Bankwatch Network Criticizes Bulgaria’s Recovery and Resilience Plan for Lack of Transparency
Although the Bulgarian Recovery and Resilience Plan proposes some positive measures for the environment and climate, it also includes investments in fossil fuels and hydrogen that may lock the country in to gas infrastructure. This is stated in an of the Bankwatch Network assessment of the Bulgarian Recovery Plan published in May.
According to the organization, investments in fossil fuels have no future and cannot be part of the country's long-term policy. Bulgaria must prioritize renewable energy sources (RES), and support for natural gas, coal and oil must be suspended.
According to the report, throughout the elaboration of the plan, there was a lack of transparency in decision-making, as well as a lack of feedback given to organizations and experts who submitted suggestions for improvement to the plan’s measures.
The network of NGOs in the economy and finance sector monitors the social and environmental impacts of public investment in the EU. This includes analyzing recovery plans in several Eastern European Member States, verifying that they are in line with the European Green Pact.
Bulgaria’s plan must both take these voices into account and include more measures that are consistent with the EU’s objectives if the country wants to be aligned with the EU Green Deal.
"For years, Bulgarian governments have not functioned transparently. Especially in the energy sector, decisions are taken in secret and this leads to serious problems with corruption.", says the report.
The organization commented that Bulgaria must ensure that it follows the course towards a climate-neutral economy. In the report, the country has been criticized for a lack of ambition and transparency in the development of its investment plan worth BGN 12 billion. Bulgaria expects the money to be allocated by the EU gratuitously.
The main objective is to support the economic and social recovery from the crisis caused by Covid-19. The plan that Bulgaria needs to present in order to receive funding under the Facility lays the foundations for a green and digital transformation of the economy in the context of the Green Deal.
The facility allocates up to EUR 10.4 billion to Bulgaria, equivalent to 17% of gross domestic product (GDP). Of this amount, EUR 6.3 billion will be paid out in the form of grants (BGN 12 billion) and EUR 4.1 billion in soft loans.
The Bulgarian plan is structured in four pillars: Innovative Bulgaria (26% of the total), Green Bulgaria (35.6%), Connected Bulgaria (21.9%) and Fair Bulgaria (16.5%).
The Bankwatch report assesses the final third version of the plan published on 16 April 2021 and examines in particular five aspects: energy efficiency, circular economy, renewable energy sources (RES), fossil fuels, biogas and hydrogen, as well as the consultation and transparency process in the preparation.
A day ago, President Rumen Radev announced that the Bulgarian Recovery Plan had also been criticized by the European Commission. He said government experts were currently revising the plan.
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