EU Recovery Fund at Risk of Delay as Officials Clash in Romania

Bickering in the European Union’s most politically volatile member state is threatening to delay the approval of the bloc’s 800 billion-euro ($973 billion) pandemic-relief package.

Romania’s ruling coalition and opposition are far from a consensus on ratifying the Recovery Fund this month in parliament, where a two-thirds majority is required.

The country is one of seven EU states yet to sign off on the financing and allow disbursements to coronavirus-battered economies to start. The bloc wants all national parliaments to ratify the decision by June. Only once all 27 national legislatures have signed off can the European Commission issue the jointly-backed debt that will fund payments from the package.

The opposition Social Democrats are the source of the holdup in Romania. The party is calling for the government to permit debates in parliament on the national recovery plan -- something it’s not obliged to do. The coalition won’t give in to what it deems blackmail, according to two people familiar with its stance.

Differences between the two sides already saw a March meeting on ratification canceled. The government must win 50 or more votes from the opposition for the bill to be approved, on top of its own 261 votes.

The Social Democrats will hold a meeting on their position on Friday.

While the clash plays out, the government is still in talks with the European Commission over including infrastructure and irrigation projects in its spending plan for the recovery funding. Prime Minister Florin Citu said he’ll discuss the issue during a working dinner with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen later Tuesday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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