EU Funding

08.02.2013 ZF English

Since its EU accession in early 2007, Romania has had access to Structural Instruments and Agriculture Funds. Structural Instruments and Agriculture Funds are allocated by the European Union for two related purposes: support for the poorer regions of Europe and support for integrating the European infrastructure, particularly in the transport sector. Current programmes run from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2013.

The Structural Instruments and Agriculture funds make up the great bulk of EU funding and the majority of total EU spending in a member state.

They have a total budget of €308.041 billion for the period 2007-2013.

EU funds are a type of public support. As a result, EU funding for business activities is regulated by European Competition policy which sets state aid regulations. The beneficiary has a maximum of 3 years to spend the funds. Failure to do so triggers the automatic decommissioning of the financing. As a rule, the beneficiary must first spend the money, and then claim a reimbursement. Focus is placed on SMEs that are regarded as the most flexible type of company, likely to increase the competitiveness of EU products.

The following activities may benefit from EU funding: acquisition of fixed assets (buildings, equipment); acquisition of intangible assets (patents, trademarks and know-how); research & development; IT development; human resources; participation in fairs and exhibitions; standardisation and certification of companies.

Structural Instruments

For Structural Instruments, also called Structural and Cohesion Funds, a budget of €307.6 billion was allocated for 2007-2013. Structural Instruments are absorbed in Romania through 6 Sectorial Operational Programmes (SOPs): Competitiveness; Development of Human Resources; Environment; Transport; Development of Administrative Capacity; Technical Assistance and one Regional Operational Programme.

The key features of operational programmes of interest to businesses are summarized below:

SOP Competitiveness

This programme is intended to increase the efficiency of Romanian companies, bringing them closer to the EU average. This is an operational programme which can be accessed by companies, as up to 80% of its budget is intended to foster their activity. SOP Competitiveness particularly supports research, technological development, innovation, e-economy and sustainable energy development.

SOP Development of Human Resources

The general objective of this programme is to develop human capital and increase competitiveness on the labor market. Companies and particularly suppliers of training may be eligible for funds under SOP Development of Human Resources.

Programmes for large infrastructure projects: SOP Environment and SOP Transport

These two programmes are directed toward large infrastructure projects in continuation of the pre-accession ISPA supported projects. Eligible applicants are public authorities, as a rule.

Regional Operational Programme

This programme fosters the steady development of Romanian regions and the reduction of economic differences between them by improving the business environment and infrastructure. In general, these funds are intended for public authorities.

The structure of fund allocation for the period 2007 – 2013 in relation to operational programmes can be summarised as follows:


Agriculture Funds

Two agriculture funds are available to support the Common Agricultural Policy, as follows:

  • The European Agricultural and Rural Development Fund (EARDF), contributing to the agricultural structural reform and development of rural areas; and
  • The European Fisheries Fund (EFF), supporting structural measures in this field, and “accompanying measures” of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The total amount allocated for Agriculture Funds for the period 2007-2013 is EUR9.97 billion.

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