German, Italian, Spanish and French companies are trying to push Bulgarian companies out of the big infrastructure projects because there is no enough of work in the European Union for them after the money for the improvement of infrastructure have been cut in half. Because of this, the companies from Western Europe focus on Bulgaria and other countries in Eastern Europe. Another market for them is South America but the opportunities there also decrease. Despite the suspended funding for infrastructure by the European Commission there are a few high value projects in Bulgaria: the modernization of the railway Plovdiv-Svilengrad, amounting to 340 million euros and the railway Vidin-Sofia (320 million euros), the Struma Highway (600 million euros), the Maritsa Highway (210 million euros) and E-79 Highway from Vratsa to Botevgrad (85 million euros).
Archive for July 2008
Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev has asked each minister to present urgent measures in response to the criticism from Brussels. They will be discussed at the meeting of the tri-partite coalition in Bansko this weekend. Stanishev has ordered each institution which has been critisised to work along the recommendations of Brussels.
“I require expert help from Brussels for the proper management of the European funds,” said Meglena Plugchieva, Deputy Prime Minister and minister without a portfolio in charge of European funding, at a briefing at the Council of Ministers. According to her Bulgaria does not have problems with the Euro funds and the operative programmes but has asked for help. She has asked OLAF, the Anti-fraud service of the European Commission to carry out more missions in the country in order to provide transparency. Plugchieva called the reports of the European Commission “critical solidarity” and underlined that they have not been surprising for the government. The Deputy Prime Minister said the action plan about the SAPARD programme required by the Commission will be provided tomorrow and she expressed regret about the irregularities in the management of the funding provided as per the ISPA programme.
The European Commission suspended payment to two Bulgarian Implementing Agencies due to misuse and corruption. In two reports issued on 23 July 2008, the Commission concluded “Reform of the judiciary and law enforcement structures is necessary and long overdue,” the Commission said. “The fight against high-level corruption and organised crime is not producing results” and froze the funding of the pre-accession PHARE and ISPA programmes which amounted to 468 million euros. If the recommended measures are not implemented by the Bulgarian government, the frozen funds will amount to about 1 billion euros.
The Bulgarian Stock Exchange has reacted to the expectation of the negative news from the report of the European Commission ahead of its publication later today. The negative tendency has started from the beginning of 2008 when the first news about possible freeze of the funding of programmes financed by the European commission appeared. One of the most affected emitions are those of infrastructure companies. It is expected that their performance will suffer if the European Union stops the funding.