The Romanian government has promised it will invest up to €1.42 billion (US$1.7 billion) to improve local and county roads, according to national media.
Romanian prime minister Florin Cîţu recently announced the financing. However, he also said that the money would go only to projects that are not eligible for European Union funds and not eligible for financial help under the country’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan that is being negotiated with the EU.
“We allocate seven billion lei for projects targeting county and communal roads that cannot be financed by European funds or NRRP or other sources,” said Cîţu. “Romania must move to the next stage, we must have paved roads throughout the country.”
His announcement appears to allay fears that all local infrastructure and social projects now underway would have to be stopped. The Ministry of Development, Public Works and Administration said the financial resources of the country’s National Programme for Local Development have run out.
The prime minister, in his announcement, also promised that the extra money would become available to local communities as soon as possible to pay contractors for their work so far.
Romania is in discussions with the European Union over the EU’s contribution to the country’s resilience plan, noted a report by Radio Romania. "We work hand in hand with Romania to finalise a solid Recovery and Resilience Plan as soon as possible,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after a recent meeting in Brussels with Cîţu.
Romania’s initial request was for €42 billion was revised down to around €29 billion after discussions with the EU.
The EU is insisting that the money goes toward Romania’s most productive economic sectors and favour innovation as well as environmental protection. However, Cîţu, is negotiating to obtain some allowances for businesses in other sectors such as infrastructure and agriculture, which are less developed than in other member states.
“The most important criterion is for a project to be completed by 2026,” he said. “I will make sure that all projects are included. Projects that cannot be financed under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, will be funded from European funds or state budget funds. Infrastructure development is a priority in Romania.”