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Jan 14, 2010


The letter of Director General of DG Regional Policy of the European Commission Dirk Ahner to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov offers a review of the implementation of Operational Programmes co-funded by the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund, including Operational Programme Environment (OPE). DG Regional Policy of the European Commission presents an analysis of the progress made under ISPA and OPE from their initial development up to the end of 2009, and also on topics where further action is expected by the Ministry of Environment and Water.

The conclusions of the Commission concerning Operational Programme Environment overlap to a great extent with the findings of the MoEW released back in August and September 2009. In that sense, the EC assessment confirms in an objective and independent way the conclusions of the Ministry management team right at the start of its term in office. Acting on initial analyses of OPE implementation at an early stage of its term in office, the MoEW undertook prompt action to restructure the management of the entire Programme in order to overcome the delay in the shortest possible time limits so that funded projects were efficient and selection of new projects done according to criteria for economic efficiency and national priorities.

Upon stepping into office, the MoEW management found not only a number of ongoing penal procedures for non-observance of the acquis but also a badly managed operational programme under which inefficient agreements had been concluded (total 219, out of which 29 investment project agreements), which meant that restructuring of programme management had to start from more than a scratch. The first urgent step that the MoEW undertook was to correct the approach and develop selection rules for new projects in order to ensure their environmental impact and economic efficiency. The purpose was to prevent pointless squandering and to use funding for national environmental goals and priorities.

The MoEW will provide detailed reports on all actions taken with regard to the implementation of operational programmes co-funded by the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund at the Annual Review Meeting and the meeting of the National Strategic Reference Framework Monitoring Committee to be held on 14 and 15 January 2010 in Sofia. All pending issues concerning the implementation of Operational Programme Environment will be discussed with the representatives of the European Commission. Apart from that, the MoEW will draft and submit to the European Commission written information on the overall process of overcoming OPE management difficulties.