Deputy Minister Denitsa Nikolova: The whole budget of OP "Regions in Growth" of BGN 3 billion is expected to be announced for application next year

Deputy Minister Denitsa Nikolova: The whole budget of OP "Regions in Growth" of BGN 3 billion is expected to b

07 Nov 2017 | 18:01

The EC with a high evaluation of the implementation of the Operational Programme  

The entire resource under the Operational Programme “Regions in Growth” 2014-2020, which is in the amount of a little over BGN 3 billion, is expected to be announced for application next year. This was announced by the Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works and head of the OPRG Managing Authority Denitsa Nikolova at the opening of the tenth meeting of the Operational Programme Monitoring Committee, where she reported its successful implementation.

Currently, 65% of the resources of OP “Regions in Growth” or about BGN 2 billion have been contracted. 20% of the funds under the contracts have been paid.

Deputy Minister Nikolova pointed out that a number of projects on the integrated urban development plans in the 39 big towns in the country have been launched. A large number of contracts have been concluded with the 28 smaller municipalities - beneficiaries of projects related to energy efficiency of multi-dwelling and public buildings, modernization of vocational education, connectivity in the regions. One of the most successful measures is rehabilitation of the national road network, where 100% of the available resource has been contracted. 87% of the resources under the measure for modernization of educational institutions in the country and 98% of the financing of energy efficiency measures in the smaller settlements has also been contracted. In the coming months, the volume of certified costs is expected and is necessary to increase many times.

Denitsa Nikolova announced that next year, an opportunity will be provided for the investment of BGN 174 million for implementation of projects related to the execution of measures for deinstitutionalization of elderly people and people with disabilities. There will also be an opportunity for application under the measure to support the tourism sector. Smaller municipalities will be able to apply for complementary funding on energy efficiency measures. In the Healthcare sector, the implementation of the measure for modernization of emergency aid in the whole country is to begin. It became clear at the meeting that a strict timetable is currently being implemented with the Ministry of Health to catch up on the delays related to the adoption of the new standard for emergency aid. It is also connected with the investigation of all emergency centers in the country. “We have concerns because we need to report results by the end of 2018, but I believe that the Ministry of Health and the project consultant will do their best to submit the project in time”, Nikolova said.

“2018 is key to the implementation of the program, where we need to demonstrate the implementation of specific objectives”, reminded also the head of the OPRD Managing Authority.

Speaking to the Monitoring Committee, Aurelio Cecilio, Head of Unit at the European Commission, noted that the Operational Programme “Regions in Growth” 2014-2020 develops very well in terms of fund absorption. He stressed the importance of the programme in implementing the EU Cohesion Policy which aims to improve the living conditions of citizens and to reduce social inequalities between Bulgaria and the EU countries, as well as the internal differences between regions. In his opinion, Bulgaria will have a good opportunity during the six-month presidency of the Council of the EU to show its success and progress in achieving these objectives, as well as the impact of the cohesion policy on the economy and social progress in the country. In his words, the implementation of the programmes is of the utmost importance for the future of cohesion policy in the EU after 2020, and only by successfully implementing the investments will we be able to justify our future participation therein.