Bulgaria allocates 750M leva to cover frozen EU funds payments

Bulgaria’s caretaker cabinet decided on September 10 to allocate 750 million leva, about 383.5 million euro, to finance payments to projects approved under two EU operational programmes that had their funding frozen earlier this year.

The payments under the operational programme environment and parts of the operational programme for regional development have been halted for failure to meet EU regulations.

Upon taking office last month, the caretaker cabinet of Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki said that it intended to use Budget funds to finance the payments in order to prevent the loss of more EU funds down the line.

Under the EU’s “n+2” rule, the European Commission can “decommit” future budget allocations if EU structural and cohesion funding has not been spent by a certain date. The cabinet’s stated goal is to keep the projects going and recoup the funds from the EU operational programmes once the temporary funding freeze is lifted.

The money allocated by the cabinet can be spent by the end of this year, which must be done in line with the Public Finances Act, the government’s media service said in a statement.

The statement did not say where the funding would come from, but last month Ekaterina Zaharieva, deputy prime minister and minister of regional development in the caretaker cabinet, said that the money would come from “Budget restructuring”, but gave no further details.

(Photo: M van den Dobbelsteen/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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