Bulgaria ranks 23rd by EU funds absorption in the 28-nation bloc, according to statistics published by the European Commission‘s Directorate General for Regional Policy on the 2007-2013 programming period.
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Bulgaria reported a share of 65.5% of funds paid, preceded by Spain with a 72.8% rate of absorption and followed by Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and Croatia, according to Sega daily.
The first four spots in the ranking were occupied by Lithuania (93.7%), Portugal (92.6%), and Estonia (92.3%).
Bulgaria is to manage to certify expenses amounting to BGN 5 B at the European Commission by end-2015 in order to prevent losses of EU funding, according to statistics on the implementation of the 7 EU operational programs by February 10, 2015 provided by the government and published by Sega daily.
Expenditure already certified under all operational programs stood at EUR 4.2 B by February 10, 2015, with Bulgaria seeking to absorb a total of EUR 6.6 B in 2015.
Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev announced recently that the EU funds absorption target for 2015 included a total of BGN 4.5 B from the 2007-2013 programming period plus BGN 1.1 B from the current programming period.
On Thursday, the EC approved two more operational programs, Good Governance and Science and Education for Smart Growth, under which Bulgaria could receive a total of EUR 1 B by 2020.
Bulgaria has so far had four operational programs for the 2014-2020 period approved by the EC, the other two being Transport and Transport Infrastructure and Human Resources Development.
The Innovations and Competitiveness OP is to be approved over the next few weeks.
The approval of the Regions in Growth OP and the Environment OP, however, has fallen behind schedule due to a number of contentious issues and disagreement about the necessary reforms in the respective sectors.
The Rural Development Program, which was submitted to the EC only a few days ago, is the most problematic one, with Bulgaria unlikely to be granted approval before July 1, 2015.
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