Seven billion euros in the form of grants can be acquired by our country by 2013, in seven operational programs. This is because European regional policy is based on the principle of solidarity – the objective is to reduce the difference between the level of development in different regions within the European Union.
The amount that our country can borrow is provided by three funds. They are known as “structural instruments”:
- European Regional Development Fund
- European Social Fund
- Cohesion Fund
To receive the funds, the government of our country has developed a national strategic reference framework and operational programs. In NSRF our government has indicated the main goals of the development policy of our country and the priorities that will be co-financed from structural instruments. This document is consistent with the development priorities of the European Union. To achieve the implementation of these government priorities, seven operational programs are formulated:
- Administrative Capacity
- Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy
- Human Resources Development
- Regional Development
- Technical support
Each of these OPs support activities that mediate the achievement of the government priorities for 2007-2013.
Besides the 7 billion by 2013 our country could get another €3.3 billion for the implementation of the Programme for Rural Development and the Common Fisheries Policy.
Structural Funds come from Brussels and are essentially funds raised by the European Union, but the actual spending of the money is negotiated between the European Commission and EU governments. Beneficiaries do not “apply to Brussels” for money from the structural funds. Money from the Structural Funds are allocated by the Government to the national authorities and bodies. The commitment of each country to obtain structural funds include compulsory national co-financing. For Bulgaria it amounted to about 1.3 billion euros, which will be provided from the state budget.
The existence of working documents is only a first (albeit fundamental step) in the absorption of EU funds at national level. To get these funds to the final beneficiaries (to you), the European Commission requires our country to build and maintain a clear framework for the management, implementation, financial management and control of these resources. In practice, this means creating and maintaining a well-functioning system of bodies.