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modified Friday, 18 May 2012

Proiect CeRe
The NGO Coalition for Structural Funds
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Public participation in the programming process for 2014-2020
Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

According to the lessons learned in the current programming period, it is very important that the Ministry of European Affairs, in its position as coordinator of the process of elaboration for the future strategic documents of Romania, to assure a consultation process that is open, rigorous, and has a clear and known by all the stakeholders methodology.

This consultation has to seriously cover two dimensions: financing mechanisms and content. In contrast to the consultation instruments used in 2005 – 2007, we consider as mandatory an increased involvement of the non-governmental organizations. The experience of the non-governmental organizations, gained in the preaccesing period, but also in the context of the actual programming period, it represents an important resource that can be used by the Government and the involved Ministers. The organizations can join the process of programming with a perspective that resides in their grass root experience, in a close knowledge of the groups they work with and in the direct contact with their beneficiaries.

Please read here the NGO Coalition’s proposal for the public participation process that will be under the coordination of MAEur.

Working meeting with the POS DRU beneficiaries in South-West
Friday, April 13th, 2012

Save the Danube and the Delta Association and Active Watch – the Press Monitoring Agency are inviting you on Thursday, April 19th 2012, at a working meeting in which the issues faced in the actual the implementation of the POS DRU projects and the solutions for the next financing period will be debated.

POS DRU Management Authority wants to change the eligibility rules for ongoing projects, with no reasonable or transparent justification
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The NGO Coalition demands the Labor Minister and the Public Finances Minister to withdraw the proposal for new eligibility criteria, while there is no solid and careful analysis of current situation of projects implemented within this program. Also, we consider mandatory the existence an impact study that will show the utility and expected results of such changes.

We must mention that it is not the first time that POS DRU MA makes decisions that are not based on impact studies.

Here is our open letter for the two Ministers.

Questions for POS DRU Management Authority
Monday, February 27, 2012

POS DRU MA has invited the NGO Coalition to a meeting this week, in order to discuss the improvements needed for the implementation of this Program. Some of the points on the agenda gor our interest: actual and future actions, new calls for project proposals, ticketing system for professional training.

Although the discussions related to the measures that must be adopted seem to appear every time the top management changes in the POS DRU MA, the problems remain the same. We brought a new list of questions and warnings to the meeting. We wait impatiently for public answers from the authorities and we requested for these answers to be published on the official website of the authority. Here is our document. Please feel free to write us and suggest new comments or questions.

POS DRU Monitoring Committee – extraordinary reunion
Monday, February 20, 2012

POS DRU Management Authority will organize tomorrow an extraordinary meeting of the Monitoring Committee. The main topic on the agenda will be the interruption in payments from the European Commission and the conditions that the MA must fulfill in order for the payments to be reinstated.

The NGO Coalition for Structural Funds has a Facebook page
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We invite you to visit our Facebook webpage dedicated to NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds – a communication channel which, as soon as possible, we want to transform into a debate area for all the people interested in this field. We will keep you in touch with all the activities developed by the Coalition and, also, we encourage you to express your opinions regarding current issues about structural funds.

The situation regarding the PODCA and POSDRU projects evaluation process. Mr. Leonard Orban`s answer
Monday, December 19, 2011

Today, we received Mr. Leonard Orban`s answer, the Minister of European Affairs, regarding the situation of the projects blocked in the evaluation phase. Via an open letter, NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, together with Ecopolis and Structural Consulting Group, asked the Government to take immediate action to solve the outrageous situations when project evaluation takes more than a year. You can read our letter here.

About the PODCA situation, the project call no.1/2012 Increasing the NGO`s capacity of collaboration with the public administration institutions, we found out that the evaluation may be ready on January 31, 2012. When talking about POS DRU, there is not yet a foreseen solution. In his letter, Mr. Orban tells us where the evaluation contract for DMI 6.1 (112 call) was blocked, but he does not say which are the solutions to get out of this situation.

Read the answer here

Almost a year of delays in evaluating projects funded by POS DRU and PODCA
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On the 28th of November 2011, nearly 100 NGOs and companies, via an open letter, have addressed to the Prime Minister – Mr. Emil Boc and to the Minister of European Affairs – Mr. Leonard Orban, to sign them the unacceptable way in which the European funds are managed into lines of funding by the Management Authority for POS DRU and by the Management Authority for PODCA. The signatures attached to the letter were collected by NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds and by the Ecopolis Center for Sustainable Policies, supported by www.fonduri-structurale.ro .

Press release – Făcut de ONG (Made by ONG) shows actual results of projects funded by European money
Friday, November 25, 2011

November 23 – The conference organized by Soros Foundation Romania and NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds
Friday, November 18, 2011

The conference "Participatory development of strategic European documents of Romania 2014-2020" took place in Bucharest, on the 23rd of November, starting at 9.30, at the Novotel Hotel (Victoria Blvd.,no.37B).

After picketing the AM POSDRU headquarters, beneficiaries are writing a letter to the Prime Minister
Thursday, September 15, 2011

NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds and Cartel Alfa Trade Union Confederation have presented today, during a press conference, the open letter addressed to the Prime Minister Emil Boc and signed by almost 120 beneficiaries of POS DRU. In this document are presented the complaints of the projects implementers about the latest decisions taken by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labor and by the Management Authority for POS DRU. Moreover, the people who signed the letter request the Prime Minister to stop the effects of these decisions, which involve unilateral changes of the contracts, reduction of pre-financing and the extension of the payment term.

"After we have picketed the AM POS DRU headquarters, today, we ask the Prime Minister, directly, via an open letter, to talk with the beneficiaries, to understand that these decisions are going to make the European funds absorption much harder. So far, we hoped that POS DRU will become a program in which the beneficiaries will be treated like working partners. The only solution we have left, if the Government does not respond to our request, is to go in Court.", said Oana Preda, Executive Director of Resource Center for Public Participation.

The NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds
Thursday, September 8, 2011

NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds rejects the way AM POSDRU has changed, once again, unilaterally and without previous consultation, the financing contracts for projects funded in this program.

The main issues notified by the Coalition are:

• the conditions involving unilateral changes for the financing contract were not fulfilled
• retroactively, the notification cannot change the financing contract
• the notification cannot have effects for the purpose of projects discrimination under implementation.
• the notification text is not clear and has provision which do not correlate.
The Coalition provides a sample letter for the beneficiaries. The letter can be sent by any person, to the AM and OIR delegate, asking for the contract to remain in its current form. You can find it here .

Measures for POS DRU recovery
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Both ACIS and AM POS DRU have recently presented a plan of urgent measures, due to save the operational program in which many categories of social actors are interested: trade unions, employers, NGOs, public authorities etc. In addition to the solutions identified by the two institutions, NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds presented to the Management Authority and to the European Commission representatives, a number of proposals which, in our opinion, could make more efficient the spending of the POS DRU money. This was not done randomly, but by using the problem tree. Read here

As usual, we invite you to send us any kind of commentaries about the Coalition recommendations. The address is flavia@ce-re.ro .

NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds requests reconsideration pf the selection criteria for the Director of AM POS DRU
Thursday, the 7th of July 2011

CeRe – the Resource Center for Public Participation sent today, in the behalf of NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, an open letter addressed to Sebastian Lazaroiu, the Minister of Labor, and to Andras Szakal, the president of the National Agency of Public Clerks. In the letter, are contested the selection criteria for the management positions for AM POS DRU. The open letter can be read here .

The Government answered to NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds notifications
Wednesday, the 6th of July 2011

In June, the Resource Center for Public Participation sent an open letter to the Prime Minister, in the behalf of NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds. The letter included a summary about the problems faced by the POS DRU beneficiaries. Together with the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, another 200 beneficiary institutions have signed the letter.

You can download the answer from here, and read about:

- the 7 targets established by ACIS to accelerate the cohesion and the absorption of structural funds;
- creating a help desk facility for direct assistance of the beneficiaries, for project implementation;
- acquiring expert teams for the malfunction caused by the insufficient and overworked stuff from AM/OI

At flavia@ce-re.ro , we are waiting for your opinions regarding the Government undertaken measures, through ACIS, to remedy the current situation of POS DRU.

POSDRU – serious problems in project evaluation
Thursday, the 23rd of June 2011

Open letter – requesting urgent action concerning the problems notified in the project evaluation for the call no. 110, DMI 5.2 – POS DRU "Promoting long term sustainability of rural areas in terms of human resources development and employment".

Structural ConsultingTM Group together with NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds and other 30 beneficiaries (NGOs, companies, public institutions), will require rigorous verification of the correctness in the process of evaluation about the project application no. 110, 5/DMI 5.2/POSDRU Axis and urgent action for correcting the situation.

We sent once again the letter addressed to Emil Boc, in the behalf of all signatory organizations
Friday, the 3rd of June 2011

We sent once again the letter addressed to Emil Boc, in the behalf of all signatory organizations (full list) .

POSDRU notifications - NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, BNS and Cartel Alfa`s approach in the media
Monday, the 16th of May 2011

You are still invited to contribute to our approach, by joining the group and signing the letter addressed to Emil Boc. Currently, there are 120 organizations on that list and we hope that soon we will get 200 signatures.

• NGOs and trade unions ask the government to correct the POSDRU4 problems – NewsIn (Politics), the 11th of May 2011
• Billions of Euro lost from European funds – RFI, Author: Liliana Simionescu, the 11th of May 2011
• It is a priority for the Romanian Government using POS DRU funds? – Optimal Media, the 12th of May 2011
• Romania – the last one in absorbing European funds – debate on TVR INFO – TVR, the 11th of May 2011
• Accessing European funds – slowed down by the Government – Adevarul, Author: Andreea Ofiteru, the 11th of May 2011
• Social partners ask Emil Boc to depoliticize AM POS DRU – Cotidianul, Author: Cotidianul, the 11 of May 2011
• Lack of professionalism from the Government, in using POSDRU funds – Euractiv.ro, Author: Euractiv.ro, the 12th of May 2011
• EC rejected the proposal for reallocation of € 300 million between the POS DRU axes – Fin.ro, Author: Arabela Boboc, the 12th of May 2011
• 120 beneficiaries have joined the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds approach – Stiriong.ro, Author: Stiriong.ro, the 13th of May 2011
• Photo agerpres.ro
• Social partners ask Emil Boc to depoliticize AM POS DRU and a competitive examination in the election of the new manager – Monitorul de Suceava, Author: Monitorul de Suceava, the 11th of May 2011
• Social partners ask Emil Boc to depoliticize AM POS DRU and a competitive examination in the election of the new manager – Mediafax, Author: Mediafax, the 11th of May 2011

120 beneficiaries joined our approach and signed the letter addressed to the Prime Minister Emil Boc
Friday, the 13th of May 2011

Because the problems we report today haven`t found their solution, although they were in the past into the attention of the Prime Minister, we invite you to send us more signatures. We intend to gather 200 signatures until next week and to send the letter, once again, to the same recipient. This way, maybe we will determinate the Government to become more responsible with the POS DRU funds in Romania.

It is a priority for the Romanian Government using the POS DRU funds?
Modified Thursday, the 12th of May 2011

Today, the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, National Trade Union Bloc and National Confederation of Trade Unions "Cartel Alfa" asked the Romanian Government, during a press conference, to take urgent measures to correct the serious functional problems in POS DRU.

"As a country, the danger does not only consist of losing a large amount of money, but of risking a reduction in financial allocation for Romania for the period 2014-2020. "said Petru Dandea, vice-president of Cartel Alfa.

The structural funds are a priority assumed by the Romanian Government. In practice, resource allocation (firstly competent human resources), legislation, implementation mechanisms and decision-makers attitude towards POS DRU beneficiaries, is demonstrating a lack of vision, professionalism and a minimal concern for application of the practices from other relevant European countries.

Here is the document which contains all the problems identified by the beneficiaries of projects co-financed by POS DRU, together with the notifications regarding their solutions.

NGOs ask for transparent competition for the post of Executive Director in AM POS DRU
Thursday, the 5th of May 2011

The NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds sent an open letter to Mrs. Emil Boc, Interim Minister of Labor, Family and Social Protection. Through this letter, we point out, again, that none of the General Directors who, so far, managed the Management Authority for POS DRU, wasn`t hired by competition, as required by the national legislation. Everyone, including deputy directors, was appointed as interim, for a six months mandate, successively renewed.

Abusive changes in the financing contracts
Tuesday, the 1st of March 2011

Through an open letter addressed to the Minister Ioan Botis, the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds criticizes the decision of the Management Authority for POS DRU to change the contracts signed at the end of the 2010, for which the beneficiaries have not yet received pre-financing.

In this situation, the solution applied by the Romanian authorities, shows important irregularities:

• Imposing a period of only 3 days to decide between accepting the imposed changes or to cancel the financing contract is not only unreasonable, but abusive, contrary to the principle of reciprocity and interdependence obligations of the parts in the contract.
• The AM POS DRU notification does not refer to any legal document which could justify this change, despite the fact that the only situation when the financing contract allows a modification from AM POS DRU, is the one imposed in the national or community legislation.
• Uneven treatment of the beneficiaries: there were pre-financing applications handed in after October 2010, solved in the absence of any objective and transparent criteria.
• This change in the ongoing contracts leads to complete upheaval of the financial anticipations which the beneficiaries have made when they signed the contracts.

For more information, you can read the entire text of the open letter and of the decision of AM POS DRU.

AM POS DRU changes the pre-financing system
Friday, the 14th of January 2010

Yesterday, the 13th of January, the Management Authority for POSDRU organized a new work meeting with representatives from trade unions, employers and from the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds.

The topics to discuss were about improvements for the ActionWeb platform, the position of the Management Authority regarding the principle of the first to come, is the first who will be served and, last but not least, changing the pre-financing system (at the request of the Ministry of Finance).
You can read here the summary of the discussion.

Thousands of beneficiaries have lost the start in handing in the projects because of the blocked online system
Monday, the 20th of December 2010

Ready to register their projects by using the ActionWeb online system, the beneficiaries found out that the system does not work. The Management Authority for POS DRU has scheduled for Monday, the 20th of December, starting with 10.00 a.m., the opening of a financing line for the social economy structures designed to support disadvantaged groups. To access this line, the beneficiaries have to register their projects in the Action Web platform.

The projects budget is about € 130 millions and is the last until 2014.

The NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds requested and obtained the cancellation of the registration procedure until the problems will be solved. You can read here the press release about the reported problems.

Furthermore, the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds has requested AM POS DRU, through an open letter, to make public the system report for this call, with deadlines for all the projects registered on Action Web.

It was also required to give up the rule "first to come, is the first who will be served", which became not only harmful, but it also affects the process of handing in the projects. Moreover, was required that the projects should be financed by taking into the account the points they got on evaluation.

Concerns about the sustainability of social economy structure created with POS DRU
Monday, the 13th of December 2010

Through an open letter, the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds warns the authorities about some regulation in the Guidelines for Applicants for DMI 6.1 – Developing the social economy, which will endanger the sustainability of newly established structure of social economy.

In a difficult economic context and in terms of lack of specific legislation, provisions such as:

• Establishment of social economic structures with a separate juridical personality.
• Creating and maintaining at least 10 jobs in these workshops or protected units, regardless of their specific activity or project budget.
• Deducting the income of these structures from the project budget, instead of its reinvestment, make hard the implementation and the sustainability of project results, once ESF ends.

The NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds participated in the consultation held by the AM POS DRU for the Guideline for Applicants DMI. 6.1 (social economy)
Friday, the 10th of December 2010

The members of the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds have participated at two work meetings held by the AM POS DRU, debating the Guideline for Applicants – specific conditions, for DMI 6.1. At the meetings have also been trade unions representatives and employers.

172 signatures for eliminating Instruction no.35
Thursday, the 28th of October 2010

On 11th of October 2010, the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds sent an open letter expressing their dissatisfaction regarding the content of Instruction no.35, document issued by the AM POS DRU on 1st of October 2010. The Coalition requested cancellation of the Instruction. The institutions to which the letter was addressed are: the Management Authority for POS DRU, Audit Authority, Authority for Coordination of Structural Instruments, Romanian Government, the Prime Minister and the European Commission.

Without any answer from any authorized institution, we returned today, the 27th of October, with the same request, this time supported by 172 NGOs, employers, trade unions and companies.

According to the Instruction no.35, the beneficiaries of POS DRU projects are required to provide the documents that justify that the members from the target groups are in the categories form the Target Group Identification Form. In other words, the final project beneficiaries will be asked to present documents that prove different vulnerabilities.

The Instruction no.35 from AM POSDRU makes even harder European funds absorption
Monday, the 11th of October 2010

The NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds sent Monday, the 11th of October 2010, an open letter addressed to the Romanian authorities responsible with the European funds management, to warn them that the measures taken last week are complicating the access to European funds for Romania.

Last week, the Management Authority for POS DRU, on the recommendation of the Audit Authority, issued a new instruction. The instruction requires that more than 700 persons, dealing with implementation, to collect documents that justify that every project beneficiary belongs to a target group.

This way, according to the instructions issued by the Management Authority, women, long term unemployed, alcohol addicts, Roma people etc. have to justify with various documents that they really are women, alcohol addicts etc.

This situation will affect, automatically, the final beneficiaries and they will no longer be motivated to participate in training/employment programs. The people who signed the letter expressed their concerns about the fact that the European money will not have a big impact on the Romanian society.

Here, you can read the letter.

Projects in impasse at OI MECTS
Friday, the 23rd pf July 2010

Beneficiaries of projects financed by POS DRU and maintained by OI MECTS are extremely unhappy with the multitude of problems they have with this authority. In many cases, the organizations are no longer able to implement their projects because of the extremely bureaucratic procedures. This way, after all the messages received from beneficiaries all over the country, NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds has decided to improve this situation in the next period.

Please read the summary of complaints from the beneficiaries who work with OI MECTS. The document, which contains also solutions to solve the problem, was presented on the 22nd of July, during a working meeting with the Executive Director of OI POS DRU MECTS, Mrs. Catalin Dragus. The Coalition requested a fast reaction and measures for solving the situation.

The NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds announces the end of the first round of consultations with AM POS DRU
Wednesday, the 30th of July 2010

Over the past two months, the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds worked hard to speed up the problem solving for the situations reported by the beneficiaries who cannot implement their projects.
Our activity wasn't only to inform the Management Authority about these issues, but to identify practical solutions to support the organizations that have accessed or will access POS DRU.
The topics discussed in the working groups were about four major subjects: technical, financial, contracts related and programming. Please read what the status of our discussion is and what results we have so far.
Moreover, please do not hesitate to write us if you have problems that we could solve, at flavia@ce-re.ro.

Accessing the European Social Fund – obstacles and solutions
Wednesday, the 31st of March 2010

During a work meeting with representatives from the responsible institutions, European funds beneficiaries discussed about a number of solutions to unlock the projects financed by the ESF. The meeting was held at the Hilton Hotel, on the 31st of March 2010.

NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, AGROSTAR Federation, National Union Trade Bloc, Trade Union National Confederation "Cartel Alfa", ROMPAN, Federation of Trade Unions in Education and Businessmen Association, have identified a number of solutions for the crisis of ESF funding. These solutions have been negotiated with those able to implement them. The people who attended the debate were CEO for AM POSDRU, Cristina Zavedei, the Audit Authority president, Ion Aron Popa, along with other representatives of public authorities involved in the management of post-accession funds.

The solution discussed came as an answer to the many problems which the beneficiaries face. The problems can be found in the 100 complaints received and reported to the Prime Minister Emil Boc, in an open letter that has not yet received an answer (the letter was sent two months ago).

When talking about actual measures, there weren't too many conclusions besides the promise of the authorities to discuss further on issues that affect the EU funds beneficiaries.

Stefan Ciobanu, CEO of the Authority for Coordination of Structural Instruments, has proved to be open to simplify the procedures, as long as the process remains correct. He expressed his confidence regarding the fact that the difficulties between understanding the problems and actual solutions can be overcome through dialogue.

Oana Preda, director of Resource Center for Public Participation, expressed her belief that the best way to overcome the difficulties between the two parts is also the dialogue: "By being present at the discussion, institutions representatives show their interest in the problems presented by the beneficiaries. This is an important first step."

The main topics on which the discussion was focused were:

1. Communication problems. Besides the control part, the Management Authorities and the Intermediate Organisms did not assume its part in guidance.
2. Problems related to work procedures. Even though there is understood and accepted a level of bureaucracy justified by the concern of using in a proper way the public funds, the beneficiaries have identified unnecessary procedures or procedures that defy the law.
3. Financial and contractual aspects. The dynamics of financial flows together with an unbalanced contractual relationship represent concerning reasons for the project implementers.
4. Extending the guarantee fund for IMMs, NGOs and trade unions.

CeRe released the report of "Emergency Call for Structural Funds" in English
Monday, the 15th of March 2010

Resource Center for Public Participation - CeRe and the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds released the Enghlish version of the report for the project "Emergency Call for Structural Funds". You can read it here.

Here, you can read the Romanian version.

The project "Emergency Call for Structural Funds", developed by the Resource Center for Public Participation - CeRe and by the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, together with Pro Democracy Association (APD), Terra 3rd Millennium, Save the Danube and Delta Association (SDD), Center for NGOs Assistance (CENTRAS), The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (ANBCC), Active Watch – Media Monitoring Agency (AMP), wants to strengthen the role and the capacity of NGOs to be both social partners and beneficiaries of structural funds and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Over 100 NGOs, trade unions and employers draw attention to the problem of structural funds
Tuesday, the 26th of March 2010

CeRe and the NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, together with over 100 NGOs, trade unions and employers draw attention to the Prime Minister that Romania risks losing an important part of the € 30 billions, grants, because of Government inefficiency and because of the way public authorities manage these funds.

In an open letter sent to the Prime Minister Emil Boc Tuesday, the 26th of January 2010, the NGOs, together with trade union and employers, inform about serious problems

• a large period of time between the moment they hand in the application until they get an answer (the applicants received an answer after 10 month, contrary with the promise of the Prime Minister, who said they will receive it in 30 days maximum.)
• the contract procedures last too long (there are applicants whose applications were approved, but they still wait to sign the contracts).
• significant delays in the repayment of the money spent by those who develop projects (in some cases, they didn`t received the money back even after 4-5 months after they handed in the repayment application; in the contracts, is wrote that this procedure lasts 45 days maximum).
• impossibility to recover the VAT, although this is required by the law; this situation makes the project implementers to contribute with tens or even hundreds thousands of dollars, given that no bank from Romania gives grant loans for this.
• inefficient communication between management authorities and intermediate bodies.
The organizations who signed the letter tell to the Prime Minister that the Government takes actions only in a declarative way, while the management authorities, which manage operational programs, are facing serious staff and bureaucracy trouble.

The authorities responsible with the management of structural funds haven`t got enough employees and, in many situations, the ones there do not have work experience. Throughout 2009, the number of employees from these institutions has decreased, and the remaining vacant jobs have been blocked by the Government decision.

Now, for example, at the Management Authority of POSDRU, only one person is in charge of the management and signing the contracts for several hundred applications, approved in the autumn of 2009. At the same time, only three persons are in charge of technical management and approving the repayments for more than 1.400 projects.

The signatories suggest that the following measures should be adopted by the Romanian Government, to eliminate the risk of blocking the access to structural funds: increasing the number of employees responsible for managing the structural funds, according to the work amount and complexity required by the management authorities; establishing procedures for VAT recovery and eliminating bureaucratic procedures that were not requested by the European Union.

Here you can read the open letter addressed to the Prime Minister Emil Boc.

Releasing the report for "Emergency Call for Structural Funds"
Thursday, the 17th of December 2010

The Resource Center for Public Participation – CeRe and NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds released Monday, the 14th December 2009, the report for "Emergency Call for Structural Funds". At the event, took part representatives from NGOs, local authorities and from institutions responsible with the management of the European money.

The report presents the degree of adaptation to the conditions of accessing European funds, in accordance with NGOs realities.

During the project "Emergency Call for Structural Funds", the Coalition focused on monitoring the transparency of public institutions and NGOs access to funds available after accession. After the research was made, was confirmed the fact that the NGOs are not really valued, that they were not considered an important resource and, also, that the experience NGOs have in writing projects was ignored, although the statistics show that NGOs have absorbed 98% of all pre-accession funds.

The conclusions from the report "Emergency Call for Structural Funds":

• The role on NGOs in achieving the development objectives proposed for structural funds is not clearly defined and assumed by the management institutions. The confusions regarding what is the meaning of working in a partnership and the obligation to subcontract services which, in reality, represent the partners expertise, is just one of the examples.
• The financial conditions and the unpredictability of the repayment make a difficult task insuring the cash flow, avoiding blockages or even bankruptcy. This finding is valid for other beneficiaries too, not just for NGOs.
• Permanent change of rules and procedures, the vagueness of some current rules and procedures, together with the incapacity of some institutions representatives to offer punctual clarification, is a major obstacle for organizations which already have projects in their administration.
• The communication strategy used by the Management Authorities is appreciated, but the language and the communication channels used are often inadequate to the audience. To respond to specific requirements from those who have ongoing projects and no longer need general information, is necessary a fast development.
• The high degree of bureaucracy remains one of the main characteristics in project implementing. The balance point between an efficient use of funds and achieving the objectives from the operational programs is not yet found. Therefore, the beneficiaries are fighting with a system that permanently changes its rules, that lacks in predictability, clarity and coherence.

The efforts of CeRe and NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds will not stop after they release this report. To support those involved in European funds accessing, the Coalition, through CeRe, developed the Early Warning System. With this system, will be collected and solved the difficulties faced by the NGOs and other beneficiaries in different phases of the projects.

This report is the result of "Emergency Call for Structural Funds" project, financed by the Government of Island, Liechtenstein and Norway, through the Financial Mechanism of European Economic Are and Open Society Institute.

The Project "Emergency Call for Structural Funds", developed by the Resource Center for Public Participation and NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, through Pro Democracy Association, Terra Millennium III, Save the Danube and the Delta Association, Assistance Center for NGOs, The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB, Active Watch –Press Monitoring Agency, seeks to strengthen the role and capacity of NGOs to be both social partners and beneficiaries of structural fund and of European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Yellow card for the Phare Unit for Payments and Contracts
Tuesday, the 17th of February 2009

The Coalition for Releasing European Funds organized Friday, the 13th of February 2009, a protest against inefficient management of European funds by the Phare Unit for Payments and Contracts (OPCP), within the Ministry of Finance.

Over 60 NGOs took part in the protest held in front of the Ministry of Finance headquarters, asking for the reorganization of OPCP into an efficient structure that will be able to facilitate European Funds absorption. The NGOs accused that, because of the bureaucracy, there were important delays in pre-accession financing. For instance, in 2009 the projects are developed with 2006 financing.

The large number of participants and their messages determined the State Secretary Cosmin Coman to invite the NGOs to take part in a discussion. ANBCC, Pro Democracy Association, CENTRAS and CeRe representatives took part in a discussion with the State Secretary and OPCP representatives.
"They promised the OPCP representatives will have monthly meetings with NGOs representatives, to better understand the NGO area, they promised openness and, above all, to respect the signed contracts", said Oana Preda, Executive Director of CeRe.

The Coalition for Releasing European Funds represents organizations that constantly contribute to European funds absorption, developing projects for the community benefit. Through this protest, the Coalition requested that OPCP have an active position of collaboration and communication with the beneficiaries, in order to optimize the European funds absorption. One of the complaints of those who gathered in front of OPCP was that the OPCP did not respect the contractual obligations, undertaken by the Ministry of Finance. Therefore, they asked to be analyzed the fact that the OPCP is rather an obstacle in the way of a good absorption of European funds.

After a 3 months delay, the Ministry of Economy and Finance publishes Order no. 3154/2008
Tuesday, the 4th November 2008

After three months from the deadline, the Order expected by the beneficiaries of the approved projects, was published in the Official Gazette no 742/2008. The Ministry of Economy and Finance, according to the Government Ordinance no. 19/2008, should have elaborated in august 2008, an order regarding the changes in Methodological Rules about the provisions concerning the way structural funds, pre-financing and co-financing are allocated from state budget.

The Order was published less than three weeks after the Resource Center for Public Participation sent, on the behalf of NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, an open letter to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Economy and Finance. In the letter, CeRe was asking immediately approval of the Order. In absence of any official answer from the Government until the end of October, CeRe mobilized a number of 26 NGOs, which sent, in their behalf, letters in which they request the Order to be published. NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds wants to thank all organizations that have joined us.

The members of NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds: Press Monitoring Agency – ActiveWatch, ANBCC – The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, Pro Democracy Association, CENTRAS, Resource Center for Public Participation, Developing of Civil Society Foundation, Save the Children Organization, Civic Alliance of Roma People in Romania.

Supporters of NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds: Amare Romentza, APADOR CH, ARIN, Association for Promoting the Women in Romania, Junimea Association, Motivation Association, Partners for You Association, Civil Association for Euro-Atlantic Integration, Regional Association for Rural Development, Sustainable Sighisoara Association, South West Association Romania, Association for Urban Transition, Partnership for Equality Center, PACT Foundation, Partnership Foundation, Mare Nostrum, Master Forum, For You, Pro Women, Save the Delta, Terra Millennium III.

The organizations showed mobilization
Tuesday, the 4th of November 2008, by Oana Preda

Three weeks ago, CeRe, together with the other members from NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds, mobilized to persuade the Ministry of Economy and Finance to finalize and approve the order about changing the application rules for the provisions regarding allocation of structural instruments, pre-financing and co-financing from state budget. The Order had to be published in August.
The first step taken was to send an open letter to the Minister of Economy and Finance and to the Prime Minister, letter in which we requested immediately finalization and approval of the Order. There was no reaction.
The next step was to try to attract other organization on our side, by inviting them to send a similar letter to the Ministry.
After only three days, 26 organizations offered to support us, by asking the finalization and the approval of the Order.
At the end of the third day, the Ministry of Economy and Finance announced that the Order (3154/2008) was approved.
We don't know if the Order was published also because of the 26 organizations or because of the Coalition, but at least we showed we can mobilize.
Besides this, the remarkable thing is that a large number of organizations managed, in such a short time, to unite.

Millions of Euro are blocked because the Ministry of Economy and Finance did not respect its deadlines
Monday, the 13th of October 2008

The 13th of October 2008

To Mrs. Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Prime Minister of Romania
To Mrs Varujan Vosganian, Minister of Economy and Finance

Dear Sirs,

Together with the EU accession, Romania became the beneficiary of €19.7 billion from the Structural and Cohesion Funds. After a difficult and prolonged period, this money can be finally used.

Important amounts of money were already contracted for valuable projects. However, the projects cannot start because the complete rules about the co-financing modalities, VAT procedures, pre-financing, public co-financing, do not exist. Without these procedures, the funds beneficiaries cannot start their activity. The deadline for changing the rules, established by a Government Ordinance, was August 2008.

This delay do not correspond in any way with the interests of Romania or with the public speeches about the importance of European funds for the development of Romania and the importance of increasing the absorption capacity.

Taking into consideration all this,

we ask you, Minister, to approve, as soon as possible, by Order of the Minister, the changes and the completion of Methodological Rules for application of provisions OG 29/2007, regarding the way structural instruments, pre-financing and co-financing are allocated, so that all the projects can be initiated in the near future. we ask you, Prime Minister, to ensure that the Government Ordinance no.19/2008, which establishes a 30 days term for to finalize the rules, will be respected.

Please note that Romania can spend the money allocated for 2007 only until 2010 (Rule N+3). Although it seems a long term, it is almost impossible for Romania to use these amounts until 2010.

Regardfully,
in the behalf of NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds

Oana Preda,
Executive Director
Resource Center for Public Participation – CeRe.

On the 16th of July 1008, the Romanian Government approved the Ordinance no.19 to change and complete OG nr.29/2007 regarding the way structural instruments, pre-financing and co-financing are allocated from the state budget, including from the National Fund for Development, in the budgets of the institutions involved in structural instruments management. This Ordinance was published in the Official Gazette, part I no.559, from 24/07/2008.

According to Art.II, from the Ordinance, "within 30 days after the Ordinance takes effect, by order of the Minister of Economy and Finance, it is approved the amendment of Methodological Rules regarding the applications of the provisions OG 29/2007". Until today, this did not happen (over 70 days have passed).

NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds

Members and supporters of the Coalition: Resource Center for Public Participation, Press Monitoring Agency, Pro Democracy Association, CENTRAS, Save the Children Association, National Association for Citizens Advice Bureaux, Developing the Civil Society Foundation, Terra Millennium III Foundation, "Together" Agency for Community Development, Civic Alliance of Roma People in Romania.

The NGOs will have green light for POSDCA
Thursday, the 11th September 2008

CeRe and FPDL representatives, supported by NGOs Coalition for Structural Funds and other NGOs, had a meeting with representatives from the General Directorate for Administrative Capacity Development. During the meeting, it was discussed the problem of NGOs non(eligibility) as beneficiaries of Projects Application – Local Development Strategies (released in PODCA).

Our interlocutors have immediately accepted that NGOs could play an important part in this area and promised a corrigendum that will include the NGOs among the eligible beneficiaries.

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