By Jerom Bolt
Romania has requested support from the European Commission for measures to reduce the risk of decommitment of funds for its operational programme regional development (POR), according to a press statement released by the Ministry of European Funds on Friday. Until now, Romania has used only 11.5% of the European funds made available for the 2014-2020 budget exercise On a two-day to Brussels, Romania's Minister of European Funds Rovana Plumb on Friday met Commissioner for Budget Gunther Oettinger and European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu. At her meeting with Commissioner Cretu, Plumb is reported to have discussed the identification of technical solutions to avoid POR decommitment, and also the initiation of a working group aimed at simplifying procedures for beneficiaries attracting European funds. 'Regarding the implementation of the operational programme regional development, the Romanian delegation asked the European Commission for support in order to speed up the measures for reducing the risk of decommitment, including the proposal for a subsidy scheme for increasing energy efficiency of homes.' Another topic discussed was the latest developments in projects for three regional hospitals, to be built on European funds in the Rumanian cities of Craiova, Iasi and Cluj-Napoca. 'It was agreed that the three applications should be filed with the European Commission by the end of this year, after completing feasibility studies in October 2018. At the meeting with Budget Commissioner Gunther H. Oettinger, the Romanian delegation reconfirmed Romania's position on the next financial period (2021-2027), emphasising that cohesion policy should continue to focus on a limited number of thematic objectives and investment priorities.' It was pointed out that some flexibility in cohesion policy will be needed in the coming period to respond swiftly to future challenges. 'In Brussels, I advocated for a cohesion policy to support all regions, given its relevance to the development of Romania and the other member states. We called for this flexibility in choosing priorities to meet the development needs and challenges specific to each region,' said Plumb.