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MEMO/07/303

Brussels, 25 July 2007

1. Romania

2. "Operational Programme Environment"
Programme under Convergence objective co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF)

[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

3. On July 12, the European Commission approved the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Cohesion Fund (CF) Operational programme for Romania for the period 2007-2013, entitled "Operational Programme Environment" (SOP ENV). The total budget of the programme is around EUR 5,6 billion and the Community assistance amounts to EUR 4,5 billion (approximately 23 % of the total EU money invested in Romania under Cohesion policy 2007-2013).

4. The purpose and aim of the EU investment

The global objective of the programme is to improve the living standards and the environment, focusing in particular on meeting the European legislation on the environment.

This objective should be seen in the light of the unprecedented increase in disparities within the enlarged Union and of the long-term nature of the efforts that will be needed for Romania to reduce them. Having in view that the needs for direct environmental investments to comply with the EU legislation are particularly high, Romanian authorities opted to create a specific OP focused on environmental infrastructure, but dealing with other environmental issues as well.

5. The expected impact of the investment

The SOP ENV strategy for 2007-2013 focuses on investments and collective services which are required to increase long term competitiveness, job creation and sustainable development. Basic infrastructures and services will need to be created, upgraded and expanded in order to open up regional and local economies, set up an effective business support framework and exploit opportunities afforded by the European Market. Establishment of effective water and environmental infrastructure will create potential for new jobs (construction, services, SMEs etc) and in a way reduce the workforce migration giving possibilities for population to develop businesses or to attract other investors by using also local competitive advantages (cheaper resources, valuable natural areas etc.).

6. Priority axes

In order to achieve the objectives of the Operational Programme on Environment, it is foreseen to allocate the relevant EU and State funds towards the implementation of the following priority axes:

Priority axis 1: Extension and modernization of water and wastewater systems

This priority addresses one of the main weaknesses of the water and wastewater systems reflecting poor rate of connection of the communities to basic water and wastewater infrastructure (52%), poor quality of drinking water and lack of sewerage collection and treatment facilities in some areas. As well, it addresses the issue of limited efficiency of public water services mainly due to a large number of small operators, many of them dealing with different other activities (public transport, urban heating, local electricity, etc.) and due to long term under-investments, poor management, lack of long term development strategies and business plans, etc.

Priority axis 2: Development of integrated waste management systems and rehabilitation of historically contaminated sites

This priority addresses a critical environmental aspect across Romania – the pollution of water, soil, air caused by inadequate waste disposal. The inadequate waste management practices inherited from the past and still in place in Romania, have led to a large number of non-compliant waste landfills and to the inadequate disposal of considerable quantities of waste that continue to be produced. The most frequent method of waste disposal remains landfilling. The selective collection is done only in certain pilot centres and most of the recyclable materials are lost by landfilling. Only a small proportion is used as a secondary raw material and recycled.

Priority axis 3: Reduction of pollution and mitigation of climate change by restructuring and renovating urban heating systems towards energy efficiency targets in the identified local environmental hotspots

Actions under the programme envisage reduction of the negative impact on the environment and human health in those urban agglomerations that suffer most from pollution by old urban heating systems. Interventions will be based on a medium/long term local heating strategy. The main aim is to promote the efficient use of the non-renewable energy sources and, where possible, the use of renewable or less polluting sources of energy for urban heating plants.

Particular attention will be given to activities for upgrading of urban heating systems, which will lead to significant reduction of SO2, NOx and dust emissions in several environmental hotspots.

Priority axis 4: Implementation of adequate management systems for nature protection

The purpose of this priority axis is to support biodiversity and nature conservation through development of an adequate management framework for protected areas, including Natura 2000 sites. This includes development of infrastructure for protected areas as well as maintenance, operation and monitoring activities. Raising public awareness for environmental protection and nature-friendly behaviour – as basis for sustainable development – is also a key element considered.

Particular support is envisaged for the preparation and implementation of management plans. This includes sections of spatial framework, inventory (natural features and socio-economic information), planning and management tools, including definition of environmental units and their evaluation, proposed zoning (reserve, priority for conservation, restricted use and general use), management objectives and guidelines. The latter provides for relevant legislation, human activities compatible with conservation, habitat improvement measures.

Priority axis 5: Implementation of adequate infrastructure of natural risk prevention in most vulnerable areas

Support under this priority axis will focus on investments providing for adequate level of protection against floods by improvements of the economic, environmental, ecological and conservation status in the most vulnerable flood areas. The target areas for intervention will be selected according to the relevant strategies on national and regional level.

Support will be also given for the protection and rehabilitation of the southern Romanian Black Sea shore, aiming at stopping the coastal erosion and protecting the assets value of coastal zone and the safety of housing in the area.

Priority axis 6: Technical Assistance

The aim of this priority is to ensure an efficient implementation of the entire OP ENV. It will contribute to the increase of absorption capacity of EU funds by supporting projects identification, strengthening the administrative capacity of the Managing Authority and Intermediate Bodies, financing the activities regarding monitoring, evaluation and control for projects, as well as information and publicity actions for OP ENV. A special attention will be paid in supporting projects identification to exchange information with the European research community in environmental field and transfer of “state of the art” knowledge. The studies developed for supporting project identification will fully consider the available data on innovation and friendly environmental technologies.

7. Managing authority: Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development – Managing Authority for the OP ENV (at the level of directorate general)
Contact details:
Director General
Silviu Stoica
12 Libertatii Blvd., Sector 5, Bucharest, Romania
Tel: +40 21 300 77 77
Fax: +40 21 316 07 78
Web address: www.mmediu.ro

8. Title: "Operational Programme Environment"
Intervention type: Operational Programme
CCI No: 2007RO161PO004
No. of decision: C/2007/3467
Final approval date: 12/07/2007

9. Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority axis
Total cost
EU Contribution
National public contribution
1. Extension and modernization of water and wastewater systems
3 266 508 423
2 776 532 160
489 976 263
2. Development of integrated waste management systems and rehabilitation of historically contaminated sites
1 167 778 849
934 223 079
233 555 770
3. Reduction of pollution and mitigation of climate change by restructuring and renovating urban heating systems towards energy efficiency targets in the identified local environmental hotspots
458 537 288
229 268 644
229 268 644
4. Implementation of adequate management systems for nature protection
214 985 867
171 988 693
42 997 174
5. Implementation of adequate infrastructure of natural risk prevention in most vulnerable areas
329 145 954
270 017 139
59 128 815
6. Technical Assistance
173 920 564
130 440 423
43 480 141
Total
5 610 876 945
4 512 470 138
1 098 406 807


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