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The absorption of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds in Romania: international comparisons and macroeconomic impact

Zaman, Gheorghe and Georgescu, George (2014): The absorption of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds in Romania: international comparisons and macroeconomic impact.

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Abstract

The financial execution of EU allocations for the programming period 2007-2013 has shown a SCF absorption rate of only 27% in the case of Romania. The study reveals that, compared to selected EU Member States, most of them CEE countries, this represents the lowest level of absorption rate. The analysis of this last one position has highlighted causes related to the system of European funds management and accessing, common or specific to different stages and levels, but also a series of outer factors, mainly the legislative barriers and the global crisis persistent effects. Because of the lack of satisfactory assessments of the real SCF impact by using econometric models and simulations, the study suggests addressing this issue by studying the relationship between SCF and relevant macroeconomic indicators. Even Romania stands for a net beneficiary position relative to the EU budget, the macroeconomic impact of SCF has not been significant. The amount of 5.1 billion EUR reimbursed to Romania, cumulated during the period 2007-2013 represented only 2% of the GFCF and 0.6% of the GDP. It was found that the main macroeconomic indicators in terms of employment, foreign investments, external debt and public debt have deteriorated over the period, the absorption of SCF having not the strength to counterbalance these negative trends, due mainly to the persistence of the crisis effects. As concerns the exercise 2014-2020, the lessons learned from the previous programming period, along with addressing Romania’s economic vulnerabilities and under favorable circumstances of the international context, a significant improvement of SCF absorption rate is expected, increasing also their macroeconomic impact.

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