Bulgaria's GERB Boasts Higher EU Funds AbsorptionBulgaria in EU | January 26, 2011, Wednesday // 18:30| views
Monika Panayotova, MP from the ruling GERB party presented the report about the absorption of EU funds in Bulgaria in 2010. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria has absorbed in 2010 over 10% of the European Operational Programs funds, according to data of the Parliamentary Committee for EU Affairs and Funds.
In comparison, in 2009, only 2.6% have been absorbed.
The report was presented by the Member of the Parliament from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party, Monika Panayotova, in the presence of the Ambassadors of Hungary and Spain, Judit Lang and Rafael Peydro, the Speaker of the Parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva, Transport Minister, Aleksander Tsvetkov, and EU Funds Minister, Tomislav Donchev, among others.
In 2010, EUR 601 M total have reached the beneficiaries and there are contracts for another EUR 1 B.
The "Regional Development" program ranks first by the absorption of EU funds with a 1.8% increase in contracted amounts and 6 times more payments. Other top performing programs are "Human Resources Development," and "Administrative Capacity."
Those on the bottom of the list are "Competitiveness of Bulgarian Economy," and "Environment." Measures have been undertaken to overcome the delay, according to Panayotova.
Her report further stresses on the need to have a special EU Funds Act to regulate the relations between beneficiaries and administration as it is in Greece, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia.
Meglena Plugchieva, former EU Funds Minister and Member of the Parliament from the opposition Bulgaria Socialist Party (BSP), however, stated that there is discrepancy between the Parliamentary Commission's data and the numbers coming from Brussels.
She reminded of a December 2010 letter of the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, where he points out Bulgaria is absorbing just 6% of the EU funds, with the "Transport" and "Environment" programs lagging behind the most. In the letter, Barroso ranks the country 25th-26th in the EU by the absorption of the funds.
"The train is passing only once in history. You should not miss the opportunity," Peydro advised the Bulgarian MPs. Spain is one of the EU countries that has achieved great success in the absorption of EU funds.