We have failed to attract investments and have not met our target of receiving €3.5bn in structural funds in 2012, but this is unimportant. We will receive at least €5bn in 2013.

We should be realistic enough to swim against the current. We must not fool ourselves. Whatever grand schemes we think up, the Romanian government is not ready to manage European funds.

So what should we do? Perhaps Romania should suggest the idea of "out-sourcing" the major projects financed by the Union. That is to say, all the major road and rail infrastructure networks, projects to connect energy networks, and programmes to modernise the river and sea ports; in short, all those projects which benefit the Union as a whole.

These kinds of projects could remain under the control of the Commission. If it does not have the means to organise the bidding process and to supervise the work then let these be established. The labour and resources are not lacking. Should these take some time to be implemented, the management could be temporarily confided to those member states who are net contributors to the budget. If this means that the treaties must be amended then let us propose to do so.

Shared interest

After all, the Commission and the major contributors should be interested in a more rapid link between northern Europe and the ports of the Danube or the Black Sea. Perhaps they would also be interested in connecting energy networks or even in building industrial parks in which their firms could set up. We will contribute with our share of co-financing and with our legislation. This would be beneficial to all Europeans.

Investments financing the Europe 2020 strategy must be managed from the "centre" as stipulated in the 2014-20 budget cycle. The Commission will negotiate the contracts with the member states and the regions. The member states agree to revise their investment priorities in line with these goals.

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Regional Policy has proposed to harmonise standards regarding the various funds, some of which are earmarked for such projects as rural development or for fishing and maritime affairs, in order to improve the coherence of EU action. Perhaps we could take it further by asking that projects with a European dimension, as specified through a precise list of priorities, also be managed in a "centralised" fashion.

Solidarity and community interest

German, Dutch and Swedish tax payers would then see that their money is being used more efficiently, that spending is better monitored and that the funds will not be lost in the pockets of Balkan Mafias. This type of mechanism would closely resemble the Marshall Plan and would give European citizens a greater feeling of solidarity and of a community of interests. In addition, the beneficiary countries would have before them a true example of best practice to follow for the other, less important, projects that would be handled by the local authorities.

It is true that the subsidiarity argument could be invoked here – the decision on how to use European funds must be made at a level as close to the beneficiary as possible. In theory this seems important. But what is the solution when, in the name of the beneficiary, the decision-making prerogative is taken hostage by so-called local elites, who, in truth are no more than white-collar criminals?

Transfer of sovereignty

Of the two, who is closest to the interest of the citizens – the European Commission or local barons? Who is closest in a political sense and not geographically? Which is best for the citizen: a waste of resources in thousands, even tens of thousands of unfinished projects which garnish the bank accounts of "friendly" firms which then, through kick-backs, finance electoral campaigns? Or a series of projects with a genuine European impact?

Such an initiative, coming from Romania and eventually Bulgaria, could prove interesting within the framework of a reform of European institutions. Brussels could become, for both the contributors and the beneficiaries, a true means of development, as opposed to the pathetic symbol of a bureaucracy out of touch with reality.

It would constitute a magnificent response to the trend in the United Kingdom: it would focus the Continent on development investment, which will contribute to reinforcing cohesion and, obviously, the single market. It would also require a "transfer of sovereignty" that the citizens benefiting from these projects would understand and support.