Bulgarian EU Funds Minister Bets High Hope on Brussels Help

Bulgaria in EU | November 15, 2011, Tuesday // 15:38|  views

Bulgaria's Minister for the Management of EU funds, Tomislav Donchev, vows that in 2012 the cabinet will make the maximum absorption of EU funds a top priority. Photo by BGNES

The goal of budget 2012 for Bulgaria to obtain EUR 3.8 B from the EU is realistic, according to the Minister for the Management of EU funds, Tomislav Donchev.

The total amount is twice higher than the one for 2011 – EUR 2.14 B, but Donchev is still optimistic the plan would work.

Currently, EUR 2.7 B have already been paid under various EU operational programs while it is expected that by the end of the year this sum will reach EUR 3 B.

Donchev vows that in 2012 the cabinet will make the maximum absorption of EU funds a top priority, in order to not allow for the country to lose funding in case there aren't enough or enough quality projects. He says 2013 will be critical for paying large amounts from these funds.

The Minister stressed that the 2012 use of EU assistance should not be accompanies by attempts to save on national co-financing, because the later means in reality loss of funding.

In 2012, the amount of Bulgaria's co-financing is estimated at BGN 900 M while by the end of 2010, Bulgaria had received net financing of EUR 3.5 as beneficiary.

There are also plans to establish a special unit within the Agency for Public Procurement (AOP) to deal with preliminary control on public tenders announced in connection with absorption of EU funds. The new structure, which will be launched in the beginning of next year, will aim at minimizing mistakes and the need of corrections in the finance part of the procedure.

Such corrections since the beginning of the program period are estimated at only BGN 50 M with 2/3 of them stemming from violations of public procurement procedures such as discriminatory requirements for bidders.

New EU beneficiaries in Bulgaria include AOP itself, as well as the State Agencies Archives and Child Protection.

Donchev further said the idea to establish a special fund to assist local municipalities in making financial corrections had not been abandoned, with Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, making the commitment to examine the plan and find out what exactly needs to be done.

The Minister announced that the Regional Development operational program is now the third one where applications can be submitted online. The other two are Technical Assistance and Development of Human Resources, but Donchev says that in a matter of just months all programs will have this option.

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Tags: national co-financing, beneficiaries, operational programs, budget 2012, absorption, Tomislav Donchev, funds, EU, Simeon Djankov


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