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Liviu Dragnea in the European Parliament: ''The goal of regionalisation is the functionality of structures, not the process itself''

02 March 2013

On Tuesday, 19 March, in Brussels, Deputy Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea, Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration, presented to the full Committee on Regional Development (REGI) of the European Parliament the state of Romania's regionalisation-decentralisation process.

"My message as Deputy Prime Minister is that Romania has the ability to learn from past mistakes and we want to be very well prepared for the fund absorption race, on 1 January 2014. Regionalisation is not an end in itself, the ultimate goal of the process is to set up functional structures. The current development regions mostly work in parallel with the counties. They have no own regional identity, no decisional power, no competencies, cannot manage projects, cannot ensure a democratic representation of local communities," Dragnea said in the Committee.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, sustainable development can be achieved in Romania only by establishing administrative regions, the current model, with development regions being insufficient for this goal.

 

Also yesterday, Minister Dragnea presented this project in his meetings with European officials.

The discussion with Danuta Hübner, Chair of the REGI Committee, focused on how Romania could benefit from Poland's rich experience in terms of regionalisation and regional development, administrative system reform and use of European funds.

"Poland made regionalisation exactly one year before the previous financial year and had a very high absorption rate. Therefore, I have asked Mrs Hubner to mediate collaboration with the two ministries in Poland – the Ministry of Regional Development and the Ministry of Public Administration. She has accepted it. In addition, we have agreed for an expert in regionalization from Poland to come to Romania around 10-12 April, to discuss about the Polish model and how it can be implemented in our country," Liviu Dragnea said at the end of the meeting.

At the meeting with Constanze Krehl and Lambert Van Nistelrooij, co-rapporteurs of the Committee, the two officials have shown interest in the implementation of the regionalisation process. At the same time, they have appreciated that, in this process, attention should be paid to the size of the future regions, which could have 2-3 million inhabitants, so they would not be too small.

The visit to Brussels of the MRDPA delegation, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Dragnea, took place in the context of European Parliament's REGI Committee meeting. The meeting is aimed at intensifying debate at the level of the Member States and of the European institutions, with regard to the future of the regional and cohesion policies. Within regular meetings, the discussions focus on issues relating to accessing and implementing the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the other regional policy instruments of the European Union, the impact of other EU policies on economic and social cohesion, on the development of peripheral regions, as well as on cross-border and interregional cooperation.