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Feb 23, 2010

A CONTRACT FOR THE SECOND MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT UNDER OPERATIONAL PROGRAMME ENVIRONMENT WAS SIGNED

Nona Karadjova, the Minister of Environment and Water, and Tomislav Donchev, the Mayor of the Municipality of Gabrovo, signed a grant contract for Integrated Water Project Gabrovo under Operational Programme Environment. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.

The total cost of the project is BGN 123.5 million. The contract under Operational Programme Environment is for BGN 117.4 million, over BGN 93 million of which will be provided by the EU Cohesion Fund, and BGN 23.5 million will be co-financed by the state budget. The project should be completed by mid-2015.

Prime Minister Borissov reminded that he had been fulfilling his promise regarding the EU funds. Gabrovo project is the third major EU project after the Sofia Underground Railway Network Extension project and Vratsa Integrated Water Project. Borissov emphasized that BGN 123 million is a large amount of money, and that this funding is a real anti-crisis measure. The above amount is four times larger than the annual budget of the municipality and will be used in favor of the citizens of Gabrovo. On the one hand, they will be provided with cleaner water and a new sewerage network will be constructed, and, on the other hand, the above amount will be used by the contractors to pay salaries and create new jobs.

Minister Karadjova also highlighted the positive effects of the project. She said that the quality of life of the population and the condition of Yantra River would be improved, and at least 250 jobs would be created during the construction. According to the minister, the timely implementation of the project depends on the efficiency of the municipality during the preparation of the public procurement procedure for the selection of a contractor. Operational Programme Environment has already been given a positive compliance assessment by the European Commission, and the municipality will receive intermediate payments. She congratulated the Municipality of Gabrovo for the excellent preparation of this complex infrastructure project and expressed her expectations for timely completion.

In his speech, Mr. Donchev, the Mayor of Gabrovo, emphasized that the project will lead to twofold reduction in water loss and the construction of a new sewerage network for 12 thousand citizens of Gabrovo. The implementation of the contract will ensure compliance with the Bulgarian and EU environmental standards. The mayor said that the approval of the project by the EC was due to 4-year hard preparatory work rather than pure luck.

Integrated Water Project Gabrovo is the second major infrastructure project under Operational Programme Environment which has been given a positive evaluation by Brussels. The financing has been approved by Decision No. 1052 of the EC dated February 18, 2010. According to the EU requirements, all major investment projects of over EUR 25 million in the environment sector applying for financing by the EU funds are subject to evaluation and approval by the Commission.