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GP: Sectoral Operational Programme – Transport (SOP-T): 2007-2013 - Romania PDF Print E-mail

Introduction to the Operational Programmes in Romania

The European Economic and Social Cohesion Policy, defined under Article 158 of the European Union Treaty, aims at reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and identifying the additional help needed to assist the least developed regions. In meeting these objectives, and in particular that of fostering real convergence, the actions supported with the limited resources available to cohesion policy should be concentrated on promoting sustainable growth, competitiveness and employment as set out in the renewed Lisbon strategy.

The new Cohesion policy is focused on three main objectives:
- Convergence,
- Regional competitiveness and employment, and
- European territorial cooperation.

The Sectoral Operational Programme - Transport (SOPT) is one of seven operational programmes under the “Convergence” Objective. Through increasing and improving the quality of investment in physical capital, it aims at speeding up the convergence of Romania by improving conditions for growth and employment.

The full list of Operational Programmes, are as follows:

Under the “Convergence” Objective:
1. Increased Economic Competitiveness SOP
2. Transport SOP
3. Environment Infrastructure SOP
4. Human Resources Development SOP
5. Administrative Capacity Development OP
6. Regional Development OP
7. Technical Assistance OP

and under the “European Territorial Cooperation” Objective – Cross border cooperation strand:
8. Romania – Hungary OP
9. Romania – Bulgaria OP
10. Romania – Serbia-Montenegro OP
11. Romania – Moldavia OP
12. Romania – Ukraine OP

The SOPT is the instrument that elaborates upon the objectives of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), establishing priorities, goals and the allocation of funds for development of the transport sector in Romania.

The total budget of the SOP-T over the programming period 2007 – 2013 is estimated at about 5 billion Euro, which represents about 23% of the overall budget of structural operations for Romania over the said period. Out of these, 4,010 million Euro represent the Community financial support, while national cofinancing will amount to about 995 million Euro. The Community funding will be provided the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

The SOPT uses as its base the development of the legislation established by the Council of the European Union (draft General Regulation, version of March 2006) establishing general provisions applicable to the ERDF, ESF and the Cohesion Fund.

In parallel to the SOPT, a Regional Development OP has been developed. Both programmes integrate towards a common development strategy in order to achieve a coherent transport system providing for spatial cohesion and interoperability with the European Union transport systems.

Objectives and elaboration of the Sectoral Operational Programme- Transport

In accordance with the general objective, a key issue for the Romanian economy in years 2007-2013 will be the development of transport infrastructure, which will have significant impact on increasing the economic competitiveness, facilitate the economic accession to the EU, contribute to the actual development of the internal market and allow for the development of the Romanian economy. It is aimed at creating the conditions for increased investment activity, the promotion of sustainable transport and spatial cohesion.

After modernisation, the improved transport infrastructure will directly lead to increased competitiveness of manufactured products and the provision of services, both in key sectors of the economy and within whole regions of Romania. The overall impact will be to generally improve the economy of Romania

More specifically, the modernisation of infrastructure will:
1. Provide needed capital investment expenditure in locations that are now difficult to access or which suffer excessive traffic congestion;
2. Lead to improvement of transport services offered to customers;
3. Allow development of improved logistics systems resulting in lower costs of supplies and deliveries;
4. Facilitate cooperation of producers and manufacturers;
5. Increase potential for access and penetration of new markets.

The SOPT builds on the results of the previous national development plans, including the previous analyses performed as well as lessons learned during implementation. It is not a analysis based solely on what has been concluded in past projects. The SOPT is based on a more detailed analysis and therefore provides a clearer picture of some aspects.

Key transport-related issues identified in Romania’s National Development Plan were:
• Domestic transport, although diversified, has insufficient capacity for transporting freight and passengers, especially in certain areas and during certain parts of the year(summer season, week-ends);
• The transport infrastructure is insufficiently developed, and requires significant investment in order to meet European standards;
• Access to the West-European corridors, as well the Eastern and Southern Europe ones is limited and made difficult by the low transport capacity and the quality of specific physical infrastructures (only 100 km of highway, non modernized national roads etc);
• Romania’s location at the crossroads of many roads connecting Eastern to Western Europe and Northern to Southern Europe, as well as the location of the country on the transit axes connecting Europe to Asia, point out the importance of a developed infrastructure;
• Romania’s access to the Black Sea and the Danube River represents an opportunity and an argument to increase the level of transport on waterways, taking into account the low costs as compared to land and air transport.

The Romanian strategy for absorption of funds will be able to produce significant economic, social and environmental benefits. In addition, the strategy provides for implementation of the concept of a country-wide Romanian transport system development that will be internally coherent and interoperable with the European Union system.

Undertakings proposed for funding under the Cohesion Fund are concentrated within identified EU priority axis, which are of fundamental importance for creation of spatial cohesion in Europe. Operations to be funded under the ERDF component of the SOPT are targeting, in turn, an increased accessibility of the Romanian regions.

In addition, the General Transport Master Planning (GTMP) process for Romania is in progress and it will provide the basis for future development but will use the knowledge gained from the SOPT as the core criteria for the establishment of projects.

It would have been a more usual practice to produce the GTMP before the SOPT, but as this was not possible the GTMP will integrate its results and create a direct link to the Transport Infrastructure SOP. In the absence of the GTMP, the SOPT concentrates on clear priorities and EU policies, such as development of the TEN-T, mode balancing and improvement of traffic safety.

The opportunity created within the ToR of the GTMP for its revision at regular intervals, will provide the flexibility to address the developing situation in Romania and assist the SOPT monitoring process.

When elaborating the SOPT proposals, a comparison has been made between the situation in the Romanian transport sector an that in the EU 15, EU 25 or EU 27 member states, as the EU has grown. The comparison shows that in EU countries the transport infrastructure projects have resulted in the provision of higher quality standards that are essential to be introduced into Romania for the future efficient operation of passenger and freight transport operations.

In the Romanian SOPT there is a requirement to take into consideration the lack of investment in transport infrastructure over many years. There has been limited infrastructure expenditure on new construction and the maintenance expenditure has been below the optimum level. Romania inherited a number of deteriorated infrastructure bottlenecks and conflicts with the settlement pattern and the environment.

In order to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the current position there have been many consultations with all relevant stakeholders during a series of presentations, working groups and individual meetings.

On the basis of the information gathered and the diagnosis of the transport sector data, a detailed development strategy until the year 2013 has been drafted to include the issues of new development and a recovery programme that will address the future developments and the poor inheritance.

Structure of the document

This SOPT has been developed by the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Tourism (MTCT), assisted by potential beneficiaries and in close cooperation with Regional Authorities. During the implementation process the SOPT will be managed centrally by the MTCT.

In order to provide the reader with a broad understanding of the transport sector in Romania a macroeconomic analysis is appended as Annex D.

This document starts with an introduction of the current situation of the transport sector in Romania and provides a comparison between the situation in Romania to that of the EU countries at the various stages of expansion of the EU, in order to emphasise the general trend in demand for transport services and to provide focus for future action to be taken.

The SOPT proposes the expected results of various interventions, indicates the allocation of the funds and defines institutional arrangements for the implementation of the assistance.

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