Statistics Shows No Restart of Payments to Bulgaria under OP Environment 2007-2013
Statistics published by the Bulgarian government shows no indications about transfers from the EU budget to the Bulgarian state budget under operational program Environment 2007-2013 despite the claims of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov about the unfreezing of payments under the scheme.
The conclusion can be made on the basis of a comparison between the monthly reports which the Bulgarian government publishes at the Single information web portal for Structural and Cohesion Funds, according to the BGNES news agency.
By November 30, 2014, two weeks after the EC said that it was restoring payments to Bulgaria under this program, the funding recovered by Bulgaria since the beginning of the 2007-2013 edition of the operational program period stood at 37.4%, or EUR 548 439 166.
By December 2014, Bulgaria had recovered 39.4% of the total, or EUR 577 700 269.
By March 31, 2015, as the latest report shows, the rate remains at 39.4% and the total sum at EUR 577 M.
The projects which are being implemented under the 2007-2013 edition of the operational program, including the construction of waste disposal sites and the replacement of the water supply and sewerage networks in a number of municipalities, continues with funding from the state budget.
According to statistics, beneficiaries (mainly Bulgarian municipalities) received EUR 1.2 B, or 66.72% of the total budget of the program, by November 30, 2014.
By March 31, 2015, contractors involved in projects for the construction of municipal waste disposal sites and the replacement of water supply and sewerage networks were paid EUR 1.427 B, or 79.28% of the budget of the program.
The projects are using state budget funding because all construction works must be wrapped up by end-2015.
The projects which are not completed before the expiration of the programming period will lose the EU funding they have been allocated and the finishing work will be covered from the state budget.
In the period end-2013 to end-2014, payments to Bulgaria under operational program Environment were frozen due to systematic public procurement breaches in the period 2010-2013.
Due to the violations Bulgaria had to agree to be imposed financial correction worth BGN 156 M.
By March 31, 2015, the EC recognized an absorption rate of 71.60% of the total funding granted to Bulgaria in the 2007-2013 programming period.
Provided that the pace of recovery remains unchanged over the next few months, Bulgaria will close its first programming period at an absorption rate of around 85%.
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