EC Freezes EUR 10 M for Bulgaria's Education SectorBulgaria in EU | December 17, 2010, Friday // 12:10| views
The building of the European Commission in Brussels. Photo by BGNES
The European Commission has frozen over BGN 10 M from the "Lifelong Learning" program for student and professional exchange.
The reason is violations committed by Bulgaria, the spokesperson of the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, told the TV channel "Evopa."
For 2010 Bulgaria was slated to receive EUR 13 M for educational exchange programs, but only 20% were transferred in the spring, instead of the planned 70% as a warning Bulgaria is not managing the funds well.
The EC decided now to freeze the remaining EUR 10 M in mid-year over the lack of improvement.
"This measure was imposed by the need to guarantee that payments correspond to the EU financing rules and protect the interests of the taxpayers. We know this would pose difficulties, especially for students already included in the program, and we regret delaying their stipends with the hope the issues would be resolved soon," the spokesperson said, pointing out the problems were not related to embezzlement, but to management and control.
The news comes at a time when the Bulgarian education sector is enduring shortage of funds and cuts in budget 2011.
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