Bulgaria to Lose EU Money over 'Irregularities' in Education OP
Bulgaria's Education Ministry has said the country will certainly be imposed a "financial correction" by the European Commission over the way Operational Program Science and Education for Smart Growth (SESG) has been managed so far.
Sofia officials will hold talks with Commission representatives to determine the amount of money Bulgaria will have to lose.
Violations, however, were found in eight projects whose total value is BGN 180 M.
Currently, a total of 116 agreements, to the tune of BGN 324 M, have been signed under the SESG program.
Ongoing projects will not be affected, the Bulgarian National Radio reports caretaker Deputy Education Minister Vanya Stoyneva as saying at a press conference. Her words, however, mean Bulgaria's central budget will have to allocate more funding to these projects than initially envisaged as the disbursement of EU funding under the program is currently brought to a halt.
Future projects will also be left intact unless irregularities are dealt with efficiently.
The interim team at the Education Ministry says it will now work to change the SESG program's management.
It also considers the option to "outsource" it to an agency independent from the ministry and supervised directly by the Prime Minister, but such a decision would cause a slowdown in the implementation of many projects, interim Education Minister Nikolay Denkov says.
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