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Romania

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much EU aid has been allocated to childcare and related issues in Romania in each of the last five years; and what audit system has been put in place to ensure that funds are spent as intended. (89645)

Reform of Romania's child welfare system was a priority for the European Community's Phare pre-accession programme over the period 1999 to 2003. The “Children First” programme was launched with a €25 million financial allocation for Child Protection provided under the Phare 1999 programme. Resources of €10 million in 2001, €13 million in 2002 and €11.5 million in 2003 (out of a total of €248.9 million, €265.5 million and €265.5 million respectively for Phare's Romania allocations) were committed to support local authorities to make the transition from old style residential care facilities to providing a range of child protection services including foster care. This programme is due to complete soon. From 2004 the programme has shifted to focus on promoting the social inclusion of the Roma population, notably improving access to education.

The European Commission's internal audit function reviews risk management and systems and follows up on recommendations for improvements. The European Court of Auditors provides an independent audit of the collection and spending of European Union funds. The operations of all agencies may also be subject to spot checks by an outside auditor contracted by the Commission.