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Feb 4, 2009


On 3 February 2009 the Ministry of Environment and Water held an Open Day of Operational Programme Environment 2007 - 2013 under the initiative of Mrs. Meglena Plugchieva, Deputy Prime Minister. OPE implementation results and forthcoming activities for 2009 were presented.
Mrs. Meglena Plugchieva, Deputy Prime Minister and advisers from her Cabinet, Mr. Georgy Bozhinov, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of Environment and Water, Mr. Simeon Peshov, President of the Bulgarian Construction Chamber, Minister Dzhevdet Chakarov, the Head of the MA and the IB of OPE, representatives of the Ministry of Finance, experts from the Ministry of Environment and Water, the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB), beneficiaries, representatives of companies, bancs and the media participated in the event.
The Deputy Prime Minister Mrs. Meglena Plugchieva said that discussions would be held in Brussels on the increase of the percentage of advanced payments for the public sector. Thus municipalities will be facilitated in the process of project application and implementation. The European Investment Bank would provide cofinancing for projects under the EU Structural and Cohesion Fund. At present, efforts related to EU funds are concentrated on the transparent and appropriate implementation of contracts and projects, on procedures facilitation and improvement of the work of the evaluation committees.
The Deputy Prime Minister underlined the progress achieved in OPE water and waste sector and urged on the media to monitor the implementation of the projects, published on OPE website. It will be a kind of monitoring of their implementation and will contribute to presenting good practices.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee of Environment and Water, Mr. Georgy Bozhinov said that legislation is of a great importance regarding the successful implementation of the operational programme. Bulgarian Parliament is ready to adopt amendments in the water sector legislation, Mr. Bozhinov said.
Mr. Peshov said that many Bulgarian construction companies are experienced in major infrastructure operations. They actively participate in tender procedures opened in the public sector, as the economic crisis raises the competition in the sector.
Minister Chakarov presented the results of the programme implementation - completed procedures in water and waste sector, approved projects, signed contracts, as well as forthcoming procedures for the year 2009.
Projects for over 1 billion leva had been approved under OPE. The signed contracts amount to over 711 million leva. 54 project proposals from 47 municipalities have been submitted under the procedure for water and wastewater infrastructure for agglomerations over 10 000 population equivalent. Five municipalities apply for the first time under OPE - Svishtov, Dobrich, Plovdiv, Stamboliyski and Galabovo. 700 million leva are planed for contracting under this procedure.
The emphasis in 2009 will be put on the waste sector. Several working meetings were held in the sector and a new one is going to be held with the NAMRB where the readiness of the municipalities will be presented. The work under OPE has always been transparent. The Ministry of Environment and Water and the OPE Managing Authority shall continue cooperating with the beneficiaries. The Minister stressed that the successful implementation of the operational programme is due to the activity of the municipalities. Construction works need to start in order to achieve a real project implementation. Establishing a sound project management is needed as well. The amendments in the Council of Ministers Degree 249 will also contribute to improve projects management.
Another priority in 2009 is beneficiaries training. A detailed information on trainings, forthcoming procedures and actual information will be published on OPE website.