Bulgaria Risks Permanent Freeze of 'Environment' Operational Program
The "Environment" operational program may be conclusively suspended unless the European Commission restores payments to Bulgaria by end-May, according to center-right party GERB.
Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Tomislav Donchev, former EU Funds Minister and MEP candidate of GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria), reminded that the payments under the "Environment" OP had been stopped in November 2013 under a decision of the European Commission.
Donchev, as cited by the BGNES news agency, noted that Bulgaria's current socialist-led government had vowed to restore payments by end-March and the payments from the EC had not yet started arriving.
GERB's MEP candidate argued that the darkest scenario involved a permanent suspension of the program in end-May.
He suggested an exit from the crisis through the so-called flat financial correction, adding that it included holding talks with the EC to reach agreement on corrections on the level of the operational program at the expense of the government.
Donchev announced that Bulgaria had not been reimbursed for a total of over BGN 1.5 B paid from the state budget for projects under the operational program.
GERB MP and former Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova warned that there would be no chance to unblock the payments under the "Environment" OP until the spring of 2015 in the case of a freeze imposed in May 2014.
She reminded that projects under the Environment OP were being carried out in over 50 towns and cities, adding that the schemes would be abandoned at different stages of implementation because the municipalities would not be able to pay to the business sector.
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