The Council of Ministers adopted the updated version of the Recovery and Sustainability Plan. The EC is expected to announce tomorrow that the Plan was approved with Ursula von der Leyen's visit to Sofia. This was stated by Deputy Prime Minister Asen Vassilev at a briefing at the Council of Ministers. "With a 37-day delay, we have a Plan for recovery and sustainability in accordance with the officially agreed deadlines," said the Minister of Finance.
The total value of the Plan is BGN 13,520,565,000, of which the national co-financing is about BGN 2.1 billion.
Minister Vassilev clarified that Bulgaria is fulfilling its commitments on the "green transition" and reduction of carbon emissions, without requiring the closure of coal facilities.
"We had three options. The first was not to fulfill the commitments and not to have a Recovery Plan and not to reach these 13 billion to the Bulgarian people and business. The second was to close between 1,400 and 1,600 megawatts of the Mari basin capacity and The third option we managed to negotiate with the EC is for us to preserve our energy sovereignty, not to close our coal facilities and to take all possible measures to reduce the peak consumption at night and in winter, by building a serious complex of batteries with the same capabilities as PAVEC "Chira". Separately, we will start a study on geothermal energy and support for over 10,000 projects for the construction of photovoltaic parks for own consumption in the country ", said Asen Vassilev after the meeting of the Ministers with council.
The plan envisions Bulgaria reducing its carbon emissions without shutting down coal capacity in the Mari basin, a huge national program is remediation, geothermal research, construction of photovoltaic heating parks, construction of STEM centers in Bulgarian schools, support and development programs of industrial zones and business, providing broadband connectivity, building urban railways and increasing speed on existing railways, social inclusion programs, purchasing medical helicopters, modernizing hospitals and cerebrovascular disease centers, and supporting for Bulgarian pensioners.
"This plan is a huge chance for Bulgaria to transform our society into a modern European society. In order for this to happen, we will have to make a number of reforms, also set out in the Recovery Plan. These funds do not come as a gift - if we will not make the reforms, we will not receive the funds “, said the Deputy Prime Minister Asen Vassilev.
There are also serious changes in the rule of law commitments, including the introduction of a mechanism for accountability of the Prosecutor General. The part for transport development has also been redesigned, with an emphasis on the purchase of new trains for BDZ. This is version 1.5 of the Plan, and it took us exactly one year to formulate our ideas. Major projects have been changed several times and policy visions and requests for deferment of approval have changed. During this period, the opportunity was missed for our country to receive in advance up to 13% of the project amounts.
From tomorrow, the ministries can start preparing projects under the Plan and in the shortest possible time they will reach Bulgarian companies and citizens. The first payments are expected to be made within 3-4 months.
It is expected that after the green light received by the EC for the document, the Council of Europe will have its approval within 4 weeks. Vassilev expects 1.3 billion euros to enter our country this year. Under the regulation, Member States are entitled to request payments twice a year. The Commission has the right not to approve a payment if it considers that the relevant objectives and stages have not been satisfactorily achieved and the State may suspend the money until the problems have been remedied. In case no measures are taken, the funding in the specific parts of the plan will be reduced, experts remind.
The government is preparing a package of new measures to compensate people and businesses, which will be prepared within a week.
Deputy Prime Minister Asen Vassilev added that our country is prepared for a possible embargo on gas supplies from Russia and is working to ensure the availability of natural gas in our country since the beginning of the war.