Three weeks after Romania became a EU member, Presidents from Romanian Counties met Commissioner Hübner today in Brussels, in a meeting organised with the help of the Assembly of European Regions (AER). Topics discussed were focused on the management of structural funds :
- rapid availability of funds to assure that projects can be quickly implemented
- best possible preparation of the administration in the counties to deal with issues related to structural funds
- how to overcome a too strong centralisation in the management of the funds
The Presidents asked the Commissioner as well what her proposal for the organisation of regions in Romania would be. Commissoner Hübner explained that it was up to the people in Romania to decide on that issue. « However, there would be good examples from other regions like Spain or Poland that strong regional structures lead to prosperity », said Mr. Klipp, Secretary General of the AER.
The Presidents, no matter which political party they belonged to, clearly expressed their wish to have strong regions on the basis of NUTS 2 regions with elected assemblies, sufficient resources, and organised in agreement with the politicians from the counties.
The Presidents of the Counties committed themselves to do their best to prepare their own administration in the best possible way to use the funds in a transparent manner and according to EC-regulations. It was agreed that together with the European Commission the AER and the Romanian Counties would organise common trainings in line with the already existing AER programmes for exchange of experiences. Commissoner Hübner ended by saying: « We are here to help as much as you need us. I encourage you also to learn from others. The AER provides the regions with the perspective of a Europe-wide co-operation which I really appreciate. »
Participants in the meeting were: President Martin Bottesch (Sibiu), President Janós Demeter (Covasna), Vice-President Dan Coriolan Simedru (Alba), President Levente Zoltán Bunta (Harghita), Vice-President Vasile Mihail Butaru (Brasov) and President Edita Emöke Lokodi (Mures) as well as Secretary General of the AER Klaus Klipp.
The Assembly of European Regions/AER is the political organisation of the Regions in Europe and their spokesperson at European and international level. Its vocation is to defend the Regions' interests in the political process and develop interregional cooperation. The AER brings together 250 Regions from 32 European Countries and 14 interregional organisations.
Klaus Klipp, Secretary General, k.klipp(at)a-e-r.org or Press and Communications: Francine Huhardeaux, f.huhardeaux(at)a-e-r.org or Stephanie von Hayek, s.vonhayek(at)a-e-r.org Tel: +33-3-88 22 74 49/46 - www.a-e-r.org