Brussels, 14 July 2005
Danuta Hübner, European Commissioner responsible for regional policy, is visiting today Romania in order to discuss the present state of preparations of the country for European union’s regional policy support after the planned accession in 2007. In Bucharest, Ms Hübner met the President of Romania, Mr Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu as well Mr Ionut Popescu, the Minister of Finance. Ms Hübner met also two representatives of the opposition party, Mr Mircea Geoana and Mr Cristian Diaconescu.
During her meetings, Ms Hübner highlighted the following message: “The Commission is ready to support the Romanian authorities in strengthening their efforts to prepare sound and efficient structures for the management of cohesion instruments. In order to be able to benefit fully from the Regional policy upon accession, Romania needs a real progress, in particular as regards control systems, public procurement and staffing”.
During her first visit to Romania, Ms Hübner had as well a round table discussion with the Managing Authorities for the Structural and Cohesion Funds involving the ministries of public finance, economy and trade, labour, transport, environment and European integration. Commissioner Hübner met the Presidents of the Regional Development Boards, representatives of the eight existing Regional Development Agencies and economic and social partner organisations.
Romania has a population of 21.8 million and aims at becoming a member state of the European Union in 2007. Between 2004 and 2006, the country can receive about EUR 3 billion from the EU’s pre-accession instruments PHARE, SAPARD and ISPA to strengthen its institutional capacity, and to develop its rural areas and its transport and environment infrastructure. For example, ISPA funds support the City of Ramnicu Valcea in Central Southern Romania in developing a waste treatment facility or finance the modernisation of the water purification station in Craiova, one of the country’s biggest cities in the South West. In 2002, Romania had a GDP of 28.6% of the EU25 average, with the lowest GDP in the North-East region (20.7%) and the highest in the Bucharest region (59.4%). Based on these figures, the whole country would qualify for the “Convergence” objective during the period 2007-2013, which would result in the highest priority for funding from the Structural and Cohesion Funds.