Commission Threatens to Freeze Funds to BulgariaViews on BG | February 4, 2010, Thursday // 18:54| views
By Simon Taylor
Country has failed to produce audits on more than 186 water and environmental projects.
Bulgaria has been warned that EUR 1 B in cohesion funds could be frozen because it has failed to produce audits on more than 186 water and environmental projects co-financed by the EU.
Dirk Ahner, the European Commission's director-general for regional policy, wrote to the Bulgarian government last month saying that the Commission could suspend EUR 1,027 B in funding because of failure to supply the results of audits for 29 water projects and 157 environmental projects which are eligible for EUR 323 M in co-financing from the EU.
In his letter, Ahner set a deadline for proving the audits of January 31, but the Bulgarian authorities have not yet supplied the missing information.
On a separate matter, the Commission also threatened to withhold EUR 34 M in funds unless it received the results of audits into alleged abuses of procurement procedures for environmental projects by the end of January. The Commission first raised concerns about the procedures in summer 2008.
Ahner also expressed concern about the low level of applications for funds from Bulgaria, which was only 0,8% of the total available for 2007-13.
Ahner is planning to discuss these issues with Simeon Dyankov, Bulgarian's deputy prime minister, in Brussels on February 4.
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