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Membership extends over a
territory of 2. 4 million square kilometres with a population of nearly 260 million. ME is responsible for the management of the Sector Operational Programme "Increase of Economic Competitiveness" which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. Romania holds the CEI rotating presidency in 2009 and will host the over 1500 expected SEF participants at the Marriott Hotel in Bucharest on 12th November 2009. These projects are in direct relation with the EUR 17. 2 billion of Cohesion and Structural Funds, which Romania, as a new EU member, is entitled to receive in the 2007-2013 period for the implementation of projects that are in line with the priorities of the EU regional policies.

"JASPERS - A Vital Institution for the Development of Major Projects in the Region" is an original SEF panel. Moderated by Mr Alexander Auboeck, Coorporate Director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the session will replace the usual framework of presentations followed by questions and discussions with an interactive debate.

The panel featuring the Head of JASPERS and the Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), respectively Mr Augustin Auria and Mr Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen, as well as the Director for Policy Coordination at the DG Regional Policy of the European Commission, Mr Rudolf Niessler, shall provide the audience with the opportunity to learn about JASPERS activities, both past and present, as well as to gain knowledge about future projects.

The Secretary of State for the Romanian Ministry of Public Finance, Mr Bogdan Dragoi, along with the other speakers will engage in discussions related to the Cohesion and Structural Funds, in particular how the global financial crisis affected JASPERS, what implications appeared for beneficiary member states and particularly for Romania, and what future outlook can be envisaged for this technical assistance partnership in a Europe affected by the 2008 crisis.

NOTES TO EDITORS

JASPERS: A new technical assistance partnership
JASPERS, ‘Joint Assistance in Supporting Projects in European Regions’, seeks to develop cooperation in order to pool expertise and resources and to organise them in a more systematic way to assist Member States in the implementation of cohesion policy. The Programme aims to encourage Romanian companies to increase productivity in order to reduce the disparities vis-a-vis the EU level in four areas: the productive system, R&D, IT & Communications, and Energy. The aim of JASPERS is to offer a service to the Member States, targeting regions covered by the new Convergence Objective for the period 2007-2013. The SEF 2009, co-organized by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry for SMSs, Trade and Business Environment, is surrounded by high-level political events such as the High Level Meeting of the 18 Heads of Government from the CEI Member States on the 13th November, including Prime Minister H. E. Emil Boc. Since its launch in 2006, JASPERS completed its assignments for 35 projects and has 109 projects at different stages of progress. ME is also responsible for establishing medium and long term development strategies and finding solutions for the reforms in industry, energy, economy and trade sector.
. Although the CEI is not a major
donor organisation, it has several funds which are used to promote projects in a number of sectors.
The accession of five CEI Member States to the EU in May 2004, and of Bulgaria and Romania in
January 2007, has shifted the CEI focus towards those Member States remaining outside the EU. E Adriean Videanu and Mr. Other high level guests include the EBRD President Mirow, Minister of Economy H. The service will help the authorities in the preparation of major projects for submission to the Commission. By developing and implementing various projects and programmes, the CEI assists its Member States in a concrete and demand-driven manner.

About the Ministry of Economy
The Ministry of Economy (ME) is an institution of the public central administration which is responsible, together with other institutions, for the development and implementation of the Government Strategy and Programme in the following sectors: industry, energy, mineral resources, defence and security, as well as of economic policies and policies in connected fields, such as: energy recovery and conservation, security of installations in industrial sector, recycling, or legal metrology. Theodore Ahlers, Operations Director, ECA Region, World Bank.

About the CEI
The Central European Initiative (CEI) comprises 18 Member States. From the very
beginning, the main aim of the Initiative has been to help transition countries in Central and Eastern
Europe in their journey towards further integration with EU structures. In cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Central European Initiative (CEI) will dedicate a special panel to the JASPERS technical assistance partnership within the 12th Summit Economic Forum 2009 (Bucharest, 12th November 2009, JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel) In this way, the service will help to improve the quantity, quality and rapidity of projects coming forward for approval, for the benefit not only of the Member States and regions directly concerned but also for growth and convergence in the Union as a whole.

The CEI Summit Economic Forum (SEF) is the flagship annual event of the Central European Initiative, a regional organisation with 18 Member States. ME, through its specialized directorates, manages the priority axis IV "Increasing energy efficiency and security of supply in the context of fighting climate change".

 
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