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Bulgaria set to lose 91M euro of Phare funding

Date: 21.11.2008

Bulgaria is set to miss out on at least 91 million euro in European Union funding set aside for the modernisation of its road infrastructure, mass-circulation daily Trud reported on November 20.

The money was going to be allocated under EU's Phare pre-accession aid programme to the Regional Development Ministry, but the European Commission is yet to be persuaded that the ministry's unit responsible for distributing Phare funding can do so in a transparent way, Trud's correspondent in Brussels reported.

The EC is expected to decide on the matter after November 23. Should the accreditation of the ministry's unit not be restored, Bulgaria would miss out on 91 million euro allocated to 10 road infrastructure projects for road infrastructure, whose payment was halted in the summer.

Asked for comment, Regional Development Minister Assen Gagaouzov told Bulgarian National Radio that he had no indication whatsoever of an existing problem with Brussels and said that there should be no complications concerning the restoration of the accreditation for the ministry's Phare agency. But even if the funding was cut altogether, the projects would still be completed using budget funds.

Gagaouzov said the media report was caused by a misunderstanding and that “communication with Brussels is often difficult”.

“I learned all that from the media. To be honest, its really unpleasant to learn about such important matter from the media. This means that there is a serious problem with the  interaction between the people and institutions who are responsible for returning our accreditation,” Gagaouzov said.

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