The Regional Operational Programme and the Environment Programme prove to be the most advanced in the calendar of the negotiation process with the European Commission and it is likely to be endorsed at the beginning of June, according to unofficial sources.

Lagging behind are the Development of Human Resources and the Development of Administrative Capacity Programmes that might be endorsed only in September, but this will not affect the granting of the 1.2 bln Euros in 2007.

The National Reference Strategic Framework, which is an umbrella document for all the operational programmes, is to be approved in May.

Recommendations regarding the measures to speed the funds absorption have been made, in particular relating to the projects portfolio, the information activities, and the establishment at the national level of the conditions for eligible expenses, and preparing the management and control systems.

Current situation of programmes’ negotiations:

1. The Regional Operational Programme (POR)- the Management Authority (MA) lies with the Ministry of Development. The discussions focused on the transfer of some activities to and from the Competitiveness Programme. POR is likely to be endorsed in the first part of June as the risk of delay is “almost 0”.

2. The Sectoral Environment Operational Programmne : MA- The Ministry of Environment. The Internal Market and Services Directorate General drew attention on how the associations of the municipalities and the regional operators might affect the water sector.

Provided the recommendations of the Internal Market DG is to be implemented, the risk that this programme is not endorsed by the summer holiday is “almost 0”.

3. The Sectoral Operational Programme “The growth of economic competitiveness”: MA - The Ministry of Economy and Finances. The EC and the Romanian parts agreed on the problematic aspects of the financing of the companies and the employment of the financial instrument JEREMIE.

If no other observations are to be made by the EC, the programme might be endorsed before the summer holiday, however, there is a “minor risk” that it might not be endorsed by the end of July.

4. The Sectoral Operational Transport Programme: MA - The Ministry of Transport

The parts reached a principle agreement regarding this programme and there is a “minor risk” that it will not be endorsed by the end of July. However, Romania must continue the preparations of the projects portfolio.

5. The Sectoral Operational “Development of Human Resouces” Programme: MA -Ministry of Labour

The Romanian part is still working on a revisited draft of the programme. The risk of delaying its endorsement until September is “medium”.

6. SOP “Development of Administrative capacity”. MA - Ministry of Interior

The programme’s final draft has not yet been sent to Brussels and there is a “medium risk” that it will be endorsed only in September.

7. SOP Technical Assistance: MA - Ministry of Economy and Finances. It is likely that the programme is endorsed at the beginning of June, as the risk is “almost zero”.