Bulgaria Faces Loss of Up To EUR 97 M in EU Funding for Agriculture
Bulgaria may lose EU funding for agriculture of EUR 53-97 M by end-2014, according to caretaker Agriculture Minister Vasil Grudev.
Grudev explained in an interview for 24 Hours Daily that Bulgaria had to absorb EUR 397 M in EU funding by the end of 2014, while the amount of payments requested at the European Commission by early August totaled EUR 50 M.
He pointed out that no projects had been processed and no contracts or annexes had been signed at the State Fund Agriculture (SFA) for one year.
Grudev also said that no certifying authority had been selected for the payments of the SFA after the contract of Deloitte&Touche expired and three public procurement procedures for the selection of a new entity collapsed.
He noted that the experts in Brussels had been shocked by the idea to sign projects stipulating retroactive effect, adding that the inadmissibility of the proposal meant that they would have to be reviewed under new regulations.
Bulgaria's caretaker Agriculture Minister made clear that the projects in question would have to be implemented with payments requested by mid-2015.
He said that he expected that the people responsible for the delays would be held criminally liable.
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