Bulgaria to Seek Long-Term Loan for 240-km Section of Hemus Motorway

Bulgaria in EU | November 21, 2014, Friday // 16:10|  views

Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova, photo by BGNES

Bulgaria will seek a long-term loan from international banks for the construction of a 240-km section of the Hemus motorway, according to Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova.

In a Friday interview for the morning broadcast of bTV, she noted that Bulgaria would most probably hold talks with representatives of the European Investment Bank and the World Bank for a loan of around BGN 0.5 B which would be repaid in 17 years so as to avoid placing too great a burden on the state budget.

“The Hemus motorway is a new top priority strategic project which will support the development of Northern Bulgaria. We cannot achieve economic development without this motorway,” Pavlova stated.

She specified that the construction of a 60-km section of the Hemus motorway from Yablanitsa to the Pleven-Lovech fork would start in 2015.

Bulgaria’s Regional Development Minister reminded that the completion of Lot 4 of the Struma motorway from Sandanski to Kulata was essential in order to do away with obstructions to Greece-bound traffic.

The caretaker government terminated the contract for Lot 4 of the Struma motorway with Greek company Aktor after a sudden inspection of the Road Infrastructure Agency found that no construction works were underway at the site, according to reports of investor.bg.

Pavlova vowed that Lot 2 of the Struma motorway connecting Dupnitsa to Blagoevgrad would be ready by November 2015.

She went on to say that Bulgaria was still looking for opportunities to cut the cost of Lot 3 of the Struma motorway (Blagoevgrad – Sandanski) from the rate of EUR 0.5 B.

Pavlova suggested that the delays in the construction of the two lots of the Maritsa motorway would be compensated.

She underscored that the work on the projects had been scheduled on the basis of expectations of a full term in office of the current government.

Asked to comment on the recent visit of a delegation of Bulgarian ministers to Brussels, she claimed that the European Commission had lost trust in the state and in public institutions.

Pavlova, who held talks with EC representatives in Brussels together with EU Funds Minister Tomislav Donchev, Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski, and Environment Minister Ivelina Vasileva, drew attention to the delays in the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects.

“The situation is very unpleasant on the whole – there is a risk of losing EU funds and there are a large number of hefty financial corrections. Unless Bulgaria manages to finalize large-scale projects, which have been delayed by over a year, in 2015, we will lose the funding earmarked for them and we will have to pay back what we received for them,” she declared.

“Not a single project for a motorway, railway, water treatment plant, or repair works at some school is running on time and the absorption of EU funds has been delayed,” she informed.

She pointed out that Bulgaria was to receive a total of BGN 32 B under the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) in the 2014-2020 programming period, stressing that the country’s GDP stood at BGN 80 B.

Pavlova also emphasized that the Investment Planning Ministry, which was created by the socialist-led government, had cost over BGN 2.5 M a year, including BGN 2.3 B in salaries and bonus payments, at the same time generating substantial indirect losses for businesses due to a number of stalled large-scale projects over a six-month period.

Pavlova also noted that Bulgaria was hoping to have payments under the Regional Development operational program unblocked in early 2015.

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Tags: Lilyana Pavlova, Regional Development Minister, operational program, regional development, 2014-2020, EU funds freeze, Hemus motorway, Struma motorway, maritsa motorway, European Investment Bank, World Bank


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