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Bulgarian Minister to Make EU Funds Absorption Easier

Date: 30.03.2010

Bulgaria’s newly-appointed EU Funds Minister, Tomislav Donchev, has proposed measures to simplify the absorption of EU money

One of them involves abolishing the procedures for preliminary control of the documents for public procurement procedures; under it, the governmental agencies examine the documents of the respective municipalities applying for EU funding before the applications have actually been submitted.

“This stage currently takes up about 2-3 months, sometimes even more. The preliminary control is an auxiliary measure. Its abolishment is going to make municipalities assume responsibility faster,” EU Funds Minister Donchev said after a meeting with the management of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB).

Ginka Chavdarova, the Executive Director of the NAMRB, said in turn that the municipalities had been insisting for a long time on the abolition of the preliminary control.

“This stage creates a delusion with the municipal administrators that everything is OK with their projects whereas it actually gives no guarantees at all,” Chavdarova stated urging the municipalities to take up their fair share of preparing projects with which to attract EU funding.

In her words, instead of the preliminary control on part of the state institutions, the government is going to prepare packages of exemplary documents and samples that the municipalities will be able to use when applying for EU money.

Another major measure discussed Tuesday by the EU Funds Minister and the local authorities is the increasing of advance payments on EU funded municipal projects under two operational programs, Environment and Regional Development. Thus, the municipalities might be receiving up to 35 % of their total grants as advance payments, up from the current 20 % on investment spending, and 30 % on the other types of expenditures included in their projects.

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