Romania still lacks EC’s clearing for part of the EUR 1.5 bln promised to SMEs
Romania still needs to get clearance from the European Commission for part of the schemes included in the economic support package for local SMEs, which total EUR 1.5 bln.
"Each of the three schemes needs an opinion, procedures from the European Commission," said new economy minister Claudiu Nasui in an interview with Startupcafe.ro.
The EUR 1.5 billion grants programs were initiated by the former Liberal Government headed by prime minister Ludovic Orban in June 2020.
The initial value of these programs was EUR 1 bln, mostly financed from the EU budget, but the Romanian Government increased the budget for the second program (working capital grants) by about EUR 500 mln to cover the high demand.
However, only 10% of the over 22,000 local companies that applied for working capital grants have already received the money, while 17,400 applications haven't been processed yet.
The economy minister hopes to speed up the pace. Meanwhile, applications for the third program (investment grants) are still open until the end of January.
Over 6,000 companies have applied for investment grants, but their requests will be processed after all the working capital applications are solved.
At the same time, the Economy Ministry has to find money to pay the investment grants as the program's initial EUR 1 bln budget was spent on the first two measures.
On an optimistic note, Nasui implied that all eligible applicants would get their money.
He also hopes to get money for the entrepreneurs who set up new companies with state funding under the 2018-2019 Start-up Nation program.
However, the new economy minister, a member of the reformist alliance USR-PLUS, warned that the state would no longer finance weak projects, set for failure - but successful businesses.
"The role of the state in these schemes is not to finance things that fail," he said.