European Parliament votes to extend N+2 rule for Romania and Slovakia
Great satisfaction was expressed by Victor Bostinaru, PSD Member of the European Parliament REGI Committee, after the adoption on Monday in an extraordinary REGI meeting in Strasbourg of the changes to the current Cohesion Policy’s General Regulation allowing, among others, to save EU-funded investments worth billions of euro in Romania.
The Romanian MEP, who was part of the European Parliament’s Team negotiating with the Council and the Commission on this file, pushed for a swift conclusion of the trilogue after right-wing members of the Negotiating Team had put the all process in danger and the vote in November Strasbourg plenary session had become impossible without adopting the extraordinary procedure called by himself.
The „Commission’s proposal for the modification of certain provisions of the Cohesion Policy general regulation for the current programming period, including the extension of the decommitment rule by one year for Romania and Slovakia” foresees the extension of the so-called n+2 rule by one year for Romania and Slovakia, in line with the European Council conclusions of last February, and an increase by 10% in the EU co-financing for Member States under financial assistance.
„The positive outcome of the REGI vote on the compromise reached with the Council, but before that the compromise itself and the fact that we managed to hold the REGI extraordinary meeting and to put the issue to the vote in plenary in November, are all great achievements. I am proud of what I managed to obtain in a situation that had become extremely dangerous due to the position of the right-wing members of the EP’s Negotiating Team, but I am also very grateful to all the colleagues that supported my requests, including the Romanian ones in a cross-party action. They understood what was at stake, because without reaching a compromise with the Council and voting on it in plenary this week, Romania would have lost a huge amount of EU funds due to the decommitment”.
The n+2 rule means that resources committed for certain projects are lost if payment is not claimed by the end of the second year following the year of commitment. With the changes due to be adopted by Strasbourg’s plenary session of the European Parliament on Wednesday, Romania and Slovakia will have one more year to claim payments for commitments made in 2011 and 2012.
„The real problem with these changes – added Victor Bostinaru – was the need for them to be adopted by the end of 2013, and this for two reasons: because they are changes to a regulation which most probably will cease to be in force from 1 January 2014, and because it involves 2011 commitments which, according to the n+2 rule, need to be paid by 31 December 2013. Only a change taking place before that date can postpone the deadline to December 2014.”
The report encountered several obstacles at all stages, due to the fact that there were attempts in the Parliament to extend the field of action of the changes to be introduced, in conflict with a Council which had made clear from the very beginning that it could only accept measures in line with what agreed by Heads of State and Government in February’s European Council.
When the trilogue on 6 November ended without an agreement and with the two sides still far away, everything appeared to be lost due to the time constraints. It was at that point that Victor Bostinaru called for an immediate additional trilogue and coagulated the necessary support among the different political groups to make sure that an agreement with the Council could be reached, and that all the necessary steps would be taken to allow for a vote in November’s plenary session.