European Commission (EC) experts have assessed Bulgaria as ready to receive a first payment, amounting to 1.37 billion euro, under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the key instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU, the EC said on November 7.
“I am delighted to congratulate Bulgaria,” EC President Ursula von der Leyen said.
“According to the assessment of the European Commission’s experts, Bulgaria is ready to receive a first payment under NextGenerationEU,” Von der Leyen said.
“Once Member States give their greenlight, Bulgaria will receive 1.37 billion euro as a result of its good and swift progress in implementing the plan’s first set of reforms and investments,” she said.
Von der Leyen said that Bulgaria had carried out important reforms and investments to strengthen the anti-money laundering framework, improve the adequacy and coverage of the minimum income scheme and the provision of social services in the country, reform pre-school, school and higher education and lifelong learning, introduce a new road safety strategy and action plan and create a favourable investment environment for the deployment of high-speed networks and 5G in the country.
“I am proud that NextGenerationEU will help Bulgaria achieve its green and digital transition and we will continue to stand with Bulgaria to ensure its NextGenerationEU plan is a success,” Von der Leyen said.
The EC said that on August 31 2022, Bulgaria submitted to the Commission a payment request based on the achievement of the 22 milestones and targets selected in the Council Implementing Decision for the first instalment.
They cover reforms and investments in the areas of education, smart industry, climate neutrality, digital connectivity, sustainable transport and road safety, justice, anti-money laundering, social inclusion, healthcare, and the audit and control system linked to the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
With their request, the Bulgarian authorities provided detailed and comprehensive evidence demonstrating the fulfilment of the 22 milestones and targets, the EC said.
The EC said that it had thoroughly assessed this information before presenting its positive preliminary assessment of the payment request.
The Bulgarian recovery and resilience plan includes a wide range of investment and reform measures in twelve thematic components. The plan will be supported by 5.7 billion euro in grants.
Payments under the RRF are performance-based and contingent on Member States implementing the investments and reforms outlined in their respective recovery and resilience plans, the EC said.
The Commission has now sent its positive preliminary assessment of Bulgaria’s fulfilment of the milestones and targets required for this payment to the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC), asking for its opinion.
The EFC’s opinion, to be delivered within a maximum of four weeks, should be taken into account in the Commission’s assessment.
Following the EFC’s opinion, the Commission will adopt the final decision on the disbursement of the financial contribution, in accordance with the examination procedure, through a comitology committee.
Following the adoption of the decision by the Commission, the disbursement to Bulgaria can take place.
The Commission will assess further payment requests by Bulgaria based on the fulfilment of the milestones and targets outlined in the Council Implementing Decision, reflecting progress on the implementation of the investments and reforms, the EC said.
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