Bulgaria’s EU Funds Minister Urges Continuity in Reform Effort
Bulgaria needs to persevere in its commitment to reforms to benefit from the approved EU funding of some EUR 10 B until 2020, the Deputy PM for EU Funds Management has said.
”We can not start from scratch every time,” caretaker Deputy PM for EU Funds Management Iliyana Tsanova told a news conference on Friday presenting Bulgaria's 2014-2020 Partnership Agreement with the European Commission.
The agreement, approved on Thursday, paves the way for investing EUR 7.6 B in total Cohesion Policy funding over 2014-2020 plus EUR 2.3 B for rural development and EUR 88 M for fisheries and the maritime sector.
The key challenge for Bulgaria until 2020 is to ensure continuity of government policies with regard to the flawless absorption of the EU funds, Tsanova said, adding that the country has already built absorption capacity and now needs to further upgrade it.
She also highlighted that Bulgaria needs to do its best to draft quality projects to qualify for EU finding under the agreement rather than lose money over poor management or lack of clearly defined goals.
With foreign investment in Bulgaria having fallen drastically over the past several years, EU funding currently accounts for 70% of public investment by Bulgarian municipalities and is the main engine growth, Tsanova said.
In addition to the EUR 10 B that is to be absorbed through seven operational programmes Bulgaria is eligible to receive additional funding in direct payments (EUR 5.3 B) and under several other programmes, which expands the total 2014-2020 EU funding framework to nearly EUR 16 B, Tsanova said.
Commenting on the Operational Programme Environment, for which funding has been frozen over lack of progress and suspected corruption in procurement, she said that the caretaker government will try to structure initial control in a much more efficient way to ensure the resumption of funding.
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