EIB President Vows Increased Support for SMEs in Bulgaria
European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer, who is on a one-day visit to Sofia, has vowed support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and infrastructure projects, and technical assistance for companies applying for EU funding.
Hoyer, who arrived in Sofia Friday at the invitation of Finance Minister Simeon Djankov, praised Bulgaria's financial discipline.
Speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, he also dwelled on the EIB's plans for 2013.
The EIB President called Bulgaria's development a "success story", adding that back in the mid-90s he had never imagined that he would come to Bulgaria to discuss the deepening of relations.
"Bulgaria took advantage of a strategy for fiscal discipline which is one of a kind in the EU and this is taken into consideration in the EU," he declared.
He reasoned that Bulgaria was attractive for doing business thanks to its favorable market environment and stable banking system.
"In 2013, the EIB will support SMEs and infrastructure projects in Sofia and other cities in the country. We have also committed to offer technical assistance to companies absorbing EU funds here.EU funds absorption in Bulgaria is very good, which is why there is an opportunity for cooperation in the sphere," Hoyer said, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA) and dnevnik.bg.
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov boasted of his good cooperation with the EIB back at the time when he was Mayor of Sofia.
He said that the good relations with the EU were the result of its excellent administrative capacity, the low interest of below 4%, and the fact that the EIB helped Bulgaria achieve maximum transparency before the European Commission.
Borisov said that thanks to the work with the EUB and the few recommendations on joint projects Bulgaria was already receiving its money from the EC faster within 50-60 days
Borisov and Hoyer also discussed opportunities for co-financing of large infrastructure projects in Bulgaria
The EIB has already invested around EUR 3.3 B in Bulgaria, of which over EUR 1 B went into the private sector.
EIB co-financing is currently used in a number of significant projects like the reconstruction of the railway line connecting Plovdiv and Svilengrad, Danube Bridge 2, Transit Roads V, a project for the construction of an integrated system of facilities for treatment of household waste of Sofia Municipality, etc.
In January 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Bulgarian government and the EIB for support in the implementation of projects financed under EU Structural Instruments.
The EIB also supports the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in Bulgaria via credit lines through intermediary banks and provides resources in cases of insufficient funding for the implementation of projects under EU operational programs by municipalities and public institutions.
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