Romania’s Prime Minister and President have issued contrasting statements about the country’s budget from the EU after the summit last week in Brussels, where EU leaders agreed a spending plan for the next seven years.
President Traian Basescu (in picture ) said Romania got an 18 percent increase for the period 2014-2020 compared to the previous period, and was one of the few countries which managed to get a budget increase from the EU. In total, Romania would get some EUR 39.8 billion. This happened in the context of an overall drop of the EU budget, which is of EUR 960 billion, compared to EUR 994 billion between 2007 – 2013. Romania would thus get EUR 6 billion extra compared to the previous period.
But the Prime Minister’s view differs. PM Victor Ponta said he was disappointed by the result of the meeting and that Romania did not get any extra money. He explained the budget was presented to appear better, but it is actually worse compared to the initial proposal from the European Union, and Romania did not get any extra funds compared to what it was offered at the negotiation in November 2012. “The legend of President Basescu being a great negotiator is dead,” said the PM.
The European Commission’s first proposal for Romania was of EUR 48 billion, but the country got some EUR 39 billion, “which means we lost EUR 9 billion, and none of our requests about the value of pre-financing, which is down from 7 to 4 percent, or rural co-financing, also down from 85 to 75 percent, were approved,” the PM explained. “I think it is an unfair allocation for Romania, and there’s no sense in fooling ourselves,” said the PM.
The President’s approach was more upbeat, he highlighted that Romania has got the highest budget increase among the 27 member states, reminded that other EU countries pay this money, “the EU does not print them”, and thanked the countries that will pay for Romania’s budget.
But the PM still does not agree, and gives data for comparison: Poland, with double Romania’s budget between 2007 and 2013, now has a 15 percent increase, while Romania, only 18 percent.
“However we want to spin the numbers, it is a very bad result, the worst we could have had, a big disappointment,” said Ponta, explaining it is all as a PR trick. With this budget, Romania does not come close to European – level development, but gets farther from this target, Ponta continued. He believes Romania should have received more, considering its area and population.
The president is however content: “It was hard, but I liked it. I am personally content. Given what could have happened, I am content,” said president Basescu upon return from Brussels, on Friday last week.
Last week’s Council meeting, on February 7 and 8, continued the failed negotiations on the budget from November 22 and 23, and now an agreement has been reached. President Basescu asked all the political groups in the European parliament representing Romania to vote for the new budget.
The recent EU – level agreement on the budget came after a marathon 24-hour summit, and despite the discontent of some of the commissioners which saw their budget slashed. For the new MFF to enter into force in January 2014 a final agreement with the European Parliament has yet to be reached.
(photo source: European Council)