Never let it be said that EU funding does not create jobs – in Romania at least.
According to the Bucharest Daily News, prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu has decided at an extraordinary meeting of his government to approve the employment of 8,500 extra civil servants to ensure "efficient management" of EU funds and an "optimum absorption rate".
The employees will be divided among the ministries which deal with European funds and – guess what - most of the new employees - 6,000 - are being distributed to the Ministry of Agriculture. Given them time and they will reach the magic level of more bureaucrats than farmers. Then they will be truly "European".
Meanwhile, extra effort is going on "cross-border cooperation" with Bulgaria, aimed at spending the €50 million available to finance infrastructure, environment, economic development and cultural projects. This follows complaints that the "absorption rate" amounted to 12.14 percent for the year 2003, having declined from 44.68 percent in 2002 and 96.8 percent in 2001.
Hard work, spending all this money, especially if you're in it for the long haul.