Bulgaria Still Looking for Options to Build Sofia-Vidin High-Speed Road
As many as BGN 217 M (EUR 108.5 M) have been earmarked for boosting the economy and the appeal of Bulgaria's north-west, Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova has said.
At a meeting of her GERB party, the senior partner in the country's government, Pavlova has added that 13 urban municipalities are already part of the investment program being implemented under the EU's Operational Program "Regions in Growth".
Pavlova, however, has also made clear a project to build a high-speed road linking the capital Sofia and the biggest northwestern city Vidin is put on hold for now, with the cabinet exploring options for public-private partnerships to secure most of the BGN 1 B budget.
Bulgaria's north-western part is known as the poorest region in the EU (with Bulgaria itself ranking first in EU by this criteria) and has - more than other regions - witnessed mass depopulation and economic shrinkage over the past decades. The incumbent government has repeatedly pointed to deplorable conditions of the infrastructure as one of the factors adding to the harsh economic conditions there.
In her words, quoted by daily Standart, each of the municipalities has to present and carry out its own urban development plan, which includes any steps that would improve urban infrastructure.
Under the road infrastructure program, another BGN 50 M are granted to the region under the road building program, a share constituting a seventh of its nationwide budget.
Separately, some BGN 70 M have been set aside to boost energy efficiency, and another BGN 23 M have already been allocated to secondary schools offering vocational training to help them procure the equipment students need, Pavlova has added.
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