World Bank, EIB to help Bulgaria use EU funds
(SOFIA) - World Bank and European Investment Bank experts will help Bulgaria make better use of European aid funds, the government said Sunday, as it signed memorandums of understandings with the two institutions.
The deals, signed in Sofia, call for World Bank and EIB experts to help local authorities prepare and implement projects funded with EU money.
"This will lead to enforced capacity of the local administration so finally it will not be necessary to rely on international experts," said EU Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn, who attended the signing.
Bulgaria's European Funds Management Minister Tomislav Donchev also said he viewed this cooperation as "only temporary," until the country's administration had gained enough expertise.
Bulgaria, which joined the bloc in 2007, has eight billion euros in EU aid available until 2013.
By late 2011 however, only about 20 percent of the money had been used up, due to concerns over corruption and a failure to come up with enough good projects.
The World Bank and EIB experts will specifically help Bulgaria with projects to improve rail and road transport and water management and will be paid with EU and not budget money, Donchev said.
The government is expected to sign a similar memorandum with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
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