Bucharest found wanting in regional policy implementation

Corina Creţu outlined her concerns over Romania's lack of progress in important areas such as health. [European Commission]

Romanian Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu has criticised her own country for lagging behind in crucial areas such as health, citing a case in which three hospitals remain unbuilt, despite receiving EU funding. EURACTIV Romania reports.

“We talk a lot about money, but money is not everything. Administrative capacity is more important than EU funding by itself. Money is necessary, but is not sufficient to deal effectively with all of Romania’s problems,” said Crețu today (3 March) in a visit to Bucharest, according to Romanian news agency Agerpres.

She added that Romania has met 14 of the 22 conditions laid down by the European Commission under the Regional Operational Programme (ROP), but highlighted Bucharest’s shortcomings in important areas such as public procurement, health and waste management.

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Crețu illustrated her point by citing the case of three as-yet unbuilt regional hospitals that are being funded by the ROP, which was finalised in June 2015. The plans have been delayed by lack of planning by ministers and other authorities.

The Commissioner criticised Romania’s government for not having drawn up health infrastructure plans or roadmaps, meaning additional investment in 65 emergency units in district hospitals could not yet be made.

“The situation is similar in the case of waste management. There is investment worth €380 million just sitting there for its development, but there is still no national plan,” Crețu added.

Romania’s health system has been dealing with a mini health-scare for the past month, as it struggles to deal with an outbreak of E.coli in the central region of Argeș County. Authorities have finally pinned down the source of the potentially deadly bacteria, narrowing it down to contaminated dairy products, in particular a specific brand of cottage cheese.

Romania in public health scare

A severe digestive infection has struck infants and children in Romania, with two fatalities recorded so far. Bucharest hopes these are not the first days of a serious public health crisis. EURACTIV Romania reports.

Romania’s former EU Agriculture Commissioner and new prime minister Dacian Cioloș named a technocratic government last November, appointing European Union experts as well as private sector leaders to steer the country until elections next year.

The change in government came about following the Romanian nightclub-fire scandal, protests about which forced Victor Ponta to resign his post.

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