EC Warns Bulgaria Could Lose EU Program FundsBulgaria in EU | April 18, 2013, Thursday // 17:13| views
The European Commission's report on cohesion policies, presented Thursday, is an overview of how EU Structural Funds are working in Member States. File photo
Six EU Member States, including Bulgaria, can lose part of the EU funds slated for them if they fail to accelerate their absorption, according to an EC report.
The European Commission's report on cohesion policies, presented Thursday, is an overview of how EU Structural Funds are working in Member States.
The "Strategic Report" outlines the progress of each country on delivering EU objectives, in line with the targets of the Europe 2020 Strategy. It encourages Member States to measure progress in key strategic sectors, such as research and innovation, rail, energy, capacity building, sustainable urban transport, job creation and training.
The accounts submitted by the 27 Member States at the end of 2012 (based mainly on 2011 data) provide the Commission with the first opportunity to report, during a programming period, on progress in delivering outputs and results and to highlight important and timely messages on the potential of Cohesion Policy to play its part in the EU's economic recovery.
According to the document, the level of absorption of EU funds is particularly low in Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta and Italy, and the risk of losing the financing is growing.
The delay is the biggest in Romania with 15% paid funds, followed by Bulgaria with 30%.
EC reiterated that the data is from 2011, and with 4 more years to go until the programs finish in 2015, there is still time to accelerate work on the projects.
Bulgaria has reported positive changes and effects from the use of funds for increasing employment and economic activity, the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, per capita, labor productivity, and the share of people with access to modern plumbing and sewage.
According to the reports, progress and improvements across the EU include:
• 1.9 million more people now have broadband access;
• 2.6 million more people are served by water supply, 5.7 million more by waste water projects;
• there are 460 km of TEN-T roads and 334 km of TEN-T rail; and
• 2.4 million people assisted by the European Social Fund found a new job.
Innovation and small business are receiving a huge boost from cohesion policy investments with many more in the pipeline. So far:
• 53 240 RTD projects and 16,000 business-research projects received investment and
• 53 160 start-ups have been supported.
As funds are utilized and projects get off the ground, the report documents:
• A significant increase in the number of people supported in in the area of employment from around 10 million annually before 2010 to some 15 million on an annual basis since then; and
• A significant acceleration of results since 2010 in the area of support for SMEs: Almost 400 000 jobs created (half of these in 2010/11) including 15 600 research jobs and 167 000 jobs in SMEs.
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