Bulgaria Is Not Among Worst Performers in EU Funds Absorption – PresidentBulgaria in EU | February 27, 2015, Friday // 17:13| views
Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev, photo by BGNES
Bulgaria’s operations with EU funds have improved substantially over the past few years, according to President Rosen Plevneliev.
Speaking Friday at a conference in Brussels organized by the Centre for European Policy Studies, Bulgaria’s head of state said that Bulgaria was not on the list of EU countries with the highest rates of EU funds fraud of the European Court of Auditors.
Plevneliev also claimed that in the 2007-2013 programming period Bulgaria had managed its EU funds much better compared to a number of EU countries.
“The audit report on Bulgaria indicates that the violations of EU funds absorption rules amount to up to 3%, compared to a rate of 10-15% in some other EU countries. This allows us to say that our tolerance for corruption has diminished and that the degree of transparency of EU funds management has increased,” Plevneliev declared, as cited by the BGNES news agency.
He claimed that Bulgaria had succeeded in building an efficient administration involved in EU funds absorption operations, adding that over 85% of the EU resources earmarked for the country for the 2007-2013 programming period were expected to be utilized.
Plevneliev emphasized that although there was room for improvement in the sphere, Bulgaria had already achieved quite a lot.
He said that Bulgaria relied on the partnership of the European Commission for its efforts to remove the omissions.
Bulgaria’s head of state argued that the European Commission was a loyal partner of Bulgaria under the Co-Operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) and that it demonstrated in an objective manner the problems that the country was facing.
Plevneliev reminded that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had expressed his ambition to lift the CVM monitoring of Bulgaria by the end of the term in office of the current EC panel.
He suggested that it was up to Bulgaria to make Juncker’s initiative come true, stressing that the country had to wrap up judicial reform without delay to achieve this goal.
Plevneliev told journalists that he had been assured of the trust of the European Commission in Bulgaria and its plans to extend partnership with the country by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and by European Council President Donald Tusk.
He underscored that Bulgaria had received the EC’s backing both on the case of the South Stream gas pipeline project and its handling of EU funds, adding that the country had managed to prove that it was ready to uphold European values and rules.
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