Bulgaria Has Absorbed Only 16% of the Money Under the New Euro Programs
Four years after the start of the new programming period and three years before its end, Bulgaria continues to lag behind in the absorption of European structural and investment funds. At the end of 2017, our country managed to use only 1.587 billion euros, or 16% of the funds allocated to it from the EU budget, according to an analysis by the finance ministry. Major programs such as Environment, Science and Education and Rural Development are far below average, and Maritime Affairs and Good Governance are down 0.2% and 6.2%.
During Bulgaria's second programming period (2014-2020), Bulgaria received access to EUR 9.9 billion to finance 10 programs. Compared to the previous period (2007 - 2013), this resource is 5.2% larger, and together with national co-financing the total budget for EU funds is 11.7 billion euros.
The largest budget - € 1.887 billion, is the ''Transport Infrastructure'' program. The relatively poor absorption of funds under this program - 19%, however, has a very modest effect on our economy, which is measurable by 0.1% GDP growth.
Another major program - "Environment", as in the previous period, is the worst. Of its budget of € 1.770 billion at the end of 2017, only € 94.5 million, or 5.3%, were paid. Therefore, in practice this program has in no way influenced the improvement of the Bulgarian economy and the standard of living. Similar is the situation with Growth Regions, where the absorption rate is 18.2%. The "Science and Education for Smart Growth" OP, which is extremely reliant on improving the quality of the workforce in Bulgaria, has so far boasted 9.9% of EU funds.
For the time being, "Innovation and Competitiveness" and "Human Resources Development" programs, with EU funds absorption of 22.6% and 23.1% respectively, are "excellent". The second program currently has the strongest effect on the country's economy - additional GDP growth of 1.6%, private investment of 4.2% and employment 3.2%. The subsidized jobs revealed under this program are also responsible for additional wage growth in the country of 3.2%.
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