Romania did not spend the pre-financing amounts, because the organizational structures necessary for the implementation of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) were not operationalized, said on Monday, the Minister of European Investments and Projects, Marcel Bolos.
"I said that we did not spend pre-financing amounts, and I mentioned the reason: we did not have operationalized those organizational structures necessary for the implementation of PNRR. This demarche is taking place these days and efforts are being made in this regard and it is natural, access to this money is ensured under the European rules, respectively the moment you have the evaluation function, the contracting, authorization and payment of expenses function ensured. Then, all these organizational structures allow access to money, but it is not enough just to operationalize these organizational structures, it is necessary to generate these projects that produce payments and I give the example of infrastructure projects regardless of their nature, related to the Local Modernization Fund. All those calls for projects where the beneficiaries are the local authorities or the business environment and which need liquidity for the implementation of the projects," stated Marcel Bolos, in the briefing held at the end of the Government meeting.
Asked when the first transfers from this pre-financing will take place, the minister said it will happen only after the financing contracts with the beneficiaries are concluded for the projects that are ready for payments.
"We might need more time to conclude the financing contracts with the beneficiaries of funds from PNRR and then to have the payments. The great thing that the Romanian Government has done is this buffer that we have available so that there aren't any disruptions when the implementation of the projects starts. It is a great thing for what the management of funds within PNRR means," added the head of MIPE.
With regard to payment request number 1, the Minister of European Funds stated that only requirements related to conciliation with the Audit Authority "in terms of milestones and targets" remain to be met. "Those are fully completed and have been uploaded to the EC's FENIX platform today. (...) The deadline is May 31, as we promised, and the amount is 3 billion euros, and we stick to that promise. Due to the pre-financing amount, we were not able to spend this money because we did not have the management and operational control system," Bolos underlined.
He mentioned that when he took office he inventoried the large infrastructure projects, which are of high complexity and are conditions for milestones in 2026, but which also generate advance payments, stressing that he will propose special monitoring measures of these projects in the next period.
"We, for example, have 412 km of motorway in the PNRR, but we can't wait for that milestone to come and have nothing done. In a motorway project, to start making payments, you need to be proactive three years before and from this point of view I have inventoried these milestones which are of high complexity and I will propose in the next period special monitoring measures of these projects so that Romania is not in the situation where it has these milestones to fulfill and it is not able to fulfill them. And more, and even worse, to have the funds suspended from this point of view. (...) I have told you with all sincerity and openness that there are countries that have better organized from this point of view and as the pre-financing went into the account, they had the projects ready and were able to make payments," explained Marcel Bolos.
Last but not least, he explained that from the money transferred by the EC, those payments that are extremely necessary for starting the projects can be made, otherwise Romania will have to borrow to ensure the necessary money to implement the projects.
"It is a great thing that we have access to this money as a result of these milestones that we have to fulfill, but we must have the necessary capacity because through the calls for projects that we launch, but also through the implementation of the infrastructure projects that we have - all of them are payment generators - and with this money we have to mobilize to support them in view of implementation. It will take a little longer, but we will enter a state of normalcy," he mentioned.
According to the cited source, the European Commission has two months in which to request any additional information it wishes on the milestones and targets we have to fulfill. "This is a period of continuous dialogue," added Marcel Bolos, minister of European Investments and Projects. AGERPRES