• European Commissioner Cretu says Romania’s future Parliament hopefully harmonises national, European legislation

    European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu on Monday voiced hope that Romania’s future parliament ensuing from the December 11 election will bring national legislation in line with the European one, underscoring that because of a new urban agenda of the EU, the relevant policy at European, national and local levels will improve so as to generate actual benefits for the citizens.

    Addressing a conference called ”My City in Our Europe”, Cretu mentioned the urban agenda of the European Union recently adopted by the European institutions, the urban dimension of the EU’s cohesion policy and urban development in Romania linked to the cohesion policy.

    “The urban agenda focuses on three areas where we should act. Firstly, better regulation, which means more efficient and more consistent regulations in the legislation in force. From such point of view (…) my hope is that the ensuing parliament will be able to bring the national legislation in line with the European one to, first of all, make life easier for beneficiaries. And I mean here better financing, easier access to European funds because, as you may know, one week ago the European Commission submitted to the European Parliament and the European Council changes in the 2014-2020 multiannual financial framework. We suggested some technical change that can have a major political impact because it is about transparency and getting much easier access to European funds. (…) Yet, I would like to underscore that this process of simplification can only be implemented if our efforts go hand in hand with national and local actions,” said Cretu.

    She added that the regulations for the use of European funds alone are 600 pages long, and that is why local or national administrations should not added any more rules.

    “I have seen, even in Romania, projects that require 30,50, 70 signatures, some talk about tons of papers signed. You should know that that is not a requirement from the European Commission, but national regulations pure and simple. The simplifications surely come with additional responsibilities for the member state attached for proper audit and more oversight, of a better quality as far as the use of European funds goes. Hopefully, these changes will contribute toward improving funding sources for urban development areas. As far as better knowledge is concerned, that will help the development of a knowledge base regarding urban aspects and exchanges of good practices. We have to do our job and maximise what we have now, the European funds. You know what the environment is in Brussels; this could unfortunately be our last historical chance of having so much funds focused for the 2014—2020,” said Cretu. More…

  • European Commissioner Cretu on European funds: Delays in public procurement, healthcare, waste management

    European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu said Thursday in Bucharest that Romania has so far met 14 out of 22 conditionalities set by the European Commission, but it is still delayed in areas such as public procurement, healthcare and waste management.

    “We are talking about a lot of money, but money is not everything. Administrative capacity matters even more that the European funds per se. Money is necessary but not sufficient to properly solve problems in Romania. (…) Romania has so far met 14 out of 22 conditionalities set by the European Commission, but there are delays in areas such as public procurement, healthcare and waste management,” said Cretu.

    She added that there are 280 investment projects for the next years regarding outpatient healthcare facilities in villages and towns and 65 emergency care rooms at county hospitals and three regional hospitals.

    “The signing ceremony for the Regional Development Operational Programme for the next years was held on June 23, 2015. Under that programme, three regional hospitals were to be established. (…) I am very sad to see that in March 2016 not even the sites of the hospitals to be are known,” said Cretu.

    The European Commissioner mentioned that none of the investment projects can be implemented because no map of medical infrastructure to clearly show the healthcare needs has been drawn up so far, saying that she warned about that all the ministers and officials she has met so far. More…

  • Archbishop honors Commissioner Cretu and MEPs Sommer and Boge

    Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus, Chrysostomos II awarded today three EU officials with the the gold medal of Apostle Paul, the highest honorary distinction of the Archbishopric of Cyprus.

    During a special ceremony that took place in Nicosia in the Archbishopric, Archbishop Chrysostomos II awarded EU Commissioner for Rural Policy Corina Cretu, and members of the European Parliament Renate Sommer and Reimer Boge with the highest honorary distinction of the Church of Cyprus for their remarkable commitment and their struggle for the high ideals of the EU, which, as he said, are in line with those of the Republic of Cyprus.

    The three EU officials expressed their commitment towards the achievement of a just and viable solution in Cyprus, under the UN auspices, but also their admiration for the people of Cyprus, wishing them to soon live in a reunified country.

    Referring to EU Commissioner Cretu, the Archbishop praised her struggle for the respect of the EU values which as a result could lead to the restoration of justice in Cyprus, as he said.

    Replying, Cretu noted the commitment of the European Commission towards a solution in Cyprus and praised the Cypriot government`s efforts towards the achievement of that goal.

    The Archbishop also spoke about the two MEPs, noting that Sommer follows the Cyprus issue closely and feels the pain and the injustice on the island, while Boge, he said, is engaged in issues regarding the Committee of Missing Persons and the protection of the cultural and religious heritage in Cyprus.

    Sommer replied by saying that the Cyprus issue is Turkey`s main obstacle in its EU course, noting that the problem of Cyprus must be solved. She pledged to continue contributing towards this direction.

    MEP Boge said he considers Cyprus to be his second homeland, noting that he wants to contribute to the achievement of peace and prosperity on the island.

    CNA/AAG/AAR/GV/2015
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

  • Ready to assist reunification efforts, EU Commissioner says

    EU Commissioner for regional policy Corina Cretu said on Thursday both the European Commission and she personally stand ready to support any joint measures taken by the two communities in Cyprus, facilitating the reunification of the island.

    Cretu who is paying an official visit to the island met with Minister of Finance, Harris Georgiades who said that as the Cypriot economy is following an adjustment and reform period “EU structural funds are key to economic growth.”

    “We have discussed and we had a review of how Cyprus is making best use of these structural and investment plans as part of the difficult effort to reform the economy of Cyprus and also to create through such instruments the foundations for a much more viable economic model,” Georgiades said in joint statements with Cretu.

    The Minister noted that the primary aim is to fully absorb the funds allocated to Cyprus in the 2007-2014 programme period, adding that the government began intensive preparations and plannings for the right and targeted utilisation of the co-financed funds in the new programme period of 2014-2020.

    “The right utilisation of the structural and investment funds is key to economic growth,” Georgiades concluded.

    On her part, Cretu highlighted that 2015 is a crucial year as the planning begin for the next programme period of 2014-2020.

    “For us is very important to see the implementation of all projects and the full absorption of the funds,” she added, noting that Cyprus will benefit with more than €900 million in the next programme period “and I think is very important to have a strategic planning with clear needs, objectives and results.”

    Cretu said she discussed with Georgiades ways to facilitate economic growth noting that Small and Medium Sized Enterprises is a very important part.

    Referring to the ongoing talks to reunify Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, Cretu reiterated Commission`s President, Jean Claude Juncker`s remarks during his visit to Cyprus in July that it would be a big achievement if during our mandate we could assist to the reunification of the island.

    “The Commission and I will support any common measure of the two communities and we stand ready to facilitate any initiative whenever and however possible and I think this opportunity and this better and good atmosphere should be exploited,” she went on to say.

    Cretu, who is also responsible for the aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community, pointed out that the Commission has a programme to assist the T/c community to harmonise with the EU acquis.

    She also said that the reunification of the economy and the harmonisation with EU acquis “goes hand in hand towards the development of the island.”

    CNA/GS/GCH 2015
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

  • Commissioner Creţu visited the old part of Nicosia

    European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu expressed on Thursday the Commission`s continuous support to Cyprus for the promotion of economic development and peace. She also reiterated President Juncker`s wish for the island`s speedy reunification, and expressed content over the improved climate and the “unique opportunity” prevailing.

    Creţu, who is visiting Cyprus for the first time in her capacity as Commissioner, was given on Thursday morning a walking tour by the Mayor of Nicosia Constantinos Yiorkadjis in the Taht-el-kale neighborhood, in the old town, witnessing the extensive restoration work that has taken place in recent years, with the support of the EU. “We can effectively manage European funds” was the Mayor`s message.

    In her statements, the Commissioner said it was a pleasure to see how much work has been done and how European money contributes to improving people`s life.

    Our aim, she went on, is to assist Cyprus` economic recovery, with EU funds playing a significant role towards this direction, by providing an important source for public investment.

    The Commissioner said she had fruitful discussions with the Mayor and earlier with the Minister of Defence, talking about the total absorption of funding available in the 2007-2013 programming period. She explained that while the old period is closing, it was important to work together ahead of the new programming for 2014-2020, in order not to lose any European money. “This is for the benefit of Cypriots” she said.

    From his part, Yiorkadjis welcomed the Commissioner, by saying that her presence is a tangible proof of the interest displayed by the EU and herself personally over Cyprus.

    Through EU funds from the new programming period, the Commission contributes to the area`s economic development and revitalization and helps in building a new inner-walled city, full of life.

    The Mayor said finally that they discussed about the forthcoming programming period, while passing through the restored facades that have been funded from the previous period, showing thus that the Municipality is able to manage EU funding in an effective manner.

    The walking tour began in front of Famagusta Gate, in the old city, with the Mayor, the Commissioner and her delegation heading towards the restored areas of Taht-el-kale. The delegation stopped at the Center for Visual Arts and Research, where the museum`s Executive Director Rita Severis gave the group a tour, showing the museum`s exhibits.

    The Commissioner was particularly impressed by an 1897 cartoon at the front page of French magazine “Le Petit Journal”, showing a Greek and a Turk arguing, while the Great Powers are playing the tune in the background.

    Creţu and Yiorkadjis walked past the roadblock at Ermou street, once a commercial street at heart of old Nicosia, they stopped for a brief coffee nearby and then headed towards the old town hall square and witnessed progress in the construction of the new town hall. The tour ended with a visit at St. John Cathedral, next to the Archbishop`s Palace.

    According to the European Commission, the Republic of Cyprus is due to receive in the current budget period 2014-2020 approximately 908 mln euro from the European Structural and Investment Funds, which amount to almost 1 bln euros, if national co-financing is included.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led talks, aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof, resumed on May 15, this year.

    CNA/AGK/GCH 2015
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

  • Commissioner Cretu to visit Cyprus for utilisation of EU funds

    European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu will be paying an official visit to Cyprus on October 15, with the main purpose of fully utilising the potential of European, Structural and Investment Funds, and to secure the successful completion of the programmes for the period 2007-2013, as well as the timely planning of the programmes for the period 2014-2020.

    The Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy is the European Commission service for European, Structural and Investment Funds. For the period 2014-2020, the Republic of Cyprus has secured financing worth €960 million from these Funds.

    During her visit, Crețu will meet with the Ministers of Finance and Agriculture, and the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development.

    She will also visit the old town of Nicosia in the Tahtakalas area, which was restructured with EU funds during the period 2007-2013, as well as the intensive care unit of the Nicosia General Hospital, where telemedicine and tele-education methods are being used, financed by EU funds and considered to be best practices for the EU.

    CNA/RG/ΜΜ/2015
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

  • EC approves 222-million-euro Danube transnational cooperation programme

    Entrepreneurs from nine member states of the European Union, Romania included, as well as from three extra-EU countries may apply starting this autumn for funding under a 222-million-euro transnational cooperation programme for the Danube region recently approved by the European Commission. More…

  • Corina Cretu: Romania avoided losing almost 750 million euros, thanks to the Juncker Commission

    Romania avoided losing almost 750 million euros, thanks to a series of decisions taken by the Juncker Commission, through the retroactive approval of funds for a series of projects, the European Commissioner for Regional Policies, Corina Cretu, said in a meeting with the Minister of European Funds, Marius Nica.

    The agenda of the meeting including, among other items, the current stage of implementation of the 2007-2013 operational programmes, the adoption of the new operational programmes for 2014-2020, the current stage reached in meeting the ex-ante conditionalities, the financial instruments, the retrospective financing and the stage reached by ongoing projects, as well as the impact of the special working group for a better implementation.

    She also underscored that, so far, thanks to the decisions of the Juncker Commission, Romania avoided losing 750 million euros, through the retroactive approval of funds for the Constanta city beltway, the Timisoara motorway, the Cernavoda-Constanta motorway and the national roads DN56, DN66 and DN 76, retrospectively. More…

  • Commissioner Cretu: Romanian villages, communes should be revitalised by economic, human inflows

    Bucharest, Feb 16 /Agerpres/ – Romanian villages and communes should be revitalised and developed by economic and human inflows, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu said Monday.

    “In my opinion, a development programme for communes and small towns is important to Romania. To this end, I want to inform you first that I and the commissioner in charge with agriculture decided inside the European Commission to pay special attention to a more consistent articulation of urban and rural development, to work closer at the level of directorates general and the European Commission, so that the dynamic and significance of rural development may increase in the period immediately ahead,” Cretu told the 18th ordinary session of the General Assembly of the Association of Romania’s Communes. More…

  • Commissioner Crețu approves EU investment programme for Cyprus worth €661 million

    EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Crețu approved on Monday a programme of investments backed by EU Regional and Cohesion Funds, that will play a crucial role in putting Cyprus on the tracks of recovery, by supporting the development of the island`s real economy and creating new job opportunities.

    According to a press release, the programme foresees that more than 600 SMEs are expected to be supported while new jobs will be created through the investments. Investment in ICT should also mean 50% of households should benefit from high-speed broadband coverage.

    The 2014‑2020 Operational Programme “Competitiveness and sustainable development” for investments in Cyprus paves the way for investing some 661 million euro – including 292.3 million euro from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)  and 269.5 million euro from the Cohesion Fund. The programme will focus on supporting research and development as well as providing much needed support to Cyprus` small businesses.

    As noted, a key priority will also be to tackle waste treatment and energy efficiency. By dedicating more than 22% of funding to environmental priorities, the programme will also help Cyprus meet EU standards in particular as regards waste treatment and the increase of waste recycling where the programme foresees an increase to 50%.

    Commenting on the adoption, Commissioner Crețu that the investment programme will support Cyprus` efforts to exit from crisis and boost competitiveness and growth while at the same time contribute to tackling unemployment, adding that the programme ensures that investments will be strategic, according to the new Cohesion Policy, focusing on the real economy, as well as on smart and sustainable growth.

    She also underlined that the programme also contributes to European goals by channeling vital funding into R&D and innovation in view to increase the research capacity of the country and the private investments in R&D. “By dedicating more than 22% of funding to environment, it is also helping Cyprus meet EU standards in areas like the treatment and prevention of waste” she added.

    EU investments will be also used to support small and medium-sized enterprises, helping them to become more competitive and innovation-driven and providing them with much needed liquidity in times of credit crunch. Investments will also focus on energy efficiency – especially in the energy performance of public and private buildings, including SMEs` buildings, showing country`s commitment to move towards to a low-carbon economy.

    CNA/EMA/MM/2014
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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