Bulgaria to Absorb EU Funding of EUR 2.5 B in 2015 or Face Losses
Bulgaria is to manage to absorb EU funding of EUR 2.5 B in 2015, which is the last year for making payments under the 2007-2013 programming period.
Bulgaria’s pace of EU funds absorption has to increase substantially under the Environment operational program, which is plagued by the biggest delay, according to statistics presented by the government’s press office, as cited by Sega daily.
Considerable sums have to be paid out under the Rural Development Program, where absorption problems have been a common occurrence.
The Environment operational program is the only operational program to incur losses in 2014 due to the slow pace of absorption.
However, the amount of money which is expected to be lost is much smaller than initially predicted.
A total of EUR 22 M from the annual budget is expected to be lost under the program, which was temporarily blocked due to public procurement irregularities.
No losses will be registered under the Regional Development program, which was also partially blocked.
However, Bulgaria is expected to lose some EUR 64 M in funding under programs for rural development and the fisheries sector.
Although the losses are not negligible, the total amount is a far cry from the initial estimate involving a failure to absorb around EUR 200-400 M under the annual budget for 2014.
Judging by the rate of EU funds absorption in 2014, at nearly EUR 700 M, Bulgaria will have to absorb over EUR 720 M under the Environment operational program in 2015 in order to avoid losses.
Unless the payments are certified and sent to the European Commission on time, the projects will be completed using resources of the national budget.
In order to prevent an unfavorable scenario, Bulgarian authorities are considering dividing the implementation large-scale at-risk projects into stages and postponing a part of them for the new programming period.
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