea ct mai rapid a neajunsurilor, acestea nu au reuit s elimine i/sau nlture problema birocraiei de la momentul solicitrii i procesrii documentaiei. Printre cazurile cele mai rsuntoare n domeniu amintim: solicitarea aplicrii unei tampile de form oval; aplicarea n mod obligatoriu a trei tampile pe un document; inserarea unui tabel poziionat numai pe lungimea paginii i nu pe limea acesteia; refuzarea unui document care conine o semntur aplicat cu past de culoare neagr etc. Pe lng acestea, sunt n continuare solicitate la depunerea proiectelor, documente administrative i financiare suplimentare celor prevzute n Ghidul Solicitantului, care, ulterior depunerii acestora sunt eliminate de la evaluare de ctre persoanele care le-au solicitat n prealabil. Remarcm, totodat, c birocraia excesiv pare s nu fi disprut, chiar dac n

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prezent sunt solicitate mai puine documente la depunerea proiectelor, restul fiind necesare numai la semnarea contractelor. n plus, n ceea ce privete imixtiunea politicii n procesul de absorbie al fondurilor europene, nu putem s nu remarcam c, n mod repetat, Comisia European a constatat prin auditurile sale nereguli i suspiciuni de acte de corupie generalizat. Cu privire la acestea, trebuie menionat faptul c, o perioad lung de timp, Romnia nu a dat curs propunerilor venite din partea Comisiei Europene privind desemnarea unui nalt funcionar public/ministru cu competene n absorbia fondurilor europene i cu sprijin politic. n plus, Guvernele succesive ale Romniei de pn n toamna anului 2011 au ntrziat nepermis aciunile cheie i planul de aciune pentru sectoarele considerate de ctre Comisia European ca avnd slbiciuni majore. Coordonarea la nivel politic interministerial a lipsit i, mai mult dect att, autoritile romne nu au rspuns repetatelor oferte de asisten tehnic din partea Comisiei Europene. ntrzierile i ezitrile n modificarea legislaiei privind achiziiile publice asociate cu imixtiunea politicului i cu acordarea contractelor pe criterii clientelare au sporit considerabil nencrederea Comisiei Europene n seriozitatea angajamentului Romniei privind reducerea fraudelor n cazul utilizrii fondurilor structurale. Ca urmare, Comisia European a dispus suspendarea plilor pe Programul Operaional Sectorial Infrastructur din cadrul FEDR i a generat decizia de blocare a plilor pe POS-DRU n anul 2012. Aceste msuri au avut un impact negativ asupra capacitii de absorbie, oricum foarte sczut. Gravitatea acestei situaii este confirmat de un document relevant din presa romneasc57, care concluzioneaz c OLAF a exprimat o ngrijorare serioas asupra faptului c autoritile administrative i
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judiciare relevante din Romnia (Direcia Naional Anticorupie, agenia de pli, autoritatea de management, ministerele de resort) se pare c lucreaz ntr-o manier coordonat pentru a contracara investigaiile OLAF. Aceste suspiciuni sunt bazate pe argumentaii similare prezentate ca rspuns la cererile OLAF i pe indiciile c anumite documente sunt distribuite ntre aceste autoriti. 4.9.2. Probleme aferente proiectelor de infrastructur

Conform unui studiu58 privind analiza capacitii de absorbie a fondurilor europene n Romnia, Programele de infrastructur de transport i de mediu dein aproximativ 60% din totalul fondurilor europene alocate Romniei. POS Mediu a demarat rapid pentru c exista deja un portofoliu consistent de proiecte, pregtite n avans prin programul ISPA. Practic, Ministerul Mediului a fost constant timp de aproape patru (4) ani n pregtirea, depunerea, contractarea i demararea proiectelor majore de mediu. Totui, n ciuda numrului mare de proiecte, problema consta n timpul mare necesar elaborrii tuturor studiilor de fezabilitate i obinerea avizelor necesare. Problemelor menionate anterior li se adaug i cele referitoare la procedura de achiziie public pentru semnarea contractului de execuie lucrri cu antreprenorul desemnat n acest sens. Astfel, remarcm c, ntruct beneficiarii au ales s foloseasc n mod abuziv remediile i prghiile puse la dispoziie de legislaia achiziiilor publice59 licitaia pentru ncredinarea respectivelor lucrri poate dura pn la un (1) an,
Gheorghe Oprescu, Daniela Luminia Constantin, Florin Ilie i Dragos Pslaru Studiu privind analiza capacitii de absorbie a fondurilor comunitare n Romnia publicat sub egida Institutului European din Romnia http://www.ier.ro/documente/studiideimpactPaisIII_ro/Pais3_studiu_1_ro.pdf. 59 OUG nr. 34/2006 privind atribuirea contractelor de achiziie public, a contractelor de concesiune de lucrri publice i a contractelor de concesiune de servicii.
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din cauza contestaiilor depuse de participanii la licitaie care, dintr-un motiv sau altul, se consider nedreptii prin faptul c nu au fost desemnai ctigtori ai acesteia sau din cauza prelungirii nejustificate a semnrii contractului de ctre autoritatea contractant. V. CONCLUZII I OBSERVAII. RECOMANDRI PRIVIND MODALITILE DE REMEDIERE ALE PROBLEMELOR EXPUSE

n ciuda faptului c, n cursul anilor 2011-2012, Guvernul a adoptat o serie de msuri care ar fi trebuit s aib un impact semnificativ asupra atragerii de fonduri europene, efectele se las ateptate, iar fondurile europene sunt relativ greu de accesat i implementat. Evident c, n aceste condiii, Romnia este supus unor riscuri majore precum: cel al neutilizrii la nivel naional al unei pri importante a fondurilor europene, avnd drept consecin ntoarcerea acestora la bugetul Uniunii Europene i riscnd n acest fel ca Romnia s devin pe termen mediu contribuitor la acest buget, fr a avea, totodat, i calitatea de beneficiar al fondurilor rezultate (n alte cuvinte, s contribuie cu mai multe fonduri la bugetul Uniunii Europene dect primete sau utilizeaz de la aceasta), i chiar utilizate, n lipsa unor strategii clare, impactul fondurilor asupra dezvoltrii rii i reducerea decalajelor regionale vor fi mai mici dect cele dorite. Avnd n vedere consideraiile enunate anterior, deficienele majore n materia accesrii fondurilor europene pot fi sintetizate dup cum urmeaz:

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5.1.

Stabilirea strategiilor naionale

Autoritile competente nu au prevzut i prentmpinat nevoia dezvoltrii unor strategii care s permit crearea de mecanisme de atragere a fondurilor europene. n acest sens, astfel cum a fost remarcat i de autoarea unui studiu privind utilizarea fondurilor europene60, n anul 2007 nu a fost lansat nicio licitaie public de proiecte avnd finanare din fonduri structurale. Este adevrat faptul c, n primele ase (6) luni de la data aderrii Romniei la Uniunea European, atragerea de fonduri europene nu era posibil pentru c planurile naionale trebuiau supuse analizei i aprobrii Comisiei Europene. Totui, ar fi fost de preferat ca acele planuri s fie finalizate sau cel puin s fie ntr-un stadiu avansat de finalizare nc de la sfritul anului 2006, pentru c autoritile statului, supuse unui atac mediatic puternic n ceea ce privete incapacitatea de absorbie a fondurilor europene, s nu realizeze n grab o serie de planuri naionale, fr o cunoatere clar i profund a reglementrilor europene n domeniu. 5.2. Funcionarea AM

Similar strategiilor naionale de dezvoltare, nfiinarea AM-urilor a fost realizata cu ntrziere. Totui, chiar nfiinate, aciunea acestora a fost limitat de problemele cauzate de personalul subdimensionat i subcalificat. O alt problem a AM-urilor este faptul c, aproape n totalitate, conducerea acestor autoriti a fost desemnat pe criterii politice. Astfel, avnd n vedere c un criteriu de baz a fost unul politic este evident c modificarea ghidurilor, respectiv a direciilor de investiie a fost trecut n plan secundar.
Ioana Morovan Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale, publicat n numrul 7/februarie 2010 al revistei Policy Memo sub egida Centrului Romn de Politici Europene http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf.
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Mai mult, imixtiunea politicului n cadrul autoritilor competente a sporit sentimentul de insecuritate n rndul personalului. De aceea, avnd n vedere c resursele umane de care dispun autoritile locale constituie unul dintre elementele cheie pentru capacitatea acestora de a elabora i pregti proiecte, considerm c este important att nivelul general de calificare a personalului din administraia local, ct mai ales gradul de specializare a personalului din domeniul accesrii fondurilor europene. 5.3. Modificarea continu a termenilor i condiiilor

Conform informaiilor publice, majoritatea solicitanilor de fonduri europene au considerat schimbarea criteriilor de eligibilitate drept un obstacol major n calea accesrii finanrilor. Astfel, este un fapt cunoscut c majoritatea Ghidurilor Solicitantului au suferit modificri frecvente, inducnd confuzie att n rndul aplicanilor, ct i n cel al consultanilor. Aceste modificri s-au datorat mai ales faptului c AM-urile nu au fost pregtite, n mod real, pentru derularea sesiunilor de proiecte (din punct de vedere al procedurilor de selecie sau achiziii spre exemplu), ca atare s-a simit nevoia efecturii unor ajustri ale Ghidurilor Solicitanilor chiar n timpul n care apelurile respective erau deschise, ceea ce, n mod firesc, a afectat cel puin o parte dintre proiectele aflate n proces de depunere sau chiar de evaluare. 5.4. Modificrile aduse grilei punctajului de selecie i schimbarea calendarului lansrilor de proiecte

Modul de punctare a proiectelor a suferit modificri continue. Iniial, proiectele erau elaborate pentru a atinge un anumit punctaj de selecie, dup care, n apropierea lansrii sesiunii, punctajele grilei erau modificate. Acest fapt a condus la confuzii i incertitudini n cadrul solicitanilor, acetia ajungnd chiar s renune la a mai aplica pentru obinerea fondurilor necesare. n ceea ce privete lansrile de proiecte, n practic, au existat cazuri n care existau informaii c o anumit sesiune se va lansa ntr-o anumit

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lun a anului, pentru ca n realitate, aceasta s fie lansat la un interval ulterior, care frecvent depea o marj de timp de trei (3) luni. Aceste decalaje au necesitat refacerea documentaiilor i obinerea unor noi aprobri pentru proiectele care urmau a fi depuse. n acest context, calendarul lansrilor de licitaii apare ca un document esenial pentru beneficiar, fiind necesar ca termenele prevzute n acesta s fie concrete i respectate ntrutotul de ctre AM. De asemenea, n cazul cererilor de proiecte cu depunere continu este necesar publicarea periodic (lunar, spre exemplu) de informaii despre numrul de proiecte aprobate i bugetul rmas disponibil. n acest caz, ar fi recomandabil renunarea la modificri n Ghidurile Solicitanilor (Corrigenda) care trebuie aplicate pentru solicitrile de proiecte aflate n derulare sau proiectelor deja depuse. 5.5. Realizarea proiectelor sub presiunea timpului

n practic, majoritatea proiectelor au fost realizate sub presiunea timpului, determinat n mare parte de motivele expuse anterior (de exemplu: funcionarea deficitar a AM, modificarea permanent a termenilor i condiiilor etc.). Acest fapt a condus la o presiune suplimentar pe umerii solicitanilor ceea ce, n cele mai multe cazuri, a determinat o lips de calitate n elaborarea proiectelor. Aceasta poate fi, ntr-o anumit msur, explicaia faptului pentru care exist mai multe proiecte respinse dect aprobate. 5.6. Transparena procedurilor

Opinia majoritar n brana consultanilor n materia fondurilor europene, astfel cum aceasta rezult din practic, este c o transparen mbuntit a procedurilor ar putea conduce la eficientizarea procesului de absorbie a fondurilor.

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n acest sens, se recomand organizarea unor ntlniri cu beneficiarii i potenialii beneficiari pentru a sublinia i explica, dac este cazul, aspecte concrete legate de derularea proiectelor. Mai mult, pentru a promova transparena, corectitudinea evalurii i pentru a preveni apariia unor conflicte de interese, este necesar separarea clar a consultanilor care vor fi cooptai ca persoane fizice sau juridice s evalueze proiectele depuse la AM, pe de o parte, de cele care ofer consultan/asisten tehnic pentru proiectele depuse sau care urmeaz s fie depuse, pe de alt parte. n continuarea celor menionate anterior, organizaiile societii civile cu expertiz n domeniu ar trebui s ia parte la monitorizarea i evaluarea proiectelor. Astfel, este recomandabil ca reprezentanii partenerilor sociali i ai organizaiilor societii civile care au fost activi n perioada de pregtire a accesrii fondurilor europene s se regseasc ntr-o mai mare msur n cadrul comitetelor de monitorizare i evaluare la nivel naional i regional. n acest mod s-ar pstra un echilibru i s-ar putea realiza un control mai strict asupra evalurii i promovrii celor mai bune proiecte i iniiative cofinanate prin fonduri europene. Crearea unui sistem informaional care s permit aplicanilor verificarea stadiului i concluziilor evalurii, respectiv crearea unui spaiu virtual corespunztor verificrii n orice moment a stadiului evalurii proiectelor depuse, ar permite solicitanilor s aib acces inclusiv la punctajele obinute i la punctele slabe ale documentaiei. Aceasta va ajuta nu doar la o promovare mai transparent a procesului de evaluare a cererilor de finanare/proiectelor depuse, dar i la asimilarea bunelor practici rezultate din corecia imperfeciunilor care au condus la respingerea respectivelor cereri de finanare i reiterarea lor. Este recomandabil, de asemenea, elaborarea unui protocol tehnic clar pentru raportrile intermediare n vederea promovrii unui sistem de comunicare interinstituional ct mai riguros i operativ ntre actorii care implementeaz proiecte i OI/ACP/AM, prin intermediul cruia s se

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stabileasc o procedur tehnic clar pentru realizarea raportrilor periodice, pornind de la bunele practici n domeniu. 5.7. Informarea asupra oportunitilor de finanare

Informaia reprezint n mod evident o resurs extrem de important pentru potenialii aplicani n ceea ce privete elaborarea i depunerea de proiecte pentru finanri europene. Avnd n vedere c, n cazul Romniei, accesul la informaia de specialitate este destul de limitat, se recomand crearea unui portal oficial, dedicat fiecrui PO n parte (avnd o interfa identic) pentru o mai bun accesare a informaiilor relevante de ctre potenialii beneficiari. Dei n prezent exist o multitudine de pagini de internet n materie, informaiile pe care acestea le ofer (dei complete i pertinente) sunt lipsite de organizare i coeren pentru un potenial beneficiar, novice n accesarea fondurilor europene. Astfel, dei cutarea activ de informaii prin solicitri adresate instituiilor abilitate este larg rspndit n rndul solicitanilor, majoritatea acestora s-au limitat la a solicita informaii de baz, care n mod evident nu compuneau ntreg panoul dezvoltrii unui proiect de finanare. n consecin, mbuntirea comunicrii trebuie fcut prin comunicarea pro-activ a modificrilor i noutilor pe care le lanseaz autoritile prin comunicate de pres, concomitent cu afiarea acestora pe paginile de internet specializate, altfel nct beneficiarii s afle n timp util ultimele nouti. Cu toate c modul cel mai uzual de accesare a informaiilor rmne internetul, care constituie principala surs de informaii utile legate de oportunitile de finanare european, acest mijloc de informare este aparent limitat n zonele rurale unde lipsa mijloacelor moderne de comunicare i/sau lipsa abilitilor de utilizare a calculatorului constituie impedimente majore n accesul la informaie. Astfel, organizarea de ctre autoritile locale (n colaborare cu personalul calificat sau consultani

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specializai) a unor ntlniri periodice cu potenialii beneficiari ar putea avea drept rezultat o cretere a gradului de informare asupra condiiilor i cerinelor impuse pentru obinerea finanrii concomitent cu dezvoltarea capacitii, cunotinelor i a interesului potenialilor beneficiari n accesarea de fonduri europene. 5.8. Contractarea mai multor evaluatori externi. Motivarea funcionarilor

n practic, se remarc dorina beneficiarilor ca numrul i experiena personalului autoritilor implicate n procedura de accesare a fondurilor europene s se mbunteasc. Astfel, ar fi recomandabil ntocmirea unei baze de date cu societile de consultan/consultanii persoane fizice, respectiv a unei baze de date cu experi independeni, care s fie actualizat permanent i pus la dispoziia potenialilor beneficiari pentru informare i utilizare. 5.9. Introducerea managementului strin n posturile cheie (exemplul Bulgariei)

Introducerea managementului strin n posturi cheie din cazul AM ar putea fi considerat drept soluie viabil61 pentru majorarea ratei de absorbie a fondurilor europene n Romnia. n cazul Bulgariei, o ar vecin avnd probleme similare cu cele ale Romniei n privina procedurilor i ineficienei n atragerea de fonduri europene, guvernul, n urma repetatelor penaliti impuse de Comisia European i a scrisorilor oficiale prin care Bulgariei i era notificat faptul c urma s piard importante sume alocate, a decis n anul 2009 nfiinarea unui Minister dedicat fondurilor europene (Ministerul Fondurilor Europene). Ulterior, n cursul anului 2010, a fost ncheiat un acord de cooperare cu Banca Mondial pentru asisten n domeniul
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fondurilor europene, n baza cruia guvernul bulgar va utiliza expertiza reprezentanilor Bncii Mondiale pentru a atrage i a manageria fondurile europene. Chiar dac n decembrie 2010, Preedintele Comisiei Europene, Jose Manuel Barroso, a transmis premierului bulgar o scrisoare n care critica dur rezultatele slabe ale Bulgariei n absorbia fondurilor europene (Bulgaria avea o rat de absorbie de 6% din totalul fondurilor europene alocate pe perioada 2007-2013), acesta a menionat, totui, c nfiinarea Ministerului Fondurilor Europene a reprezentat un pas pozitiv pentru Bulgaria n procesul de absorbie a fondurilor europene. Ulterior, n ianuarie 2011, ca urmare a demersurilor concrete luate de autoritile bulgare n acest sens, adic la mai puin de un an, guvernul bulgar a prezentat rezultatele nfiinrii Ministerului Fondurilor Europene. Astfel, ministrul bulgar responsabil pentru Ministerul Fondurilor Europene a declarat oficial c rata de absorbie a fondurilor europene este de 10%, dup ce la nceputul lui 2010 aceasta se situa la un nivel de 1%, guvernul bulgar anunnd, totodat, c inta pentru anul 2011 este o rat de absorbie de 20%. 5.10. Garantarea cofinanrilor i mai buna utilizare a programului JEREMIE

Identificarea unui sistem de garantare a cofinanrii pentru firmele private, iar dac este nevoie, elaborarea unei scheme de ajutor de stat, ar trebui luat n considerare de ctre toi actorii procesului de finanare, n vederea mbuntirii ratei slabe de accesare a fondurilor europene de ctre Romnia. Astfel, utilizarea facilitilor oferite de programul JEREMIE prin cointeresarea bncilor din Romnia, care n ultimul timp au introdus n ofertele de finanare, programe de credite specializate pentru garantarea cofinanrilor, poate fi o alt modalitate pentru sporirea gradului de accesare a fondurilor europene.

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n lumina celor menionate anterior, modificarea condiiilor prin care IMM-urile pot accesa finanare i accelerarea procedurilor cuprinse n cadrul programului JEREMIE, poate ajuta, n mod real, beneficiarii (societile), prin susinerea accesului acestora la credite. Astfel, programul JEREMIE reprezint un set de aciuni avnd ca obiectiv creterea accesului la finanare al IMM-urilor, programul fiind organizat n Romnia prin intermediul Fondului European de Investiii, care administreaz fonduri puse la dispoziie de FEDR. Creditul de investiii acordat unui potenial beneficiar prin programul JEREMIE are ca scop finanarea investiiilor derulate n domeniile eligibile. n acest sens, bncile participante la program acord un credit destinat acoperirii cheltuielilor curente rezultate ca urmare a realizrii investiiei, prin creditul capital de lucru JEREMIE. Totui, pentru a putea obine finanri garantate prin programul JEREMIE, societile beneficiare trebuie s ndeplineasc n mod cumulativ urmtoarele condiii: s aib un numr de sub 250 angajai; s aib o cifr de afaceri anual de pn la 50 milioane Euro (echivalent n lei); s activeze n domeniul comerului, produciei i serviciilor; s fie nregistrate n Romnia; s fie la zi cu plata taxelor i impozitelor la momentul acordrii finanrii; s nu fie sub incidena niciunui ordin de recuperare emis de Comisia European pentru fonduri structurale accesate anterior de societate; s nu primeasc asisten sub un alt program de fonduri europene referitor la activele i cheltuielile finanate prin JEREMIE; s se ncadreze n limita de ajutor de minimis stabilit de lege.

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n completarea celor menionate anterior, trebuie evideniat publicarea n Monitorul Oficial al Romniei nr. 193/23.03.2012 a Hotrrii Guvernului nr. 218/2012 pentru aprobarea Normelor metodologice de aplicare a prevederilor Ordonanei de Urgen a Guvernului nr. 64/2009 privind gestionarea financiar a instrumentelor structurale i utilizarea acestora pentru obiectivul convergen. Actul normativ preia, n cea mai mare parte, reglementrile Ordinului Ministerului Finanelor Publice nr. 2548/2009 (abrogat prin Hotrrea Guvernului nr. 218/2012), introducnd ns noi prevederi avnd drept scop mbuntirea fluxurilor financiare la nivelul beneficiarilor, precum i responsabilizarea acestora, cu privire la respectarea termenelor de implementare a proiectelor, termene asumate prin graficul de depunere a cererilor de rambursare aferent contractelor de finanare. n acest sens, actul normativ introduce, n principal, urmtoarele reglementri: reduce cota de recuperare a prefinanrii din cererile de rambursare depuse, de la nivelul de 30% la o cot cel puin egal cu cea conform creia s-a acordat prefinanarea la nivelul proiectului; beneficiarii aflai sub incidena ajutorului de stat/de minimis, care sunt obligai s depun garanii pentru obinerea prefinanrii, vor avea posibilitatea diminurii garaniei pe msur ce este recuperat prefinanarea; se majoreaz cota maxim de acordare a prefinanrii de la 10% la 20% pentru proiectele care au integral finanare nerambursabil i pentru proiectele care au o valoare eligibil mai mica de 1 milion de lei; se stabilete obligativitatea ca prin contractul/decizia de finanare, beneficiarul s i asume un calendar/grafic de depunere a cererilor de

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rambursare pe toat durata de implementare a proiectului, calendar care s poat fi modificat de maximum trei ori. 5.11. Continuarea implementrii msurilor din Proiectul de raport de audit de sistem al Programului Operaional 2007RO051PO001 Dezvoltarea resurselor umane (DRU) A-Rep No. 20121445/20.06.2012

Conform Raportului de progres privind planul de aciune pentru ndeplinirea recomandrilor din Proiectul de raport de audit de sistem al Programului Operaional 2007RO051PO001 Dezvoltarea resurselor umane (DRU) A-Rep No. 2012-1445/20.06.2012 emis ca urmare a misiunii de audit din perioada 2-6 aprilie i 3-11 mai 201262, pn la data de 31.08.2012 au fost ntreprinse urmtoarele aciuni: cu privire la constatarea aprobrii de proiecte cu bugete neviabile, cu salarii disproporionate i cu achiziii nejustificate, ce au avut drept cauz un proces de evaluare necorespunztor sau neluarea n considerare a opiniei evaluatorilor, autoritaiile romne implicate au realizat revizuirea Ghidului Solicitantului Condiii generale i a Metodologiei de evaluare i selecie, aceasta din urm fiind introdus pe circuitul intern de avizare al AM POS-DRU; n ceea ce privete ndrumrile deficitare furnizate de AM ctre beneficiari, ambiguitatea normelor naionale de alocare a fondurilor i utilizarea resurselor necesare implementrii proiectelor, au avut loc consultri cu prestatorul, precum i revizuirea seciunii din cererea de finanare intitulat Graficul activitilor proiectului; elaborarea de instrumente de verificare (de exemplu: un Raport de activitate i Fi de pontaj), aduse la cunotina beneficiarilor de ctre
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AM POS-DRU prin publicarea acestora pe pagina de internet reprezint doar o parte din aciunile ntreprinse pentru soluionarea problemelor generate de verificrile de management, care prezentau deficiente privind metodologia aplicat pentru eantionarea documentelor justificative, ducnd la un volum foarte limitat de documente justificative controlate; n privina controalelor la faa locului, care potrivit constatrilor raportului de audit, nu acopereau elementele complementare de asigurare (de exemplu: desfurarea real a activitilor i a achiziiilor publice), s-a dezvoltat un plan de vizite n concordan cu noua metodologie de atribuire a riscului i de eantionare i a fost introdus procedura de verificare a achiziiilor realizate de beneficiarii/partenerii care nu sunt autoriti contractante; cu privire la achiziiile publice identificate de AM ca fiind un domeniu de risc, ntruct doar o mic parte din cheltuielile referitoare erau controlate i, n plus, nu exista niciun control critic realizat de AM POS-DRU cu privire la planul de achiziii publice prezentat de beneficiari, AM POS-DRU a avizat procedura operaional verificarea cererilor de rambursare; n final, n ceea ce privete riscul ridicat cu privire la dubla finanare i inexistena unui control ncruciat al cheltuielilor beneficiarilor implicai n proiecte multiple n acelai timp, AM POS-DRU a avizat procedura operaional Vizite la faa locului. 5.12. Studiu de caz: ineficiena absorbiei fondurilor europene n baza programului POS-DRU. Soluii.

Este notoriu faptul c, n privina nivelului accesrii fondurilor europene oferite n baza programului POS-DRU, Romnia a cunoscut mari probleme, cauzate n special de incapacitatea funcionrii AM i ACP instituite pentru acest PO.

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n acest sens, n perioada 02.04 11.05.2012, Comisia European a efectuat, n conformitate cu prevederile art.72 (2) din Regulamentul Consiliului (EC) Nr. 1083/2006, un audit de sistem i de operaiuni avnd ca obiect verificarea funcionrii sistemului de management i control instituit pentru POS-DRU. Rezultatele auditului au confirmat bnuielile reprezentanilor europeni, n sensul c, misiunea de audit a constatat deficiene grave ale sistemului de management i control al POS-DRU, i anume: probleme legate de ndrumrile oferite beneficiarilor cu privire la activitile eligibile, grupurile int, indicatori i cheltuielile eligibile aferente; probleme legate de procedurile de selecie a operaiunilor; probleme legate de verificrile de prim nivel efectuate de AM; probleme cu privire la certificarea declaraiilor de cheltuieli de ctre ACP; nereguli privind declararea cheltuielilor eligibile; nclcarea normelor privind ajutorul de stat. Urmare a finalizrii misiunii de audit, Ministerul Muncii, prin Autoritatea de Management POS-DRU a iniiat o serie de msuri eseniale i urgente menite s remedieze deficienele sistemice constatate de auditori prin implementarea unui plan de aciune n acest sens. Astfel, conform planului de aciune agreat cu reprezentanii europeni, autoritile din Romnia se angajeaz s: 1. revizuiasc metodologia de evaluare i selecie a operaiunilor n sensul creterii pragurilor minime aferente grilei de selecie;

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2. revizuiasc metodologia de evaluare i selecie a operaiunilor n sensul stabilirii unor criterii mai precise de eligibilitate pentru aplicani; 3. revizuiasc formatul cererii de finanare, astfel nct s permit evaluarea obiectiv/realist a bugetului i a resurselor proiectului, n comparaie cu obiectivele propuse (indicatori) i activitile preconizate i argumentarea dac aceleai activiti ar putea fi implementate ntr-un mod mai economic, cu condiia respectrii cerinelor de calitate; 4. implementeze anumite msuri privind respectarea riguroas de ctre beneficiari n implementare a legislaiei aplicabile privind achiziiile, i anume: planul de achiziii pe fiecare proiect va fi transmis de beneficiar la AM/OI POS-DRU n maxim 10 zile de la data semnrii contractului; planul de achiziii pe proiect va fi verificat de ofierul de monitorizare, pentru a fi prevenite neconcordanele fa de legislaia aplicabil (de ex. n alegerea procedurii) i fa de bugetul estimat al proiectului; orice modificare ulterioar a planului de achiziii a proiectului trebuie justificat i va fi supus unui proces de verificare i aprobare la nivelul AM/OI POS-DRU. 5. utilizeze facilitatea de Asisten Tehnic; 6. elaboreze o metodologie de selecie a evaluatorilor de propuneri de proiecte, astfel nct s se asigure competena specializat n procesul de evaluare. 7. asigure ndrumri detaliate ctre evaluatori;

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8. elimine posibilitatea transferului unor chestiuni deschise din faza de evaluare n contractare. *** Ca o concluzie a celor de mai sus, se poate spune c, n ciuda reactivitii, chiar dac lent, a autoritilor implicate n acordarea de finanare european, n luarea de msuri pentru uurarea accesului potenialilor beneficiari la liniile de finanare, problema gradului sczut de absorbie a fondurilor europene n Romnia rmne nc deschis i de actualitate. n acest sens, este de remarcat faptul c rata sczut a absorbiei se datoreaz tuturor actorilor implicai n proces, astfel nct nu numai problemele intrinseci sistemului administraiei publice genereaz un astfel de efect, dar i inflaia legislativ n materie i lipsa de instruire a potenialilor beneficiari n elaborarea i derularea proiectelor de finanare. Aadar, n ciuda eforturilor recente ale autoritilor de a lua msuri administrative, juridice, instituionale sau organizatorice n vederea creterii gradului de absorbie aferent exerciiului bugetar 2007-2013, nu s-au nregistrat i nici nu se preconizeaz c se vor nregistra mbuntiri notabile, fapt care ar putea echivala cu pierderea de ctre Romnia a unor fonduri considerabile pentru viitoarea perioad de programare. Totui, n msura n care autoritile implicate n acordarea finanrilor vor fi deschise la un dialog public i/sau la preluarea sugestiilor fcute de societatea civil, s-ar putea crea premisele creterii gradului de absorbie, cel puin ncepnd cu exerciiul bugetar 2014-2020, cu att mai mult cu ct pentru acest exerciiu bugetar se estimeaz a se implementa abordarea multi-fond, pentru care autoritile trebuie s se pregteasc din timp. Trebuie remarcat totui faptul c, dac planul financiar multianual va fi adoptat n forma propus de Preedintele Consiliului European, Romnia ar putea continua s ntmpine dificulti serioase n implementarea soluiilor identificate, avnd n vedere c rata de absorbie a fondurilor europene a reprezentat, conform proiectului, o condiie esenial pentru stabilirea cuantumului fondurilor care vor fi alocate fiecrui stat membru n exerciiul financiar 2014-2020.

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Note i referine
Ctlina Constantin, Andreea Florina Radu, Consilier European, nr. 9/2009 http://www.dae.gov.ro/admin/files/Consilier%20European%20Nr%209.pdf Raportul Strategic Naional pentru Implementarea Fondurilor Structurale i de Coeziune pregtit n ianuarie 2010. http://www.fonduriue.ro/res/filepicker_users/cd25a597fd62/Documente_Suport/Rapoarte_Strategice/Raport_strategic_national_200 9_RO.pdf; Studiu asupra POS Mediu elaborat de Guvernul Romniei, disponibil spre consultare pe pagina de internet www.fonduriue.ro/.../Raport_strategic_national_2009_RO.pdf Ioana Morovan, Studiul Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale, publicat n numrul 7 din februarie 2010 al revistei Policy Memo, sub egida Centrului Romn de Politici Europene, http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf; Gheorghe Oprescu, Daniela Luminia Constantin, Florin Ilie i Drago Pslaru Studiul privind analiza capacitii de absorbie a fondurilor comunitare n Romnia,publicat sub egida Institutului European din Romnia, http://www.ier.ro/documente/studiideimpactPaisIII_ro/Pais3_studiu_1_ro.pd f; http://antreprenor.money.ro/topul_greselilor_in_accesarea_fondurilor_euro pene_cum_le_poti_evita-84297.html; http://www.inforegionordest.ro/documente/noutati/publicatii/studiu_privin d_implementarea_por_in_regiunea_nord_est_decembrie_2010.pdf; http://www.maeur.ro/articole/stadiul-absorbtiei-fondurilor-structurale-si-decoeziune/; http://www.gov.ro/absorbtia-fondurilor-structurale-si-de-coeziune-proritatezero-a-guvernului- romaniei__l1a109210.html; http://www.fonduristructurale.ro/Document_Files//mediu/00000029/h7748_Rezumat_POS_Mai_ 2007.pdf;

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Ultimii pai absorbia fondurilor structurale i de coeziune 2007-2013 Raportul anual pe anul 2011, Evolutii si perspective macroeconomice si bugetare. http://www.wall-street.ro/files/131509-255.pdf; http://www.romaniacurata.ro/ltfont-colorblackgtexclusivitate-arcltfontgtltbrgt-citeste-raportul-d-3369.htm; www.fonduri-structurale.ro; www.fonduri-ue.ro; www.euractiv.ro; www.posmediu.ro; www.hotnews.ro/stiri-esential-9212496-facut-bulgaria-cand-aflat-impasfondurile-europene.htm; http://ec.europa.eu; http://a1.ro/news. www.capital.ro

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Bugetul Uniunii Europene i impactul su asupra Politicii de Coeziune

n prezent, Politica de Coeziune 2007-2013 reprezint peste dou treimi (347 miliarde euro dintr-un total de 976 miliarde euro) din bugetul multianual european, aa-numitul Cadru Financiar Multianual (CFM). Motivul pentru care se aloc un pachet att de impresionant acestei politici este destul de uor de neles: Politica de Coeziune reprezint un instrument cheie pentru Uniunea European, bazat pe principiul solidaritii i care are drept scop stimularea investiiilor i creterii economice n toate regiunile Uniunii, concentrndu-se n special pe cele mai puin dezvoltate. Acestea fiind spuse, trebuie adugat faptul c, n prezent, situaia economic a statelor membre este diferit faa de ceea ce s-a luat n considerare atunci cnd s-a adoptat actualul CFM. i, din moment ce Politica de Coeziune este prin natura sa un instrument de reducere a disparitilor dintre statele membre i regiuni. n mod evident, se investete mai mult n unele ri i mai puin n altele. Astfel, situaia la momentul adoptrii urmtorului CFM va fi una dificil i va ridica multe semne de ntrebare.

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n conformitate cu dispoziiile Tratatului de la Lisabona, n vederea adoptrii CFM pentru perioada 2014-2020 trebuie s existe n primul rnd, o propunere din partea Comisiei Europene, iar mai apoi Consiliul s prezinte propria poziie, pentru care Parlamentul European s i dea avizul conform. Cu toate acestea, statele membre nu par s fie n stare s ajung la un acord, fiind mprite n contribuitori net pe de o parte i beneficiari neti, pe de alt parte. Pentru a clarifica puin, statele membre, contribuabilii net, sunt acele state care pltesc la bugetul UE mai mult dect primesc napoi, n timp ce aa-numiii beneficiari net, sunt statele membre care, dup contribuia la bugetul UE, primesc napoi mult mai mult. n acelai timp, aceast difereniere a dus la crearea, n cadrul Consiliului, a dou grupuri: Prietenii coeziunii, din care fac parte beneficiarii net i Prietenii austeritii, format din pltitorii net. ntruct Consiliul trebuie s adopte o poziie n unanimitate, este uor de neles de ce un acord intern nu este simplu de realizat, mai ales c, negocierile se concentreaz nu doar pe valoarea total a CFM. Sunt supuse dezbaterii pachetele alocate fiecrei politici i obiectivele acestora, n special ale Politicii de Coeziune i ale Politicii Agricole Comune (PAC). n plus, ali factori politici trebuie s fie luai n considerare, cum ar fi rambursrile dorite de unele ri, rambursri de care au beneficiat i n trecut. Ceea ce ar trebui subliniat este faptul c acele state membre care doresc s reduc drastic contribuia lor i prin urmare, dimensiunea total a bugetului multianual al Uniunii, fac acest lucru pe baza unor argumente care sunt de fapt, n esen, nentemeiate. Mai multe studii realizate recent arat c rambursarea economic pentru aa-numitele state membre nete pltitoare este mult mai mare dect contribuia efectiv a acestora la bugetul UE. Motivele sunt multiple, incluznd, de exemplu, faptul c implementarea unor proiecte de mari dimensiuni, de multe ori duce la utilizarea de contractori din ri mai dezvoltate i mai avansate, care adesea coincid contributorilor net.

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n ceea ce privete Politica de Coeziune n special, cea mai mare problem care deriv din lipsa unui acord asupra CFM este pregtirea imperativ a noului pachet legislativ care va reglementa urmtoarea perioad de programare, 2014 - 2020. Este uor de neles faptul c este extrem de dificil de lucrat pe un cadru legislativ, fr a ti ci bani vor fi n cele din urm alocai acestor obiective. Parlamentul European se afl din acest punct de vedere, n situaia grea de a decide ce s fac n cazul n care nu se ajunge la un acord n Consiliul, care prevede reduceri semnificative n comparaie cu situaia actual. Parlamentul European a fost ntotdeauna clar c nu va accepta nici un fel de reduceri fa de propunerea iniial a Comisiei, care a fost oricum considerat cu mult sub ateptri. Dar, n acelai timp, trebuie s ia n considerare faptul c o ntrziere n adoptarea noului CFM va avea, de asemenea, un impact asupra adoptrii noului pachet al Politicii de Coeziune, n cazul cruia procedura legislativ care trebuie urmat dup Tratatul de la Lisabona este cea de legislaie ordinar (fosta co-decizie), care prevede ca Parlamentul i Consiliul s ajung la un acord asupra unui text comun al diferitelor reglementri implicate. Aanumitele trialoguri, n cazul n care Parlamentul European, Consiliul i Comisia se ntrunesc s negocieze asupra unui text, au nceput deja n a doua jumtate a lui 2012, dar dup cum am explicat mai sus, acordul final este supus unui acord la nivel de CFM. n ciuda acestei conexiuni clare ntre problema bugetar i procedura legislativ, elementele cheie i obiectivele care caracterizeaz noua Politica de Coeziune sunt deja destul de clare. Desigur, pot exista unele modificri n cursul negocierilor, dar nu majore. Prin urmare, putem s ne imaginm modul n care va arat noua politic i care vor fi liniile sale directoare. Dar, nainte de a analiza mai n profunzime, trebuie s explicm ce fonduri fac parte din Politica de Coeziune i care sunt beneficiarii.

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n perioada actual de programare 2007-2013, sunt utilizate trei fonduri pentru implementarea acestei politici. Pe de o parte, exist aanumitele fonduri structurale, care sunt adresate tuturor regiunilor Europei. Acestea sunt Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regional (FEDR), care investete n dezvoltarea regiunilor prin intermediul programelor legate de exemplu de infrastructur, cercetare i inovare, precum i de asistena tehnic; Fondul Social European (FSE), care sprijin educaia i formarea profesional, ocuparea forei de munc i oportunitile de angajare. Trebuie s menionm c Romnia susine divizarea fondurilor structurale pe regiuni diferite, n ciuda faptului c sistemul su intern administrativ nu prevede pn n prezent existena unor astfel de entiti administrative. Pe de alt parte, exist Fondul de Coeziune, care este un fond special conceput pentru a ajuta economiile din statele membre cele mai puin prospere, prin investiii n reeaua de transport trans-european (TEN-T) i n mediul nconjurtor. Modul n care sunt alocai ulterior banii diferitelor regiuni i state membre variaz n funcie de fondul folosit, fie fonduri structurale, fie fondurile de coeziune. n primul caz exist o difereniere ntre regiunile cu un Produs Intern Brut (PIB) mai mare sau mai mic dect 75% din media UE. Regiunile sub acest prag, definite drept regiuni de convergen, primesc considerabil mai multe fonduri. n ceea ce privete Fondul de Coeziune, statele membre sunt considerate n ansamblul lor i criteriu luat n calcul este venitul naional brut (VNB). rile care beneficiaz de acest sprijin sunt doar cele cu un VNB sub 90% din media UE. Dac aceasta este n linii mari, situaia actualei perioade de programare, care sunt liniile directoare i modificrile pentru urmtoarea perioad de programare? Este vorba pn la urm despre o politic de succes, care a contribuit la dezvoltarea i progresul multor regiuni, cu

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exemple de top, adesea menionate ca cele mai bune practici. Dar acest lucru nu nseamn ns c este perfect. Politica de Coeziune continu s aib deficiene care trebuie s fie adresate, mai ales dac lum n considerare faptul c este implementat n temeiul principiului gestiunii partajate. Ce nseamn acest lucru n practic? Aceasta nseamn c Bruxelles-ul decide cadrul legislativ care reglementeaz n ntregime politica, iar implementarea la nivel naional i regional, este lsat la latitudinea statelor membre. De fapt, sistemul nu ar putea fi altfel, deoarece o gestionare centralizat de ctre Comisia European ar nsemna un numr foarte mare de angajai, fr a uita lipsa unei conexiuni inevitabile cu teritoriile locale. Pentru noua perioad de programare 2014-2020, Tratatul de la Lisabona ofer posibilitatea introducerii, dup cum am vzut, a procedurii legislative ordinare (fosta co-decizie) pentru adoptarea noilor reglementri. Raionamentul poate fi mai bine neles dac lum n considerare faptul c nainte era doar Consiliul i prin urmare, doar guvernele statelor membre, cei care decideau cu privire la coninutul cadrului de reglementare, iar Parlamentul European i ddea acordul pe ceva ce fusese deja decis. Astzi, cele dou instituii sunt pe poziii de egalitate, iar aceste probleme ntmpinate la nivel regional i local, pot fi adresate de ctre singura instituie care este nu numai la curent cu acestea, ci i dorete mbuntirea situaiei. Aceast instituie este noul co-legiuitor, Parlamentul European. De la nceputul discuiilor privind noul pachet legislativ, Parlamentul a precizat clar care trebuie s fie pilonii noului sistem: continuitatea normelor, unde este posibil, pentru a nu ridica probleme acelor oameni i organismelor care trebuie ulterior s implementeze politica la nivel naional i regional; simplificarea la maximum posibil a normelor, interconectat cu armonizarea acestora cu diferite fonduri; solidaritatea esena politicii, cu accent n continuare pe regiunile mai

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puin prospere; aa-numita concentraie tematic, concentrarea resurselor asupra unui numr limitat de obiective, astfel nct s garanteze rezultate tangibile; o mai mare implicare a autoritilor regionale i locale pe tot parcursul etapelor, de la concept pn la implementare; refuzul categoric al aa-numitelor condiionaliti macroeconomice, care creaz o conexiune ntre performana economic a unui stat membru i sprijinul primit din fondurile structurale i n sfrit, dup cum am spus i nainte, resurse suficiente pentru a ndeplini toate aceste obiective. Propunerea fcut de Comisia European i care forma baza care urma a fi modelat de Parlament i de ctre Consiliu, respecta doar parial afirmaiile menionate mai sus. Dar amendamentele prezentate de Parlamentul European, precum i poziia sa ferm n negocierile actuale cu omologul su par a fi fructuoase i permit ca multe elemente pozitive s devin realitate pentru urmtoarea perioad de programare. Ceea ce trebuie considerat o schimbare cheie este cu siguran idea de a avea un regulament de tip umbrel, acel aa-numit Regulament privind Dispoziiile Comune (CPR) care asigur armonizarea regulilor i principiilor comune ale diferitelor fonduri pe care le acoper. Iar fondurile pe care le acoper nu sunt doar fondurile structurale i de coeziune (sau, aa cum probabil vor fi numite la sfritul negocierilor, fondurile structurale i de investiie) dar i alte fonduri europene, i anume Fondul pentru Agricultur i Dezvoltare Rural i Fondul European pentru Pescuit i Afaceri Maritime. Aceasta este o realizare important care garanteaz simplificarea regulilor i procedurilor care urmeaz s fie urmate de beneficiari. n ceea ce privete simplificarea, eforturi au fost fcute i din perspectiva administrativ, de exemplu: reguli simplificate, un sistem de management mai facil i prevzuta introducere a sistemului E-Coeziune care va permite beneficiarilor s introduc informaii electronic. Propunerea privind concentrarea tematic pe un numr limitat de obiective, susinut de Parlament dup constituirea Raportului Barca 123

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(comandat de Comisia European expertului Fabrizio Barca, devenit apoi ministru pentru coeziune teritorial n Italia) rmne n centrul noului pachet. Acelai lucru este valabil i pentru idea unei mai mari implicri a autoritilor locale i regionale, prin introducerea conceptului de parteneriat ntre autoritile guvernamentale, cele regionale i locale n toate etapele. n momentul depunerii la Comisie pentru aprobare a noului introdus Contract de Parteneriat, n care statele membre vor trebui s arate maniera n care intenioneaz s implementeze politica la nivel naional, vor trebui s demonstreze i c au fost purtate consultri cu autoritile locale. n acest sens, va fi introdus i un Cod de Conduit, cu specificarea modalitii n care autoritile locale vor trebui implicate. O noutate esenial a noului pachet al Politicii de Coeziune este reprezentat de introducerea condiionalitilor. Obiectivul principal al acestora este s asigure c investiiile sprijinite de politic sunt orientate spre rezultate. Statele membre vor fi obligate s demonstreze c dein toate condiionalitile ex ante pentru a ndeplini obiectivele programelor pe care le deruleaz. i unde aceste condiii nu exist, se va stabili un termen limit pentru ndeplinirea obligaiilor. Indicatorii vor fi n msur s msoare rezultatele obinute de programe. Un tip de condiionalitate la care Parlamentul s-a opus mereu, dar totui prezent n propunerea Comisiei este cel macroeconomic care nu face altceva dect s pedepseasc regiunile (prin suspendarea tuturor sau a unei pri a angajamentelor sau plilor) n cazul n care guvernele naionale nu-i ndeplinesc obligaiile n raport cu guvernana economic a Uniunii. Un asemenea aspect introdus de Comisie este absolut nejustificat, deoarece Parlamentul a evideniat ntotdeauna faptul c nu exist niciun motiv pentru care regiunile s se confrunte cu sanciuni legate de o administraie central nesntoas. Este previzibil ca poziia ferm a Parlamentului s produc rezultatele sale, asigurnd c din acest punct de 124

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vedere nu vor exista schimbri comparativ cu actuala perioad de programare. O ultim remarc n scopul unei descrieri succinte a principalelor modificri de reglementare se refer la distribuia resurselor. Aici modificarea va presupune crearea unei noi categorii de regiuni, cu un PIB ntre 75% i 90% din media UE. Vor fi astfel trei categorii: regiuni mai puin dezvoltate cu un PIB sub 75% n cadrul crora vor fi concentrate majoritatea resurselor, regiuni de tranziie cu un PIB ntre 75% i 90% i regiunile mai dezvoltate cu un PIB de peste 90% din media UE. Din acest punct de vedere, Romnia va continua practic s fie n totalitate sub media de 75%, exceptnd regiunea Bucureti-Ilfov. n afara de Regulamentul privind dispoziiile comune, noul pachet al Politicii de Coeziune va consta ntr-un numr de reglementri specifice fondurilor, dintre care merit menionate cele dedicate Fondului European de Dezvoltare Regional, Fondului de Coeziune i Fondului Social European. Nu este facil s oferim o imagine de ansamblu asupra modificrilor, dar analiza noastr va prezenta o imagine a celor mai importante elemente ale noului cadru care se refer la FEDR i la Fondul de Coeziune. Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regional i va concentra desigur investiiile pe obiectivele tematice stabilite n Dispoziiile Comune ale Regulamentului dar ceea ce conteaz este faptul c, n funcie de dezvoltarea regiunii n cauz, un anumit procent din fonduri va trebui alocat spre anumite obiective. Comisia a propus ca, n regiunile de tranziie i cele mai dezvoltate, 80% din resursele FEDR s fie alocate ctre eficiena energetic i energiile regenerabile, cercetare i dezvoltare i sprijinirea IMM-urilor. Cel puin 20% din aceste resurse trebuie direcionate ctre eficiena energetic i energiile regenerabile. n regiunile mai puin dezvoltate, procentele ar scdea spre 6-50% pentru a

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permite concentrarea resurselor pe infrastructura de baz, deseori deficitar sau absent n aceste regiuni. Negocierile pe aceast chestiune sunt complexe, fiind dificil de spus care va fi rezultatul, dar poziia Parlamentului este ca pentru meninerea flexibilitii, regiunile mai dezvoltate s poat concentra procentul de 80% din alocrile FEDR pe nc un obiectiv fa de cele propuse de Comisie, n timp ce procentul dedicat eficienei energetice i energiei regenerabile s fie crescut la 22%. n ceea ce privete regiunile de tranziie i cele mai puin dezvoltate, procentele ar trebui s fie 60% i 22%, respectiv 50% i 12%. Atenia acordat eficienei energetice i energiei obinute din surse regenerabile este fundamental n poziia Parlamentului, acest fapt fiind evideniat de ncercarea de a dubla eforturile n anumite sectoare cheie prin intermediul unui sprijin comun din Fondul European de Dezvoltare Regional i Fondul de Coeziune. Mai detaliat, idea Parlamentului spune c pentru a se ndeplini obiectivele strategiei Europa 2020, respectiv 20% din consumul de energie s fie din surse regenerabile, cu 20% mai puine emisii de CO2 i creterea cu 20% a eficienei energetice, este necesar adoptarea unor msuri drastice. Propunerea este aadar ca toate cldirile, indiferent c sunt publice sau private i IMM-urile s devin eligibile pentru finanarea eficienei energetice i a energiilor regenerabile. n plus, finanarea va fi disponibil att din FEDR ct i din Fondul de Coeziune. Ceea ce trebuie subliniat este faptul c aceste msuri pot avea impact nu doar asupra mediului nconjurtor, dar i asupra IMM-urilor implicate i prin urmare a locurilor de munc, fr a uita economiile cetenilor la facturile la energie i un nivel crescut de securitate energetic. n cele din urm, cteva precizri referitoare la Cogenerarea energiei electrice i termice i Sistemul de Termoficare. Aceste sisteme

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sunt foarte ntlnite n unele state membre, n special n Europa Central i de Est iar n fapt, ele permit economii substaniale de energie comparativ cu sistemele private de nclzire. Dar n ciuda faptului c sunt numeroase, sunt adesea depite. Att modernizarea ct i construcia de noi centrale, necesit investiii specifice al cror pre ar fi trebuit transferat ctre ceteni. i n aceast chestiune, Parlamentul a adus n discuie o propunere care implic finanarea din FEDR i Fondul de Coeziune. Trebuie reinut faptul c eligibilitatea unor asemenea sisteme nu este att de simpl pe ct pare pentru c Uniunea European are un Sistem comunitar de Comercializare a Emisiilor (ETS) cu care ar putea intra n contradicie. Cu toate acestea, Parlamentul a ncercat s-i prezinte amendamentele ntr-o manier care s permit compatibilitatea cu ETS, asigurnd n acelai timp cel mai larg sprijin pentru cogenerare i termoficare. n acest fel, centralele sub 20 MW vor fi pe deplin eligibile, n timp ce centralele care depesc acest prag vor avea o singur excepie de la finanare, cazanul de ardere. n plus, reeaua de distribuie va fi de asemenea eligibil. Elaborarea unei priviri succinte a tuturor elementelor care sunt implicate n reforma Politicii de Coeziune nu este simpl, dar sperana noastr este c obiectivul de a prezenta complexitatea dar i importana acestui subiect a fost atins ntr-o oarecare msur.

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Reforma regional n dezbaterea public

n luna iunie a anului 2008, se sublinia faptul c evalurile primului an i jumtate de dup aderare arat c n Romnia, capacitatea instituional redus tinde s devin o cauz major a absorbiei reduse a fondurilor europene. Dei sporadic politicienii amintesc de nevoia reformei regionale, aceasta nu se afl de fapt pe agenda public i politic1. n ciuda avertismentelor de la Bruxelles i a evidenelor interne, Romnia risca nc de la acea dat s nregistreze decalajele care astzi au devenit aproape de nerecuperat i care iat, s-au tradus ntr-un ritm de dezvoltare mult mai mic dect cel potenial. Totodat se mai arta faptul c lipsa dezbaterii publice i politice, precum i slbiciunile societii civile conduc la situaia n care guvernul nu este supus necesarei presiuni pentru a reaciona n sensul promovrii reformelor regionale2.

Prioritatea viitoarei guvernri: Reforma regional, http://victorbostinaru.ro/2008/06/prioritatea-viitoarei-guvernari-reformaregionala/, accesat 20 februarie 2013. 2 Idem.

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Anul 2012 a adus ns o mbuntire sub acest aspect, fiind demarate dezbateri consistente privind necesitatea nfptuirii acestei reforme. Printre cele mai notabile demersuri trebuie menionat dezbaterea organizat de ctre Academia de Advocacy, unde, n cadrul unei audierii publice organizat la Timioara, intitulate Regionalizarea Romniei De ce?3, au fost invitai toi cei interesai s i exprime argumentat punctul de vedere oferind rspunsuri la o serie de ntrebri: Are nevoie Romnia de regionalizare? De ce? Ce tip de decizii i competene sunt necesar a fi transferate la nivel regional? Cum ne organizm pentru un proces durabil i eficient al regionalizrii? Cum pot regiunile s sporeasc coeziunea social, economic i teritorial a rii i care sunt riscurile s o submineze? Redm in extenso principalele concluzii i recomandm cititorilor s parcurg depoziiile tuturor participanilor. Audierea public ,,Regionalizarea Romniei De ce? a avut drept obiectiv general relansarea temei regionalizrii pe agenda public pornind de la noi premise, respectiv pornind strict de la analiza i dezbaterea public a rolului, nevoii i oportunitii regionalizrii Romniei. Numai n contextul identificrii i stabilirii clare a nevoii, dac ea exist, dezbaterea public poate continua despre modaliti, criterii, etape, riscuri, beneficii. Structura opiniilor scrise exprimate de ctre decidenii politici reliefeaz un spectru destul de larg de instituii i nivele de decizie, i anume: decideni locali 12 depoziii, consilii judeene 7 depoziii, ministere 3 depoziii, parlamentari i europarlamentari 8 depoziii,

Academia de Advocacy - Audierea public - REGIONALIZAREA ROMNIEI DE CE?, http://advocacy.ro/, 20 februarie 2013.

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urmai de membri ai unor partide politice i candidai n alegerile parlamentare. Analiznd cele 251 de opinii scrise colectate prin prisma poziionrii fa de oportunitatea sau nu a eventualei regionalizri a Romniei, a rezultat urmtoarea structur: 77,29%, respectiv 194 de opinii scrise pro-regionalizare; 14,34%, respectiv 36 de opinii scrise contra-regionalizare; 8,37%, respectiv 21 de opinii scrise colectate ale celor indecii sau care nu doresc s i asume o poziie inechivoc n acest moment al consultrii publice. Principalele argumente care susin ideea i nevoia de regionalizare a Romniei, sintetizate n cele ce urmeaz, n ordinea importanei lor, prin prisma frecvenei cu care au fost enunate n opiniile scrise colectate i analizate, sunt: eficientizarea procesului decizional public i, implicit, o mai bun gestionare a resurselor publice, precum i a tuturor resurselor disponibile, n general, limitate i constant insuficiente n raport cu nevoile, argument susinut de o serie de alte argumente specifice subsecvente, cum ar fi: reducerea costurilor i a birocraiei n sistemul administrativ public n general, prin simplificarea i optimizarea administraiei publice, n contextul regionalizrii; corelarea deciziilor publice cu nevoi i probleme specifice, precum i cu oportuniti de dezvoltare specifice, diferite i diverse de la o regiune la alta; necesitatea susinerii i chiar a accelerrii descentralizrii din mai multe puncte de vedere:

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economic: un management regional competent i motivat, cu un instrument legislativ corespunztor i flexibil ar trebui s reueasc creterea nivelului economic al regiunii mult mai bine dect actuala formul de organizare constrns legislativ i deseori decizional la nivel naional; financiar: gestionarea regional aproape n totalitate a veniturilor i cheltuielilor, centralizarea naional doar a unei pri din veniturile regionale, n scopul meninerii n funciune a instituiilor naionale, eliminarea pierderilor financiare datorate unor decizii politice de redirecionare, ctre instituii i entiti inutile sau neperformante, a unei pri din venituri; administrativ: actualul mecanism administrativ este ineficient i mare consumator de resurse; structura ierarhic a administraiei Romniei nu este stufoas, ns modul de funcionare este adesea sincopat, lipsit de suplee i perceput drept costisitor; la nivel regional se pot organiza aparate administrative eficiente, cu minim de resurse umane, dar puternic informatizate; transparentizarea actului decizional public i o mai mare i mai bun accesibilitate la informaii de interes public, datorit apropierii de cetean i nevoile sale, comparativ cu nivelul naional, fapt ce va induce i: o mai mare responsabilizare a decidenilor; reducerea corupiei n administraia public; incapacitatea actualelor structuri administrativ-politice de a colabora i coopera pe palierul interjudeean / regional; creterea gradului de absorbie a fondurilor europene, corelat cu o mai eficient i eficace utilizare a acestor fonduri, prin:

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posibilitatea integrrii proiectelor mici, disparate la nivel local, n proiecte strategice, de anvergur la nivel regional; prin extragerea leciilor nvate din perioada experienelor 20072013; stimularea i susinerea dezvoltrii economice n general i implicit prin aceasta, reducerea disparitilor i decalajelor economice interjudeene i interregionale; din acest punct de vedere, esenial este obiectivul general de dezvoltare a resurselor umane, promovarea ocuprii i a incluziunii sociale, n baza experienelor tiut fiind faptul c, economia local nu poate prezenta o diversitate i specificitate corespunztoare ateptrilor cetenilor, iar cetenii i cunosc i recunosc capacitatea de mobilitate profesional i geografic i o valorific ca atare, n msura oportunitilor existente, cu precdere ntr-un areal maximal regional; simplificarea accesului la resurse a mediului de afaceri autohton; nevoia de identificare identitar, precum i nevoia de notorietate a regiunilor, eseniale pentru ntrirea spiritului de apartenen, ncredere i solidaritate a populaiei, toate acestea contribuind la potenarea i nu mpotriva identitii naionale a statului romn unitar; facilitarea interaciunilor socio-economice la nivel regional este important. Principalele argumente enunate mpotriva ideii i nevoii de regionalizare a Romniei sunt sintetizate n cele ce urmeaz, n ordinea importanei lor, prin prisma frecvenei cu care au fost enunate n opiniile scrise colectate i analizate:

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accentuarea disparitilor interregionale, pe fondul dezvoltrii accentuate i disproporionate a marilor aglomerri urbane i a capitalelor de regiuni, n detrimentul localitilor periferice ale acelorai regiuni, n detrimentul oraelor mici i a zonelor rurale; pierderea locurilor de munc n instituiile administrative vizate de procesul regionalizrii; nivelul ridicat al costurilor pe care le implic procesul complex i ndelungat al regionalizrii Romniei, costuri ce vor fi suportate din resurse publice, deci din banii contribuabililor; momentul nepotrivit, n primul rnd corelat cu contextul actual al crizei economice globale, dar i din perspectiva planificrii noului ciclu bugetar european, momentul fiind apreciat ca fiind tardiv sub acest aspect; fezabilitatea i chiar oportunitatea decuplrii obiectivului descentralizrii de cel al regionalizrii, pe ideea c o bun descentralizare decizional se poate realiza i n afara procesului de regionalizare; creterea birocraiei, datorit multiplelor schimbri legislative necesare, precum i datorit etapelor indispensabile ale tranziiei de la actuala form de organizare administrativ spre cea regional; teama de riscul federalizrii Romniei, a enclavizrii anumitor zone ale rii, a pierderii identitii naionale, istorice, a federalizrii chiar a UE, corelate cu suspiciunea legat de poziionarea contra regionalizrii a unor state membre ale UE, precum i a unor politicieni autohtoni; nesoluionarea problemei calitii i eficienei dialogului cu decidenii, chiar dac din punct de vedere geografic acetia vor fi mai

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aproape fizic de ceteni n eventualitatea unui proces al regionalizrii, comparativ cu nivelul naional. n urma analizei opiniilor culese raportat la ntrebarea Cum ne organizm pentru un proces durabil i eficient regionalizrii?, Comisia de Experi a extras urmtoarele concluzii: necesitatea fundamentrii, prin studii i analize a oricrui demers intermediar care conduce spre regionalizare; necesitatea atragerii de expertiz din societatea civil n elaborarea analizelor i studiilor care vor fundamenta paii de urmat spre regionalizare; implicarea prilor interesate, inclusiv din mediul socio - economic (agenii de dezvoltare, camere de comer, patronate, IMM-uri, sindicate) n elaborarea etapelor de transpunere a modelelor regionale; necesitatea informrii constante a populaiei asupra etapelor parcurse i a rezultatelor obinute; necesitatea consultrii prilor interesate, a grupurilor largi de populaie cu privire la posibilele etape sau modele de urmat; necesitatea analizrii modificrii Constituiei i a cadrului legislativ, n urma alegerii modelului regional acceptat prin consens i/sau referendum. Recomandrile Comisiei de Experi a audierii publice Pe baza analizei depoziiilor i a concluziilor evideniate, Comisia de Experi formuleaz urmtoarele recomandri, pentru luarea unei decizii publice optime pe tema regionalizrii:

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1. nfiinarea unui grup de lucru interdisciplinar, echidistant, neutru i independent, dedicat studierii problematicii regionalizrii Romniei din multiple perspective, n scopul elaborrii unor alternative viabile de regionalizare, inclusiv prin analize comparative, de impact, cost beneficiu i de risc, proces coroborat cu un calendar specific al dezbaterilor publice dedicate acestei tematici; 2. evidenierea modalitilor concrete de minimizare a riscurilor pentru alternativele de regionalizare propuse i analizate de forurile, organismele cu atribuii n acest sens; 3. publicarea i diseminarea transparent a tuturor analizelor i studiilor existente i viitoare pe tema regionalizrii Romniei, de ctre forurile cu atribuii n acest sens, astfel nct cetenii interesai s poat s identifice avantaje i/sau dezavantaje n procesul de regionalizare; 4. punerea n practic a unei campanii de informare larg i contientizare cu privire la avantajele i dezavantajele regionalizrii, complementar cu generarea de dezbateri concentrice, consecutive, respectiv cu publicarea transparent, accesibil tuturor, a rezultatelor, intermediare i finale, atinse prin dezbaterile publice derulate; 5. continuarea dezbaterilor publice pe tema regionalizrii, n vederea identificrii modelului optim, acceptat prin consens larg, inclusiv cu atragerea n continuare a expertizei practice din rndul societii civile, n echipe de lucru, pe palierele semnificative ale etapelor specifice de formulare a modelului optim de regionalizare identificat i analizat pentru Romnia.

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Note i referine
Academia de Advocacy - Audierea public - REGIONALIZAREA ROMNIEI DE CE?, http://advocacy.ro/, 20 februarie 2013. Prioritatea viitoarei guvernri: Reforma regional, http://victorbostinaru.ro/ 2008/06/prioritatea-viitoarei-guvernari-reforma-regionala/, accesat 20 februarie 2013.

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Concluzii

Este Romnia condamnat s rmn ara srac a Uniunii Europene? La ase ani dup aderarea Romniei la Uniunea European, angajamentele clasei politice pentru o mai bun absorbie a fondurilor europene au fost contrazise flagrant de cifrele seci transmise de la Bruxelles, mpreun cu auditurile care priveau suspiciunile de fraud i ulterior, suspendarea sau presuspendarea plilor. Procedurile trucate sau nerespectate, licitaiile cu dedicaie, politizarea, corupia de la vrful aparatului administrativ i ignorarea ofertelor de asisten din partea instituiilor Uniunii Europene n vederea ameliorrii situaiei, i-au spus cuvntul asupra ratei foarte sczute de absorbie a fondurilor structurale i de coeziune. Discursul ritos i merituos al unei capaciti de absorbie nfptuite, nu poate ascunde ratarea celui mai mare beneficiu al aderrii la Uniunea European. De la o prioritate zero n programele succesive de guvernare, la o rat a plilor intermediare de aproximativ 10% n ianuarie 2013, complexitatea instrumentelor de finanare, gradul de pregtire al personalului din administraia public sau argumentele preferate ale oamenilor de PR, nu mai pot fi invocate pentru situaia critic n care ne aflm. Ne aflm n situaia n care, Romnia va plti mai scump pentru gradul su de srcie. Afirmaia nu izvorte dintr-o teorie socioeconomic a inechitii ci este adevrul dictat pe de-o parte, de ctre

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birourile tehnocrailor din Bruxelles, adversarii Politicii de Coeziune i avocaii tierilor bugetare pe de alt parte. Cnd vine vorba de fonduri europene, toate aciunile, precum i inaciunile, au implicaii financiare. Chiar dac alocrile bugetare pentru urmtoarea perioad de programare 2014-2020 vor fi meninute la acelai nivel din perioada anterioar (n cel mai bun scenariu), criteriile de accesare cu siguran se vor schimba. Gradul de complexitate al proiectelor se schimb mpreun cu criteriile de eligibilitate, n timp ce, sumele destinate co-finanrii se modific i ele. Chiar cu introducerea unor obiective i a unui cadru pentru elaborarea unor proiecte care s maximizeze integrarea vertical i orizontal, mpreun cu capacitatea utilizrii fondurilor multiple pentru finanarea proiectelor, majoritatea regiunilor de dezvoltare din Romnia nu are infrastructura, logistica, resursa uman i chiar cadrul legal i instituional s profite de noile reglementri. Astfel, vor fi necesare noi investiii, va fi necesar finalizarea unor proiecte deja ncepute, vor trebui demarate noi negocieri i angajate companii de consultan i execuie nu doar experimentate, ci care pot dispune de echipamentele i tehnologiile necesare. ns, chiar dac rspunsul la ntrebarea Cte din aceste companii vor avea capital romnesc? este evident, concursul nefericit de mprejurri nu se afl n acest rspuns. Pentru cei care privesc bugetul Uniunii Europene ca un instrument de investiii o majoritate larg n Parlamentul European, din fericire n realizarea obiectivelor fundamentale din Tratatul Uniunii, faptul c prin fondurile structurale i de coeziune, o parte din beneficii se ntorc ctre statele membre cu statut de contribuitor net, este nsi o parte a principiilor fondatoare ale Uniunii. Romnia ns a ratat ocazia de a economisi mai mult, de a realiza mai eficient aceleai obiective i a irosit singura resurs pe care nu o poate mprumuta, pe care nu o mai poate negocia i pe care nu o poate crea: timpul.

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n ase ani, Romnia a absorbit efectiv 4 miliarde de euro din cele 20 de miliarde puse la dispoziie n perioada 2007-2013, cu o rat a plilor intermediare de doar 10%, situndu-se detaat pe ultimul loc n Uniunea European. Contraperformana guvernrilor succesive BsescuBoc nu poate fi egalat de ctre niciun alt stat membru. Aceast realitate, cuplat cu rezultatul investigaiilor privind neregulile constatate de ctre Comisia European, plaseaz ara noastr n poziia ingrat de a periclita ntreaga Politic de Coeziune a Uniunii Europene, oferind argumente pentru reducerea substanial a bugetului, o reducere a ratelor de cofinanare pentru regiunile cele mai puin dezvoltate ale Uniunii Europene i mai surprinztor, pedepsirea regiunilor care au o rat de absorbie mai sczut. n opinia noastr, cel puin n ultimul ceas, cei responsabili de aceast situaie dezastruoas vor trebui s suporte consecinele administrative i penale pentru fapte care nu pot rmne doar cu faimoasa responsabilitate politic. Fondurile europene nu reprezint sume virtuale, ci aparin i sunt dreptul Romniei. Sunt garania reducerii decalajelor de dezvoltare, creterea bunstrii i a nivelului de trai al romnilor. Neregulile care se vor confirma, ignorana i incompetena, vor trebui s fie imputate demnitarilor care, n ciuda avertismentelor, fie au asistat impasibili, fie au fost complici. Chiar dac voina politic a existat, atunci ea a fost umbrit de corupia generalizat, ntr-un act de grav trdare. n ciuda tuturor auspiciilor, nc mai exist soluii care s mbunteasc parial capacitatea de absorbie, astfel nct, Romnia s obin mcar o bun parte din sumele alocate. n oricare scenariu ns, Romnia va pierde miliarde de euro din finanri europene. Beneficiul principal al aderrii la Uniunea European s-a transformat ntr-un exerciiu n care trebuie minimizate pierderile. Chiar dac primii pai au fost fcui, eforturile depuse de noul guvern s-ar putea s nu fie de ajuns.

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Ce este de fcut atunci? De fapt, acesta este momentul ideal pentru a redresa situaia. Parlamentul European i Consiliul negociaz noul pachet legislativ pentru perioada de programare 2014-2020 a Politicii de Coeziune, iar Romnia trebuie s fie capabil s se adapteze noului cadru i s fie pregtit s o pun corect n aplicare ncepnd cu anul 2014. Parlamentul European se lupt mpotriva tentativelor din partea unor state membre de a reduce bugetul acestei politicii, dar trebuie s spunem aceste lucruri pentru a facilita nelegerea repercusiunilor pe care le poate produce gestionarea defectuoas a fondurilor, chiar i pe termen mai lung. n afar de problema bugetului, vor exista modificri pe care deputaii europeni responsabili de aceste reglementri, vor ncerca s le fac simple, eficiente i benefice pentru regiunile europene pe ct posibil. Factorii cheie sunt reprezentai de adaptarea imediat la noile dispoziii ceea ce nseamn urmrirea ndeaproape a negocierilor n curs de desfurare, n scopul anticiprii schimbrilor dar i de o bun planificare strategic, cu corectarea tuturor lipsurilor i greelilor din trecut i cu pregtirea programelor i proiectelor care pot face cu adevrat diferena. Nu trebuie s uitm s asigurm i resursele naionale suficiente pentru co-finanarea naional. De asemenea, nu trebuie s uitm de existena celor dou elemente-cheie care sunt premisele pentru toate acestea: capacitatea administrativ i instituional pe de o parte i la implicarea deplin a autoritilor regionale i locale, precum i a prilor interesate, pe de alt parte. n ceea ce privete primul element, acesta este de o importan crucial, pentru c experiena romneasc din trecut i exemplele provenind din alte ri arat c, fr oameni bine pregtii, obiectivi, constani, capabili s produc rezultate concrete, mai presus de modificrile politice i nu n ultimul rnd, suficient recompensai din punct de vedere economic, nu este posibil s beneficiem pe deplin de 140

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sprijinul european. nc o dat, aceste subiecte trebuie s fie abordate de noul guvern cu mult seriozitate, astfel nct aceste precondiii s fie pe deplin realizate, cel puin n ceea ce privete noua perioad de programare. Pe aceast chestiune se lucreaz i la nivelul cadrului legislativ pentru crearea condiionalitilor ex ante prin care se va propune obligarea statelor membre s pun n aplicare aa numitele precondiii cheie pentru fiecare program pe care statul membru dorete s-l deruleze. Cel de al doilea element are o mare relevan pentru simplul motiv c, autoritile locale i regionale sunt cele mai aproape de ceteni, de teritoriu i cele care i cunosc cel mai bine nevoile. Fr o implicare total a acestor actori, n toate etapele, este imposibil elaborarea i implementarea unor programe cu impact real pe teren. De asemenea, din acest punct de vedere, se depun eforturi pentru msuri care s oblige statele membre s acioneze n acest sens i n pofida opoziiei guvernelor naionale, exist ncrederea c se va reui ajungerea la un compromis bun. Tot ceea ce am menionat pn acum poate determina o bun utilizare a fondurilor europene n multiplele lor domenii de aciune, de la infrastructur (digital, transport i energie) la cercetare i inovare, de la educaie i ocuparea forei de munc la incluziune social i de la ntreprinderi la mediu, doar ca s dm cteva exemple. n ceea ce privete transportul (Reeaua trans-european de transport) i mediul, trebuie s subliniem faptul c Romnia beneficiaz de un sprijin puternic din partea Fondului de Coeziune. i dac cele dou domenii instituionale de aciune ale acestui fond sunt cele descrise, trebuie s spunem c se depun eforturi la nivelul Parlamentului European s se asigure c toate prioritile de investiii din partea FEDER i Fondul de Coeziune sunt mbuntite. Ne referim n special la proiectele legate de eficiena energetic i utilizarea energiilor regenerabile n sectorul locuinelor pe care eurodeputaii ncearc s-l fac eligibil, cum este cazul cldirilor i companiilor publice i la

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cogenerare, nclzire i rcire precum i nclzire districtual, elemente care sunt foarte prezente i importante n statele din Europa Central i de Est. Considerm c sprijinul acordat construirii sau reabilitrii centralelor i a reelei de distribuie, chiar i cu anumite limitri necesare pentru a evita incompatibiliti cu legislaia european sectorial (Sistemul de Comercializare a Emisiilor) poate aduce mbuntiri n ceea ce privete eficiena acestor centrale, impactul de mediu i bineneles factura pentru utilizatorii finali, cetenii. Aceeai ceteni care, sperm noi, vor fi capabili n urma simplificrii regulilor, pregtirii guvernelor naionale i n urma unei campanii de informare s beneficieze din plin de Politica de Coeziune i s resimt impactul pozitiv al Uniunii Europene n viaa lor. Romnia nu este condamnat s rmn ara srac a Uniunii Europene. Fondurile europene, la fel ca n cazul Poloniei, i pot conferi rii noastre avantajele la care nu putea spera n urm cu 10-15 ani. Important n acest punct este faptul c tim ce trebuie s facem, msurile pe care trebuie s le implementm i trebuie s avem voina politic de a ntoarce lucrurile pentru viitorul Romniei. Ansamblul de msuri enumerate n acest studiu, acordurile largi n rndul organizaiilor societii civile i autoritilor publice din Romnia pentru nfptuirea unei reforme regionale care s confere identitate juridic regiunilor, sunt demersuri capabile s reorienteze i s aduc beneficiile Politicii de Coeziune n ara noastr.

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English version

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Foreword

Victor Botinaru Member of the European Parliament

The study The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013 is the result of years of activity in the Committee on Regional Development of the European Parliament and the decision to elaborate this study was taken after witnessing how Romania missed such a huge opportunity. In terms of low absorption capacity, Romania has no precedent since the establishment of the European Community. The roots of this costly failure should be sought in 2005-2007 period, when the Romanian government simply failed to prepare the countrys institutional and administrative framework in order to absorb funds that were to be made available. The release of this study is marked both by concerns and hope. Concerns arise due to the fact that in 2007-2012 periods, Romania has only managed to absorb about 10% of the structural and cohesion funds, thus being by far, in comparative terms, the country with the worst performance out of all 27 Member States. Our country also faces the risk of losing billions of Euros as a result of the automatic decommitment mechanism in 2013. 144

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The only hopes lie in the fact that, in the summer of 2012, the Romanian Government adopted in cooperation with the European Commission, the package of measures that will allow the unblocking of payments. Moreover, the new government led by Prime Minister Victor Ponta proposed the reorganization of the institutional architecture that manages EU funds and triggered debates on the regional reform, to ensure that in the end, at least for the next multiannual financial framework 2014-2020, Romania will substantially improve its performance. The bitter lessons of an excessive politicization of the public administration, with serious effects on the de-professionalization of the body of experts that manages European Funds and the lessons of institutional and legislative instability brought us to the point where we have to act quickly and firmly. In any other perspective, we risk to widen the gaps between the developing regions of the European Union. The study carried out by the prestigious law firm Musat & Associates is an institutional radiography, a technical and unbiased analysis. Equally, the study is the best starting point, now, at the eleventh hour, in order to improve absorption performance under the current financial framework, but also for the next one. According to experts, structural and cohesion funds are among the only instruments available for Romania's development for the next period and the only real support for reducing the development gaps already widened due to the financial crisis, the decrease of foreign investments or the terrible conditions imposed by the IMF agreement. This study that reiterates previous concerns regarding the administrative and institutional capacity as well as the regional reform process is also an invitation to debate on the future of our country, to strategically plan our development and to acknowledge the need to learn from our mistakes and from the relevant experience of countries similar in size to Romania. And here, I think without doubt about our Poland 145

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friend where despite an amount of funds larger than ours and potentially more complex problems than those of Romania, the Cohesion Policy was turned into an engine of economic growth, social progress, which reduced disparities and also helped the country to increase its credibility as a major player of the Union. By the time this study is being elaborated, the European Parliament negotiates with the Council and the European Commission the future of the Cohesion Policy for 2014-2020. I had the chance after years of working in the REGI Committee, to be appointed rapporteur of the European Parliament for the Cohesion Fund, a key instrument of the Cohesion Policy. By the amendments I have submitted to this fund and the amendments of the European Parliament, the legislative framework of the Cohesion Policy, the European regions and the European citizens will be able to benefit from what we, MEPs in the REGI Committee proudly call investing in development. Will my country finally know how to benefit from Cohesion Policy? The answer or the answers depend on us, the Romanian government, the regions, the counties, the communities. If other states comparable in structure, demography and indicators succeeded, why cant we? Victor Botinaru Member of the European Parliament

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Introduction

The analyses on the absorption capacity of European Union funds, the assessments on the status of absorption and the factors which influence the success or failure of the European Unions Cohesion Policy have been made public in Romania in the last six years since our countrys accession. To some extent, these analyses reflect the complexity of different approaches on Cohesion Policy, where each intermediate body, management authority, ministry or administrative territorial unit should play a well-defined role. However, in what we can call the traditional Romanian public administration, a decentralized system which involves and maximizes vertical and horizontal integration remains a goal to be achieved. If on the vertical level, we have the administration with various levels of European, national, regional and local authorities; on the horizontal level we have companies, social groups and civil society organizations, which all should be equally involved in designing, implementing and accessing European Funds. This study does not aim to exhaust the subject of EU funds absorption, approach largely unattainable, it rather tries to provide a corollary and up to date assessment. The analysis is based on the latest data available in the Committee on Regional Development of the European Parliament and it emphasizes once again, the extent of a failure with serious consequences for Romania's development and incapacity to

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reduce the development gaps because of the very low absorption rate of European Union funds. The study aims to follow in detail and sets out to explain the main directions of the EU Cohesion Policy. Thus, it addresses the current status of EU funds absorption in Romania and key absorption indicators for each Operational Programme. It also addresses the conceptual dimensions of the terms used and establishes the general framework: what is the current Romanian situation regarding the absorption of EU funds, the suspensions and pre-suspensions of funds and the major risks for 2013. The study intends to serve the basic objectives for Romania's development and to outline a short and medium term strategy to be followed. This strategy should be developed in terms of the future multiannual financial framework and the future Cohesion Policy, taking into account the experience built up so far and the urgent need for Romania to improve its absorption, especially during the economic crisis and the near-disappearance of other investment sources. The second major part of the study is in general terms, an analysis and a series of judgments based on available documents, an assessment of the legal and institutional framework in terms of jurisprudence and a presentation of data that can highlight the status of our country, the causes that led to this situation and a series of measures required, both in general and especially in particular, in light of the legislative process. The chapters in this section will address both the legal and institutional framework for the identification of weaknesses, overlaps, its stability problems identified both by the European Commissions communications and in the documents made public by audit authorities, as well as proposals for their correction and improvement.

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In the next steps, the two frameworks are correlated; the key issues that have led to the very poor absorption rate and the accumulation of factors that influenced the disastrous results are identified. This section analyses the current legal and institutional frameworks impact on the administrative capacity to absorb EU funds, the causes of chronic underfunding, the low level of staff training, the manner of solving the litigations and the issue of public tenders which have attracted the attention of anti-fraud and control bodies. This section seeks to provide answers to some fundamental questions: Is the Romanian state capable of mobilizing resources for improving this situation? What are the main legislative measures needed to reduce the level of fraud? What can be said about the current legal framework for public procurement? How can it be improved and what is the jurisprudence in this regard in other countries? The last two chapters are devoted to the prospects for regional reform in Romania and the debate on the EU budget for 2014-2020. The two elements are key issues that will significantly affect the future and the development of Romania. The main conclusions drawn from the European Council of February 7-8 have raised new concerns. The budget proposed by the Council will not lead to an improvement of the EUs situation, but it will rather deepen the disparities between the Member States and will not lay out the premises for economic development and new jobs. Repeatedly, the European Parliament drew the attention that serious negotiations are needed so that the new MFF 20014-2020 to become a tool of economic progress. Instead the result was a budget that further on continues the direction of austeritys obtuse philosophy and budgetary cuts. Thus, for the very first time since the establishment of the EU, on the grounds of an unprecedented reduction of the EUs budget, the Members States have to intensify their efforts if they want to benefit from the available funds. 149

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According to the Councils proposal, Romania has to receive approximately EUR 1000/capita, while Poland gets EUR 1900. Only now, the Romanian public agenda focuses on the new MFF and the regional reform. Succeeding the European debate and especially the one from the European Parliament, decisions will be adopted in terms of institutional and administrative legislation with a real impact on the future of the Cohesion Policy implementation in Romania, which will bring its benefits to the country, including a higher absorption rate, not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. While still outside the public agenda, the two elements will be the subject of debate in the near future and the decisions that will be taken must find their argumentation in a set of realities and need to be outlined in an accurate assessment. The experience from the Committee for Regional Development of the European Parliament and a negotiation strategy prepared in advance are fundamental resources in this entire process. On the other hand, any fundamental change affecting EU Cohesion policy has to have Commissions explicit approval in advance and this cannot be achieved unless a serious and pragmatic dialogue exists, both during the preparation stage as well as during the implementation. Any government should take into consideration that planning such reforms is a strict and serious issue. Any other approach that does not bear in mind our countrys terrible experience or the delaying of the decisions required to set the new strategic guidelines is nothing but petty politics, which will only deepen the disparities between Romania and the other Member States. The conclusions and warnings emerging all these years are equally present today. For years now, Romanian governments have mimicked their commitment to carry out these reforms and the result was

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catastrophic. Since time is no longer a friend of ours, 2013 is the year to elaborate and implement the regional and institutional reforms so that this colossal machinery managing the European funds to be fully prepared. The stake of EU funds available until 2013 substantially changed its weight, especially in the context of crisis consequences. This is why, our country no longer affords to stand back and deny itself one of the most important advantages of the EU membership.

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Constant evaluations on the extremely low level of EU funds absorption

2010 negatively emphasized Romanias absorption capacity due to two equally harmful events: VAT increase, leading to more expensive European and co-financing money and the significant decrease of civil servants salaries, including here the experts in attracting European funds. Also, the removal of the experts from the system has caused a destabilization of the management of EU funds. Thus, the solutions that were required, since that time, aimed the training programs, which should be offered both to those working in public administration in general, but also to those managing EU funds, in particular. Encouraging all those managing projects funded by the European Union requires interinstitutional cooperation and coordination and economic incentives. Today, when we evaluate the importance confered by Romania to the Cohesion Policy through the human and economic resources allocated, we can easily see how lightly this policy was treated. Launched on May 1, 2009, at the initiative and coordination of MEP Victor Botinaru, the study "White Paper of the Administrative Capacity - European funds absorption by small and medium-sized

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communities1 represented the first large-scale research seeking to identify the problems faced by local actors in the process of absorption of EU funds. The study was appreciated both in Brussels as well as by the Romanian academic circles. With a sample of 874 municipalities, representing over 7 million Romanian local inhabitants, the study revealed that, in addition to the absence of trained personnel and weak fiscal capacity of local governments, the important bureaucratic obstacles, the collection of rules that were too bulky and difficult to understand, non-transparent regulations on financing, small chance to exchange experiences between project proponents and undeveloped possibilities for interregional coordination are influencing the administrative capacity to manage any kind of project. At that time, the study recommended the regional reform to be initiated by a law regarding the establishment of the position of Governor / Regional Prefect whom to coordinate regional development policy in developing regions. To this measure, the support of the central government as well as the banks in terms of co-financing and the elements of pre-financing guarantees can be added. Introducing some form of conditionality for the consulting firms like being paid only if the project is eligible and the practiced fees to reflect their performance, was another step towards improving the performance of those companies.

The Study "White Paper of the administrative capacity - European funds absorption by small and medium-sized communities" took place from February 4 to February 23, 2009, on a sample of 874 municipalities, representative of small and medium-sized territorial administrative units in Romania, with an error of +/- 2.9%. The sample type is probabilistic, stratified based on the data provided by the census of 2002, consisting of 32 layers resulted from the intersection of 8 geographical areas with 4 types of urban and rural settlements. The full study is available at this address: www.victorbostinaru.ro/Studiu.zip

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In terms of reducing bureaucracy, the study "White Paper of the administrative capacity - European funds absorption by small and medium-sized communities recommended the conclusion of an agreement between the Government and the National Union of County Councils, Association of Municipalities, Association of Municipalities and Villages Association on the agenda on simplifying and debureaucratization, in accordance with the reports adopted by the Committee on Regional Development of the European Parliament. And last but not least, the identification and promotion of examples of good practice and successful projects in Romania is also recommended. In this respect, it is also mentioned at that time, that a database containing all the projects within each Regional Development Agencies in Romania could be created, with the support of the national and local authorities. During August 2009 January 2010, Soros Foundation Romania carried out a sociological research with two components: one quantitative, based on a self-filled in questionnaire, addressed to all City halls in Romania and a qualitative one, during which 8 case studies were conducted. According to the results of the research, published in the study Autoritile locale fa n fa cu fondurile europene, the following were determined2: The wealthy (city halls with a high local budget) are those accessing European funds and developing out of them, resulting in an increase of the inter and intraregional disparities and thus violating the principles of EU Cohesion Policy, according to which the reductions of gaps and disparities between regions is pursued.

Alexandru TOTH, Ctlin DRTEANU, Daniela TARNOVSCHI coord., Autoritile locale fa n fa cu fondurile europene, Coordonatori, Funaia Soro, Bucureti, 2010. http://www.soros.ro/ro/publicatii.php?cat=24#, 30 ianuarie 2013.

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A national strategy for supporting and assisting the poor and disadvantaged City Halls, facing problems in accessing the communitarian funds, is missing. There is the need that the state agencies coordinating the European funds to perform the territorial monitoring of the distribution of these funds in order to prevent and stop widening the inter and intraregional disparities. European funds are difficult to access and even more difficult to implement and if problems are asserted, the money will have to be returned. It is very likely that in a not so far future, one would discover that Romania is only a net contributor to the budget of the European Union. Now, local authorities whose budgets are severely affected by the economic-financial crisis will probably encounter problems in implementing the projects already won (no co-financing power). If, for many (especially for those governing the country, according to the statement of the Prime Minister) European funds are a way out of the crisis, reality can be different though. European funds can become a burden, not being able to absorb them or they may represent the apple of discord, the reasons for insecurity and social tension due to an increase of the differences between the wealthy and the poor. Another evaluation made in the context of the visit of the Committee on Regional Developments delegation to Romania, which took place in the period November 3-5, 2010, shows that: In Romania, regional structures have no responsibility, either functional or fiscal, and thus, no competence in terms of policy drafting. Therefore, one of the biggest challenges for the next years will be to address this kind of imbalance in the benefit of the regions. As a EU accession prerequisite, Romania developed an institutional frame for

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managing EU support, which includes a series of administrative structures and monitoring mechanisms. However, the monitoring reports of the European Commission suggest that Romania should strengthen anti-corruption general policy, especially by a high-level coordination and based on an independent evaluation of the impact of the results of the last two anti-corruption strategies implemented in 2005. In addition, in terms of public acquisitions, Romania should evaluate the effectiveness of the legal framework and the assignment of responsibilities to the competent authorities, in terms of protection against the conflict of interest and to modify them, if necessary. Also, the authorities should consider forbidding public officials and elected representatives to benefit directly or indirectly from commercial contracts concluded on behalf of their institution and to establish full transparency in this area.3 It is worthy of note that, at this point, the European Commission Report on the progress of Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism on January 30, 2013, states that progress seems very limited in the prevention and sanctioning of corruption related to public procurement. The advances made against high-level corruption have not been matched in public procurement. Cases seem to take a long time, partly due to the need for specific financial expertise, leading to the particular problem of contracts concluded before court judgement on the offence. The penalties for officials involved in fraudulent public procurement cases continue to be very low and the law does not foresee a possibility of a cancellation on the grounds of conflict of interest of projects that have already been executed. There are also major doubts on the effectiveness of prosecution handling of these cases. Recent proposals
Ivana KATSAROVA, Situaia economic, social i teritorial a Romniei, Direcia General Politici Interne - Departamentul tematic politici structurale i de coeziune, noiembrie 2010.
3

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seem to call into question the stable independent institutional basis essential for real progress.4 Yet these remarks, together with the media reports in summer of 2011, raise important question marks over the integrity of Romanian audit and control mechanisms on one hand, and the over the leadership of ministries and institutions involved in this period in the absorption process, on the other hand. The same evaluation of DG Internal Policies - Structural and Cohesion Policy Department also states that "effective absorption of structural funds depends largely on the quality of the programming phase, where the priorities should reflect the needs and capacity of the actual beneficiaries. Therefore, defining them during the consultation with the stakeholders in a decentralized and transparent environment requires the development of national capacities which are undergoing a training process in Romania. Since its accession to the EU on January 1, 2007, Romania has absorbed funds equivalent to 0.75% of GDP, compared with the 2% originally planned, while in 2008 only a quarter of the funds made available by Brussels were used. Further simplification of delivery mechanisms at European and national level will certainly contribute to speeding up this process5. This did not happen, mainly because the delivery mechanism from the European level was not simplified while the national mechanism encountered a number of problems that this very study intends to emphasize. At these assessments add up some articles from the Romanian media that quote an internal report of the European Commission. According to Fin.ro, within an article from July 2011, a document of the
4

Report of the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the progress in Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, http://ec.europa.eu/cvm/docs/com_2013_47_en.pdf, 30 January 2013. 5 Ivana KATSAROVA, op cit.

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EU executive shows the degree of disappointment our country produced as a member6. Thus, an analysis on the use of European funds reveals the main problems: corruption and abusive public procurements. Moreover, as a result of the irregularities notified by the European Commission in nearly 100% of the sample that was verified, a decision to suspend the payments was taken until December 2011. Thus the decision to suspend the payments came as a result of fraud suspicions, found in 61 from the 64 projects that were subject to the analysis of the European anti-fraud institutions. A year later, in December 2012, other five Operational Programmes would face payments suspension due to irregularities found by the European Commission audits. The background of the document refers to the general issue of the absorption of EU funds, the perspective of losing a large amount of money in 2013 is being invoked in the absence of concrete measures taken that year. The Commission officials were showing that the levels of absorption were low in Bulgaria and alarmingly low in Romania, except the funds for agriculture. In Romania, the absorption rate for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is 3,4% and for the European Social Fond (ESF) -1,4%. In comparison, the EU average for the fourth year of implementation was 17%. Despite the Commission's efforts to address this situation, there is little progress on the ground. Romania's response seems to be superficial and does not address the root causes of the problems. The negative assessment is also shared by other international financial institutions. DGs have no interlocutor at the political level, while managers within the administration are frequently replaced. The system's capacity to manage public procurement remains low. Unless concrete
Vlad BARLEANU, CE suspecteaz DNA i guvernul c mpiedic investigaiile OLAF din Romnia", Fin.ro http://www.fin.ro/articol_63625/ce-suspecteaza-dna-siguvernul-ca-impiedica-investigatiile-olaf-din-romania.html, 18 July 2011
6

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steps are taken in 2011, Romania is going to lose a large part of EU fund as of 2013. DGs called for actions to be taken by the Commission at the highest political level7, the document also shows. According to Fin.ro, these messages were officially sent to the Romanian administration, fact that explains the hurrying for a governmental reshuffle having as criteria the results of implementing the European projects or even the establishment of a special ministry. Today, The Commission has no central interlocutor in Romania, with sufficient political influence to assure the implementation of an action plan agreed to speed up absorption8 said the specialists from Brussels quoted within the media article. One of the conclusions of the article notes that the Regional Policy of the European Union is being questioned by the governments disastrous policy. The reasons identified by the Commission for this matter of fact are the weak administration, the inefficient procedures, the political interferences, the formalist manner of applying the rules and a judiciary system not able to better protect against the conflict of interest, corruption and fraud. The financial consequences of the low absorption rate threaten the credibility of the regional policy and weaken the position of the Commission within the budgetary negotiations that will follow9 is one of quoted passages from the EC internal document.

The Commissions officials make a brief history of the most recent events in the relation with Romania. Thus, in December 2010, Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission made a suggestion to the political leaders from Bucharest to create a special
7 8

Idem Idem 9 Idem

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ministerial portfolio for the coordination of EU funds and to set up an action plan, offering the direct support of the Commission. The reply by Romania to this initiative has so far been disappointing. No effective policy coordination at high level was established, the implementation of an action plan received by Romania in May is already slipping behind the target deadlines and no reply to the offer of targeted assistance has been received10 the document says. In this context, the Commission states that Romania should take the following immediate measures: The coordination of EU funds is transferred to a person of ministerial level, close to the Prime Minister, at latest by 1 August 2011. (In this respect it is notable the delay of about two months from the Romanian Government). To rigorously implement the priority action plan to increase the capacity to absorb structural and cohesion funds submitted by Romania in April 2011. The implementation is monitored through regular meetings between the Government and the Commission and monthly reports. If necessary, the action plan will be revised by Government decision after consultation with the European Commission. A list of measured to improve administrative capacity is agreed with the Commission and approved by the Government at latest by 1 October 2011. This list should include actions to improve institutional stability, to adopt transparent and merit-based appointment criteria for management positions and to prevent and detect conflicts of interest in the management of funds.

10

Idem

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A list of measures to improve public procurement practice is agreed with the Commission and approved by the Government at latest by 1 October 2011 following an independent assessment carried out in this area. The measures will be updated by 1 March 2012 following publication of a complementary review of the World Bank. According to the figures available on 21 December 201211, Romania has effectively absorbed 4 billion euro of the 20 billion available for the period 2007-2013, with an interim payments rate of only 9, 7%. These figures place Romania last in the European Union. The analysis and assessments in all these years are surprisingly current and recurrent. From this point of view, the findings are simple: the disregard, corruption and incompetence at the highest level left their mark on the capacity to absorb structural and cohesion funds. But systemic issues have also contributed to Romania's disastrous situation. If the first category of vulnerabilities falls within the scope of the judiciary system and even the electoral cycle, for the second, political decisions are needed, adopted with largest consensus after debates with all involved actors.

11

Annex 1

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Notes and references


BRLEANU Vlad, CE suspecteaz DNA i guvernul c mpiedic investigaiile OLAF din Romnia, Fin.ro http://www.fin.ro/articol_63625/cesuspecteaza-dna-si-guvernul-ca-impiedica-investigatiile-olaf-dinromania.html, 18 iulie 2011. KATSAROVA Ivana, Situaia economic, social i teritorial a Romniei, Direcia General Politici Interne - Departamentul tematic politici structurale i de coeziune, noiembrie 2010. TARNOVSCHI Daniela coord.,TOTH Alexandru, DRTEANU Ctlin, Autoritile locale fa n fa cu fondurile europene, Coordonatori, Funaia Soro, Bucureti, 2010. http://www.soros.ro/ro/publicatii.php?cat=24#, 30 ianuarie 2013. Report of the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the progress in Romania under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, http://ec.europa.eu/cvm/docs/com_2013_47_en.pdf, 30 January 2013.

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Conceptual framework

The absorption capacity represents the ratio in which a country is able to effectively and efficiently spend the financial resources allocated from the Structural Funds12. The absorption capacity depends on the administrative and institutional capacity, namely on the existence of some institutional bodies able to draft and implement projects as well as on the coordination and collaboration capacity between the involved institutions. The experience of the performing states shows that the absorption capacity is closely related to the administrative and institutional capacity. The framework law on decentralisation no 195/2006 defines the administrative capacity as the overall of material, institutional and human resources a territorial-administrative unit is having, as well as the actions it carries out to exercise the competences established by the law. According to the same law, the administrative capacity is being evaluated and determined by law. In a smaller acceptation, the administrative capacity to absorb European funds is defined as a set of competencies belonging to the central, regional and local authorities that allows them to develop, at a reasonable level and in time, plans, programmes and projects, to take
12

Gheorghe OPRESCU coord.,Daniela Luminia CONSTANTIN, Florinel ILIE, Drago PSLARU, "Analiza capacitii de absorbie a fondurilor comunitare n Romnia", Institutul European din Romnia - Studii de Impact III, p. 9

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decisions regarding these programmes and projects, to coordinate key partners and to successfully manage the administrative and reporting workload. Also, the administrative capacity refers to the ability to finance, to supervise the implementation of projects and to avoid frauds.13 The institutional capacity marks the institutional factors14, both at EU level and at national level. At EU level, the institutional capacity refers mainly to the European Commission and its activity but also to the reports of the European Parliament and the result of the negotiations from the Council. At national level, the institutional factors relate to the real structure of the economy, the organisation of the political system and the governmental structures as well as the economic policies. The financial capacity represents the ability of central and local authorities to co finance programmes and projects supported by the European Union, to plan and guarantee these contributions within multiannual budgets and to collect them from the various partners involved within a project or programme.

13

Andrej HORVAT, Absorption Problems in the EU Structural Funds, Ljubljana, 2004, p. 9. 14 Idem

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Notes and references


HORVAT Andrej, Absorption Problems in the EU Structural Funds, Ljubljana, 2004. OPRESCU Gheorghe coord., CONSTANTIN Daniela Luminia, ILIE Florinel, PSLARU Drago, "Analiza capacitii de absorbie a fondurilor comunitare n Romnia", Institutul European din Romnia - Studii de Impact III.

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The absorption of structural and cohesion funds

I.

Preliminary Considerations

This Study has been drafted by Musat & Asociatii upon the request of Mr Victor Bostinaru, member of the European Parliament and its purpose is to perform a legal analysis of the legislative and institutional framework of European Structural Funds and the dysfunctions thereof, to evaluate the consequences of identified dysfunctions and to propose potential solutions to remedy the dysfunctions. This Study aims to be an analysis of the causes which generated a very low level of European funds absorption in Romania, and we shall hereinafter describe the reasons relating to the public authorities involved in the entire European financing process at national level, as well as the ones relating to the actors (beneficiaries) involved. At the same time, this Study aims to analyze Romanias absorption capacity in view of achieving the Cohesion Policys goals, an absorption capacity which in the case of states that recently accessed the European Union represents the main instruments by which they may adjust the disparities between them and the senior Member States.

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This Study was prepared between March 2012 and October 2012 (a period to be deemed as a reference period for accessing the studied documents and information). The conclusions, ascertainments and recommendations of Musat & Asociatii that are comprised in this Study refer to and are limited to the purpose of the analysis, as described above.

This Study is based exclusively on the provisions of Romanian laws and European regulations, as they may be interpreted and enforced by Romanian courts of law and/or arbitration courts. Musat & Asociatii does not express nor issue any opinion in relation to which or that may have legal consequences regarding the legislation of jurisdictions other than the Romanian one. In this respect, please note that the opinion of Musat & Asociatii referring to the applicability of an obligation or the applicability of a document means that the analyzed obligation or document is of the type and form enforceable by Romanian courts. However, taking into consideration that Romania is a civil law jurisdiction, in which court decisions may differ depending on the court rendering them, it is practically impossible to positively determine the manner in which a Romanian court would interpret the rights and obligations of the parties based on Romanian law.

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II. 2.1.

DESCRIPTION OF EUROPEAN STRUCTURAL FUNDS Introduction to the European Union development policy

As of the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty on the European Union, one of the major objectives of the European Union has been to strengthen the economic and social Cohesion Policy. Certainly not all the regions of the European Union enjoy the same level of development, especially since the extension of the European Union to 27 Member States has generated new issues concerning internal competitiveness and cohesion. The economic and social development differences between the senior Member States of the European Union and the states which have recently accessed the Union represent the reason of deepening the existing gaps between Member States. In an attempt to reduce disparities between the states (regions) of the European Union, a cohesion policy was implemented, involving the reduction of existing gaps between regions in terms of production and productivity. To achieve the goal of the Cohesion Policy, the targeted Member States and regions require financial aid in view of settling various existing structural issues and achieving their development potential. Therefore, the development of any new Member State in view of reducing the disparities mostly relates to its absorption capacity, which represents the level at which a Member State manages, within a determined time frame (usually, during a financial year), to absorb and use its available funds from the budget of the European Union based on the administrative capacity of that country and the institutional capacity thereof for achieving, developing and implementing projects for drawing European funds. In its turn, the administrative capacity1 is the ensemble of material, institutional and human resources available to an
1

As per Law no. 195/2006 - the framework law for decentralization

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administrative-territorial unit, as well as the actions undertaken by the latter in order to exercise the duties determined by law, while the institutional capacity is the ensemble of institutions by which the state or the administrative-territorial units transpose the decisions adopted at the administration level in view of achieving the Cohesion Policy. The economic and social cohesion policy based on financial solidarity, namely the redistribution of a part of the community budget created through the contribution of the Member States, to the less prosperous regions and social groups represents a solidarity policy, its purpose being that of promoting competitiveness and employment at a large scale. At the same time, one of the main goals of the Cohesion Policy is to improve the Single European Market2, leading to an increase of welfare in the Member States of the European Union. Thus, the European Union has created a legislative and institutional framework to ensure that the objectives of the Cohesion Policy are achieved. 2.2. General Community-Level Legislative Framework

The legal framework of the Community policy for regional development is provided in the contents of Title XVII of the European Union Treaty, determining the objective of the regional policy, namely to reduce the inequalities between the levels of development of various regions and the falling behind of less developed regions or islands, including rural areas.

The Single European Market is represented by the free movement of the population, commodities, services and capital within and among Member States of the European Union, as if they were moving within a single country. This entails a customs union, an internal market (consisting of annulling the obstacles between Member States against the four fundamental freedoms: free movement of persons, commodities, services and capital), free competition and a joint commercial policy.

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In addition to the general legal framework provided in Title XVII of the European Union Treaty, the main legislative documents representing the general legislative framework at the level of the European Union are: Regulation no. 1080/2006 on the European Regional Development Fund (EFRD); Regulation no. 1081/2006 on the European Social Fund (ESF); Regulation no. 1082/2006 on European territorial cooperation; Regulation no. 1083/2006 determining the general provisions concerning the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund; Regulation no. 1084/2006 on the Cohesion Fund (CF); Regulation no. 1828/2006 concerning the implementation rules for (EC) Commission Regulation no. 1083/2006 containing general provisions concerning the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and (EC) Commission Regulation 1080/2006 concerning the European Regional Development Fund; (EC) Commission Regulation no. 1177/2009 of September 30, 2009 concerning the new procurement limits. 2.3. The Legislative Framework in Romania

The main national legislative rules in the area of managing structural funds are: Government Decision no. 457/2008 on the institutional framework for coordinating and managing structural instruments; Government Decision no. 1115/2004 on preparing the National Development Plan in association; 170

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Law no. 315/2004 on regional development in Romania; Government Decision no. 109/2009 on the organization and operation of the National Agency for Fiscal Administration; Law no. 490/2004 on financially stimulating the staff managing Community funds; Government Decision no. 595/2009 for the enforcement of Law no. 490/2004 on financially stimulating the staff managing Community funds; Law no. 200/2005 approving EGO no. 22/2005 for supplementing Law no. 94/1992 concerning the organization and activity of the Court of Auditors; Government Ordinance no. 66/2011 on preventing, ascertaining and sanctioning irregularities occurred in obtaining and using European funds and/or national public funds relating thereto; Law no. 500/2002 on public finance; Law no. 273/2006 on local public finance; Law no. 84/2003 amending and supplementing GO no. 119/1999 on internal audit and preventive financial control; Law no. 672/2002 on internal public audit; Emergency Government Ordinance no. 63/1999 on managing non-reimbursable Community funds distributed to Romania and related co-financing funds, as amended and supplemented. Emergency Ordinance no. 64/2009 on the financial management of structural instruments and their use for the convergence objective;

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Order no. 673/13.04.2009 amending Order no. 752/2006 of the Minister of Public Finances approving the procedure for the issuance of the fiscal certificate for legal entities and individuals, the budget obligations certificate, as well as the model and contents thereof; Local Public Administration Law no. 215/2001; Law no. 220/2008 determining the system for promoting the production of green energy. Government Decision no. 218/2012 approving the Methodological norms for enforcing the provisions of Emergency Government Ordinance no. 64/2009 on the financial management of structural instruments and their use for the convergence objective. Cohesion Policy Objectives In view of financing the cohesion policy, a number of 3 (three) financing structural instruments were set up, as follows: 1. 2. 3. The European Regional Development Fund (EFRD), The European Social Fund (ESF) and The Cohesion Fund (CF).

In their turn, these structural instruments finance the following objectives: (i) The Convergence Objective

The convergence objective aims to economically develop regions that are under-developed by performing investments in key areas such as: infrastructure, human capital or the environment. The regions targeted by the convergence objectives are the NUTS II regions (Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics), namely the ones registering a GIP/capita 172

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of less than 75% of the Community average. Consequently, based on the criteria mentioned above, the entire territory of Romania is eligible under the convergence objective, taking into account that the GIP/capita in each region is less than 75% of the EU-25 Community average3. At the same time, apart from the above-mentioned regions, the Member States whose GIP/capita is less than 90% of the EU-25 Community average are also eligible for financing based on this objective. (ii) Regional Competitiveness and Employment

In order to benefit from funding based on the regional competitiveness and employment objective, it is mandatory for the targeted regions not to qualify for funding based on the convergence objective. This objective is financed though EFRD and ESF. Referring to the activities that may be financed under this objective, please note that it is mandatory that they refer to objectives such as: (i) the development of competitive regions or (ii) employment. (iii) European Territorial Cooperation

The purpose of this objective is to increase inter-regional cooperation, to increase exchange of experience and, respectively, trans-border cooperation based on joint programs conducted by neighboring regions. For the financial period 2007-2013, the policys framework relates to the fulfillment of objectives set out in the Lisbon Agenda4, as well as in the contents of the Goteborg Agenda5.

UE-25 represents all 25 Member States of the European Union, which made up the Union before the accession of Romania and Bulgaria. 4 The objectives of the Lisbon strategy, as re-launched on February 2, 2005, include: supporting knowledge and innovation in Europe, the reform of state aid policies, improving and simplifying the regulatory framework in which an enterprise operates and creating an internal service market; eliminating obstacles as concerns the free circulation in the area of transportation, labor and education; developing a common

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2.4.

Financial Instruments

Based on the three financial instruments, a third of the total budget of the European Union for 2007-2013 was assigned, to be distributed among: (a) The European Regional Development Fund (EFRD)

The European Regional Development Fund is the most important structural fund as concerns the resources, aiming to reduce the gaps among various regions of the European Union by granting financial aid to under-privileged areas. The amounts allocated by EFRD must mandatorily observe certain criteria, namely: (i) to focus on objectives and regions, (ii) to determine a partnership policy among the European Commission, Member States of the European Union and local players, (iii) to have the intervention scheduled and (iv) to be complementary to the Community contribution. In addition, EFRD significantly contributes to increasing the economic and social cohesion by supporting the development of regional economies and reconstructing those regions facing industrial decline. Thus, EFRD supports the priorities of the European Union, particularly strengthening competitiveness and innovation, long-term employment and ensuring a durable development. (b) The European Social Fund (ESF)

The European Social Fund is the main instrument for implementing the European Unions social policy, ensuring the financial support required for professional training and reconversion, but also creating new workplaces.
approach of economic migration; supporting efforts for approaching the social consequences of economic restructuring. 5 The objectives of the Goteborg agenda for a durable development, as agreed by the European Council in 2001 include: climate changes, transport systems, public health, the responsible management of natural resources.

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At the same time, the role of ESF is to contribute to the strengthening of economic and social cohesion, in view of ensuring a high level of employment rate and sufficient jobs, by improving the employment opportunities of EU citizens. Moreover, ESF also aims to support national employment policies, as well as to ensure quality and productivity through the free access of European Union citizens on the Community labor market. (c) The Cohesion Fund (CF)

The major contribution of the Cohesion Fund is emphasized by strengthening the economic and social cohesion of the European Union, having as final purpose the promotion of a durable development of Member States. 2.5. Structural and Cohesion Funds in Romania

Between 2007 and 2012, Romania was allocated6, based on the structural and cohesion funds, a total amount of EUR 19.668 billion, of which (i) EUR 12.661 billion represents the Structural Funds within the Convergence Objective, (ii) EUR 6.552 billion are distributed through the Cohesion Fund, and (iii) EUR 0.455 billion are allocated to the European Territorial Cooperation Objective. In Romania, the implementation of Structural and Cohesion Funds is performed based on the following documents: (i) the Romanian National Development Plan for 2007-2013 (RNDP), (ii) the National Strategic Reference Framework for 2007-2013 (NSRF), (iii) the Operational Programs (OP) and (iv) the Framework Implementation Documents (FID).

As per the information available on http://ec.europa.eu/romania./documents/press_releases/10_07_sinteza_csnr.pdf.

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2.5.1.

The Romanian National Development Plan for 2007-2013

RNDP 2007-2013 is a strategic and financial planning document, approved by the Romanian Government, drafted in partnership with the competent structures of the European Union, having as purpose the economic development of Romania in accordance with the European Unions cohesion policies. The strategy agreed together with the European Commission regarding the use of structural instruments and the OP implementing these funds was drafted in compliance with RNDP 2007 - 2013. 2.5.2. The National Strategic Reference Framework for 2007-20137

NSRF is the main document for programming Structural and Cohesion Funds in Romania. The document is drafted by each Member State of the European Union, as per the new Community acquis8 on the Cohesion Policy. Nevertheless, please note that this document cannot represent a management instrument, and it must be regarded as an instrument based on which the intervention instruments for Structural and Cohesion Funds between 2007 and 2013 are to be determined. At the same time, NSRF provides details on the implementation instruments for structural funds between 2007-2013, and the document serves as a link between national priorities and European-level priorities set up based on the 2007-2013 Community Strategic Guidelines9 on

Idem. According to the new acquis concerning the European Unions Cohesion Policy, each Member State prepares a National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), as reference document for scheduling Structural and Cohesion Funds. 9 The Community Strategic Guidelines on Cohesion 2007-2013 These orientations prepared by the European Commission and adopted by the European Union Council refer to enhancing of the amenity of Member States, regions and cities by improving access, services and the environment, encouraging businesses, innovation and economic growth, by consolidating innovation and research capacities and creating new employment opportunities through the development of entrepreneurship,
8

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cohesion and the 2005-2008 Integrated Guidelines of the European Union for Economic Development and Employment10. The framework for preparing NSRF was RNDP, as approved by the Romanian Government in December 2005, while the purpose of drafting NSRF was to consolidate the economic, social and regional policies of Romania for their harmonizing with the European Commission policies, required by the Lisbon Strategy; a document that represents the basis for drafting the economic development policies. In the end, the objective of NSRF is to reduce the economic and social development inequalities between Romania and the Member States of the European Union by generating an additional increase of 15-20% of the GIP until 2015. 2.5.3. Operational Programs

OP are the documents approved by the European Commission in view of implementing the sectorial and regional priorities mentioned in RNDP and approved for financing, being the actual management instruments by which the objectives of NSRF are achieved. At the time of drafting this document, Romania is using a number of 7 (seven) OP under the Convergence Objective: (i) The Sectoral Operational Programme Development (SOP-DHR); Human Resources

improving the adaptability of workers and companies and increasing investments in human capital. 10 The European Council, convened in March 2005, re-launched the Lisbon strategy by redirecting it on development and employment in Europe. Thus, it was decided that the European Union and each Member State shall focus their attention on these areas and shall take the measures required for promoting knowledge, attracting as many people to the labor market and creating as many employment opportunities.

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(ii)

The Sectoral Operational Programme Increase of Economic Competitiveness (SOP-IEC); The Operational Programme Transport (SOPT); The Operational Programme ENVIRONMENT); Environment (SOP-

(iii) (iv)

(v) (vi) (vii)

The Regional Operational Programme (ROP); The Operational Programme Technical Assistance (OPRA); The Operational Programme for the administrative capacities (OP-DAC). development of

Regarding the financing, please note that, except for SOPENVIRONMENT and SOPT, each OP is financed through a single instrument, and, at the same time, each OP is supplemented by a FID, approved by the European Commission, based on which the information regarding the projects and eligible expenses, potential beneficiaries, the settlement methods of eligible expenses, but also the role of the authorities within the entire process of granting European funds is shown. Herein below you may find a short description of the main characteristics of each operational program: (i) The Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development (SOP-DHR)

SOP-DHR is the operational program drafted in accordance with the fourth priority of NSRF (namely the development and efficient use of human capital in Romania through the Convergence Objective). The main objective of SOP-DHR is to develop human capital and increase competitiveness, together with ensuring improved opportunities

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for further access on a modern, flexible and comprehensive labor market for a number of 1,650,000 individuals. The specific objectives of SOP-DHR are: Promoting education and quality primary and continuous training, including higher education and research; Promoting entrepreneurship culture and increasing labor quality and productivity; Facilitating the long-term inclusion of youth and unemployed individuals in the labor market; Developing a modern, flexible and inclusive labor market; Promoting the inclusion/re-inclusion of inactive individuals, including those from rural areas, on the labor market; Improving public employment services; Facilitating the access of vulnerable groups to education and the labor market. To achieve these objectives funds are being directed to the following Priority Axes: Priority Axis 1 Education and professional training in support of economic growth and social development based on knowledge, entailing the development of continuous flexible training paths and increasing access to education and training by providing a modern and quality primary and continuous education, including higher education and research.

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Priority Axis 2

Correlation of continuous learning with the labor market, representing the access to education, increase of employment and the level of education and professional training of human resources by a continuous approach, in the context of a knowledge based society. Increasing the adaptability of workers and enterprises, by promoting entrepreneurship, flexibility and adaptability by supporting competent, trained and adaptable workforce and enterprises. Modernizing the Public Employment Service, by increasing the quality, efficiency and transparency of employment services supplied by the Public Employment Service (ANOFM). Promoting active employment measures, aiming to facilitate the integration of young and longterm unemployed individuals in the labor market, to attract and keep a large number of people on the labor market, including those from rural areas and to support formal employment. Promoting social inclusion, by facilitating access to the labor market for vulnerable groups and promoting an comprehensive and cohesive society for the purpose of ensuring the wellbeing of all citizens.

Priority Axis 3

Priority Axis 4

Priority Axis 5

Priority Axis 6

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(ii)

The Sectoral Operational Program Increase of Economic Competitiveness (SOP-IEC)

SOP IEC represents the main instrument for achieving the first thematic priority of RNDP, namely the increase of economic competitiveness and the development of a knowledge based economy. The general objective of SOP IEC is to increase the economic productivity of Romanian enterprises in order to reduce the gaps between the average productivity of the European Union, the purpose being an average annual increase of 5.5% until 2015, this increase allowing Romania to reach approximately 55% of the European Union average. The specific objectives of SOP-IEC are: To consolidate and develop the manufacturing sector in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. The main aspect of this specific objective is to support the modernization and innovation of existing enterprises and to create new ones, especially small and average enterprises in the manufacturing sectors and the sector of business services. To capitalize and qualify production equipments in order to expand the production basis, to innovate the production processes and equipments and to support the adaptation to international standards leading to the development of the product range. The main aspect of this specific objective is that of creating a favorable framework for the development of entrepreneurship, thus aiming to reduce constraints from the failed market areas (access to funding, financial instruments, access to infrastructures and business services - in order to create new enterprises and develop existing ones). Achieving these objectives is ensured by targeting funds to the following Priority Axes: Priority Axis 1 An Innovative and eco-efficient production system; Priority Axis 2 Competitiveness development and innovation; through research, technological

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Priority Axis 3 Technology of information and communications for the public and private sectors; Priority Axis 4 Increase of energy efficiency and security of supply in the context of fighting against climate changes.

(iii)

The Sectoral Operational Programme Transport (SOPT)

SOPT is the Romanian program document determining the priorities, objectives and targets to be reached for the implementation process of the structural instruments in the transport sector between 2007 and 2013. As compared to the other OPs, SOPT has certain particularities which considerably set it apart in implementation, namely: a) the small number of eligible beneficiaries - SOPT implies the managers of national transport infrastructures which are mostly under the authority/coordination of the Ministry of Transport; all axes and technical intervention areas are similar from the point of view of the investment structures, the difference depending on the general objective of the investments, and, consequently, the applicants guide is the same for each of the technical priorities comprised by SOPT; SOPT eligible projects are known ever from the elaboration stage of SOPT strategy; transport investment projects have a long term preparation period which includes drafting the pre-feasibility study, the technical projects for the tender documentation and obtaining the required approvals, a period that can last up to 5 years.

b)

c)

d)

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The specific objectives of SOPT are: to modernize and develop the TEN-T11 priority axes, by applying the necessary measures for protecting the environment; to modernize and develop the national transport networks, in accordance with the principles of sustainable development; to promote rail, sea and inter-modal transport; to support the development of sustainable transport, by minimizing the negative effects of transport on the environment and to improve the safety of traffic and human health. Achieving these objectives is ensured by targeting funds to the following Priority Axes: Priority Axis 1 To modernize and develop the TEN-T12 priority axes in view of developing a durable transport system and to integrate within the European Union transport networks; To modernize and develop the national transport infrastructure outside the TEN-T priority axes for the purpose of creating a sustainable national transport system; To modernize the transport sector in view of increasing environmental and public health protection and the safety of passengers; Technical assistance.

Priority Axis 2

Priority Axis 3

Priority Axis 4
11 12

In Romanian - Reteaua Trans-Europeana de Transport. This priority axis refers to TEN-T no. 7 the development of the motorways network, TEN-T no. 18 regarding sea transport by navigable ways and TEN-T no. 22 modernizing the rail infrastructure from the perspective of inter-operability.

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(iv)

The Sectoral Operational Programme Environment (SOPENVIRONMENT)

The Sectoral Operational Programme Environment sets the priorities for the Structural and Cohesion Funds interventions (between 2007 and 2013) and the strategy for allocating European funds. SOPENVIRONMENT was drafted by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, under the coordination of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as coordinator of the preparatory process of Romania for accessing Structural and Cohesion Funds between 2007 and 2013. SOP-ENVIRONMENT is the most important operational programme from the perspective of financial allocation and represents the most important financing source for the environment sector, the program being financed through EFRD and CF. The general objective of this OP is to improve the life standards and the environment standards, contributing, at the same time, to the fulfillment of Romanias obligations as concerns environmental protection arising from its EU membership. The specific objectives of SOP-ENVIRONMENT are: To improve access to public utilities in the water and used water sector by ensuring the water supply and sewage systems in most urban areas by 2015 and to determine the management structures of the water/used water services at a regional level. To optimize the waste management systems by improving the waste management infrastructure and reducing the number of historically polluted areas from at least 30 counties until 2015.

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To reduce the negative impact on the environment and to reduce the climate changes effects caused by urban heating systems in the most polluted localities until 2015. To protect and improve bio-diversity and the natural patrimony by supporting the management of protected areas, including the implementation of Natura 200013 network. To reduce the risk of natural disasters that affect the population, by implementing preventive measures in the most vulnerable areas until 2015. Achieving these objectives is ensured by directing funds to the following Priority Axes: Priority Axis 1 Extending and modernizing the water and used water infrastructure (a total of approximately EUR 3.3 billion, of which the EU grant is of EUR 2.8 billion14). Developing the integrated waste management systems and rehabilitation of the historically contaminates areas (EUR 1.2 billion, of which the EU grant is of approximately EUR 1 billion15).

Priority Axis 2

Natura 2000 network is a European network of natural protected areas that comprises a representative sample of wild species and natural habitats of Community interest. The network was created not only for protecting nature, but also for preserving these natural habitats on the long term, to ensure the resources necessary for social and economic development. 14 As per the data supplied by the Ministry of Environment and Forests on its official website www.mmediu.ro/...europene/01...europeana/02.../stadiu_proiecte.doc. 15 http://www.fonduristructurale.ro/Document_Files//mediu/00000029/h7748_Rezumat_POS_Mai_2007.p df.

13

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Priority Axis 3

Rehabilitating the municipal heating plants in view of reducing pollution (EUR 458 million, of which the EU grant is of EUR 229 million16). Implementing appropriate management systems to protect nature (EUR 215 million, of which the EU grant is of EUR 172 million17). Developing the infrastructure for preventing natural risks in the most endangered areas (EUR 329 million, of which the EU grant is of EUR 270 million18). Technical Assistance (EUR 174 million, of which the EU grant is of EUR 130 million19).

Priority Axis 4

Priority Axis 5

Priority Axis 6

The programme refers to the period 2007 and 2013, but unlike the other OP, its objectives also refer to Romanias development needs after 2013, by setting the basis for a sustainable economic development. (v) The Regional Operational Programme (ROP)

ROPs objective is to support and promote a sustainable and territorially balanced economic and social development for all the regions of Romania, with a focus on supporting the sustainable development of cities (potential urban development poles), improving the business environment and infrastructure for the purpose of transforming the regions of Romania into attractive locations for labor, living and leisure.

16 17

http://eufinantare.info/stiri/iul2007/declaratie-ministru-mediu.html. Idem. 18 Idem. 19 Idem.

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The specific objectives of ROP are: To improve the general level of attractiveness and accessibility of regions; To increase competitiveness between regions as business locations; To increase the contribution of tourism to the development of regions; To increase the economic and social role of urban centers. Achieving these objectives is ensured by focusing funds to the following Priority Axes: Priority Axis 1 Supporting the sustainable development of cities potential growth poles. To improve the regional and local transport infrastructure. To improve the social infrastructure. To support the development of the regional and local business environment. The sustainable development and promotion of tourism. Technical assistance for supporting the implementation of ROP.

Priority Axis 2

Priority Axis 3 Priority Axis 4

Priority Axis 5

Priority Axis 6

(vi)

The Operational Programme Technical Assistance (OPTA)

The Operational Programme Technical Assistance (OPTA) aims to ensure an implementation process for structural instruments in accordance with the principles and rules set out among the Member States

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and the European Commission, in compliance with the provisions of (EC) Council Regulation no. 1083/2006 on EFRD, ESF and CF. Thus, in view of ensuring the most efficient method of using structural instruments, each Member State has the obligation to monitor, evaluate and control expenses from structural instruments, as well as to inform and promote financial assistance and the implementation system. For this purpose, OPTA supplements the priority axes for technical assistance within the operational programms and represents an important instrument for the coordination of the Cohesion Policy. The priority axes for technical assistance within each operational program shall provide specific assistance for the process of preparing, monitoring, evaluating and assessing projects, as well as for the communication activities ensuring proper promotion, in accordance with the specifics of each OP. The Management Authorities20 may receive support from OPTA in view of implementing the operations useful to the parties involved in two or more operational programs. At the same time, OPTA may offer increased support for the coordination process and the financial and audit control system. The global objective of OPTA is to ensure the necessary support for the coordination process and to contribute to an efficient and transparent implementation and absorption of structural instruments in Romania. The specific objectives of OPTA are: To ensure the support and the appropriate instruments in view of an efficient and effective coordination and implementation of structural instruments between 2007 and 2013 and to prepare for the future programming period.
20

The Management Authorities are authorities appointed by Romania as being responsible for the management of Operational Programs.

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To ensure a coordinated dissemination at national level of general information regarding structural instruments and to implement the ACSI Action Plan21 for communication, in accordance with the National Communication Strategy22 for structural instruments. Achieving these objectives is ensured by targeting funds to the following Priority Axes: Priority Axis 1 Support for the implementation of structural instruments and coordination of programs; Continuous development and support for the operation of the Sole Management System for information; Dissemination of information and promoting instruments.

Priority Axis 2

Priority Axis 3

(vii)

The Operational Program for the Development of the Administrative Capacity (OP-DAC)

The Operational Program for the Development of the Administrative Capacity is financed from ESF and aims to develop the administrative capacity, as well as to support the efforts for the modernization of the public administration in Romania. OP-DAC benefits from a total financing of EUR 246,014,081, of which EUR 208,002,622 is the contribution of the European Union, and EUR 38,011,459 is the contribution of the Romanian state.

21 22

The Authority for Coordinating Structural Instruments. The National Communication Strategy for Structural Instruments was prepared for the promotion and coordination of structural interventions in Romania, given that a central coordination system was required for the structural instrument communication activities, so that the communication process to be coherent and balanced, to avoid overlaps and contradictory information and to cover the communication gaps, to observe the principle of a sole voice when communicating.

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

OP-DAC has a general objective and two specific objectives. The general objective of OP-DAC is to create a more efficient and more effective public administration for the social and economic benefit of the Romanian society. The specific objectives of OP-DACare: To obtain a structural and process improvement of the management of the public policy cycle in the central and local public administration To improve the quality and efficiency of the public services, with an emphasis on the decentralization process. These two specific objectives are found in the two priority axes, each of the two priority axes being organized on intervention areas. Apart from these two thematic priority axes, there is also a less extended third priority axis, which provides ensuring technical assistance for a better development of the OP-DAC management. To achieve these objectives funds are directed to the following main Priority Axes: Priority Axis 1 To improve the structure and process of the management of the public policy cycle. The first priority axis aims to develop the administrative capacity both at central and at local level, by structural improvements aimed to support the strategic management, as well as by optimizing this process in view of modernizing the performance related to methods, instruments and procedures.

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Priority Axis 2

Improving the quality and efficiency of the public services provided, with an emphasis on the decentralization process. The second axis comprises two major intervention areas focusing directly on the public services provided, with an emphasis on the decentralization process.

2.5.4.

Framework Implementation Documents (FID)

FID is the document drafted for the implementation of the strategy and priority axes of the OP, containing detailed elements of the OP at the major level of intervention23. FIDs are drafted by Member States and reviewed by the monitoring committees, according to the proposal of the Management Authorities. In order to speed up the procedures, FID may be forwarded together with the draft OP. Irrespective of the circumstances, the Management Authority must adopt a FID no later than 3 (three) months after the EC decision approving an OP. 2.7. Institutional Framework

The institutions that are responsible for the coordination, implementation and management of Community financial assistance, as well as the missions entrusted to each of these institutions jointly represent the national framework for European fund accessing mechanisms. Therefore: 1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the authority coordinating structural instruments, being responsible for coordinating the

23

The major intervention area is a subdivision of the priority axes that make up each Operational Program, which classifies in a more detailed manner the guidelines for the financing granted in the said priority axes.

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

implementation of Community assistance through structural funds. 2. The Ministry for appointed as the responsible for administration of programme. Regional Development and Tourism is Management Authority for ROP, being the management, implementation and the financial assistance allocated to this

3.

The Ministry of Public Finance is the Managing Authority for OPTA and SOP-IEC, being responsible for the management, implementation and administration of the financial assistance allocated to this programme. The Ministry of Transport is the Managing Authority for SOPT, being responsible for the management, implementation and administration of the financial assistance allocated to this programme. The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development is the Managing Authority for SOP-ENVIRONMENT, being responsible, like other management authorities, for the management, implementation and administration of the financial assistance of the programme. The Ministry of Labour, Family and Equality of Chances is the Management Authority for SOP-DHU, also being responsible for the management, administration and implementation of the financial assistance allocated to this programme. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administrative Reform was appointed as the Management Authority for OP-DAC.

4.

5.

6.

7.

In view of ensuring the Ministry for European Affairs coordinating role of structural instruments, the Authority for Coordinating Structural

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

Instruments was incorporated, being subordinated to the same ministry. In addition, according to Council Rules no. 1083/2006 on the general aspects referring to EFRD, ESF and CF, the Implementation System of the OP in Romania includes the following authorities: The OP Monitoring Committee; The Management Authority; Intermediary Bodies; The Certification and Payment Authority; The Audit Authority. 2.7.1. The Authority for Coordinating Structural Instruments (ACSI)

The Authority for Coordinating Structural Instruments, established under the Government Decision no. 128/2006 (repealed by Government Decision no. 457/2008), has the following (main) responsibilities: to update the legislation concerning the institutional and procedural framework for the coordination and implementation of structural instruments, after consulting the authorities having responsibilities in the area and formulate points of view and proposals for amendment regarding the legislation having an impact on the management process of structural instruments; to coordinate, monitor and support the development of the administrative capacity of all structures involved in the management of structural instruments, drafting and updating, in this respect, action plans and reporting annually to NCC on the progress registered in the implementation thereof; to draft guides and guidance for the development of the management procedures of structural instruments, ensuring a unitary approach of

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

the procedural framework, and to analyse and formulate recommendations for improving the implementation procedures of operational programs; to coordinate the process of drafting and updating the NDP, as the basic instrument for drafting the NSRF, as well as to draft and amend the NSRF; to coordinate the process of drafting and amending operational programs and related FID, ensuring their correlation, as well as their conformity with Community regulations and NSRF; to analyse the opportunity of reallocating funds between OP; to approve the documents drafted by the management authorities in view of substantiating the budget scheduling of resources representing non-reimbursable external funds received by structural instruments, as well as of the resources allocated from the state budget for pre-financing, co-financing and financing non-eligible expenses; to monitor and support the development by the management authorities of the project portfolio relating to the OP; to ensure harmonization between the legal and procedural framework for the operation of the monitoring committees of operational programs and to participate as member in the meetings thereof; to prepare standard guides and evaluation guides for the interventions financed by structural instruments; to coordinate the process of formulating Romanias position as regards the policy and Community regulatory proposals in the field of structural instruments.

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2.7.2.

The Monitoring (MCOP)

Committees

of

Operational

Programs

The Monitoring Committees of Programs are incorporated for each OP, following the decision to approve the relevant OP, after consulting the European partners and the relevant MA. These committees are responsible for supervising the entire coordination of the OP, ensuring the coordination of structural instruments, as well as monitoring the efficiency and quality of the implementation of Community assistance, the use and impact thereof. The specific duties of MCOP are, mainly, the following: to analyse and approve the selection criteria drafted by the MA (at most within 6 months from the approval of the relevant OP), as well as to approve any amendments thereto; to periodically analyse the progress registered in achieving the program objectives based on the documents received from the MA; to propose the MA to update the OP; to analyse and approve the proposals for amendment of the financial allocations of the OP, in MIA, among priority axes, as well as among regions. 2.7.3. The Management Authorities(MA)

The Management Authorities are the bodies responsible for ensuring the efficient implementation of the programs financed from structural funds. In accordance with Council Regulation no. 1083/2006, each MA is responsible for the efficient management and implementation of the OP they manage.

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

Thus, each MA has the following main duties24: to efficiently use the OP funds; to develop and promote partnerships at all levels of public administration; to coordinate and harmonize the institutional framework together with the development of the administrative capacity; to inform the interested parties in relation to the development of the operational programs. 2.7.4. Intermediary Bodies (IB)

IB fulfils all duties assigned by MA and the Certification and Payment Authorities on a contractual basis, the MA is responsible for fulfilling the tasks assigned in relation to ensuring financing from structural funds. The assignment of duties is performed in compliance and observance of the regional character of the OP, but also the actual capacity and experience of the IB. 2.7.5. The Certification and Payment Authority (CPA)

The Ministry of Public Finance is the authority appointed to fulfill the role of CPA for all OPs, being responsible for certifying the statements on incurred expenses and the payment claims prior to forwarding them to the Commission. Each EU Member State, including Romania, has assigned a separate unit to operate as a CPA, a body responsible for (i) receiving all payments from the European Commission relating to EFDR, ESF and CF, for all
24

Government Decision no. 457/2008 on the institutional framework for the coordination and management of structural instruments (published in Official Gazette no. 346/20.04.2004).

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

OPs, and for (ii) operating payments from Community resources to beneficiaries (direct payments) of to the Payment Units within the ministries having the role of MA (indirect payments). 2.7.6. The Audit Authority (AA)

In Romanias case, a body associated with the Court of Auditors was appointed as AA for all OP. Please note that AA is independent from MA and CPA. 2.7.7. The Certification Process

The certification of payments for structural funds is subject to a process carried out in 4 (four) stages, as follows: Verification Stage I the so-called ex-ante evaluation is ensured by the beneficiary, by verifying the accuracy and eligibility of expenses. Subsequently, the beneficiary submits the payment request to the attention of MA/IB along with the supporting documents. is performed at the level of the IB by internally verifying the documents submitted in this respect by the beneficiary. is ensured by the MA, like in the case of the IB, by internally verifying the documents. relates to the CPA, which, after making the required verifications, submits the intermediary payment requests and their

Verification Stage II

Verification Stage III

The Last Verification Stage

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

certification Commission.

to

the

European

III.

GENERAL CONDITIONS STRUCTURAL FUNDS General Considerations

FOR

OBTAINING

3.1.

The issue of accessing Community funds and, especially, the issue of new European Union Member States accessing these funds represents a major concern at Community level25. Thus, taking into account that Romania is part of the last group of states to access the European Union, the issue of accessing European funds is all the more important at least considering: 1. the consequences of an insufficient absorption affect Romanias long term interests; Romania needs a high level of non-reimbursable Community financing absorption, at national level, to fight against the effects of the pressure exercised by the global economic and financial crisis.

2.

In this context, we must not disregard the fact that, within the process of negotiating the following financial perspective at Community level (i.e. 2014-2020), Romania is interested in remaining a net beneficiary, meaning that, insofar as it is a Member State of the European Union it has the obligation to contribute to the European Union budget, thus it would be beneficial for it that the European funds entitled to receive, to be effectively spent by the beneficiaries, in order to ensure an advantageous balance between the contribution of Romania to the European Union budget and the actually absorbed structural funds.
Ctlina Constantin, Andreea Florina Radu, European Advisor magazine no. 9/2009, http://www.dae.gov.ro/admin/files/Consilier%20European%20Nr%209.pdf
25

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

In this respect, the multiannual financial plan proposed by the President of the European Council, Mr. Herman Van Rompuy severely affects the least developed regions of the European Union, so that the poorer Member States (among which, Romania) having the lowest financing capacity would lose the most, following the enforcement of the multiannual plan, and, in this respect, one of the very purposes for which the European Union was created is reduced, namely: reducing the development disparities. At the same time, the proposal concerning the multiannual financial plan introduces a new condition for allocating budgets - depending on the absorption capacity between 2007 and 2013. Thus, it is well known that in the above-mentioned period, Romania has had the lowest absorption rate in the European Union, a fact that obviously, by applying the provisions of the multiannual plan, will lead to more disadvantages for Romania, by the funds made available for absorption being dramatically reduced. On the other hand, it is well known that accessing non-reimbursable funds is not an easy process, but when the potential beneficiary is informed from the standpoint of the place where it may obtain the information it requires, the proceedings for accessing funds may become more facile. In order to obtain European financing, the first step that must be performed by an applicant is to identify the OP in which the envisaged investment is included, namely to analyse the FID related to the said OP in order to identify the MIA in which it is eligible as an applicant. Aside from the means above, the beneficiary shall have to study the Applicants Guide (the Applicants Guide) available for each MIA and operation therein, in view of preparing the project that the European funds are required for. In addition to the above, potential beneficiaries of non-reimbursable funds must take into account that, beside the possibility of performing an 199

The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

investment with a relatively low financial effort (given the fact that the accessed funds are non-reimbursable), the latter also has certain responsibilities which, in principle, arise after the conclusion of the selection of the projects by the MA/IB and the execution of the financing agreements between the AM/IB and the beneficiary. Thus, reviewing the section Beneficiarys obligations from the Applicants Guide is recommended in order to acknowledge all the beneficiarys duties, which are mandatory undertaken. In view of successfully obtaining European funds, a potential beneficiary must go through the following stages: Stage 1: Stage 2: Stage 3: identify the project idea; identify the OP where the project idea is included; provide information on the existence of an open request for projects in this respect, followed by the initiation of the actual procedures for accessing the available funds.

Stage 4:

In addition, the applicant must ensure that it meets the eligibility conditions, that the application file is complete, respectively, that it meets all the conditions provided under the Applicants Guide. 3.2. Applicants Eligibility Criteria

First, the potential beneficiary must ensure that it fulfills all the specific conditions provided by the MA at the time the request for projects is initiated, in order to be deemed as eligible beneficiary. In general, in order to receive non-reimbursable financing based on an OP, the applicant must be:

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

an organization legally incorporated in Romania, respectively a public or private legal entity, with or without patrimonial purpose, located in Romania; an association or foundation incorporated in accordance with Government Ordinance no. 26/2000 on associations and foundations, as subsequently amended and supplemented; a syndicate or union incorporated in accordance with the legislation in force; a cult institution acknowledged as per Law no. 489/2006 on religious freedom and the general regime of cults. At the same time, the beneficiary must be responsible for the management of the proposed project. 3.3. Project Eligibility Criteria

In general, all financing applications received under the request for project proposals shall be evaluated and selected based on the selection criteria approved by the monitoring committee, prepared in accordance with the provisions of applicable (EC) Council Regulations. Nevertheless, in order for the project to be accepted, it must fulfill the following mandatory criteria: the project must be developed and implemented on the territory of Romania; the project must be relevant in relation to the specific objectives of the applicable priority axes; the project budget must comply with the limits provided in the request for project proposals, and the project must be included in the list of eligible activities specified in the Applicants Guide;

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the project, its duration and the value of the requested financing must fall under the limits provided in the request for projects. 3.4. Co-financing required for projects developed by structural funds

From the total cost of the project, the beneficiary must cover the noneligible expenses, as well as the co-financing. Co-financing may also be represented by the contribution in kind of the applicant, as presented in the guide concerning the eligibility of expenses and the Applicants Guide. Eligible expenses for each project shall be determined by the MA in accordance with the national eligibility rules, so that, at the time a request for projects is initiated, the MA discloses the list of eligible expenses for these projects. 3.5. Stages in Obtaining Financing

The stages to be followed by the applicants in obtaining non-reimbursable European financing can be summarized as follows: Stage 1: the eligible beneficiary fills in the financing request and the annexes requested by the MA; Stage 2: the financing request is sent/submitted by/to the IB/MA (as the case may be); Stage 3: the administrative compliance of the financing request is verified, in accordance with the internal procedures of each MA; after the administrative compliance is verified, the project eligibility is verified next (the project eligibility criteria are available in the Applicants Guide);

Stage 4:

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

Stage 5: conducted; Stage 6:

the technical and financial evaluation of the project is

the selection of the project in accordance with the criteria approved by the monitoring committee is performed the project is approved and the negotiation procedures are initiated and the financing agreement is signed.

Stage 7:

IV.

MAIN DIFFICULTIES OPERATIONAL PROGRAMS General Considerations

IN

IMPLEMENTING

4.1.

The policies of the EU Member States, applicable throughout Unions territory, are based on a fundamental principle of the European structure, namely the principle of solidarity and cohesion. The objective of the European regional policy is to achieve the solidarity of the European Union by economic and social cohesion, reducing the gaps between the development levels of various regions. The regional development policy thus becomes, for Member States, either old or new, one of the most important development tools. A special role in achieving this objective is Romanias capacity to develop and implement sustainable development projects, by attracting funds from European financial instruments. Evidently, the efficiency of the absorption level thereof is conditioned by the administrative capacity of the beneficiary state, in this case, Romania.26

26

Ctlina Constantin, Andreea Florina Radu, European Advisor magazine no. 9/2009, http://www.dae.gov.ro/admin/files/Consilier%20European%20Nr%209.pdf

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Although Romania was among the first states of the European Union to have its OPs approved by the European Commission, the concrete start was slower, in terms of implementing the approved strategy. In this respect, beneficiaries faced relevant problems and the resolution of these matters demands significant amount of time and effort, something to be expected from a newly created system, which is only just beginning the structural and cohesion funds process of implementation. According to the data provided27 by the Romanian Government, as of 2007 and until October 2012, the status of European fund absorption was as follows: Submitted Approved Projects Financing Payments to Agreements/ beneficiaries (total million Projects Decisions RON) 90 352 3,525 3,006 3,617 420 110 11,120 82 338 3,216 2,465 2,466 387 103 9,057 1,884.76 3,474.60 6,040.77 5,083.24 2,510.53 217.35 135.48 19,346.73

Operational Program

SOPT SOPENVIRONMENT ROP SOP-DHR SOP-IEC OP-DCA OPTA TOTAL

145 626 8,162 10,224 14,545 1,371 129 35,202

27

http://www.gov.ro/absorbtia-fondurilor-structurale-si-de-coeziune-proritate-zeroa-guvernului- romaniei__l1a109210.html

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A detailed status28 of the European fund absorption between March and October 2012 is available in Annex no. 1 hereto. Referring to a summary of the absorption indicators, one can note by analysing the table below29 that, at the level of 2011, Romanias percentage as concerns the absorption of European Funds was much lower than the one of the neighboring states, this percentage being lower by as much as 6.7% as compared to Bulgaria, a country accessing the European Union at the same time as Romania.
Absorption of structural funds comparison with other EU Member States Total distributed Country 2007 2013 (billion Euro) Estonia Latvia Poland Czech Republic Bulgaria Romania 3.4 4.5 67.2 26.5

Payments March 2012 (billion Euro)

Absorption Total distributed rate capita/Euro

Total payments capita/Euro

1.6 1.7 26.4 7.0

46.8% 36.4% 39% 26.5%

2,540 2,032 1,759 2,520

1,190 740 690 667

6.7 19.2

1.6 3.3

24% 17.3%

889 897

209 155

http://www.maeur.ro/articole/stadiul-absorbtiei-fondurilor-structurale-si-decoeziune/ 29 Annual report for 2011, Developments and macro-economic and budget perspectives. http://www.wall-street.ro/files/131509-255.pdf

28

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

Hungary Lithuania Slovenia Slovakia

24.9 6.8 4.1 11.5

8.8 3.3 1.6 3.2

35.3% 48.0% 38.3% 27.8%

2,496 2,088 2,000 2,116

881 1,002 767 587

Analysing the data provided in the table above, one can only predict that, at the end of the financial period 2007 2013, Romanias status will also be at the bottom of the top, mostly given to the large disparity registered by Romania in the last 6 (six) years since its accession to the European Union, which evidently, despite the measures taken in this respect by the central and/or local administration, would not make up for the lack of activity, accuracy and consistency of Romania in term of projects and attracting European funds. 4.2. 4.2.1. Measures for improving the absorption level Measures taken by Romanian authorities

Taking into account the difficulties occurred in the course of actually implementing the legislative framework and ensuring the correspondence between the legislative and institutional frameworks, Romania has brought certain amendments to the procedure of accessing these funds, for removing, to the possible extent, the negative effects of a limited absorption. Among the measures30 taken by Romanian authorities in view of improving the European funds accession and absorption levels are the followings:
30

Ioana Morovan Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale (Are we on schedule? 2010 the first balance using structural funds), published in issue 7/February 2010 of the Policy Memo magazine, under the aegis of the Romanian Center for European Policies http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf

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1.

introducing the possibility of granting significant percentages of the eligible value of the project as pre-financing. This measure has aided public entity beneficiaries, by ensuring the funds required for the initiation of procurement agreements. In the case of private beneficiaries, although the initiative of the authorities was helpful, obtaining pre-financing entailed a complex procedure conditioned, in most cases, not supplying a letter of bank guarantee, which evidently could not be obtained by small business owners, since their financial resources were not significant enough to represent the guarantees required by banks. Providing, during contracting stage, of certain documents, required by this amendment was introduced in the financing request submission stage, represented an initiative that was appreciated by applicants, but, nevertheless, in most cases, this form of support also entailed comparable conditioning which, in general, disadvantaged the beneficiaries (i.e. even if providing the documents was not mandatory, the beneficiaries submitting the documents in question had an advantage compared to the rest of the beneficiaries). In order to improve the absorption level, in certain cases, it was decided to waive the requirement concerning certain documents at the time the project was submitted, by replacing them with affidavits from the applicant and the obligation to provide the said documents in the contracting stage. making the criteria referring to the applicants debts to the state budget more flexible was performed by an order issued by the Ministry of Public Finance31, which stipulated that the companies

2.

3.

Order no. 673/13.04.2009 amending Order no. 752/2006 issued by the Ministry of Public Finance, approving the issuance procedure for the fiscal certificate for individuals and legal entities, the budget obligations certificate, as well as the model and contents thereof (published in Official Gazette of Romania no. 355/27.05.2009).

31

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

having such debts could be eligible provided that they comply with the restrictions stipulated by each ministry, in the Applicants Guide. At the same time, an order issued by the Ministry of Public Finance stipulated that the debts cannot exceed 1/12 of the total payment obligations in the case of the certificate issued by A.N.A.F. or 1/6 of the payment obligations for the last quarter in the case of the fiscal certificate issued by local authorities. 4. the amendment of certain criteria and documentation required from potential beneficiaries by MA. connecting certain stages of the evaluation process, respectively: (i) the administrative verification and (ii) the verification of the eligibility have partially reduced the evaluation terms, but such a reduction did not have a significant impact on the evaluation terms.

5.

Simplifying the procurement guidelines did not actually lead to a simplification of the European funds accession process, a series of issues remaining unsolved (i.e the inflation of unjustified documents required by the authorities/officers) even if an attempt was made to include certain more clear instructions in the Applicants Guide on preparing the project budget and covering the unfavourable exchange rate differences arising as a result of the current economic situation. In this respect, it must be mentioned that national law comprises cases in which the potential beneficiaries, whose financing requests were dismissed, have invoked, in the course of the trials initiated for this reason, the misinterpretation of the provisions under the Applicants Guide, a fact that eventually resulted in the dismissal of the requests32.

32

Decision no. 3515 dated 24.06.2009 of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, Administrative and Fiscal Litigations Division;

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

In addition to the above, beneficiaries have been severely affected by the extremely prudent crediting policy of banks, especially in the context of the global financial crisis and the high financing costs33. As a result of the aforementioned, it is obvious that there is need for strong institutional structures, able to ensure the enforcement of public policies, implementing national programs and increasing the implementation capacity, which can only be achieved by strengthening the partnership between local administrations and private structures, especially given that the financial and economic crisis has had a major impact on the issue of absorbing European funds. Consequently, the only means to fight against the effects of the economic crisis is to improve the absorption capacity, which, in Romania, has been very low so far, mainly due to: the inefficiency of specialized institutions corroborated with the low level of information and experience of beneficiaries in executing projects, but also due to the complex process of training the staff managing EU funds; low level of information of potential beneficiaries on the enforcement and operation conditions of European funds. At the same time, the low percentage of applicants which used the specialized services of European fund consultancy companies has resulted in poor quality projects and, implicitly, to a lack of financing. In addition to the above, there is also a lack of predictability of the legislative and institutional framework (repeated amendments have discouraged potential beneficiaries); as well as the dissolution of the National Administration Institute, a fact that reduced the number of experts in central and local public administrations.
33

http://www.inforegionordest.ro/documente/noutati/publicatii/studiu_privind_impl ementarea_por_in_regiunea_nord_est_decembrie_2010.pdf

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

Ultimately, increasing the VAT level in Romania and the influence of the RON/EUR exchange rate in the past years has caused potential beneficiaries to mostly give up the planned projects taking into account that the business plan could no longer be fullfilled as a result of the changes in the financial market. According to the European Advisor magazine, at the level of local/regional authorities, including the level of MA and IB, the following must be taken into account as specific clauses: a reduced reaction capacity in relation to the size of the fund absorption process, as effect of the insufficient staff assigned for these procedures, facts which led to the delay of the project evaluation process and, consequently, to a smaller number of financed projects; respectively the continuous amendment and update of the eligibility conditions referring to the beneficiary or the projects, these amendments being operated during the submission session, which, in most cases, determined the amendment of the project or even led to the impossibility to submit the project or to the non-compliance of the project, in the cases when the project was already been submitted34. Thus, Romanias issues in the process of absorbing European funds are mostly determined by the delayed implementation which is also incompliant with the applicable European regulations, at the level of national legislation, as well as by the manner in which the public authorities chose to apply the said rules. At the same time, another reason for the low absorption level is the lack of financial resources for ensuring the co-financing of projects by the beneficiaries. It worth noting, in this context, the fact that the courts of
34

Ctlina Constantin, Andreea Florina Radu, European Advisor magazine no. 9/2009, http://www.dae.gov.ro/admin/files/Consilier%20European%20Nr%209.pdf.

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The final steps - absorption of structural and cohesion funds 2007-2013

law have come across cases that raised the issue of the beneficiaries not observing the obligation to ensure the national co-financing required for the implementation of the project35. This failure to ensure co-financing was mostly determined by budget constraints (in the case of public law beneficiaries), respectively the liquidities required in the case of private law beneficiaries. Despite the facts mentioned above, one should mention that potential beneficiaries also have the responsibility to increase their own capacity of attracting and implementing the projects financed by structural instruments, by showing interest in being continuously informed in this respect. Among the tools available for beneficiaries to train themselves on accessing European funds, we mention the following: being continuously informed on the funds that fall in the scope of their own activity field, participating in seminars, conferences dedicated to funds and their accessing; focusing their attention on the professional/specialized training of internal staff, in order to be able to prepare projects or to use the professional services of relevant consultancy companies; relying on the support offered by a banking institution in order to identify the co-financing solutions of projects represents an efficient manner of settling issues relating to the co-financing required by the beneficiary, while for major investments it is recommended to perform an initial pre-feasibility study in view of identifying the exact suitability of the investment, as well as to

35

Please see Civil Decision no. 2177 dated May 26, 1999, rendered by Bucharest Court of Appeal, Administrative and Fiscal Litigations Division (although the European financing which was the subject matter of the said case was from PHARE funds, we deem it is relevant for the issue at hand, especially since it dates from 1999 and it appears it has not yet been truly settled).

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avoid wasting time and funds which are required within the process; last but not least, agreeing with local actors (administrativeterritorial units, partners, association structures) on a convention for guaranteeing the legislative framework over a political cycle longer than 4 years. According to the above, the main way of action for fighting against the effects of the economic crisis aimed, and shall continue to be focused on speeding up the absorption of these funds. Thus, over the last period, Romanian authorities have focused on identifying the measures that can counteract the immediate effects of the economic crisis having a direct impact on the pace of implementing the approved strategy. In this respect, among the adopted measures, we mention the following (i) facilitating the access of potential beneficiaries to the financing lines36and (ii) supporting the beneficiaries in implementing already approved projects. The measures considered the experience accumulated at the funds management level during the first implementation years, as well as the main difficulties faced by applicants upon submitting the projects or by beneficiaries during the implementation process. Taking into consideration the need to include the resources distributed with the operational programs as soon as possible, the authorities have also implemented other measures for simplifying the process of submitting projects, without affecting the selection procedure and the requirements provided by the authorities and Community regulations. Therefore, in order to support potential beneficiaries, the competent authorities have taken the following measures:

36

http://www.fonduri-ue.ro/res/filepicker_users/cd25a597fd62/Documente_Suport/Rapoarte_Strategice/Raport_strategic_national_2009_RO.pd f- page 81, last paragraph

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increasing the pre-financing share for beneficiaries from 15% to 30% of the eligible value of the financing agreement37; introducing pre-financing for the beneficiaries whose projects fall under state/minimis aid, in amount of up to 35% of the grant value; introducing the possibility for beneficiaries to pledge/mortgage assets financed by the project for obtaining loans exclusively for ensuring the implementation of the projects. In addition, in view of settling the beneficiaries financing issues, discussions were continued with financial banking institutions in view of identifying other support measures. As regards co-financing from the state budget, Romanian authorities have declared this aspect to be top priority at the level of the Ministry of Public Finance, and, moreover, in order to avoid the existence of any shortages in ensuring public cofinancing, in March 2011 discussions were held about increasing the amount to be lent by the European Investment Bank from EUR 400 million to EUR 800 million, part of this amount aiming to ensure cofinancing from the state budget for investment projects concerning transport infrastructure, environment and energy. Moreover, Romanian authorities have engaged significant efforts to simplify and speed up the absorption of structural instruments, as an important element in the fight against the crisis. At the same time, speeding up the use of these funds is one of the main recommendations of PERE38, the implementation of which also entailed a series of specific measures, divided into three categories: (i) measures not regulations; requiring the amendment of Community

37 38

MFP Order no. 2.359/2011. European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP).

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(ii)

measures which require the amendment of Community regulations and which were regulated in 2009; measures requiring the amendment of Community regulations and which are to be regulated.

(iii)

An analysis of the above-mentioned categories39 shows that, at the level of the operational programs implemented in Romania, the following specific measures of PERE and the Commissions Communication Cohesion Policy: Investing in the real economy40 were enforced: using the possibility to increase the Community contribution per operation up to 100%; introducing the possibility, for actions financed by ESF and EFRD, having as key activities implemented directly by the beneficiary/partner, for the indirect operation costs to be declared as a flat rate; using ESF as an instrument for counteracting crises consequences on the labour market (without requiring program amendments); using the accelerated procedure of public procurement;

Please see the National Strategic Report for the Implementation of Structural and Cohesion Funds prepared in January 2010 and available on the internet at http://www.fonduri-ue.ro/res/filepicker_users/cd25a597fd62/Documente_Suport/Rapoarte_Strategice/Raport_strategic_national_2009_RO.pd f 40 Cohesion Policy - Investing in the real economy represents an important expression of European solidarity and focuses the support on the most disadvantaged European citizens. Between 20072013, the cohesion policy shall invest EUR 347 billion to stimulate growth and shall contribute to the economic and social cohesion.

39

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continuing the use of JASPERS41 as support for preparing major projects. Thus, Romanian authorities undertook a limited number of measures stipulated in PERE, the main reasons being as follows: certain measures do not apply or are not required in Romanias case (e.g. rescheduling at the level of operational programs); other measures are relatively difficult to fulfill in relation to Romanias fundamental financing needs and the capacity/experience of beneficiaries and the programs management structures; since some of the measures entail taking certain risks at the level of the management and control systems, Romanian authorities did not deem advisable to undertake these risks at the moment. In view of counteracting the impact of the economic crisis on structural instruments, in accordance with the specific objective of PERE, Romanian authorities have continued to identify internal measures for simplifying and clarifying the implementation procedures of the OPs in the context of the relevant national legislative framework. Nevertheless, despite the above, the main obstacles were represented by difficulties in preparing the project portfolio and launching the requests

JASPERS is a partnership between the European Commission (the Regional Policy General Directorate), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Recovery and Development (EBRD) and Kreditanstalt fr Wiederaufbau (KfW). The partnership is a technical support instrument for the twelve (12) countries which accessed the EU in 2004 and 2007. By this instrument, the Member States in question are offered the support required to prepare important high-quality projects, which are to be co-financed by EU funds. The consultancy provided by JASPERS may cover: (i) preparing the project (e.g. analysis of costs and benefits, financial analysis, environmental aspects, planning procurements), (ii) verifying the documentation (e.g. feasibility studies, grant requests etc.), (iii) consultancy on compliance with EU legislation (e.g. environmental, competition etc.).

41

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for projects, delays in the evaluation of projects, difficulties in the projects being implemented by beneficiaries, but also institutional issues. Consequently, a large part of the submitted projects have difficulties in accessing Community funds or have implementation issues, which, in most cases, are the result of errors comprised in the project concept. 4.2.2. Case Study: the example of Poland in drawing in European funds

Unlike Romania, which may be an example of inefficiency in drawing in European funds, the case of Poland may easily be deemed an example of success and efficiency in this respect. Although the success of drawing the funds is mostly attributed to the Ministry for Regional Development, led by Elzbieta Bienkowska, the success of such a proceeding could not have been achieved without constant support from local authorities and, evidently, with no cases of corruption in the local or central public administration. In an interview42 offered by the Minister for Regional Development, on the targets set by the Polish Government in this area, the latter stated (...) we have decided to set an objective as regards drawing in European funds. In 2009, we have successfully reached our target: drawing in and spending four billion Euro was a project deemed by experts as being ambitious. Since 2010, we raised the stake and we wanted to obtain 6.7 billion, but we managed to come close to nine billion. The objective for 2011 was ten billion Euro and it was most likely exceeded. The success lies in the seriousness and good training of the persons in charge of this area. The political support and that of local administration is implicit, there is no doubt about it, the need for experts has stopped being a problem for some time, we have trained ourselves to benefit from this money before accessing the European Union and it shows. When we started having access to the money, we already had a team of people in Brussels and another in Poland, who knew everything there is to know.
42

http://m.rfi.ro/articol/stiri/social/polonia-modelul-atragerii-fondurilor-europene

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On the other hand, in Romania, drawing in European funds is more likely not a success. Only five years after accessing the European Union did Romania set up a Ministry for European Affairs. Moreover, if in the case of Poland, out of the two thousand communes, only 30 did not undergo projects, in Romania the percentage is reversed. The above-mentioned facts are the result of the fact that, in Poland, the Ministry for Regional Development coordinates the entire procedure concerning Community funds, all OPs passing though this ministry, and, in addition, the representatives of the administrative units are evaluated depending on the manner in which they strive to obtain European funds. At the same time, as regards making the appointed officers responsible, having in view that between 2004 and 2006, the staff of the Ministry for Regional Development was changed every six months, the Polish Government decided to increase the income of employees, so that the salary would be competitive as compared to the salaries on the market, so that, in this manner, they would ensure a continuity of expertise in the public sector and avoid the migration of experts, which, as seen in Romanias case led to a change in the formal requirements concerning the required documents, but also to a lack of coherence in verifying the files.

4.3.

Preparation by MA of the Project Portfolio

One of Romanias main concerns consisted in preparing a project portfolio able to ensure quick access to European funds, immediately after the approval and launch of the relevant OP. At the same time, the limited capacity of the public authorities in respect of identifying and preparing investment projects represented one of the key causes that prevented the achievement of the above-mentioned actions. Nevertheless, in order to support potential beneficiaries, various financing sources for the required technical assistance were identified, namely: pre-

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accession programs (ISPA43, PHARE44), foreign loans and national budget. Consequently, in certain sectors (e.g. water supply and waste water infrastructure) a significant project portfolio was generated, which at moment even exceeded the allocations available from structural instruments45. In addition, Romania used JASPERS instrument for technical assistance, made available by the European Commission to compensate for the beneficiaries lack of expertise. In this respect, the (public entity) beneficiaries benefited from technical assistance in preparing the applications for major projects. Moreover, the JASPERS support was also used for technical assistance in preparing a methodology guide for conducting a cost-benefit analysis for the investment projects financed from structural instruments in certain sectors. In certain fields (i.e. water supply and waste water sector), the delay in setting up the Intercommunity Development Associations (IDA) represents a major cause of delay in the process of preparing and submitting the projects.

The ISPA (Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession) Program is one of the three non-reimbursable financing instruments of the European Community and it was established through Regulation of the European Union Council no. 1267/1999 in order to assist the candidate countries from Central and Eastern Europe in the preparation for accession to the European Union. It provides assistance to achieve economic and social cohesion among States, for infrastructure projects in the fields of environment and transport. 44 The PHARE (Poland Hungary Aid for Reconstruction of the Economy) Program is one of the three pre-accession instruments financed by the European Union to assist candidate countries from Central and Eastern Europe in their accession to the European Union. Initially created in 1989 to support Poland and Hungary, the PHARE program covers ten countries: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, as well as Bulgaria and Romania. 45 Study on SOP Environment prepared by the Romanian Government, available for consultation on the website www.fonduri-ue.ro/.../Raport_strategic_national_ 2009 _RO.pdf.

43

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At the same time, difficulties in identifying the land plots for building major investment targets continue to represent a significant challenge that needs to be overridden in the project preparation process, despite the fact that MA informed in advance the potential beneficiaries of the conditions to be fulfilled.

4.4.

Major concerns in the process of attracting funds and launching project requests

As already specified hereinabove, the quick approval of OP did not determine the immediate launch of the finances approved, in certain cases, the delays far exceeded the initial foreseen deadline. Thus, among the concerns46 directly connected with project launching, there are: A. Concerns prior to launching project requests: unknown calendar for launching project requests; This concern could be settled by ACIS publishing an informative calendar corresponding to the project launches for the following period. deferring the launch of certain project requests, beyond the announced deadlines, which often led to expiry of the validity of the documents prepared by the applicants, of the approvals and the amendment of the business plans in order to adjust them to the market demand.

Ioana Morovan Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale (Are we on schedule? 2010 the first balance using structural funds), published in issue 7/February 2010 of the Policy Memo magazine, under the aegis of the Romanian Center for European Policies - http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/ crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf.

46

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As a possible solution to this concern, the launches calendar could be taken into consideration, as well as establishing concrete deadlines. B. Concerns subsequent to launching the project requests: delaying the deadlines for submitting the projects, which in respect of their assessment determined the delay in the deadlines. As a possible solution to this concern, it is recommended to keep the announced deadlines. permanent amendment of the necessary documentation, namely implementing numerous changes (i.e. corrigenda) in the Applicants Guide. As a possible solution to this concern, the possibility for certain changes to apply exclusively to the projects to be launched after the change occurrence date could be taken into consideration. the celerity with which MA prepared the first generation of Applicants Guides. The intention of the authorities was to prepare the guides as very detailed and comprehensive documents. Detailing the provisions mentioned in the documentation, obviously implied a detailed analysis of the provisions in the relevant domestic and EU laws, which required an extended period. At the same time, the limited experience and the large workload of the personnel in charge with preparing the guides from the competent structures, added up as obstacle against the efficient performance of the first generation of guides, which proved to be incomplete in most cases.

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the lack of national strategies led to delays in implementing the interventions and, obviously in approving the projects. The primary measures taken by AM in order to foster the process of completing such strategies consisted either in contracting specific technical assistance for preparing the relevant documents, or in intensifying the dialogue with the structures in charge of preparing such strategies.

4.5.
4.5.1.

Preparation of Projects by the Beneficiaries and their Classification Eligibility Criteria

The applicant eligibility criteria, in particular the superficial assessment thereof, is one of the causes that led to a significant number of projects being rejected from a very early stage. Thus, the criteria stipulated in the Applicants Guides, such as (i) the form of incorporation, (ii) seniority, (iii) profitability, (iv) the activity for which financing is requested and (vi) no debts, need to be fully observed, otherwise the project will be rejected from the very first stage. A particular importance is also given to the fulfillment of the projects eligibility criteria, starting with the method of reaching the targets of the financing program, the conditions referring to the immovable assets contained in the project or the operational and financing capacity of the potential beneficiary, as well as those referring to the project implementation period and the compliance with the minimum scoring conditions, have to be fully observed in order to make sure that the project qualifies in the group of projects that are deemed eligible and in order to obtain the necessary financing. In addition, upon preparing the project, one should neither disregard the administrative conditions of the project and of the applicant, as well as

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the time, method, respectively the costs for obtaining the necessary permits, certificates and approvals. As a conclusion to the considerations above, we deem that full compliance with the eligibility criteria and conditions, as they are mentioned in the financing guide, will lead, in most of the cases, to avoiding the rejection of the project in the compliance and eligibility assessment stage. 4.5.2. Superficial Analysis of the Assessment Grid

Most applicants pay no attention to the assessment grid of the financing program prior to its commencement. A preliminary analysis of the assessment grid could help the potential beneficiaries to estimate the minimum and maximum scoring that could be received by their project. Thus, it is recommended to carry out a self-assessment during the development of the project, by means of the assessment grid, so that the potential beneficiary gets an objective outlook on the projects chances of success. This self-assessment may lead to the identification of the project weaknesses and the implementation of ways to improve them. 4.5.3. Setting Inadequate Targets

Most potential beneficiaries made the error of starting a project without the prior determination of adequate targets, and this entailed a significant influence in the structure, content, activities and scoring granted by evaluators. Thus, in order to prevent the rejection of the project, it is recommended for the project targets to be (i) specific, meaning that the project should indicate specifically what it is intended to achieve, (ii) quantifiable, (iii) actually achievable by project implementation, and (v) clearly determined in time.

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The beneficiary complying with these requirements could have a positive influence on the application of certain assessment criteria, such as: relevance of the project for the targets of the financing program, quality and coherence. 4.5.4. Specification of Incomplete, Unclear Activities and/or Not Correlated with the Project Targets Planning the activities to be performed throughout the project caused difficulties to most applicants. Thus, in many cases, the potential beneficiaries omitted to include or detail in the project they propose certain key and mandatory activities, such as organization of tenders, procurement of goods/services, etc. At the same time, in certain cases, even if specified, the unclear description thereof and their lack of correlation with the project targets were decisive for the rejection of the project. Consequently, in order to avoid such difficulties, it is recommended to make a detailed planning of the activities, clearly described and correctly estimating the performance time, in close correlation with the targets of the project submitted for approval. 4.5.5. No Project Substantiation and Presentation Details

The studies carried out in the field revealed the fact that a large part of the applicants do not focus enough on substantiating the project. Thus, they deal superficially with the sections in the financing request corresponding to the business plan, supporting memorandum or a feasibility study. Although this is not a mistake that could render the project ineligible, it could have a negative impact on the scoring grid granted to certain elements, as well as on the evaluators ability to understand the project, thus leading to major difficulties in the implementation process and in achieving the proposed targets.47

47

http://antreprenor.money.ro/topul_greselilor_in_accesarea_fondurilor_europene_ cum_le_poti_evita-84297.html

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In this respect, it is recommended for the beneficiaries to grant special attention to the requirements for setting up the documentations, by providing details substantiation and presentation details for the information contained in the project.

4.6.

Project Assessment

The period when the projects are assessed is a major problem for all OPs. Thus, in most cases, there is a period of ranging between 6 and 10 months from the submission of the project until the notification of the assessment result to the beneficiary. The main causes for these delays in the assessment of the projects are: Insufficient personnel, as compared to the number of projects received or delays in contracting outsourced evaluators; A simultaneous launch of several operations within the same priority axis, which led to the delay of the time when certain projects were assessed; The applicants lack of experience in preparing the projects, in particular in the case of small and medium-sized companies, and this is related to the complexity of the documentation requested, which determined the extension of the assessment and selection process. In addition to the considerations above, there are other types of concerns that bear a negative impact on the absorption process, namely the registration of a large number of projects in the last days before the submission deadline, which led to the delay in the assessment and selection process of the submitted projects or the rejection of a relatively large number of projects.48

48

Ioana Morovan Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale (Are we on schedule? 2010 the first balance using structural funds),

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Another difficulty was generated by the significant depreciation of the domestic currency as compared to EUR lately. This depreciation affected the beneficiaries who submitted projects requiring expenditures in foreign currency and whose budget was estimated by the relevant beneficiaries in RON, at the exchange rate valid on that date. The considerations above made certain financing applicants to give up the implementation of the project or led to subsequent difficulties in the overall achievement of the project targets. Although the delayed assessments were felt from the very beginning of the EU fund accessing period, the representatives of the Government were reticent to acknowledging that there were delays in processing the files. Another factor, in addition to these delays, was the large number of projects, their poor quality and the lack of skilled personnel to deal with their assessment. Thus, the delay occurred from the rather late launch of most of the project requests was augmented by the delayed assessments, which generated an entire range of subsequent delays. Thus, the delayed execution of the agreements caused delays in initiating the projects, which, in their turn, determined delays in the submission of the settlement requests for expenses and actual payments. In practice, there were cases where the potential beneficiaries waited for the assessment results for more than half year, and certain agreements were concluded even later than one (1) year as of project submission49. Another cause that had a negative influence on the assessment delays was (and still is) the fact that the number of individuals in charge with
published in issue 7/February 2010 of the Policy Memo magazine, under the aegis of the Romanian Center for European Policies http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf. 49 Ioana Morovan Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale (Are we on schedule? 2010 the first balance using structural funds), published in issue 7/February 2010 of the Policy Memo magazine, under the aegis of the Romanian Center for European Policies - http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/ crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf.

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assessment is too small, as compared to the large number of projects. Thus, in accordance with the publicly available information, in most cases, the delay is caused by the understaffed assessment department (e.g. within MA SOP HRD there were, at a certain point in time, only three (3) evaluators for approximately 1,400 projects). Similar deficiencies were found with MA ROP, although in 2008, for one IB, an additional 30 jobs had been approved. Nevertheless, despite a remarkable progress in this sector, all new employment was stopped due to the implementation of the policy of downsizing budget expenses. In addition to the considerations above, the reform of the budget staffing also impacted on the departments in charge with the management of EU funds, this been indirectly confirmed by the authorities through the redundancy plans prepared and enforced in this respect. At present, this blockage was partially resolved by using more outsourced evaluators. Nevertheless, such a settlement is only partial because, at any rate, most of the project management is made internally, by the employees of State authorities with competencies in the field. Direct solutions: considering that, the priority of the Government is to increase the absorption degree for EU funds, it is recommended to exclude from the restructuring list the departments in charge of EU funds. As possible complementary solutions, we suggest to conclude more cooperation agreements with outsourced evaluators, respectively to create a data base with independent evaluators.

4.7.

Project Implementation by the Beneficiaries

In reference to the project implementation degree, it can be noticed that the level of payments to beneficiaries, as well as the reimbursements performed by the European Commission, is still low, thus revealing the existence of major concerns and difficulties among beneficiaries, as regards implementation.

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The main causes are determined by: 1. difficulties in performing the public procurement procedures. Thus, there were delays in the process for awarding public procurement agreements, because of factors such as: no information and/or good practice guidelines; delays in preparing the awarding documentations; the beneficiaries reduced or even lack of experience in promoting and implementing investments; lack of concrete interpretations of the various legislative issues in the field of public procurement; lack of sectorial procurement agreement models in certain key domains; large number of complaints in the case of public procurement procedures; resumed procurement procedure further to changed criteria or cancellation of tenders. With a view to remedying certain of the concerns pointed to by the beneficiaries, in 2009, the laws on public procurement was amended in the meaning of downsizing the tendering periods and increasing the flexibility of the process, allowing for the possibility to use an accelerated tendering procedure. Nevertheless, there are still major difficulties in conducting the public procurement procedures. However, despite the legislative amendments operated, irregularities in the public procurement procedure were among the reasons that caused difficulties in implementing the projects. Thus,

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referring to the difficulties generated by the public procurement procedure, in the case of projects financed through SOP IEC, the Compendium of irregularities/fraud cases at the level of the Sector Operational Program Increase of Economic Competiveness conducted by DLAF50 and made public51 in November 2012, revealed reasons relating to the breach of the procedures referring to public procurement, as the main causes in using European funds and, implicitly, the implementation of projects for which such funds were obtained. 2. difficulties in providing the financial resources necessary to initiate the projects or the own contribution for project financing, in particular because of the effects of the economic recession. lack of experience and ability of the beneficiaries in the central and local administration to appropriately prepare and implement projects, the main deficiencies being largely due to the lack of sufficiently skilled personnel; lack of concrete action plans; respectively low competences in key sectors (i.e. project management or the field of public procurement);

3.

4. 5.

In order to prevent these issues from occurring, ACIS, as well as the MAs undertook various initiatives mainly envisaging the attendance of specific training courses for the beneficiaries of the financing agreements. Furthermore, in respect of the particular SOP HRD case, MAs completed the preparation of a users manual to implement the projects, as well as a guideline on the partnership between various public and private law entities.

Anti-Fraud Control Department. http://www.capital.ro/fileadmin/fancybox/Compendiu_POS_CCE_noiembrie_2012 _11141555.pdf


51

50

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Another relevant aspect in the context of the difficulties occurring during the implementation of the projects, is the beneficiaries failure52 to comply with the financing requests and even with the documentation they submitted (such as feasibility studies or technical projects submitted by them together with the financing request), an aspect that generated corrections imposed by the competent authorities and, subsequently, even proceedings in court53.

4.8.

Legislative Barriers Impacting on the Absorption Rhythm

There were legislative barriers in all stages of the EU fund absorption process. Thus, the most significant legislative deficiencies derive from the laws on domestic budget, containing a series of provisions likely to impair the efficient and swift implementation of projects. In accordance with a report issued by the Government of Romania54, the deficiencies were partially settled with the approval of Emergency Ordinance no. 64/2009 on the financial management of structural
52

Please see Sentence no. 22/F/CA/2008 of the Court of Appeal of Alba IuliaAdministrative and Fiscal Litigation Division, where the court held the fact that the claimant (a family association) agreed, in signing the financing agreement, with the clauses contained therein. Consequently, the court of law decided that the claimant had to fully comply with the substantiation memorandum attached to the financing request whereby the beneficiary of the agreement (i.e. the claimant) undertook to purchase a 8 + 1 (and not 7 + 1, as the one purchased by the claimant) transportation mean, also undertaking to ensure the performance of the project in accordance with its description and to implement the project, obligation undertaken in a binding and irrevocable manner, undertaking the risk that the support granted would be recovered if the financed targets were not used in compliance with the intended purpose, as per the clauses of the financing agreement. 53 Please see Civil Sentence no. 374 of 2008 of the Court of Appeal of Craiova, Administrative and Fiscal Litigation Division; 54 National strategic report on the implementation of structural and cohesion funds, available on the website: http://www.fonduri-ue.ro/res/filepicker _users/ cd25a597fd 62/Documente_Suport/Rapoarte_Strategice/Raport_strategic_national_2009_RO.pd f

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instruments and their use for the convergence objective. This enactment was intended to increase the smooth the financial-budgetary flows in the operational programs financed from structural instruments and, implicitly, increase the absorption degree. Nevertheless, there are regulations on the management of public funds that hinder the implementation of projects. Thus, among such regulations there are also the provisions of the law on public finance and of the law on local public finance. In addition to the legislative burdens referred to hereinabove, MA and the beneficiaries faced a series of difficulties also relating to specific legislations, such as: lack of enforcement rules for Local Public Administration Law no. 215/2001; lack of enforcement rules for Law no. 220/2008 determining the promotion system for the use of energy from renewable sources; domestic laws in the waste management sector; laws on public utility services and water supply and sewage services; the legislative void together with the inactivity of the supervisory authorities have led to the phenomena of dedicated tenders being generalized; ANRMAP orders based on which the authority to intervene in the settlement method of challenging tenders. Nonetheless, despite the facts mentioned above, we cannot help noticing that most sectorial legislative issues referred to by the MA as generating difficulties were amended or are undergoing amendments in order to settle the deficiencies ascertained during the implementation.

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4.8.1. Issues at the level of the National Authority for Regulating and Supervising Public Procurements (ANRMAP) So far, fraud or conflicts of interest in public procurement, having a European fund financing component, have materialized in the preliminary suspension/suspension of four operational programs, i.e. Transport, Environment, SOPHRD and the Regional Operational Program, the European Commission ceases to accept reimbursement requests for projects in Romania. In an attempt to prevent such blockages and to stop dedicated procurements, ANRMAP has decided to verify the awarding documentations before the tender takes place, the analysis of ANRMAP focuses on the selection and qualification criteria stipulated in these documentations, respectively on the aspects of the awarding documentation that create a suspicion that such tenders are directed at certain business operators. For instance, among the non-compliances that have generated such a measure is the introduction in the procurement and/or tender specifications data chart of certain restrictive criteria (these documents have not so far been verified by ANRMAP, only the announcement published in SEAP), as well as the manner of dividing the agreements into batches, so that the resulting values allow the performance of direct procurements, not tenders. The legal framework the above-mentioned procedure is based on is represented by the provisions of GD no. 801/2011, amending and supplementing GD no. 525/2007 on the organization and operation of ANRMAP (GD 801/2011). Thus, according to the provisions of GD 801/2011, prior to sending the participation invitation/announcement to be published by SEAP55 ANRMAP has the obligation to assess the compliance with applicable public procurement legislation of the awarding documentation relating to the public procurement agreements falling under the scope of the provisions of Emergency Government
55

Electronic System for Public Procurements

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Ordinance no. 34/2006 on awarding public procurement agreements, public works concession agreements and services concession agreements (EGO 34/2006), this assessment being focused on the technical aspects of the tender specifications. Within maximum 14 days as of receiving the documentation, ANRMAP has the obligation to send its acceptance in view of initiating the awarding procedure, if the provisions of the awarding documentation comply with the legal provisions concerning public procurement or to invalidate the publication if it finds the incompliance thereof with legal provisions, as well as to inform the contracting authority on the ascertained incompliance found at the level of the awarding documentation and the reason why this documentation is incompliant with the public procurement legal provisions. In order to provide reasons for the incompliance of the awarding documentation with the public procurement legal provisions, the president of ANRMAP issued Order no. 509 of 2011, on formulating the qualification and selection criteria (Order 509/2011), providing examples of situations where competition is restricted and the principle of proportionality is breached by the qualification and selection criteria. Based on this order, new legal presumptions were instated on restricting competition and breaching the principles provided under art. 2 para. 2 of EGO 34/2006. The legal presumptions mentioned above are supplemented by the ones concerning the breach of the proportionality principle, stipulated in art. 9 of Government Decision no. 925/2006, approving the enforcement of the rules of provision referring to awarding public procurement agreements of EGO 34/2006. Thus, given the new legal presumptions, it is sufficient to show that the provisions of the awarding documentation fall under the examples provided in Order no. 509/2011, for the said provisions to be considered restrictive, without the need to provide evidence of why and how competition is restricted.

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As regards the manner in which the legal provisions concerning public procurement are observed, please note56 that in the first two weeks as of the enforcement of the provisions of GD no. 801/2011 only 49 awarding documentations out of 1,550 were accepted by ANRMAP to be published in SEAP. Based on the above-mentioned facts, a warning sign may be drawn on severe consequences in the case of controls concerning the lawfulness of the public procurement procedures conducted prior to the entry into force of GD no. 801/2011, taking into account the sanctions provided by EGO 34/2006 as well as the financial corrections applied by the control authorities of the European Union in the case of projects carried out with European financing.

4.9.
4.9.1.

Institutional Difficulties General Institutional Difficulties

Despite the deficiencies of the Romanian institutional system, ever since the accession to the European Union, the system assessments performed by the AA and the European Commission by means of the missions conducted between 2008-2009 resulted in the certification of the management and control systems for all seven OPs. On the other hand, institutional difficulties, in particular those relating to the procedure complexity and bureaucracy and to staffing, still exist. Thus, one of the major concerns referred to above in this Study consist of the insufficient and financially unmotivated human resources of the competent authorities. The large workload and the high degree of responsibility imposed by the activities conducted by the internal personnel led, in most cases, to a fluctuation of the personnel trained in managing such funds, these
56

http://principiiachizitii.blogspot.ro/2011/11/consecintele-juridice-ale-ordinului.html

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fluctuations being all the less recommended as, in the process of setting up the fund management structures, particular care was given to the recruitment process and the training of personnel in the field of structural instrument management. Among the already visible effects of this situation, there are: delays in preparing the guidelines for applicants and in contracting technical assistance; delays in completing the preparation of key projects and their approval by the European Commission; delays in project implementation, with direct impact on the absorption degree and potentially on the failure to fulfill certain commitments undertaken through treaty for Romanias accession to the European Union (e.g. SOP Environment). In addition, the institutional difficulties have become worse since the blockage in staffing the vacant positions as a result of the economic and financial crisis that occurred in all the Member States of the European Union, and among them Romania. However, mention should be made that, once identified, the implementation difficulties are dealt with by the competent authorities, in order to find reasonable solutions57. Another major concern was the bureaucracy at the time when the documentation is requested and processed. Thus, although local authorities want to remove shortcomings as swiftly as possible, they were not successful in eliminating and/or removing the difficulty of

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bureaucracy at the time when the documentation is requested and processed. Among the most famous cases in the sector, there are: the request to apply an oval-shaped stamp; mandatory application of three stamps on one document; inserting a table laid only on the length, and not the width of the page; refusing a document containing a signature affixed in black colour ink, etc. Moreover, upon submitting the projects, administrative and financial documents continue to be requested in excess of what is stipulated in the Applicants Guide, which subsequent to their submission are removed from assessment by the individuals who had previously requested them. At the same time, notice should be made that the excessive bureaucracy seems to have survived, even if less documents are requested upon project submission at present, the remaining ones being necessary only upon signing the agreements. In addition, as concerns the interference of the politics in the EU fund absorption process, we cannot overlook that the European Commission repeatedly found through its audits irregularities or suspicions of generalized corruption. In this respect, mention should be made that, for a long period, Romania failed to implement the proposals originating from the European Commission in the sense of appointing a high public officer/minister with competence in EU fund absorption and with political support. In addition, the successive Romanian governments until the autumn of 2011 delayed in an unreasonable manner the key actions and the action plan for the sectors deemed by the European Commission as having significant weaknesses. There was no inter-ministry political coordination and, furthermore, the Romanian authorities failed to reply to the many technical assistance offers made by the European Commission.

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The delays and hesitations in amending the laws on public procurement, associated with political interferences and awarding agreements to their clientele considerably increased the distrust of the European Commission in the seriousness of Romanias commitment regarding the reduction of fraud in the case of using structural funds. As a result, the European Commission ordered the payments in the Sectoral Operational Program Infrastructure within EFRD to be suspended and generated the decision to block payments to SOP-HRD in 2012. These measures had a negative impact on the absorption capacity, already very low as it was. The severity of this situation is confirmed by a relevant document in the Romanian mass-media58, concluding that OLAF expressed severe concern to the fact that the relevant Romanian administrative and judicial authorities (i.e. the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, payment agency, management authority, competent ministries) seem to work in a coordinated manner with a view to obstructing the investigations conducted by OLAF. These suspicions are based on similar arguments provided in reply to OLAFs requests and on the indications that certain documents are distributed among such authorities. 4.9.2. Difficulties relating to Infrastructure Projects

According to a study59 on analysing the absorption capacity of EU funds in Romania, the transport infrastructure and environmental programs account for approximately 60% of the overall EU funds allocated to Romania. SOP Environment began rapidly because there was already a significant portfolio of projects, prepared in advance through the ISPA program. In practice, the Ministry of Environment was constant for
http://a1.ro/news/extern/ce-suspecteaza-dna-si-guvernul-ca-impiedicainvestigatiile-olaf-din-romania.html 59 Gheorghe Oprescu, Daniela Luminia Constantin, Florin Ilie i Dragos Pslaru Studiu privind analiza capacitii de absorbie a fondurilor comunitare n Romnia (Study on analyzing the absorption capacity of Community funds in Romania) published under the aegis of the European Institute in Romania - http://www.ier.ro/ documente/studiideimpactPaisIII_ro/Pais3_studiu_1_ro.pdf.
58

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approximately four (4) years in preparing, submitting, contracting and initiating major environmental projects. However, despite the large number of projects, the concern derives from the large amount of time necessary to prepare all feasibility studies and to obtain the necessary permits. The difficulties referred to above are supplemented by the ones relating to the public procurement procedure for signing the works agreement with the contractor appointed for this purpose. Thus, we may notice that, since the beneficiaries have chosen to abusively use the remedies and leverage made available by the public procurement legislation60, the tender for awarding such works may take up to one (1) year, because of the complaints submitted by the candidates in the tender who, from one reason or another, believe that they have been treated unfairly by the fact that they were not declared winners or because of the unreasonable extension in signing the agreement by the contracting authority.

V.

CONCLUSIONS AND OBSERVATIONS. RECOMMENDATIONS OF REMEDIES FOR THE DIFFICULTIES REFERRED TO ABOVE

Despite the fact that the Government adopted, between 2011 and 2012, a series of measures that should have entailed a significant impact on attracting EU funds, the effects are still not visible, and EU funds are relatively difficult to access and implement. It is obvious that, under such circumstances, Romania is subject to major risks, such as:

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the risk of neutralization, at the national level, for a significant part of EU funds, with the consequence that they return to the European Union budget and risking that, by doing so, Romania becomes a medium-term contributor to this budget (i.e. of the European Union), without having, at the same time, the capacity of a beneficiary of the resulting funds (in other words, to contribute to the European Union budget more than to receive or use it), and even when used, in the absence of clear-cut strategies, the impact of funds on the development of the country and narrowing the regional differences will be much lower than targeted.

In light of the considerations above, major deficiencies in the field of accessing EU funds may be summarized as follows: 5.1. Determining National Strategies

The competent authorities did not provide for and dealt in advance with the need to develop strategies allowing to create mechanisms for attracting EU funds. In this respect, as also noticed by the author of a study regarding the use of European funds61, in 2007 no public tender was launched for projects financed from structural funds. It is true that, in the first six (6) months as of Romanias accession to the European Union, attracting European funds was impossible because the national plans had to be subject to the analysis and approval of the European Commission, however, it would have been preferable for such plans to be completed or at least undergoing an advanced completion stage ever since the end of 2006, so that the State authorities, under a strong media attack as concerns the incapacity to absorb EU funds, would not have performed a
Ioana Morovan Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale (Are we on schedule? 2010 the first balance using structural funds), published in issue 7/February 2010 of the Policy Memo magazine, under the aegis of the Romanian Center for European Policies - http://www.crpe.ro/library/ files/crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf
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series of national plans in haste, without a clear and thorough knowledge of the relevant EU regulations. 5.2. MA Operation

Similar to the national development strategies, there was a delay in setting up the MAs. Nevertheless, even after their setting up, their action was limited by the difficulties caused by the undersized and under-skilled staff. Another problem of MA is the fact that, almost entirely, the management of such authorities was appointed based on political criteria. As such, considering that politics was a key criterion, it is obvious that the amendment of the guides, respectively the investment directions, took a lower priority. Furthermore, the political interference at the level of competent authorities increased the feeling of insecurity among the staff. That is why, considering that the human resources from which the local authorities benefit are one of the key elements for supporting their capacity to prepare and draft projects, we believe importance lies both with the general qualification level of the personnel in the local administration, but in particular the specialization degree of the personnel in the area of accessing European funds. 5.3. Continuous Change of Terms and Conditions

In accordance with the publicly available information, most applicants for European funds believed that the change of eligibility criteria represented a major obstacle in accessing financing. Thus, it is well-known that most Users Guides were subject to frequent changes, causing confusion among applicants, but also among consultants, such changes being due in particular to the fact that MA were not ready, at the practical level, to conduct project sessions (i.e. from the perspective of the selection or procurement procedures), as a result, the need was felt to perform

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adjustments to the Users Guides even as such calls were opened, which, naturally, affected at least a part of the projects undergoing submission or even assessment stages. 5.4. Changes to the Grid of Selection Scoring and Changing the Project Launching Calendar

Project scoring was subject to continuous changes. Thus, at first, projects were prepared so that to achieve a certain selection scoring, and afterwards, close to the session being launched, the grid scoring was changed. This led to confusion and uncertainty among the applicants, and they even gave up applying for the necessary funds. As regards the launch of projects, in practice, there were cases where information existed that a certain session would be launched in a certain month of the year, and in fact it was launched at a later date, that often exceeded a time margin of three (3) months. These differences resulted in the need to remake the documentation and obtain new approvals for the projects to be submitted. In this context, the calendar of tender launches seems to be an essential document for the beneficiary, being necessary that the deadlines indicated therein be concrete and fully observed by MA. Also, in the case of requests for projects with continuous submission, it was necessary to publish regularly (monthly, for example) information about the number of approved projects and the remaining available budget. In this case, it would be recommended to give up the changes to the Applicants Guide (Corrigenda) that needs to be applied for the ongoing projects requests, in particular changes imposed on the projects already submitted.

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5.5.

Project Development under Time Pressure

In practice, most projects were developed under time pressure, largely determined by the reasons described above (i.e. inappropriate operation of MA, permanent change of terms and conditions, etc.). This led to an additional pressure on the applicants shoulders which, in most cases, determined a lack of quality in project drafting. This could be, to a certain extent, the explanation for the fact that there are more projects rejected than approved. 5.6. Procedure Transparency

The opinion among the majority of EU fund consultants, as deriving from practice, is that an increased transparency of the procedure could lead to an increased efficiency of the fund absorption process. In this respect, it is recommended to hold meetings with the beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries in order to underline and explain, if the case may be, concrete aspects relating to project development. Moreover, in order to promote transparency, accuracy of assessment and to prevent the occurrence of conflicts of interests, it is necessary to clearly distinguish the consultants that can be co-opted as individuals or legal entities to assess the projects submitted to MA, on the one hand, from those providing technical consultancy/assistance for the projects already submitted or to be submitted, on the other hand. To continue the considerations above, the organizations of the civil society benefiting from expertise in the field should partake in project monitoring and assessment. Thus, it is recommended that the representatives of the social partners and the organizations of civil society that were active in the period when EU fund accessing was prepared to be found to a larger extent among the monitoring and assessment boards at the national and regional level. In doing so, a balance could be maintained and stricter control could be exercised over the assessment and promotion of the best projects and initiatives co-financed from European funds.

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Creating an IT system enabling the applicants to check the stage and conclusions of the assessment, respectively creating an appropriate virtual space where to check, at any time, the stage of assessing the submitted projects, would allow the applicants to access inclusively the scoring granted and the weaknesses of the documentation. This would help not only for a more transparent promotion in the assessment process in respect of financing requests/projects submitted, but also to assimilate the good practices deriving from correcting the imperfections that led to such financing requests being rejected and their reiteration. It is also recommended to draft a clear-cut technical protocol for intermediary reports in order to promote an inter-institutional communication system as precise and operative as possible among the players implementing projects and IB/CPA/MA, whereby to determine a clear-cut technical procedure to conduct periodic reports, starting from good practices in the sector. 5.7. Information on Financing Opportunities

It is understood that information is an extremely important resource for potential applicants in preparing and submitting projects for European financing. Considering that, in the case of Romania, access to specialized information is rather limited, it is recommended to create an official portal, dedicated to each OP (with the same interface) for better access of potential beneficiaries to the relevant information, also taking into account that, although at present there are various websites in this area, the information that they provide (although complete and relevant) lack organization and cohesion for a potential beneficiary, beginner to accessing European funds. Thus, although the active search for information by requests submitted to the competent institutions is widely spread among applicants, their majority were only content to request basic information, which obviously did not make up the entire panel of developing a financing project.

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Consequently, communication needs to be improved by pro-active communication of the amendments and news launched by the authorities through press releases, together with their display in the dedicated websites, so that the beneficiaries found out about the latest news in a timely manner. Although the Internet continues to be the most customary way to access information, as the Internet is the main source of useful information relating to European financing opportunities, this means of information is apparently limited in rural areas, where the lack of modern means of communication and/or the lack of computer literacy skills are major obstacles against the access to information. Thus, the local authorities (in cooperation with skilled personnel e.g. specialized consultants) organizing regular meetings with potential beneficiaries could result in an increased degree of information on the conditions and requirements imposed for obtaining financing, together with the development of the capacity, knowledge and interest of potential beneficiaries to access European funds. 5.8. Contracting More Outsourced Evaluators. Motivating the Officers

In practice, the beneficiaries wish for the number and expertise of the personnel within the authorities involved in the procedure for accessing European funds to improve. Thus, it is recommended to create a data base with the consultancy companies/natural person consultants, respectively a data base with independent experts, updated regularly and made available to the potential beneficiaries for information and use.

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5.9.

Introducing Foreign Management in Key Positions (Bulgarian Example)

Introducing foreign management in key positions of MA could be deemed as a viable62 solution for increasing the absorption ratio of EU funds in Romania. In the case of Bulgaria, a neighbouring country, with problems similar to those of Romania as regards the procedures and inefficiency in attracting European funds, the Government, following repeated penalties imposed by the European Commission and the official letters whereby Bulgaria was notified of the fact that it would lose significant amounts that had been allocated to it, decided in 2009 to set up a Ministry dedicated to European funds (i.e. the Ministry of European Funds). Subsequently, in 2010, a cooperation agreement was concluded with the World Bank for assistance in the field of European funds, based on which the Bulgarian Government would use the expertise of the World Bank representatives to attract and manage European funds. Even if on December 2010, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, sent to the Bulgarian Prime-Minister a letter of harsh criticism against Bulgarias poor results in absorbing European funds (i.e. Bulgaria had an absorption rate of 6% of the overall European funds allocated for the period 2007-2013), it specifies, nevertheless, that the creation of the Ministry of European Funds was a positive step for Bulgaria in the European fund absorption process. Subsequently, in January 2011, because of the concrete steps undertaken by the Bulgarian authorities in this respect, namely less than a year later, the Bulgarian Government presented the results of setting up the Ministry of European Funds. Thus, the Bulgarian minister in charge with the Ministry of European Funds officially declared that the European funds absorption rate is of 10%, when at the beginning of 2010 it was at a level of 1%, the Bulgarian Government also announcing that their target for 2011 was an absorption rate of 20%.
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5.10.

Guaranteeing Co-Financing and a Better Use of the JEREMIE Program

Identifying a co-financing guarantee system for private companies and, if need be, preparing a State aid scheme should be taken into consideration by all the players of the financing process, in order to improve Romanias poor ratio of accessing European funds. Thus, using the facilities provided by the JEREMIE program by cointeresting banks in Romania which, lately have introduced financing offers, specialized crediting programs to guarantee co-financing, may be a way to increase the European fund accessing degree. In light of the arguments set forth above, amending the conditions under which SMEs can access financing and fastening the procedures comprised in the JEREMIE program, may help, in real terms, the beneficiaries (companies), by supporting their access to credit. Thus, the JEREMIE program is a set of actions having as their objective to increase SMEs access to financing, the program being organized in Romania by means of the European Investment Fund, the manager of the funds made available by EFRD. The investment credit granted to a potential beneficiary through the JEREMIE program is aimed to finance investments developed in eligible sectors. In this respect, the banks participating in the program grant a credit intended to cover day-to-day expenses resulting from the investments, through the JEREMIE operation capital credit. Nevertheless, in order to obtain financial guarantees through the JEREMIE program, the beneficiary companies need to cumulatively meet the following conditions: to have less than 250 employees; to have an annual turnover of less than EUR 50 million (RON equivalent); to operate in the fields of trade, production and services;

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to be registered in Romania; to be up to date with the payment of taxes and levies at the time when they receive financing; not to fall under the scope of any recovery order issued by the European Commission for structural funds accessed before by the company; not to receive assistance through another EU fund program referring to the assets and expenses financed through JEREMIE; to qualify for the de minimis aid limit established by law. In addition to the considerations above, reference should be made to the publication in the Official Gazette of Romania no. 193/23.03.2012 of Government Decision no. 218/2012 approving the Guidelines for enforcing the provisions of Emergency Government Ordinance no. 64/2009 on the financial management of structural instruments and their use for the convergence objective. The enactment takes over most of the regulations of Order no. 2548/2009 of the Ministry of Public Finance (repealed by Government Decision no. 218/2012), however, it introduces new provisions aimed to improve the financial flows at beneficiary level, as well as make them assume responsibility, in respect of complying with the project implementation deadlines, as undertaken in the reimbursement request submission calendar corresponding to the financing agreements. To this end, the enactment mainly introduces the following regulations: to reduce the pre-financing recovery rate of the reimbursement requests submitted, from 30% to a rate at least equal to the one pursuant to which pre-financing was granted for the project;

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beneficiaries falling under the scope of the State aid/de minimis, who have to provide guarantees in order to obtain pre-financing, will be able to downsize the guarantee as the pre-financing is recovered; to increase the maximum rate of pre-financing from 10% up to 20% for the projects benefiting from fully non-reimbursable financing and for the projects having an eligible value under RON 1 million; to establish the obligation for the beneficiary to undertake, through the financing agreement/decision, a calendar/schedule for submitting the reimbursement requests throughout the project implementation period, a calendar that may be amended no more than three times. 5.11. Continuing the implementation of measures comprised in the Draft System Audit Report of Operational Program 2007RO051PO001 Development of Human Resources (DHR) ARep No. 2012-1445/20.06.2012

According to the Progress Report concerning the action plan for the fulfillment of the recommendations of the Draft System Audit Report of Operational Program 2007RO051PO001 Development of Human Resources (DHR) A-Rep No. 2012-1445/20.06.2012 issued following the audit mission conducted during April 2 and April 6 and May 3 and May 11, 201263, until August 31, 2012 the following actions were carried out: as regards ascertaining the approval of projects having nonviable budgets, disproportionate salaries and unjustified procurements, generated by an inappropriate assessment process or the disregard of the evaluators opinion, the involved
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Romanian authorities have revised the Applicants Guide General Conditions and the Evaluation and Selection Methodology, the latter being introduced in the internal approval circuit of MA SOP-DHR; as regards the inconsistent guidelines provided by the MA to the beneficiaries, the ambiguity of the national guidelines for the distribution of funds and the use of resources required for the implementation of the projects, consultations were held with the supplier, as well as a review of the part of the financing request entitled Project Activity Chart; drafting verification instruments (i.e., an Activity Report and a Scoring Chart), brought to the attention of the beneficiaries by MA SOP-DHR by publishing them on the website represent only part of the actions undertaken for the settlement of the issues generated by the management verifications, which were deficient as regards the methodology applied for sampling the supporting documents, leading to a very limited number of controlled supporting documents; as regards the on-site controls, which, as per the ascertainments of the audit report, did not cover the complementary insurance elements (e.g., the actual performance of the activities and public procurements), a visit plan was developed in accordance with the new methodology for distributing risk and sampling and a verification procedure was introduced for procurements performed by the beneficiaries/partners which are not contracting authorities; as regards the public procurements identified by the MA as being a risk area, since only a small part of the related expenses were controlled and, moreover, there was no critical control performed by the MA SOP-DHR concerning the public procurement plan presented by the beneficiaries, MA SOP-DHR 248

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approved the operational procedure verifying the reimbursement requests; finally, as regards the high risk of double financing and the non-existence of a cross-control of the expenses of the beneficiaries involved in multiple projects at the same time, MA SOP-DHR approved the operational procedure On-site visits. 5.12. Case Study: Inefficient Absorption of EU Funds based on the SOP-HRD Program. Solutions.

It is well-known that, as regards the level for accessing EU funds made available based on the SOP-HRD program, Romania was faced with significant difficulties, caused in particular by the incapacity of the operation of the MA and CPA established especially for this OP. In this respect, in the period April 2 May 11, 2012, the European Commission performed, in accordance with the provisions of art. 72 (2) of Council Regulation (CE) No. 1083/2006, a system and operation audit meant to check the operability of the management and control system established for SOP-HRD. The audit outcome confirmed the suspicions of the European representatives, in the meaning that the audit mission ascertained severe deficiencies of the management and control system of SOP-HRD, namely: deficit relating to the guidance provided to the beneficiaries in respect of eligible activities, target groups, indicators and relevant eligible expenses; deficit relating to the operation selection procedures; deficit relating to the first-level verifications performed by MA; deficit relating to CPA certifying the expense statements;

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irregularities relating to the declaration of eligible expenses; breach of the rules governing State aid. Following the completion of the audit mission, the Ministry of Labour, through the SOP-HRD Management Authority, initiated a series of key and expediency measures meant to remedy the system deficiencies found by the auditors by implementing an action plan in this respect. Thus, in accordance with the action plan agreed with the European representatives, the Romanian authorities undertake to: 1. revise the operation assessment and selection guidelines in the meaning of increasing the minimum thresholds corresponding to the selection grid; 2. revise the operation assessment and selection guidelines in the meaning of establishing more accurate eligibility criteria for the applicants. 3. revise the financing request template, so that to allow an objective/realistic assessment of the project budget and resources, as compared to the proposed objectives (indicators) and expected activities and stating whether the same activities could be implemented in a more profitable manner, in observance of the quality requirements; 4. implement certain measures referring to the beneficiaries strictly complying, during implementation, with the applicable laws on procurement, namely: the purchase plan per project shall be sent by the beneficiary to MA/IB SOP-HRD no later than 10 days after the agreement was signed;

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the purchase plan per project shall be examined by the monitoring officer, in order to prevent departures from the applicable laws (e.g.: in selecting the procedure) and from the estimated project budget; any subsequent amendment to the purchase plan needs to be justified and shall be subjected to examination and approval at the level of MA/IB SOP-HRD. 5. use the Technical Assistance facility; 6. prepare selection guidelines for the evaluators of draft projects, so that to ensure specialized competence in the assessment process. 7. provide detailed guidance to evaluators; 8. remove the possibility to transfer open issues from the assessment into the contracting stage.

*** In conclusion, to the above, it may be said that, despite the reactivity, however slow, of the authorities involved in providing European financing, in taking measures to smooth access of potential beneficiaries to financing lines, the concern relating to the low absorption degree of European funds in Romania is still open and ongoing. In this respect, notice should be made that the low absorption rate is due to all players involved in this process, so that not only the issues intrinsic to the public administration system generate such an effect, but also the legislative inflation in the field and the lack of training of potential beneficiaries in preparing and developing financing projects. Therefore, despite the

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authorities recent efforts to take administrative, legal, institutional or organizational measures in order to increase the absorption degree corresponding to the budget period 2007-2013, no significant changes were observed and are not expected to be observed, a fact which may be equivalent to Romania losing funds of approximately EUR 10-15 billion for the subsequent programming period. Nevertheless, provided that the authorities involved in granting financing are open to a public dialogue and/or to take into account the suggestions emanating from the civil society, the premises could be laid to increase the absorption degree, at least starting with the budget period 2014-2020, all the more that for that budget period, it is expected that the multi-fund approach will be implemented, for which the authorities need to make preparations in advance. Nevertheless, please note that, if the multi-annual financial plan is adopted in the form proposed by the President of the European Council, Romania may continue to incur significant difficulties in implementing the identified solutions, taking into account that the absorption rate of European funds, according to the project, has been an essential condition for determining the amount of funds to be allocated to each Member State throughout the financial exercise 2014-2020.

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Notes and references


Ctlina Constantin, Andreea Florina Radu, Introductory editorial in issue 9/2009 of the European Advisor Magazine, http://www.dae.gov.ro/admin/files/Consilier%20European%20Nr%209.pdf; National Strategic Report for Implementing Structural and Cohesion Funds prepared in 2010 http://www.fonduri-ue.ro/res/filepicker_users/cd25a597fd62/Documente_Suport/Rapoarte_Strategice/Raport_strategic_national_200 9_RO.pdf;; Study on SOP Environment, prepared by the Government of Romania, available for consultation on the website www.fonduriue.ro/.../Raport_strategic_national_2009_RO.pdf. Ioana Morovan, Study Suntem n grafic? 2010 Primul bilan utilizarea fondurilor structurale (Are we on schedule? 2010 the first balance using structural funds), published in issue 7 of February 2010 of the Policy Memo magazine, under the aegis of the Romanian Center for European Policies http://www.crpe.ro/library/files/crpe_policy_memo_7_ro.pdf; Gheorghe Oprescu, Daniela Luminia Constantin, Florin Ilie and Drago Pslaru Study on analyzing the absorption capacity of Community Funds in Romania, published under the aegis of the European Institute in Romania , http://www.ier.ro/documente/studiideimpactPaisIII_ro/Pais3_studiu_1_ro.pd f; http://antreprenor.money.ro/topul_greselilor_in_accesarea_fondurilor_euro pene_cum_le_poti_evita-84297.html; http://www.inforegionordest.ro/documente/noutati/publicatii/studiu_privin d_implementarea_por_in_regiunea_nord_est_decembrie_2010.pdf; http://www.maeur.ro/articole/stadiul-absorbtiei-fondurilor-structurale-si-decoeziune/; http://www.gov.ro/absorbtia-fondurilor-structurale-si-de-coeziune-proritatezero-a-guvernului- romaniei__l1a109210.html;

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The budget of the European Union and its impact on the Cohesion Policy

Cohesion Policy accounts today, in the period 2007-2013, for over two thirds ( 347 billion out of a total of 976 billion) of the European multiannual budget, the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The reason for such a consistent package of the overall budget to be devoted to this policy is quite easy to understand: Cohesion Policy represents a key tool for the European Union, because based on the principle of solidarity it aims at boosting investment and growth in all regions of the Union, with a particular focus on the less developed ones. Therefore, it must be added that the economic situation of Member States today is different from what it used to be at the time the current MFF was adopted. And since Cohesion Policy, given its nature of instrument to reduce disparities among Member States and regions, obviously invests more in some countries and less in some others, the situation at a time when the next MFF is to be adopted appears difficult and full of question marks. 255

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Under the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, for the adoption of the MFF for the years 2014-2020 there has to be first a proposal from the European Commission, and then the Council should come to its own position, to which the European Parliament has to give its assent. However, Member States seem not to be able to find an agreement, as they are split between net payers on the one hand, and net receivers on the other hand. Just to clarify the situation, Member States that are net payers are those contributing to the EU budget more than what they get back, while the so-called net receivers Member States are the ones which after contributing to the EU budget, get in return a higher amount of resources. This differentiation has also brought to the creation, within the Council, of two groups of Member States: Friends of Cohesion, constituted by net receivers, and Friends of Better Spending, formed by net payers. Since the Council has to adopt its position at unanimity, it is easy to understand that an internal agreement is not simple to be achieved, especially given the fact that negotiations focus not only on the total amount of the MFF, but also on the shares to dedicate to each policy and objective, and first and foremost to Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In addition, other political factors have to be taken into account, such as rebates wanted from some countries, which have benefited from them in the past. What should be emphasized is that those Member States wanting to drastically reduce their contributions and therefore the overall size of the multiannual budget of the Union do so, on the basis of arguments, which are in fact essentially groundless. Several studies recently undertaken show that the economic return for so-called net payer Member States is much higher than their effective contribution to the EU budget. The reasons are multiple, including for example the fact that implementing big scale projects often leads to the use of contractors from more developed and more advanced countries, which very often coincide with net contributors.

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The big problem of the lack of an agreement on the MFF is that, for what concerns in particular Cohesion Policy but in fact not only that, there is the need to get ready the legislative package which will regulate the new programming period, which goes from 2014 to 2020. Moreover, it is easy understandable that it is extremely difficult to work on a legislative framework without knowing how much money will finally be devoted to those objectives. The European Parliament finds itself, from this point of view, in the hard situation of deciding what to do in case an agreement is found in the Council which foresees heavy cuts compared to the current situation. It has always made clear that it will not accept any cuts to the initial proposal of the Commission, which was already considered well below its expectations. But at the same time it has to consider that a delay in adopting the new MFF will also have an impact on the adoption of the new Cohesion Policy package, where the legislative procedure to be followed after Lisbon is the Ordinary Legislative one (ex co-decision), which foresees the necessity of the Parliament and the Council to agree on a common text for the different regulations involved. The so-called trilogues, where Parliament, Council and Commission meet to negotiate the text, have already started in the second half of 2012, but as explained above a final agreement is subject to an agreement at MFF level. Despite of this firm link between the budgetary issue and the legislative procedure, the key elements and objectives characterising the new Cohesion Policy are already quite clear. There might of course still be some changes in the course of the negotiations, but not many modifications should be major ones. It is therefore possible to draw a picture of how the new policy will look like and of what will be the guiding principles. However, before analysing that more in depth, it is worth explaining what are the funds composing Cohesion Policy, and who are the recipients.

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In the current programming period 2007-2013, three are three funds used for the implementation of this policy. On the one hand, there are the so-called Structural Funds, which are addressed to all the regions in which Europe is divided. They are the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which invests in the development of regions through programmes related for example to infrastructure, research and innovation, and also technical assistance; and the European Social Fund (ESF), which supports education and professional training, employment and job opportunities. It is worth mentioning that also Romania is for the purpose of the structural funds divided into different regions, despite of the fact that its internal administrative system does not foresee until today the existence of such administrative entities. On the other hand, there is the Cohesion Fund, which is a fund specifically designed to help economies of the less prosperous Member States, through investments in the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and in the environment. The way money is then allocated to the different regions and Member States varies depending on whether Structural Funds or the Cohesion Fund is concerned. In the first case, there is a differentiation between regions with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) above or below 75% of the EU average. Regions below this threshold, defined as Convergence Regions, receive a considerably higher amount of funds. In the case of the Cohesion Fund, Member States are considered in their entirety and the criterion taken into account is the Gross National Income (GNI). Countries benefiting from the support are only those with a GNI below 90% of the EU average. If this is in broad lines the situation of the current programming period, what are the guiding lines and the changes for the next programming period? We are definitely talking about a successful policy,

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which has brought development and wealth in many regions, with some top examples that are often referred to as best practices. Nevertheless, this does not mean that it is a perfect policy. Cohesion Policy continues to have shortcomings that need to be addressed, especially if we take into account that it is implemented under the shared management principle. What does this mean in practice? It means that Brussels decides the legislative framework, which regulates the all policy, and then the implementation at national and regional level is left to Member States. In fact, the system could not be different, because a centralised management of the European Commission would mean having an unthinkable number of staff, without forgetting the lack of the unavoidable link with the local territories. For the new programming period 2014-2020 there is an important opportunity offered by the Lisbon Treaty, namely the introduction, as seen before, of the Ordinary Legislative Procedure (ex co-decision) for the adoption of the new regulations. The meaning of this can be better understood if we consider that before it was just the Council, and therefore just the Governments of the Member States, to decide on the content of the regulatory framework, with the European Parliament relegated to the position of giving its assent to something that had already been decided. Today, with the equal footing of the two institutions, also those problems encountered at regional and local level can be addressed by the only institution that is not only aware about them, but also willing to improve the situation. That institution is the new co-legislator, the European Parliament. From the very beginning of the talks on the new legislative package, the Parliament has made clear what had to be the pillars of the new system: continuity of the rules, where possible, in order not to create problems to those people and bodies that then have to implement the policy at national and regional revel; simplification to the maximum

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possible extent of the rules, twinned with the their harmonization across the different funds; solidarity to remain at the heart of the policy, with a continued focus on the less prosperous regions; the so-called thematic concentration, to concentrate resources on a limited number of objectives so as to guarantee tangible results; a deeper involvement of regional and local authorities all throughout the stages, from the moment the policy is designed, to the very last moment of its implementation; the absolute refusal of the so-called macroeconomic conditionalities, that is creating a link between the economic performance of a Member State and the support received from the Structural Funds; and finally, as said before, sufficient resources to fulfil all the objectives. From this point of view, the request of the Parliament was an increase of the resources compared to the current situation, but we already had the opportunity to describe the situation as it stands today. The proposals made by the European Commission, and which now form the basis to be modelled by Parliament and Council, only partially respected the above mentioned claims. But, the amendments tabled by the European Parliament, and its firm stance in the current negotiations with its counterpart, seem to be fruitful and to allow many positive elements to become reality for the next programming period. What has to be considered a key change is certainly the idea of having an umbrella regulation, the so-called Common Provisions Regulation (CPR), which ensures the harmonization of the rules and principles common to the various funds it covers. And the funds covered by it are not only the Structural and Cohesion Funds (or, as they will most probably be named at the end of the negotiations, the European Structural and Investment Funds), but also other European Funds, namely the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). This is an important achievement, which guarantees the simplification of the rules and procedures to be followed by beneficiaries.

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In terms of simplification, efforts have been made also from the administrative point of view, with for example simplified rules, an easier management system, and the foreseen introduction of the E-Cohesion, which consists in the possibility for beneficiaries to submit information electronically. The proposal of thematic concentration on a limited number of objectives, backed by the Parliament after constituting the heart of the Barca Report (commissioned by the European Commission to the expert Fabrizio Barca, then become Minister for Territorial Cohesion of Italy), remains at the core of the new package. Same thing about the idea of a deeper involvement of regional and local authorities, with the introduction of the concept of partnership between the central governments and the regional and local authorities at all stages. When submitting to the Commission for approval the newly introduced Partnership Contract, where the Member State will have to show the way it intends to implement the policy at national level, it will also have to demonstrate that it has conducted consultations with the local bodies. For this purpose, also a Code of Conduct will be introduced, specifying the way in which local authorities have to be involved. A key novelty of the new Cohesion Policy package is represented by the introduction of conditionalities. The main goal of them is ensuring that investments supported by the policy are result oriented. Member States will be obliged to demonstrate that they have in place all the necessary ex ante conditions to fulfil the objectives of the programmes they have chosen to undertake. In addition, where these conditions are not yet in place, they will have a deadline to fulfil their obligations. Indicators will then be in place to measure the results achieved by the programmes. A type of conditionality always opposed by the Parliament but nonetheless present in the Commission's proposal, is the macroeconomic one, which does nothing else than punish regions (through the suspension of all or part of the commitments and payments) in the event national

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governments do not fulfil their obligations related to the economic governance of the Union. Such introduction by the Commission is unjustified, because the Parliament has always pointed out that, there is no reason why regions should face sanctions linked to an unhealthy central administration. It is foreseeable that the firm position of the Parliament will produce its results and make sure that, from this point of view, there will not be changes compared to the current programming period. One last remark for the purpose of a brief description of the main regulatory changes relates to the distribution of the resources. Here the change will entail the creation of a new category of regions, with a GDP between 75% and 90% of the EU average. Categories will thus become three, less developed regions with a GDP under 75% on which the majority of the resources will be concentrated, transition regions with a GDP between 75% and 90%, and more developed regions with a GDP over 90% of the EU average. From this point of view Romania will continue to be practically all under 75% of the average, with the only exception of the region of Bucharest Ilfov. Apart from the Common Provisions Regulation, the new Cohesion Policy package will consist of a number of Funds-specific regulations, of which it is worth mentioning the one devoted to the European Regional Development Fund, the one for Cohesion Fund, and the one for the European Social Fund. It is not easy to give a whole overview of the changes, but our attempt will be drawing a picture of the most important elements of the new framework, which relate to the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund. The ERDF will of course focus its investments on the thematic objectives set by the CPR, but what is important is that depending on the

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development of the region in question a certain percentage of the funds will have to be earmarked for certain objectives. The Commission proposed that in more developed and transition regions 80% of the ERDF resources would be allocated to energy efficiency and renewable energies, research and development, and support to SMEs. At least 20% of these earmarked resources would have to be devoted to energy efficiency and renewable energies. In less developed regions, the percentages would drop down to 50% and 6% respectively, so as to allow resources to focus also on basic infrastructure, which is often still lacking in such regions. The negotiation on this issue is fluid, so it is difficult to say what will be the outcome, but the position of the Parliament is that for the sake of flexibility more developed regions should be able to concentrate the 80% of their ERDF allocation on one more objective than the ones proposed by the Commission, while the percentage dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable sources should be increased to 22%. As regards transition and less developed regions, the percentages should be 60% and 22%, and 50% and 12% respectively. The focus on energy efficiency and energy from renewable sources is central in the Parliament's position, and this is made evident by the attempt to double the efforts in some key sectors through a joint support from the ERDF and the Cohesion Fund. Going into more detail, the idea of the Parliament is that in order to meet the targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy, that is 20% share of energy consumption from renewable sources, 20% less CO2 emissions, and 20% increase in energy efficiency, it is necessary to take drastic measures. The proposal is therefore to make all buildings, no matter whether they are public, private, or SMEs, eligible for support for energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies. In addition, the support itself would be available from both funds, ERDF and Cohesion Fund.

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What needs to be underlined, is that these measures can have an impact not only on the environment itself, but also on the SMEs that would be involved and consequently on jobs, without forgetting the savings of citizens in terms of energy bills, and an increased level of energy security. Finally, a few words on Cogeneration of Heat, Power and Cold, and on District Heating. These systems are very common in some Member States, in particular in Central and Eastern Europe, and in fact they allow substantial energy savings compared for example to private heating systems. But despite of being common, they are often outdated. Moreover, both their upgrade and the construction of new plants require significant investments whose price would have to be transferred to the citizens. Also in this regard, the Parliament has brought forward a proposal that involves the support of ERDF and Cohesion Fund. It should be noted that making eligible such systems is not as easy as it could appear, because the EU has an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with which such support can clash. However, the Parliament has tried to table its amendments in a way that allows their compatibility with the ETS, ensuring at the same time the widest support for District Heating and Cogeneration. This way, plants under 20 MW would be fully eligible, whereas plants above this threshold would have a single exception for funding, their type of boiler. In addition, the distribution network would be always eligible. Drawing a brief picture of all the elements that are involved in the reform of Cohesion Policy is not easy, but our hope is that the aim of showing the complexity but yet the importance of this topic was somehow achieved.

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Regional reform in the public debate

In June 2008, it was stressed The evaluation of the first year and a half after the accession shows that in Romania, the weak institutional capacity tends to be a major cause of the reduced absorption of EU funds. Even though politicians speak out from time to time about the need for a regional reform, this is not actually on the public and political agenda1. Despite warnings from Brussels and internal evidences, Romania was at risk of widening the development gaps even at that time, gaps which today have become almost unrecoverable and thus led to a situation in which the growth rate is much lower than the potential one. Concurrently it was also stated that the lack of a public and political debate, as well as the weaknesses of the civil society have led to a situation where the government is not the subject of the necessary pressure in order to react and to promote regional reforms2.

Prioritatea viitoarei guvernri: Reforma regional, http://victorbostinaru.ro/2008/06/prioritatea-viitoarei-guvernari-reformaregionala/, accesat 20 februarie 2013. 2 Idem.

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2012, however, brought an improvement in this regard, bringing consistent debates on the need for carrying out this reform. Among the most notable, we must mention the debate organized by the Academy of Advocacy, where, during a public hearing held in Timisoara, entitled "Regionalization Romania - Why?3" all interested parties were invited to express their views and to offer arguments, providing answers to a series of questions: Does Romania really need to be regionalised? Why? What type of decisions and competencies must be transferred to the regional level? How do we get organized for a sustainable and efficient regionalization process? How can regions increase the country's social, economic, and territorial cohesion; and which are the risks that can undermine it? We reproduce in full the main conclusions and recommend our readers to go through the depositions made by the participants. The general aim of the public hearing "The Regionalisation of Romania Why Do It?" was to reintroduce the topic of regionalization on the public agenda starting from new premises, more exactly starting with a public analysis and debate regarding the role, need, and appropriateness of regionalising Romania. Only in the context of identifying and clearly establishing the need, if any, can the public debate continue to discuss the methods, criteria, stages, risks, and benefits.

The structure of the written opinions expressed by the political decision makers shows a rather large spectrum of institutions and
3

Academia de Advocacy - Audierea public - REGIONALIZAREA ROMNIEI DE CE?, http://advocacy.ro/, 20 februarie 2013.

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decision levels, namely: local decision makers 12 statements, county councils 7 statements, Ministries 3 statements, members of the Romanian Parliament and of the European Parliament 8 statements, followed by members of some political parties and candidates for Parliamentary elections. From the point of view of the position regarding the appropriateness or inappropriateness of a possible regionalisation of Romania, the analysis of the 251 written statements collected revealed the following structure: - 77.29%, namely 194 statements, were in favour of regionalization; - 14.34%, namely 36 statements, were against regionalization; - 8.37%, namely 21 statements were undecided or unwilling to take a clear stand at this point in the public consultation. The main arguments supporting the idea and the need of regionalizing Romania, synthesized in the order of their importance, based on the frequency with which they were mentioned in the written statements collected and analysed, are: - a more efficient public decision-making process and thus a better management of public resources, as well as of all resources available, generally limited and consistently insufficient compared with the needs, an argument supported by a range of other subsequent specific arguments, such as: - reducing costs and bureaucracy in the public administration system in general, by simplifying and optimizing public administration in the context of regionalization; - a correlation of the public decisions with specific needs and problems, as well as with specific development opportunities, which are different and diverse from one region to another;

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- the need to support and even accelerate the decentralization from several points of view: - economic: a competent and motivated regional management, with a suitable and flexible legislative instrument, should succeed in raising the economic level of the region much better than the current organization formula, which is limited to the national level by legislation and often by decision factors; - financial: near-complete regional management of the incomes and expenditures, national centralization of only a portion of the national revenues for supporting the operation of national institutions, the elimination of financial losses caused by political decision to redirect part of the revenues to unnecessary or inefficient institutions and entities; - administrative: the current administrative mechanism is inefficient and uses a lot of resources; the hierarchic structure of the Romanian administration is not overly populated, but the operation is often interrupted, inflexible, and perceived as costly; at the regional level, efficient administrative apparatuses can be organized with a minimum of human resources, but with a high level of technological equipment; - ensuring transparency of the public decision-making process, as well as increasing and improving access to public interest information, by being closer than the national level to the citizens and their needs, which will also lead to: - better accountability of decision-makers; - less corruption in public administration; - the inability of the current administrative-political structures to collaborate and cooperate at inter-county/regional level; - higher absorption rate of the European funds, correlated with a more efficient and effective use of these funds, by:

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- making it possible to integrate small and unconnected local projects into larger strategic projects at the regional level; - extracting the lessons learned during 2007-2013; - stimulating and supporting economic development in general, thereby reducing inter-county and interregional economic disparities and gaps; - from this point of view, the essential part is the general aim of human resource development, promoting employment and social inclusion, as the experience has shown that the local economy cannot meet the citizens' expectations of diversity and specificity, whereas citizens know and recognize their own ability of professional and geographic mobility and use it as such, to the extent of the existing opportunities, mostly within the boundaries of a regional area; - simplifying access to resources in the domestic business environment; - the need for a specific identity for each region, as well as notoriety, which are essential to strengthening the feeling of belonging, confidence, and solidarity of the population, all those contributing to an enhancement, not a diminishing, of the national identity of the unitary Romanian state; - it is important to facilitate socio-economic interactions at regional level. The main arguments against the idea and the need of regionalizing Romania are synthesized below, in the order of their importance, based on the frequency with which they were mentioned in the written statements collected and analysed: - enhancing interregional disparities in the context of increased and disproportional development of the large urban agglomerations and regional capitals, to the detriment of the peripheral localities of the same regions and to the detriment of smaller cities and rural areas;

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- loss of jobs in the administrative institutions concerned with the regionalization process; - the high costs involved in the complex and long process of regionalizing Romania, which will be paid from public resources, i.e. from the taxpayers' money; - the bad timing, firstly correlated with the current context of the global economic crisis, but also from the perspective of planning the new European budget cycle, the moment being viewed as tardy from this point of view; - the feasibility and even the appropriateness of disconnecting the goal of decentralization from that of regionalization, arguing that a good decisional decentralization is also possible outside the regionalization process; - increased bureaucracy, as a result of the many legislative changes needed, as well as due to the indispensable stages of the transition from the current form of the administrative organization to the regional one; - the fear that Romania might turn into a federal country, of turning certain areas of the country into enclaves, of losing the national and historic identify, even of federalizing the EU, correlated with the scepticism of some EU Member States and domestic politicians regarding the topic of regionalisation; - the lack of a solution to the issue of quality and efficiency of the dialogue with the decision makers, even though they would be geographically closer to the citizens in the event of regionalization compared with the current national level. The Recommendations made by the Experts Board

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Based on the highlighted analysis and conclusions, the Committee of Experts gives the following recommendations for optimal public decision making on regionalism subject: 1. Establishing an interdisciplinary, neutral and independent working group for studying the issue of regionalization in Romania from various perspectives. The goal of this group would be to develop viable alternatives of regionalization, including comparative, impact, costbenefits and risk analysis. These should be corroborated with the debates organized on the already mentioned topic. 2. Pointing out how to minimize the risks of regionalisation versions proposed by functioning bodies. 3. The transparent display of all analysis, existing studies on the regionalization of Romania, the different bodies with responsibilities in this field so that interested citizens can identify the advantages and / or disadvantages in the process of regionalization; 4. Put into practice a wide information campaign regarding the advantages and disadvantages of regionalization. The generation of consecutive concentric debates that show the intermediate results in a transparent way, accessible to all. 5. Continuing to organise public debates on the topic of regionalisation, in order to identify the model accepted by general consensus, using practical expertise

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Notes and references


Academia de Advocacy - Audierea public - REGIONALIZAREA ROMNIEI DE CE?, http://advocacy.ro/, 20 februarie 2013. Prioritatea viitoarei guvernri: Reforma regional, http://victorbostinaru.ro/2008/06/prioritatea-viitoarei-guvernari-reformaregionala/, accesat 20 februarie 2013.

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Conclusions

Is Romania predestined to remain the poorest country of the European Union? Six years after Romania's accession to the European Union, the commitments undertaken by politicians, for a better absorption of the EU funds, were blatantly contradicted by the records sent from Brussels, along with the audits in relation to the suspicion of fraud and subsequently, even the suspension of payments. The fraudulent procedures or the failure to observe them, dedicated auctions, politicization, corruption at the top of the administrative apparatus and ignoring offers of assistance from the European Union institutions to improve the situation, have negatively influenced on the absorption rate of structural and cohesion funds, which was already low. The emphasized and meritorious speech for a fictional accomplished absorption capacity cannot hide the throwing-away of the biggest benefit of joining the European Union. From a "zero priority" in successive government programs, to a rate of about 10% of intermediary payments in January 2013, the complexity of financial instruments, the level of training in the public administration or the favourite arguments coming from PR people, can no longer be invoked for the critical situation in which we find ourselves. 273

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We are in a situation in which Romania will pay more for its degree of poverty. The statement does not come from a socio-economic theory of inequality but, it is dictated by the technocrats in their offices in Brussels on the one hand and the opponents of Cohesion Policy and advocates for budget cuts on the other hand. When it comes to European funds, all actions and inactions have financial implications. Although budgetary allocations for the next programming period 2014-2020 will likely be maintained at the level of the previous period (best case scenario), the criteria for accessing EU funds will certainly change. The projects complexity changes to the eligibility criteria, while co-funding amounts will change as well. Even with the introduction of objectives and a framework for developing projects that maximizes vertical and horizontal integration, along with the ability to finance projects using multiple funds, most developing regions in Romania do not have infrastructure, logistics, human resources and even the legal and institutional framework to take advantage of the new regulations. Thus, new investments will be needed, the completion of projects already underway will be required, new negotiations will be initiated and consulting and execution companies with experience and which have the necessary equipment and technology, will have to be hired. But even if the answer to the question How many of these companies will have Romanian capital? is obvious, the unfortunate turn of events is not in this answer. For those who view the EU budget as an investment tool - a large majority in the European Parliament, fortunately in reaching the basic objectives of the Unions Treaty, the fact that through structural and cohesion funds, some benefits return to the member states, having a net contributor status, is itself a part of the founding principles of the Union. Romania however has missed the opportunity to invest less in order to reach the same goals and squandered the only resource that cannot be borrowed, that cannot be negotiated and it cannot be created: time.

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In six years, Romania has effectively absorbed 4 billion Euros out of the 20 billion made available in 2007-2013, with an intermediary payment rate of only 10%, being the last country in the EU. The counterperformance of Bsescu - Bocs successive governments cannot be matched by any other Member State. This fact, coupled with the results of the investigations on irregularities found by the European Commission puts our country in an uneasy position which jeopardizes the entire EU Cohesion Policy, offering arguments in order to substantially reduce the budget, to reduce financing rates for the less developed regions and surprisingly, punish the regions that have a lower absorption rate. In our opinion, at least in the final hour, those responsible for this disastrous situation will have to face the administrative consequences and criminal charges, not only the famous political responsibility. European Funds do not represent virtual amounts; they belong to and are the legal claim of Romania. The funds are the guarantees to reduce development gaps, to increase welfare and living standards of Romanians. Irregularities to be confirmed, the ignorance and the incompetence will have to be imputed to dignitaries, who, despite the warnings, either watched impassively or were accomplices. Even if the political will existed, then it was overshadowed by widespread corruption in a serious act of betrayal. Despite all the auspices, there are still solutions to partially improve the absorption capacity in order for Romania to obtain at least a good part of the allocation. In any other scenario however, Romania will lose billions in European funding. The main benefit of joining the European Union has turned into an exercise in which losses must be minimized. Even though the first steps were taken, the efforts of the new government might not be enough. What to do then? In fact this is the perfect moment to redress the situation, the European Parliament and the Council are negotiating the new legislative package for the Cohesion Policy's programming period 2014-2020, and Romania needs to be able to adapt to the new framework

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and to be ready for a serious implementation of the policy as of 2014. The European Parliament fights against these attempts, but it is worth mentioning this in order to facilitate the understanding of the wider repercussions that a bad management of the funds can produce even on long term. Apart from the budget issue, there will be changes that the European deputies in charge of two of the regulations are trying to make as simple, effective and beneficial for the European regions as possible. Key factors will be an immediate adaptation to the new provisions - which means to closely follow the on-going negotiations in order to anticipate the changes - and then a good strategic planning with the correction of all shortcomings and mistakes of the past and with the preparation of programmes and projects, which can really make the difference. Without forgetting that it must be assured that there are enough national resources put aside for the national co-financing. However, it cannot be forgotten that there are two key elements which are kind of preconditions for all this: administrative and institutional capacity on the one hand, and about the full involvement of regional and local authorities and stakeholders on the other hand. As to the first element, this is something absolutely crucial, because the Romanian past experience and the examples coming from other countries show that without people who are well prepared, able to deliver concrete results, focused on objectives, stable in their posts beyond political changes, and last but not least sufficiently rewarded from the economic point of view it is not possible to make the most of the European support. This is once again something on which the new government needs to work hard in order to make sure that these preconditions are fully in place at least for the new programming period. Moreover, on this we are also working at the level of legislative framework, with the creation of what are called ex ante conditionalities aiming at obliging Member States to put in place what are considered to 276

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be the key preconditions for each programme that the Member State concerned wishes to undertake. The second element has a high relevance for the simple reason that regional and local authorities are the ones closest to the citizens, to the territory, and the ones to best know their needs. Without a full involvement of these actors at all stages it is impossible to design and implement programmes with a real impact on the ground. Also from this point of view we are pushing for measures that will oblige Member States to act this way, and despite of the opposition of the national governments there is confidence that a good compromise will be reached. All what we mentioned until now can lead to a better use of the EU funds in their multiple fields of action, from infrastructure (transport, energy and digital) to research and innovation, from education and employment to social inclusion, from enterprises to environment just to name a few. Talking in particular about transport (Trans-European Transport Network) and the environment, we need to underline that Romania benefits from a very strong support from the Cohesion Fund. In addition, if the two institutional areas of action of this fund are the ones described, we need to say that the European Parliament is working to make sure that all the investment priorities from ERDF and the Cohesion Fund are improved. We refer especially to projects related to energy efficiency and the use of renewable energies in the housing sector - which the European deputies are trying to make eligible in the same way as with public building and enterprises - and to the cogeneration of power, heating and cooling as well as district heating, which are widely present and very important in Central and Eastern Member States like Romania. We think that the support for plants and distribution network construction and rehabilitation, even with certain limitations necessary to avoid clashes with other EU sectorial legislation (the Emissions Trading System), will improve in terms of efficiency of these plants, in terms of 277

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environmental impact, and of course in terms of bills for the final users, i.e. the citizens. Those same citizens that we hope can be able - thanks to the simplification of the rules, to the readiness of the national governments, and to a good information campaign - to benefit the most of the Cohesion Policy and to feel the positive impact of the European Union on their lives. Romania is not fated to remain the poor country of the European Union. European funds, as it is the case of Poland, may give our country the necessary momentum that we could not hope for 10-15 years ago. Important in this respect is that we know what we have to do, what measures to implement and have the political will to turn things for the future of Romania. All the measures listed in this study, a broad agreement among civil society organizations and public authorities in Romania in order to achieve a regional reform that will give legal identity to regions, are all steps enabling the refocus of efforts and bring the benefits of Cohesion Policy in our country.

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Anexe Annexes

279

Anexa 1/Annex 1 Rata plilor pentru statele membre ale Uniunii Europene pentru perioada 2007-20131 Payment rate for the EU Member States in the period 2007-2013

Fondul de Coeziune / Cohesion Fund


Pre-finanare / ara/Country Bulgaria Cipru Cehia Estonia Spania Grecia Ungaria Lituania Letonia Malta Polonia Portugalia Romania Slovenia Slovacia Total Pre-Financing 239,718,797 22,386,471 925,997,356 143,966,431 265,740,976 277,287,065 1,080,289,527 288,154,468 192,472,069 29,835,227 2,328,517,146 229,497,414 819,052,878 148,214,835 409,367,549 7,400,498,210 % 10,50% 10,50% 10,50% 12,50% 7,50% 7,50% 12,50% 12,50% 12,50% 10,50% 10,40% 7,50% 12,50% 10,50% 10,50% 10,60% Pli intermediare / Interim payment 401,231,929 77,474,930 2,158,345,017 413,272,796 1,950,244,131 1,279,462,586 1,950,739,369 1,089,499,195 466,560,507 73,575,051 7,695,740,106 1,113,600,273 455,027,679 315,043,269 737,042,211 20,176,859,049 % 17,60% 36,30% 24,50% 35,90% 55,00% 34,60% 22,60% 47,30% 30,30% 25,90% 34,40% 36,40% 6,90% 22,30% 18,90% 28,90% Total pltit / Total paid 640,950,727 99,861,401 3,084,342,373 557,239,226 2,215,985,107 1,556,749,651 3,031,028,896 1,377,653,663 659,032,576 103,410,278 10,024,257,252 1,343,097,687 1,274,080,558 463,258,104 1,146,409,760 27,577,357,259 % 28,10% 46,80% 35,00% 48,40% 62,50% 42,10% 35,10% 59,80% 42,80% 36,40% 44,80% 43,90% 19,40% 32,80% 29,40% 39,50%

Conform datelor disponibile la 12.12.2012/ According to the data available on 12.12.2012

280

Fondul European pentru Dezvoltare Regional / European Regional Development Fund

ara/Country Austria Belgia Bulgaria Transfrontalier Cipru Cehia Germania Danemarca Estonia Spania Finlanda Franta Marea Britanie Grecia Ungaria Irlanda Italia Lituania Luxemburg Letonia Malta Olanda Polonia Portugalia Romania Suedia Slovenia Slovacia Total

Pre-finanare / Pre-Financing 51,004,952 74,271,238 288,461,899 648,164,562 25,151,522 1,233,815,456 1,208,097,115 19,109,147 167,419,000 1,729,289,411 73,305,149 604,100,480 406,201,480 911,197,513 1,138,476,945 28,152,178 1,577,048,063 309,775,532 1,893,275 219,601,563 39,958,023 62,250,000 3,000,449,090 887,940,534 807,881,946 70,090,555 174,040,147 536,605,041 16,293,751,813

% 7,50% 7,50% 9,00% 8,20% 9,00% 8,90% 7,50% 7,50% 9,00% 7,50% 7,50% 7,50% 7,50% 7,70% 9,00% 7,50% 7,50% 9,00% 7,50% 9,10% 9,00% 7,50% 8,60% 7,80% 9,00% 7,50% 9,00% 8,80% 8,10%

Pli intermediare / Interim payment 218,889,542 397,245,414 882,438,777 2,233,318,328 91,969,064 4,568,273,203 7,564,078,329 110,300,758 1,010,077,593 9,615,172,066 437,629,381 2,916,887,353 2,070,528,968 5,284,027,085 5,163,160,295 162,106,036 3,861,422,172 1,890,552,387 11,527,183 943,209,638 104,266,655 340,785,439 16,314,903,969 5,898,857,280 1,106,024,664 486,958,723 1,045,242,000 2,290,662,176 77,020,514,476

% 32,20% 40,10% 27,50% 28,30% 32,90% 32,80% 47,00% 43,30% 54,30% 41,70% 44,80% 36,20% 38,20% 44,40% 40,80% 43,20% 18,40% 54,90% 45,70% 39,20% 23,50% 41,10% 46,90% 51,60% 12,30% 52,10% 54,10% 37,60% 38,50%

Total pltit / Total paid 269,894,494 471,516,652 1,170,900,676 2,881,482,890 117,120,585 5,802,088,658 8,772,175,444 129,409,904 1,177,496,592 11,344,461,477 510,934,529 3,520,987,832 2,476,730,448 6,195,224,598 6,301,637,240 190,258,214 5,438,470,236 2,200,327,919 13,420,458 1,162,811,201 144,224,678 403,035,439 19,315,353,058 6,786,797,814 1,913,906,610 557,049,278 1,219,282,147 2,827,267,217 93,314,266,289

% 39,70% 47,60% 36,50% 36,50% 41,90% 41,60% 54,50% 50,80% 63,30% 49,20% 52,30% 43,70% 45,70% 52,10% 49,80% 50,70% 25,90% 63,90% 53,20% 48,30% 32,50% 48,60% 55,50% 59,40% 21,30% 59,60% 63,10% 46,30% 46,70%

281

Fondul Social European / European Social Fund

ara/Country Austria Belgia Bulgaria Cipru Cehia Germania Danemarca Estonia Spania Finlanda Franta Marea Britanie Grecia Ungaria Irlanda Italia Lituania Luxemburg Letonia Malta Olanda Polonia Portugalia Romania Suedia Slovenia Slovacia Total

Pre-finanare / Pre-Financing 39,330,942 80,491,320 106,691,388 10,779,224 339,706,929 703,549,107 19,109,146 50,897,253 604,299,662 46,392,305 404,591,099 335,618,830 327,285,030 471,781,512 28,152,178 520,350,592 133,679,875 1,893,275 71,584,983 10,080,000 62,250,205 873,645,840 488,429,090 478,939,190 51,866,337 68,012,943 134,964,284 6,464,372,538

% 7,50% 7,50% 9,00% 9,00% 9,00% 7,50% 7,50% 13,00% 7,50% 7,50% 7,50% 7,50% 7,50% 13,00% 7,50% 7,50% 13,00% 7,50% 12,30% 9,00% 7,50% 8,70% 7,10% 13,00% 7,50% 9,00% 9,00% 8,40%

Pli intermediare / Interim payment 284,306,200 413,888,890 189,006,128 32,930,439 645,136,780 3,961,429,745 67,981,948 226,979,032 3,368,710,520 283,037,277 1,680,728,195 2,158,659,361 1,278,560,282 917,707,284 198,667,964 2,265,330,184 468,665,227 7,330,376 340,694,842 20,958,448 264,869,277 4,497,784,261 4,003,053,782 307,579,963 257,630,505 298,515,731 446,315,465 28,886,458,103

% 54,20% 38,60% 15,90% 27,50% 17,00% 42,20% 26,70% 58,00% 41,80% 45,80% 31,20% 48,20% 29,30% 25,30% 52,90% 32,70% 45,60% 29,00% 58,40% 18,70% 31,90% 44,90% 58,50% 8,30% 37,30% 39,50% 29,80% 37,70%

Total pltit / Total paid 323,637,142 494,380,209 295,697,515 43,709,662 984,843,708 4,664,978,853 87,091,094 277,876,284 3,973,010,182 329,429,582 2,085,319,294 2,494,278,191 1,605,845,312 1,389,488,795 226,820,142 2,785,680,776 602,345,101 9,223,651 412,279,825 31,038,448 327,119,483 5,371,430,101 4,491,482,872 786,519,153 309,496,842 366,528,674 581,279,749 35,350,830,641

% 61,70% 46,10% 24,90% 36,50% 26,00% 49,70% 34,20% 71,00% 49,30% 53,30% 38,70% 55,70% 36,80% 38,30% 60,40% 40,20% 58,60% 36,50% 70,70% 27,70% 39,40% 53,70% 65,60% 21,30% 44,80% 48,50% 38,80% 46,10%

282

Toate fondurile / All funds

ara/Country Austria Belgia Bulgaria Tranfrontalier Cipru Cehia Germania Danemarca Estonia Spania Finlanda Franta Marea Britanie Grecia Ungaria Irlanda Italia Lituania Luxemburg Letonia Malta Olanda Polonia Portugalia Romania Suedia Slovenia Slovacia Total

Pre-finanare / Pre-Financing 90,335,894 154,762,557 634,872,084 648,164,562 58,317,217 2,499,519,740 1,911,646,222 38,218,293 362,282,683 2,599,330,049 119,697,453 1,008,691,579 741,820,310 1,515,769,608 2,690,547,984 56,304,356 2,097,398,655 731,609,874 3,786,550 483,658,615 79,873,250 124,500,205 6,202,612,076 1,605,867,038 2,105,874,015 121,956,892 390,267,925 1,080,936,874 30,158,622,560

% 7,50% 7,50% 9,50% 8,20% 9,50% 9,40% 7,50% 7,50% 10,60% 7,50% 7,50% 7,50% 7,50% 7,60% 10,80% 7,50% 7,50% 10,80% 7,50% 10,70% 9,50% 7,50% 9,20% 7,50% 11,00% 7,50% 9,50% 9,40% 8,70%

Pli intermediare / Interim payment 503,195,743 811,134,304 1,472,676,834 2,233,318,328 202,374,432 7,371,754,999 11,525,508,075 178,282,706 1,650,329,420 14,934,126,717 720,666,658 4,597,615,547 4,229,188,329 7,842,049,952 8,031,606,948 360,774,001 6,126,752,356 3,448,716,809 18,857,559 1,750,464,987 198,800,154 605,654,716 28,508,428,335 11,015,511,334 1,868,632,305 744,589,228 1,658,801,000 3,474,019,852 126,083,831,628

% 41,80% 39,30% 22,10% 28,30% 33,00% 27,80% 45,20% 35,00% 48,50% 43,10% 45,20% 34,20% 42,80% 39,30% 32,20% 48,10% 21,90% 50,90% 37,40% 38,60% 23,70% 36,50% 42,40% 51,60% 9,70% 45,80% 40,40% 30,20% 36,40%

Total pltit / Total paid 593,531,636 965,896,862 2,107,548,918 2,881,482,890 260,691,649 9,871,274,739 13,437,154,297 216,500,999 2,012,612,103 17,533,456,766 840,364,111 5,606,307,126 4,971,008,639 9,357,819,561 10,722,154,931 417,078,356 8,224,151,011 4,180,326,683 22,644,109 2,234,123,602 278,673,404 730,154,921 34,711,040,411 12,621,378,373 3,974,506,320 866,546,120 2,049,068,925 4,554,956,726 156,242,454,188

% 49,30% 46,80% 31,60% 36,50% 42,60% 37,20% 52,70% 42,50% 59,10% 50,60% 52,70% 41,70% 50,30% 46,90% 43,00% 55,60% 29,40% 61,70% 44,90% 49,30% 33,20% 44,00% 51,70% 59,20% 20,70% 53,30% 50,00% 39,60% 45,10%

283

Anexa 2/Annex 2 Pli intermediare pentru statele membre ale Uniunii Europene pentru perioada 2007-20132 (Grafice) Interim payments for EU Member States in the period 2007-2013 (Charts) Fondul de Coeziune / Cohesion Fund

Conform datelor disponibile la 12.12.2012/ According to the data available on 12.12.2012

284

Fondul European pentru Dezvoltare Regional / European Regional Development Fund

285

Fondul Social European / European Social Fund

286