Bulgarian Ministers Desperate to Negotiate Reduction of EU Funds Losses in 2014
A delegation of Bulgarian ministers headed by Tomislav Donchev, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of EU funds, held talks with representatives of the European Commission in Brussels on Wednesday.
The Bulgarian delegation, which included Tomislav Donchev, Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova, Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski, and Environment Minister Ivelina Vasileva, sought to negotiate a reduction of the projected EU funds loss by end-2014.
The Bulgarian ministers called for extensions of deadlines, citing the difficult situation in the country after the floods, as well as the numerous ongoing appeal procedures under EU-funded projects.
The Bulgarian ministers also sought a restoration of payments under operational program Regional Development as soon as possible.
The Bulgarian delegation also discussed the approval procedures of the EC for the operational programs under the 2014-2020 programming period.
Donchev, as cited by mediapool.bg, informed that Bulgaria would present to the EC two more operational programs, Environment and Science and Education for Smart Growth, by end-November.
Lilyana Pavlova told journalists that Bulgaria was seeking to get payments under operational program Regional Development unblocked as soon as possible, possibly in January 2015.
She expressed hopes that the new operational program Regional Development would be approved in mid-2015.
Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski declared that almost all projects under operational program Transport had been delayed by a year and a few months, adding that steps were being taken to cope with the delays.
He said that the authorities were seeking to fast-track priority projects such as Lot 3 of the Struma motorway, the Hemus motorway and key railway projects.
Environment Minister Ivelina Vasileva announced that the efforts were concentrated on developing urgent measures for reducing the damage caused by the temporary EU funds freeze, which was lifted last week with a decision of the EC.
She noted that the aim was to reduce projected losses estimated at some EUR 145-205 M.
Vasileva made clear that Bulgaria would also seek to get the approval of the European Commission for the new operational program Environment, adding that it was to be presented to EC officials by end-November.
According to reports of mediapool.bg, the Bulgarian delegation headed to Brussels with the aim of negotiating the reimbursement of over BGN 800 M in sums paid from the national budget under operational programs by end-2014.
Bulgaria expects reimbursement from the EU for expenses amounting to BGN 825 M by end-September, according to reports of the Finance Ministry.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov predicted that payments under the 2014-2020 programming period would arrive no earlier than June 1, 2015.
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