June 21. 2024. 7:21

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Romania finds ways to unlock €3 billion recovery plan payment

The government has found ways to address the milestones needed for Romania to get the second payment of the national recovery and resilience plan – funds that the Commission has blocked since January.

Romanian officials and Commission representatives have discussed the milestones for the past weeks.

To reach one of the milestones, the debated EU Whistleblowers Directive had to be correctly transposed. To overcome issues identified by domestic lawmakers, the government agreed that it would propose to replace “strong indications” with “indications” in the law that transposes the directive.

Another milestone required Romania to modify its Decarbonisation Law.

To address this milestone, the government agreed it would push to delete an article from the law concerning the possibility of keeping coal units open in the context of an energy crisis. The article was initially expected to be deleted in June 2022.

Though the government delayed matters due to the cost of terminating ongoing contracts with Oltenia Energetic Complex being €60 million, it finally caved and decided to instead obtain the second payment under the national recovery and resilience plan.

Romanian officials are currently trying to figure out the fastest way to adopt these amendments.

Sources within the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds say the government will most likely issue an Emergency Ordinance sometime next week. Officials are confident that Romania has enough time to solve these problems until the end of March and that the country will not miss the €3 billion payment.

“There is a real chance to solve the technical aspects and finish what we agreed upon so that we will receive the second payment by reaching the milestones and also planning the draft for the third payment until the end of the first semester,” Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă said at Thursday’s government meeting.

Meanwhile, the third payment from the national recovery and resilience plan comes with a series of difficult milestones, which includes reforming the country’s pension law – a major problem for all parties due to public sensitivity.

(Oana-Carmen Zamfir | EURACTIV.com)