Romania’s PM presents EU recovery plan: highways, railways, and a hospital

Foto: INQUAM-Octav Ganea

Romania’s Prime Minister Florin Citu presented his government’s final draft of its Recovery Plan on Wednesday in which he promised to invest EU money in highways, new railway and subway lines and the underfunded health system.

Grants and loans

It was filed to the European Commission on Monday. Romania’s ruling coalition plans to attract 29.3 billion euros in grants and loans from the pandemic-relief fund.

The prime minister said Romania would spend the funds on building 450 kilometers of highways and 311 kilometers of new railway lines. Money will be allocated to building 13 kilometers of subway lines and 32 new underground trains.

A new hospital will be built by 2024 and money will be spent on intensive care units in hospitals for newborns.

Transport, health, education

“It’s a very important plan for Romania,” the prime minister said. He said the money would be spread across three sectors: transport, health and education.

Deputy Prime Minister Kelemen Hunor called it “an extremely balanced plan. (It will)  mean prosperity for everyone in the coming years”.

The European Commission has two months to evaluate if it complies with criteria for the funds.

Brussels can demand additional changes from Bucharest during the two-month review process. There are queries about whether the plan meets EU long-term climate objectives.

Fossil fuels

Opponents of Romania’s plan say there is too little effort to move away from fossil fuels and expand sustainable energy solutions.

The current plan allocates few resources to expanding wind or solar generation capacity. Instead, it asks for hundreds of millions of euros for new natural gas infrastructure.

European Commission

Only once all the legislatures of 27 EU members states have signed off can the European Commission issue the jointly-backed debt that will fund payments from the  800 billion-euro pandemic-relief package.

Romania needs to commit at least 37% of expenditure to investments and reforms that support climate objectives. It needs to dedicate 20% for the digital transition.

Sustainable future

The government’s plan also includes building 1,630 kilometers of water mains in villages of more than 2,000 residents. It envisages 2,000 kilometers of sewerage pipes and planting 45,000 hectares of forest. 

Romania already submitted its plan to the Commission on Monday.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted  the plan „includes reforms & investments to support the green and digital transitions, smart growth, health and resilience, and policies for the next generation,”

“#NexGenerationEU will help build greener, more sustainable future in [Romania],” she added.

The submission of the plan came after months of negotiations between the Commission and the Romanian government. The opposition Social Democrats are calling for the government to allow parliamentary debates on the plan which isn’t legally required.

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