Environment Ministry to Fine 87 Municipalities over EU Program

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | April 23, 2014, Wednesday // 12:51
Bulgaria: Environment Ministry to Fine 87 Municipalities over EU Program Bulgarian Environment Minister Iskra Mihaylova. Photo by BGNES

Eighty-seven Bulgarian municipalities are to be fined over infringements related to the Environment Operational Program.

The penalties count reach a total of BGN 180 M (EUR 90 M), after abuse during public procurement procedures was found out by the Ministry of Environment and Waters, Investor.bg has reported.

At a meeting with mayors and leaders of the National Association of Municipalities, the Environment Minister Iskra Mihaylova announced that "systematic violations" in public procurement have been observed.

A total of 239 contracts, worth BGN 556.437 M (around EUR 278 M) signed under the EU's Environment Program between 2010 and 2013 have been thoroughly checked by authorities.

Irregularities have been found in 149 of them.

The agency dealing with EU funds auditing in Bulgaria is to send its report to Brussels in the coming weeks, with an official response to be sent by the European Commission before May 27.

Bulgaria was recently accused by the European Parliament of mismanaging EU funds received under various EU programs.

In a joint, though non-binding, resolution by the European Parliament, MEPs recommended that Brussels barred the country's access to EU money.

The government refuted claims of misuse by saying the document was a result by political infighting among Bulgarian MEPs from opposing parties.

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