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Commissioner Cretu: 'I publicly announce I no longer accept insults from the Romanian gov't over my job'

Corina Cretu New Europe
European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu said on Monday that she no longer accepts insults from the Romanian government, adding that she had warned the Romanian government many times that Romania is losing money for lack of projects and she was chastised for calling a spade a spade.

"It is my duty as regional policy commissioner to alert all member states, implicitly Romania, to the risk of losing funds or having funds disengaged, especially in the field of infrastructure, given that they are complex works that require years, and I have to do my duty and say when a country risks losing its chances of development for generations. As you may know, since I became European commissioner for regional policy, I have been trying to help with the absorption rate for the less developed regions. In Romania's case, we have made extraordinary efforts, in that we have phased over many projects worth three billion euros, basically we relieved the national budget of three billion euros worth of expenses, money that would have been lost," Cretu told a news conference in Brussels. 

She showed that Romania has reached an absorption rate of over 90 percent for 2007 - 2013, although 2014 started from less than 50 percent. 

"We have approved the retrospective projects, projects that are being carried out but for which the Romanian government would pay loans from the European Investment Bank [EIB] and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development [EBRD]. We took over the salaries of all workers dealing with European funds so that for the period 2007 - 2013, the absorption rate increased to 90 percent. Two billion euros were lost, unfortunately in the most vulnerable and most necessary area for Romania, the transport sector. For the period 2014-2020, we are trying valiantly to avoid the disengagement of funds. For this year there is the risk of losses. At the beginning of the year there were 800 million euros, but we are working with the Romanian officials to minimise these funds that are under operational programme regional development," added Cretu. 

She said that in the area of infrastructure there is not yet a risk of loss for this year, precisely because there are projects started in the past years. 

Cretu also said that although there is money for feasibility studies, there is no request in this respect. 

The European official also mentioned the Otopeni-Gara de Nord subway line projects, the Craiova-Pitesti motorway sections, and the Braila Bridge. 

At the end of the conference, Cretu emphasised that she was sick and tired of the insults against her by the members of the Romanian government for not mincing words. 

"I would like to add one more thing in connection with our struggle for our future. You know very well that in the Brexit dispute we were all desperate that Romania and all the other countries that are less developed will lose money. We have managed to do more than just securing a cohesion policy for all regions, because there was this question of whether we should fund all regions or just the less developed regions. We have managed to maintain this essential per capita GDP criterion, the Berlin method, whereby Romania, Bulgaria and Greece have earned 10 percent extra. So, come to think about it, during my term of office we have tried to talk about using European funds, at least to have the money for 25 years, a quarter of a century. That's why I want you to publicly announce that I no longer accept the insults of the Romanian government regarding my job!," Cretu pointed out.



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