Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s Cabinet agreed on April 30 to approve a transfer of 7.5 million leva (about 3.75 million euro) to the University of National and World Economy for the completion of its new campus, after the university said in an open letter that it was at risk of bankruptcy.
The university said that the risk arose from unpaid debts to the contractor on the project.
In 2016, a project was approved for funding to be granted towards building the new campus, with a contracted amount of 11.7 million leva. Of this latter sum, 4.5 million was from the Regions for Growth Operational Programme and the rest was from the Bulgarian state.
A government statement said that the funding granted on April 30 would provide finance for the university’s own contribution to the contract as well as for other incidental expenses.
The statement said that the government decision would provide the funds necessary to complete the implementation of the project and prevent the loss of funds through the grant, which would lead to the loss of EU funding under the Regions for Growth Operational Programme.
The Cabinet decision came after, in response to the open letter, Borissov, accompanied by the ministers of education, finance and regional development, visited the university for talks with the leadership.
The new five-storey building on the campus will have an area of 8518 sq m, with four ceremonial halls, each for 250 students, four halls for 120 students, four halls for 80 students and four halls for 40 students, as well as 19 tutorial rooms, a 100-seat dining room and underground parking.
The University of National and World Economy dates back about 90 years, after it was founded in July 1920 as the Free University of Political and Economic Sciences. In 1940, it was transformed into the State Higher Institute of Finance and Administrative Sciences and in 1947, it was reorganised into a Faculty of Economic and Social Studies as part of Sofia University.
In 1953, it was renamed the Karl Marx Higher Institute of Economics, and in 1990, when Bulgaria’s communist era came to a close, was reorganised as the University of National and World Economy.
At the same meeting on April 30, Borissov’s Cabinet granted two million leva to the Ministry of Culture for repairs to the Saints Cyril and Methodius National Library.
Recent media reports have depicted serious roof leaks and other problems at the library.
Borissov noted that the decision came in the run-up to May 24, celebrated in Bulgaria as a public holiday dedicated to Saints Cyril and Methodius and Slavonic language and learning.
The library building had not been repaired since it was built, Borissov said.
Construction of the building began in 1939. It was damaged by Allied bombing of Sofia during the Second World War. The building officially opened on December 16 1953.
(Main photo: University of National and World Economy)