Bulgaria to Lose EUR 90 M in EU Funding in Energy Sector
Dragomir Stoynev, Bulgaria's Minister of Economy and Energy, has cautioned that Bulgaria's energy sector may lose EU funding of EUR 30 M by end-2013, which could swell to EUR 60 M by 2014.
Speaking for bTV TV channel on Thursday, Stoynev informed that he had inherited contracts worth BGN 25 M upon assuming the office of Economy and Energy Minister.
"These contracts have already been signed and the money has gone to the contractors," he assured, adding that was not that important who was to blame for the delays of these contracts but it was necessary to stress the ongoing efforts to get the economy going.
Asked why Bulgaria was losing EU funding, Stoynev explained that the programs and the priorities had been set by the three-way coalition government (2005-2009) and had been approved by the EU.
Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Minister said that the center-right GERB government (2009-2013) had rushed to accuse its predecessors of failing to absorb EU funding without taking into account the fact that the three-way coalition cabinet had had to negotiate the funds.
"As regards the Operational Program "Competitiveness", the business sector did not see any reason to apply for funding, despite the fact that there was a shortage of co-financing of projects during the crisis. Depending on the measure, the co-financing amounts to 30-40%," he explained, as cited by investor.bg.
He expressed his approval of one step taken by the caretaker government – the increase of the advance payment under measures of the Competitiveness OP aimed at boosting absorption under the program and preventing losses of EU funding.
"The business sector does not want business parks built with EU money but steps to modernize the production process, to improve the business environment, and to achieve a green and energy-efficient economy," he stated.
Stoynev was adamant that electricity prices would not increase in 2014.
"There is sufficient buffering in the system and if the fraud schemes in the energy sector are eliminated, I can assure you that there will be no reason for a price hike," he noted.
Stoynev argued that the biggest scams in the energy sector were the long-term contracts which clashed with the interest of Bulgarian society.
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