A number of Romanian companies that have used EU funds will soon have to return most or all of the money they utilized. According to Hotnews there are around 100 firms which find themselves in this particular situation, and, the Romanian state is apparently asking them to return approximately 20 million EUR.
It seems the companies declared themselves small or medium size enterprises when in reality they were medium sized or large.
The realization of the gravity of the situation came after an audit was carried out by the European Commission in February 2015.
A representative of the European Commission declared (1), with regard to the situation, that “ The European Commission's General Management of REGIO had an audit follow-up, in August 2015, in order to validate preventive and corrective measures implemented by Romanian authorities with respect to deficiencies in the state aid area for the Operational Competitivity Program- Priority Axe 1-”.
It is customary in Europe to decide what is a big enterprise and what is a small one by looking at the number of employees. A micro enterprise is one that only has up to 9 employees, a small sized one has between 10 and 49 whereas medium sized ones have between 50 to 249 employees. Big companies have over 250 employees.
The Commission concluded that those enterprises which were declaring themselves as small or medium were actually large ones and therefore it was necessary for it to block Priority Axe 1 for Romania. Unfortunately, this left the state paying the firms money which they would never actually get back from the EU.
Eventually the program was allowed to function again, but this time it was required of Romania to make sure that all those who sought funding were doing it legitimately and all those who falsely declared their category would pay back the state everything they owed.
The Ministry of European Funds reportedly observed that in those cases where what was declared was not concurrent with reality the funding contract will be terminated and the afferent sums will have to be paid back by the companies to the state.