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Leonard Orban: Financial penalties for POSDRU estimated at 75 million euros


The financial penalties set to Romania for the flaws found at five operational programmes might amount to several hundreds of millions euros, 75 million of which is the estimated sum for POSDRU (the sectoral operational programme Human Resources), said Minister of European Affairs Leonard Orban on Wednesday.

'We are to find the penalties for POSDRU yet, where they are 75 million euros at a first evaluation, however, there is also a number of reimbursement applications which have not been processed yet and only after will we be able to know for sure which is the final sum because we are talking about a 25 percent penalty,' Orban said.

He added that Romania awaits the letter from the European Commission to start the conciliation in order to establish the financial penalties for the operational programmes Regional, Environment, Transports, Economic Competitiveness.

'As regards the financial penalties for the period between January 1, 2007 and October 2011 for the four operational programmes, we have not started the negotiations, in fact the conciliation with the European Commission, we are awaiting the official letter in Romanian which is probably due in several weeks and right after we will have a two months' deadline to conclude these negotiations,' said the minister.

Orban stressed that Romania is not going to miss out on European money through financial penalties, negotiating the possibility to reallocate those funds to the programmes which have not experienced problems.

'We will hold talks with the European Commission and if we will accept the proposal of the European Commission, this money will not be lost entirely, it will go to other projects. It will be withdrawn from the projects where flaws have been found at public acquisitions,' said Leonard Orban.

About POSDRU, he claimed that the only solution to provide local payments to beneficiaries is to transfer money from the state budget to the Ministry of Labour.

POSDRU, currently managed by the Ministry of Labour, is under pre-suspension at the European Commission but the Minister of European Affairs also claimed there is a possibility to avoid the programme to be suspended.

'From Monday till today, there is a mission from the European Commission, the fact-finding mission, meant to assess the evolutions in Romania on POSDRU. Depending on the results of this mission, we might avoid the suspension of the programme which is scheduled on October 6, however we will wait and see. We might avoid it, but the moment the entire pre-suspension procedure is lifted is not clear now,' Orban explained.

About the other programmes ridded by issues, the minister explained that Romania expects 'a differentiated decision.'

'I do not believe there is the idea or risk of suspension of all the operational programmes, if such thing comes into question it would depend from programme to programme, or rather from priority axis to priority axis,' said Leonard Orban.

Minister of European Affairs Leonard Orban took part on Wednesday at the debate 'The European Union at a crossroads?' held by the Representation of the European Commission in Romania.