The European Commission will resume payments under Bulgaria’s operational programme for regional development, which were suspended earlier “to ensure the effectiveness of control systems”. Claims worth a total 144 million euro will be paid out by end-March, the EC said in a statement.
An official notification has already been sent to Bulgarian authorities, with payment of 52 million euro from the European Regional Development Fund set to begin immediately and a further 92 million euro in payment claims submitted this month due to be paid out in March.
“This is excellent news and I welcome the efforts made by the Bulgarian authorities to strengthen the management and control system of the programme. The positive steps that Bulgaria took in this direction allow the Commission to restart payments, for the direct benefit of the Bulgarian people and of the national economy,” regional development commissioner Corina Cretu said.
Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva, EC vice-president overseeing the EU budget, said that the resumption of payments was a the sign of “a job well done by Bulgarian authorities. Now they must catch up on time lost and use to the fullest extent the amount of funds left on this programme.”
The funding was frozen in June 2014 following an audit two months earlier. Corrective measures suggested by the EC have been implemented, removing all obstacles in the way of resuming payments, the Commission said.
(Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)