Romania is notorious for being the country with the lowest EU funds absorption rate despite its economy’s dire need for money. Romania’s public and private sector absorbed only €10.33 billion in available EU funds from 2007 until 2013, with €8.7 billion remaining in stand-by until the end of 2015, when the offer will be permanently withdrawn. However, according to the World Bank, the country still has the highest poverty rate in the EU. There are two main reasons that help explain this apparent paradox.
Leaders of the European Union and six former Soviet republics (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) met in Riga for the first Eastern Partnership Summit since the Ukrainian crisis erupted. Unlike the Riga Summit of 2013, which triggered a series of events that eventually led to the downfall of Viktor Yanukovych and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, this year’s meeting had a less earth-shaking outcome. It ended in a joint declaration that lacks any firm commitments. Even where it was supposed to pack the most punches – its condemnation of Russian aggression in Ukraine – the language had to be watered down significantly