Bulgaria to Receive EUR 6.4 M in Flood Damage Aid from EU Solidarity Fund
Bulgaria will receive EUR 6.4 M from the EU Solidarity Fund to cope with damage caused by the snowfall, floods, and landslides which hit the country in the period January – February 2015.
The announcement was made at a press conference of Deputy Regional Development Minister Denitsa Nikolova and Bulgarian MEP Andrey Novakov, which was organized by Todor Stoychev, head of the European Parliament Information Office in Bulgaria.
Nikolova, as cited by the Focus news agency, explained that this was the third application submitted by Bulgaria to the EU Solidarity Fund since the beginning of 2015.
She said that Bulgaria had received EUR 10.5 M under the first application, adding that the money was being spent mostly on repairs of the damage caused by the floods in Varna’s Asparuhovo district and in Dobrich in June 2014.
Nikolova informed that a total of 24 projects had been submitted for the EU aid allocation, with 20 contracts already signed and 2 other contracts to be signed over the next few weeks.
She made clear that the projects involved repairing road infrastructure and retaining walls, landslide fortification, etc.
Nikolova noted that the beneficiaries had started the implementation of projects, the deadline for their completion being October 2016.
Bulgaria’s Deputy Regional Development Minister announced that Bulgaria had been given nearly EUR 2 M from the European Commission under the second application form, adding that the sum had been earmarked for coping with disaster damage in the districts of Vidin and Vratsa.
She said that projects covering almost the entire sum had already been evaluated and that there was a reserve list of projects, which had been launched, the deadline for completion being November 2016.
Bulgaria’s Deputy Regional Development Minister made clear that the guidelines for Bulgaria’s third application to the EU Solidarity Fund were to be ready in two weeks’ time.
Nikolova suggested that the sum of EUR 6.4 M would be available to over 25 municipalities located mainly in the districts of Smolyan, Kardzhali, Blagoevgrad, Burgas, and Varna, where the damage was most substantial.
MEP Andrey Novakov stated that Bulgaria had suffered flood damage worth EUR 243 M since the beginning of 2015, adding that the new allocation of EUR 6.4 M would only suffice to repair a small portion of it.
Novakov emphasized that the EU aid was essential for Bulgaria, regardless of the fact that the country would need more resources to cope with the aftermath of the disasters.
He suggested that it was realistic to expect that the funding under the third application to the EU Solidarity Fund would be received by November.
Todor Stoynchev pointed out that Bulgaria had been allocated over EUR 11 M under the EU Solidarity Fund in less than a year in order to cope with the damage caused by a number of serious cases of flooding.
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