Deputy Prime Minister Karadjov discusses the country’s infrastructure development with EU Commissioner Elisa Ferreira

Deputy Prime Minister Karadjov discusses the country’s infrastructure development with EU Commissioner Elisa F

09 Jun 2022 | 14:30

The development of infrastructure in Bulgaria was discussed by the resigned Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Grozdan Karadjov and European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reformс Eliсa Ferreira. During today's meeting, which is part of the visit of the EU Commissioner to our country, the Deputy Prime Minister presented plans for the completion of highways and national roads, the need to rehabilitate the water supply network and the needs of municipalities for funding basic infrastructure.

Bulgaria is on the periphery of Europe. Its development over the past 20 years has not reduced but increased the gap with other European countries, Deputy Prime Minister Karadjov said. On a map, he showed the European Commissioner the degree of construction of the highway network. 80% of the production facilities are located around the Trakia motorway. The North is poor. The existing two-lane routes are not enough to transport goods and cargo, Karadjov noted. He stressed that the completion of the highways and the provision of good transport corridors in the north-south direction will ensure good connections of Bulgaria with neighbouring countries and majour ports in them.

Small settlements are still inhabited by people, many of whom are elderly. We want to invest in each and every village, Karadjov said. We rely on European funds for the rehabilitation of water supply networks and treatment plants, but they are not enough to reduce water losses, which in some places now reach 80-90%. Funds from the state budget are directed to capital investments of municipalities, but they are also insufficient, he noted.

The Deputy Prime Minister also acquainted the Commissioner for Cohesion with the actions for the establishment of a fund for investments in municipal infrastructure - fourth-class roads and water supply and sewerage projects.

Commissioner Ferreira emphasised that the situation in our country is similar to that in other European countries 15-20 years, or 30 years ago. She pointed out that there is a tool to solve the problems. In the coming years, our country will have access to EUR 17 billion, and the funds under the European Regional Development Fund provide great opportunities. According to her, however, investments must be prioritised in order to be effective. Not everything can be done at once. Technical projects and deadline planning are needed for their implementation. According to her, working together, municipalities can make more sustainable investments.

The European Commissioner shared her experience in planning and implementing infrastructure projects, but noted that action should be taken according to the specific situation in Bulgaria.

Today, Commissioner Elisa Ferreira will visit Vidin to examine the European-funded infrastructure. During her visit to the city, she will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Grozdan Karadjov.