The first year of Romania as a EU member state was a success, the head of the European Commission delegation to Bucharest Donato Chiarini believes. The EU official admitted Romania had a problem with structural funds absorption but says it is normal that the first years as a member state come as a period of adjustments.
According to Chiarini, quoted by Romanian news station Antena 3, Romania now has the possibility to attend decision-making at all EC levels and has learned how to deal with issues and defend its interests fast. He recalled that before accession some member states had said Romania and Bulgaria were not ready to join but said facts show, especially in the larger and more complex Romania, that the two countries are ready and have an important role to play in the region.
Still, Romania has to solve a major issue - the capacity to absorb structural funds. He compared Romania's preparation in this regard with talking about Loch Ness monster - everybody has heard about it but nobody knows what it looks like.
He said structural funds were not an issue of charity or pity, but a means to balance differences within the European Union.