Category: Outstanding Investigative Reporting
Where Did the European Union’s Billion Euros for the Danube Delta Actually Go?
Tristen Taylor, Ingrid Gercama and Nathalie Bertrams
INVESTIGATION: Where Did the European Union’s Billion Euros for the Danube Delta Actually Go?
Info-Sud-Est.ro Romania - March 5, 2021
The original publication is available via the following link: https://www.info-sud-est.ro/investigation-where-did-the-european-unions-billion-euros-for-the-danube-delta-actually-go/
Our investigation reveals how the European Union’s €1.114 billion investment to save the Danube Delta passed into the hands of a network of Romanian politicians, NGOs and businessmen.
On the 12th of June 2017, a high-level delegation from the European Commission arrived in Tulcea, a small Romanian port city at the edge of the Danube Delta. They were on an urgent mission to save the EU’s €1.114 billion investment to preserve the Delta’s biodiversity and lift its residents out of poverty.
While the investment began in 2014, only 3% of the funds had been spent. The Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) Danube Delta, the EU’s biggest single point investment in Romania, was on the brink of collapse.
This investment was supposed to be a showpiece on how to save the environment and raise living standards in a UNESCO world heritage site. Moreóver, it is an official part of the 2014 to 2020 partnership agreement between Romania and the European Commission. Johannes Hahn, the current Budget Commissioner, negotiated the agreement and the creation of ITI Danube Delta with the then Romanian Minister for European Funds, Eugen Teodorovici.