Bulgaria received the first 2.7 billion BGN under the Recovery Plan

On Friday, 16 December, Bulgaria received BGN 2.7 billion from the EC - the first tranche of the National Recovery and Sustainability Plan. This was announced at a briefing at the Council of Ministers by the caretaker Deputy Prime Minister for EU funds management Atanas Pekanov.

In his words, this is the result of the work of the governments and institutions since the opening of the Recovery and Sustainability Mechanism in July 2020. The Deputy Prime Minister said that a serious part of this work has been done since the beginning of this term of the caretaker cabinet to clear and resolve several legacy issues that have prevented the payment request from being submitted immediately.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the receipt of the first tranche demonstrates the EC's confidence in the capacity of the Bulgarian institutions to implement the reforms set out in the Plan, as well as in the control and management systems of the Plan.

"These funds have been transferred to the account of the Ministry of Finance, part of them will go to projects that have already been launched - such as the procedures for technological modernisation of small and medium enterprises," Pekanov said. Another part will go to the already started construction of the third line of the Sofia metro. Funds will also go for the Tetra system, as well as for new procedures and projects that are just starting, such as those for energy efficiency, for RES on roofs, for outdoor artificial lighting, which are extremely important for municipalities to improve energy efficiency, the deputy prime minister said.

Pekanov, however, noted that besides the praise, attention should be paid to the many reforms that are to be performed under the Plan. The next request for payment includes 66 milestones and measures and until Bulgaria addresses all of them, it will not be able to request the next funds.

22 measures have to go through the parliament, some of which will go through one law - the Energy Act; the National Assembly has to adopt 16 laws in total, Pekanov explained.

The funds under the Plan will come in exchange for reforms and results, Atanas Pekanov stressed. If there is no political will for the reforms, we risk to remain on the periphery of the EU, he said.

The deputy prime minister said that the request for the second payment will happen when all 66 measures are implemented. He assured that there is no risk of losing funds, but there is a risk of delay, which puts the risk that we will not use all planned resources because we have a deadline for implementation of the projects in 2026.

Responding to a question, Pekanov said that the condition of 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions must be met by 2026. For the moment, we have not established the mechanism by which this can happen, he noted.