EU Cohesion Policy: €31.5 billion for Romania’s economic, social and territorial cohesion, competitiveness and green and digital transition in 2021-2027
Romania will receive a total of €31.5 billion from Cohesion Policy in 2021-2027 in the framework of its Partnership Agreement with the Commission to promote the economic, social and territorial cohesion of its regions and its green and digital transition. The EU funds will also support the development of a competitive, innovative and export-oriented Romanian economy.
Increasing economic competitiveness and digitalisation
€4.33 billion from the European Regional and Development Fund (ERDF) will support Romania’s innovative and smart economic transformation. Funds will increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and support research and innovation, in particular through business-academia collaboration. Innovative enterprises and innovative activities in traditional SMEs will also be supported.
The EU will also invest in the digitalisation of companies and the development of innovative digital public services. The digital skills of the population, particularly students and teachers, will also be improved.
A boost for the green economy
€6.75 billion from the ERDF and Cohesion Fund will be invested in the green transition, in particular in green energy, reduction of carbon emissions, environmental infrastructure, biodiversity conservation, green spaces, risk management and sustainable urban mobility measures.
Among these, €2.3 billion will improve the energy performance of residential and public buildings and to develop in renewable energy sources and smart energy systems. This will reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions and support the decarbonisation of the energy sector.
€2.34 billion will support the water and wastewater sector and improve the circular economy focussing on waste, re-use and recycling.
€2.14 billion from the Just Transition Fund (JTF) will alleviate the social and economic impact of the green transition towards a climate neutral economy. JTF will target the Romanian regions most negatively affected by phasing out coal and lignite, focussing on the transformation of energy intensive industries.
Modernising the healthcare system
€2.3 billion will be invested to ensure access to health for citizens and improve the quality, effectiveness and resilience of the health sector. The funds will also target vulnerable groups and thus reducing inequalities.
€7.2 billion from the Cohesion Fund and the ERDF will further develop multi-modal and more sustainable modes of transport. A particular focus will be given to trains and railways, and to the expansion of sustainable public transport in cities. Investments in Trans-European Networks – Transports (TEN-T) will improve the links with peripheral regions over the Carpathian Mountains and facilitate access to industrial centres. This will in turn contribute to growth and labour mobility.
Employment, skills and fight against poverty
€7.3 billion from the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) will improve access to employment, especially youth unemployment, quality and inclusive education, new skills and training. ESF+ will help modernising the Romanian Public Employment Service, promote social inclusion, accessibility and effectiveness of public services.
€3.5 billion will also develop social entrepreneurship and support capacity building for social partners and civil society organisations. The fund will improve the access to early childhood education and care, reducing early school leaving. The labour market relevance of vocational education and training (VET), and tertiary education will also be improved.
€3.3 billion will fight child poverty and address material deprivation. Funds will improve access to and quality of social services, and develop integrated social, educational and health services in 2,000 rural communities.
€162.5 million from the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) will be invested in sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, conservation of aquatic biological resources in the Black Sea and enforce fisheries control activities. The Fund will also support a sustainable aquaculture and processing sector. It will diversify local fisheries and aquaculture communities and support an awaited modernization of the fishing infrastructure in the Black Sea.
Members of the College said:
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “The Cohesion Policy investments will address areas of key concern for Romanians. A good planning and implementation of the Programmes that are being finalised will help the development of innovation and digitalisation, the deployment of quality health and social services, as well as education and training opportunities, safe and clean transports and overall, a more competitive economy. Cohesion Policy funding will improve the quality of life in Romania and ensure that no one is left behind.”
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, added: “I welcome the Partnership Agreement with Romania that showcases a strong commitment to use the European Social Fund Plus to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights. In line with the Youth Guarantee, the ESF+ will support young people finding their way into the labour market. I am particularly pleased to see that Romania is also stepping up the fight against child poverty thereby implementing the European Child Guarantee.”
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said: “The European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund will support innovative projects contributing to the sustainable management of aquatic resources. The Partnership Agreement will allow Romania to build innovative, low-carbon and sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors while also reinforcing the economic and social vitality of coastal communities. It will also support the resilience of the sectors faced with exceptional events that lead to serious disruption of markets.”
The Partnership Agreement with Romania covers Cohesion Policy funding (ERDF, ESF+ and the Cohesion Fund), the JTF and EMFAF.
The Partnership Agreement paves the way for the implementation of these investments on the ground. It covers 8 regional programmes and 9 national programmes.
Under Cohesion Policy, and in cooperation with the Commission, each Member State prepares a Partnership Agreement, a strategic document for programming investments from the Cohesion Policy funds and the EMFAF during the Multiannual Financial Framework. It focuses on EU priorities, laying down the strategy and investment priorities identified by the Member State, and it presents a list of national and regional programmes for implementation on the ground, including the indicative annual financial allocation for each programme.
The Partnership Agreement with Romania is the 18th to be adopted following those of Greece, Germany, Austria, Czechia, Lithuania, Finland, Denmark, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Portugal, Estonia, Slovakia and Italy.
The Commission has also adopted the first Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance-ERDF cross-border cooperation programme between a Member State and a candidate country: the ‘Interreg IPA programme between Romania and Serbia‘ worth €74 million. The programme includes three counties of Romania (Mehedinti, Caras-Severin, Timis) and six districts Serbia. The cooperation programme will finance, among others, investments in energy efficiency measures regarding public infrastructure, solutions for renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal), the restoration of natural areas (e.g., forests, riverbanks) to prevent floods and landslides or joint IT solutions, which will facilitate online education and training.