Bulgaria Recovered over BGN 438 M in Blocked EU Funding – Environment MinisterBulgaria in EU | February 1, 2015, Sunday // 16:35| views
Photo by EPA/BGNES
The European Commission has restored over BGN 438 M in blocked payments for November and December 2014 to Bulgaria, according to Environment Minister Ivelina Vasileva.
Vasileva told mediapool.bg Sunday that Brussels had restored payments under the program with an official decision date November 14.
Earlier the same day, former Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Zinaida Zlatanova said in an interview for the Bulgarian National Television that she was not aware of the existence of a decision to allocate funding to Bulgaria under the program.
“We heard about a political decision to unblock the money and I hope that we already have an official decision. I hope that I am mistaken in my belief that no funding has been allocated. This is just minor detail. Still, let us leave EU funds alone as this leaves people with the impression that Bulgaria has joined the EU just to get funding and this is not the case and it is an ugly suggestion” Zlatanova stated.
Bulgaria’s EU funding under the Environment operational program was blocked in November 2013 due to public procurement irregularities.
Bulgaria agreed to upgrade the control and verification systems and to also be imposed financial correction worth BGN 156 M in order to have payments restored.
Vasileva explained that Bulgaria had fast-tracked activities aimed at finalizing the projects, adding that municipalities had been paid over BGN 333 M for November and December.
She suggested that the only thing that was regrettable was the loss of time during the period of the EU funds freeze.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev explained recently that although the EC had adopted a political decision to unblock payments under the Regional Development Program, the technical decision of the audit committee had not been made yet.
He argued that this was expected to happen in February, as a result of which the EU payments for urban development and tourism under the operational program would be restored.