The Cabinet provides BGN 750 million for the most urgent payments under the suspended by the European Commission Operational Program “Environment” (OPE) and the two priority axes of Operational Program “Regional Development” (OPRD) – “Sustainable and Integrated Urban Development” and “Sustainable Development of Tourism”. Another BGN 11.5 million will be provided for payment of construction activities on the Hemus and Maritsa motorways.
This became clear from a briefing after the regular weekly government meeting attended by Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Investment Planning Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy Prime Minister of Social Policy Yordan Hristoskov and Finance Minister Rumen Porozhanov.
The BGN 750 million will settle implemented works on projects for which funding had to come from the suspended EC operational programs.
The Finance Minister stated that the sum could be spent by 31 December 2014. It will be provided by the state budget and the Commission is expected to unfreeze payments to our country by the end of September after which the money will be refunded to the Treasury.
Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki noted that this week Deputy Prime Minister for EU Funds Management Iliyana Tsanova and Minister of Environment and Water Svetlana Zhekova are visiting Brussels for talks with European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn precisely for the programs.
The provision of national resources is crucial for the saving of OPE and OPRD. In this way our country will prevent significant loss of money due to non-compliance with the rule „n+2” at the end of 2014. Payment default on the projects puts at risk their implementation. This could trigger the need to provide additional funds from the budget for completion of already started projects and for payment of penalties for delay to contractors, are the reasons for the decision of the Council of Ministers.