Thursday, September 15, 2011

Romania seeks to speed up use of EU funds

(Reuters) - Romania is seeking to improve use of its allotted European Union development funds by creating a new ministry to oversee disbursement, the government said on Wednesday.

Funds were allotted to Romania, the bloc's second poorest country which joined in 2007, as part of a wider plan to help formerly communist new members catch up with the rest. But absorption of the funds has been hampered by bureaucracy, corruption and incompetence.

At the end of 2010, Romania had only managed to secure 8.6 percent of the 19 billion euros it had slated from the EU between 2007 and 2013, with high growth sectors such as infrastructure and energy among the weakest links.

Prime Minister Emil Boc, whose centrist coalition has a small majority, has asked parliament to approve the creation of the ministry and plans to appoint former EU commissioner Leonard Orban to run it.

"The new minister will coordinate the process of absorption of European funds, as well as the diplomacy and strategy in the area of European affairs," the government said in a statement.

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