Fact Check: Romanian Recovery and Resilience Plan Does NOT Imply You Won't Be Able to Spend Money Farther than 15 Minutes from Home

Fact Check

  • by: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: Romanian Recovery and Resilience Plan Does NOT Imply You Won't Be Able to Spend Money Farther than 15 Minutes from Home No Mention

Does the Romanian National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) state that people won't be able to spend money farther than 15 minutes from their home, because of a strategy involving 15-minute-cities? No, that's not true: the PNRR makes no mention of 15-minute-cities or controlling people's spending. It only mentions a transition to a more digitized society.

The claim originated from a video (archived here) published on TikTok by @corneltony5 on September 30, 2023, under the title "15-minute cities and digital money." The user says (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff):

PNRR states that you won't be allowed to spend money farther than 15 minutes from your home. You can go to a mall in Brasov if you're from Bucharest, they can't chain you like a dog. But there will be no cash money and when you'll want to pay for an ice cream or gas with your card you'll get the response that your card is not valid because you're more than 15 minutes away from home.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-10-03 at 15.57.52.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Oct 3 12:34:11 2023 UTC)

The PNRR, funded by the European Union's Recovery and Resilience Facility, contains no references to 15-minute cities or cashless societies. The only references to digital transition or digital documents are those concerning implementing digital IDs and digital signatures, as well as digital platforms for businesses and green digital energy.

In addition, the 15-minute city, an urban model in which everyone living in a city would be within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from essential services, is designed to improve access to goods and services and make cities more sustainable. Nothing in the model suggests that people would be restricted or confined to their neighborhoods.

In terms of a digital Euro replacing cash, the European Central Bank explained that if such a currency were implemented, it would complement banknotes and coins, not replace them.


  Ioana Burtea

Ioana Burtea has worked in journalism for 15 years. She started her career at Mediafax news agency in Bucharest and has written for DoR magazine for over seven years. Her collaborations include publications like Europe & Me, New Eastern Europe, Balkan Insight and Washington Post. Ioana published pieces on the justice system in Romania, social affairs, politics and personal essays. In 2018,  she became a fellow of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.  In 2021, she received the first prize in the Portrait category at the national Superscrieri journalism awards.

Read more about or contact Ioana Burtea

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