BUCHAREST, March 24, 2010 - Peter Harrold, World Bank Country Director, Central European and Baltic Countries, visited Romania March 17-21. In meeting with Romanian officials he reaffirmed the World Bank’s support for Romania’s reform agenda and expressed optimism with the outcome of the process.
“This is about how the Government can deliver better services to the population,” said Harrold. “It is critically important to continue with structural reforms in order to ensure fiscal sustainability and economic growth in Romania.”
The Romanian counterparts agreed that the World Bank partnership with Romania must be continued and discussed the scope for collaboration in a number of areas in the coming years. These priority areas will be determined by the World Bank in close cooperation with the Government and other partners, notably the EU, and might include administrative reforms and monitoring of sectoral policies, social sector reforms for inclusive growth, and support for the key agricultural sector. Involvement in other pillars mentioned by the national reform plan and by the EU 2020 strategy (for example knowledge economy, or regional development) will also be considered. These are areas where the World Bank has significant experience and accumulated knowledge. An increased engagement of the Bank with regional and local governments and a gradual phasing-in of World Bank fee based services for the Romanian Government, particularly in relation to increasing Romania’s capacity of absorbing EU funds, were also envisaged.
In Bucharest, Harrold together with François Rantrua, Country Manager of the World Bank Office in Romania, and a team of World Bank specialists met with Sebastian Vlădescu, Minister of Public Finance, with Mihail Dumitru, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, with President Traian Băsescu and with Daniela Andreescu, Secretary General of the Government. Harrold also visited Călărași county, where he met with representatives of the local authorities and visited two projects financed by the World Bank: Agricultural Pollution Control Project and the Integrated Nutrient Pollution Control Project, a project under implementation.
The World Bank has provided significant support to Romania in the context of the financial crisis, as part of a package of support from the IMF, EU and the Bank. The first Development Policy Loan (DPL) for Euro 300 million, which is part of a series of three totaling Euro 1 billion, was approved by the Board of the World Bank on July 16, 2009, signed on September 1, 2009, and disbursed on October 20, 2009. The DPLs focus on public financial management, the social sectors and the financial sector. The DPL reform agenda supports policy measures and structural reforms to achieve fiscal sustainability in Romania and uphold the recovery process. It closely complements programs supported by the IMF and the EU.
The Bank played a significant role in supporting Romania's transition up to EU accession, both in terms of its financial and intellectual contribution to the reform efforts. Between 1991 and 2009, the World Bank supported a total of 55 operations in Romania, with a total commitment of about US$6 billion. Currently Romania’s World Bank financed portfolio consists of 13 active projects, with a corresponding net commitment of US$ 1.13 billion, and several analytical and advisory activities.