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This means that the European Commission will now process payment requests from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund for projects under this Operational Programme Environment.
The payments towards Bulgaria will now be restarted and the Commission will proceed with a first payment of EUR 166 M from the Cohesion Fund and EUR 74 M from the ERDF, according to the media statement of the EC.
Bulgaria‘s PM Boyko Borisov expressed his satisfaction and went to Parliament to thank the MPs, report the Bulgarian-language media.
“This is thanks to the effort of all those who are here and the ability of this Parliament to vote in a government,” he said. “At least no one can say the MPs don’t deserve their salaries.”
Commissioner Corina Cretu, in charge of Regional Policy, said: “I welcome the positive steps taken by the Bulgarian authorities to improve and strengthen the OP Environment’s management system. The payments towards Bulgaria will now restart, which is excellent news for the Bulgarian economy, but also for the future of the partnership between Bulgaria and the European Commission.”
Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for Budget and Human Resources, said: “The recovery of the funds under OP Environment is great news for Bulgaria. It comes at the right time for the country and its budget, and shows that the European Commission recognises it when a job is done well and the rules are respected. The funds envisaged for Bulgaria have to be used effectively, in order to ensure a better quality of life for people. I would like to encourage the Bulgarian government to make the best use of funds – next year will be the last chance to benefit from the money of the programming period 2007-2013.”
The EU payments under the Environment Programme were frozen last November due to doubts of violations and weaknesses in the systems for control and management of the funding.
An EC audit of the situation this October concluded that all measures, proposed by Bulgaria have been implemented.
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