‘First farmland afforestation’ operational programme

Since the launching of the National Rural Development Programme in Romania in 2008, around 100 000 projects have been selected for non-reimbursable funding amounting to over EUR 7.1 billion, that is to say a take-up of 116% of available NRDP funding earmarked for investment projects.

Despite this, there has been relatively little interest in Measure 221 (‘First farmland afforestation programme’) seeking to increase the surface of forestland so as provide protection against flooding and natural hazards, only 52 applications for funding having been submitted and only 26 projects having received non-reimbursable funding of EUR 1.55 million.

Romania has, in previous years, received substantial EU Solidarity Fund assistance to offset losses resulting from drought, fires or flooding. Last year alone, it received EUR 2.4 million to cover damage caused by drought and fire.

In view of this:

1. What additional efforts does the Commission consider necessary to promote Measure 221 projects?
2. What action could be taken by the Commission to stimulate greater interest in farmland afforestation?