Bulgaria Must Sign EU-funded Contracts worth BGN 615 M by end-2013
Bulgaria must sign contracts worth over EUR 615.5 M in EU funds in the four months left by end-2013 or else the money will be lost.
Under EU rules, the total sum of EU funding granted to Bulgaria for the 2007-2013 programming period must be contracted by end-2013. This means that the country needs to sign contracts worth an average of BGN 7 M every workday in order to reach the target, according to reports of Trud daily.
Undistributed resources are available under 6 of the 7 EU operational programs.
The "Competitiveness" Operational Program has the biggest share of uncontracted resources, with 85.55% of its budget of BGN 2.27 B already distributed, and a remaining sum of BGN 328.35 M to be contracted by end-2013.
To reach the target, the government mostly relies on the energy efficiency scheme for the business sector. However, the submission and review of documents and the signing of contracts under the scheme proceeds at a slow pace.
Yunal Tasim, Deputy Economy Minister, reports about heightened interest in the scheme, adding that no losses of EU funding are expected due to the slow pace of signing contracts. A total of 3.4% of the BGN 293 M budget of the scheme have been contracted so far.
As regards the "Regional Development" OP, around BGN 90 M, or less than 3% of the total budget, are yet to be distributed.
The uncontracted resources under the "Administrative Capacity" OP amount to 18%, with some BGN 63.5 M to be distributed under it over the next 4 months.
Contracts worth around BGN 60 M are to be signed under the "Human Resources Development" OP.
The smallest shares of undistributed resources are available under the "Transport" OP, BGN 5.86 M, and the "Technical Assistance" OP, BGN 4.2 M.
All EU projects must be completed by end-2014 and the payments can take place within a year after that.
So far, Bulgaria has absorbed a total of 45% of the total EU funding, with around BGN 8.67 B to be paid out over the next two years.
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