"Green investments are key to regional development and at the territorial level can become an engine for economic growth and investment." This was said by the Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Angelina Boneva, during the third Monitoring Committee of the "Regional Development" Program 2021-2027 held today.
It was reported that under the Operational Program "Growth Regions" 2014-2020 almost 100% agreement has been reached and work is underway to fully absorb the funds in the remaining 6 months until the end of 2023.
762 contracts for grant funding were concluded with a total amount of agreed funds of BGN 3.125 billion or 99.3% of the program budget, of which 182 are in the process of implementation and 580 have completed their implementation.
According to priority axis 1 "Sustainable and integrated urban development", the conditions for education in over 200 schools on the territory of the 36 large cities have been improved, the energy characteristics of the infrastructure of the large cities have been improved, and so far, projects have been implemented in 33 public buildings - RPU, RSPBZN, municipalities, etc., as well as in 182 residential buildings, including 2668 households.
The urban and green infrastructure was renewed in 36 large cities, and 53 projects were implemented with a total rehabilitated area of over 4 million square meters.
In terms of social infrastructure, 19 sites have been improved - Centers for public support, crisis centers, centers for temporary accommodation, etc. At almost 113%, the performance indicator for rehabilitated housing in urban areas has been achieved. With the funds under the program, more than 710 social housing units were created, of which the benefited population amounts to more than 1,400 people.
According to Priority Axis 2 "Support for energy efficiency in support centers in peripheral regions, the implementation rate is 107.3%." The energy characteristics of 236 public buildings in small municipalities have been optimized. Energy efficiency measures were implemented in 468 residential buildings and the living conditions of almost 7,000 households in the 28 small municipalities were improved.
Under Priority Axis 3 "Regional Educational Infrastructure", the conditions for education in more than 50 vocational high schools throughout the country have been improved and the infrastructure of 11 higher schools in Bulgaria has been modernized.
Under the fourth Priority axis "Regional Health Infrastructure", 357 equipped ambulances have been provided for emergency medical centers in the country. Implementation of the project on "Providing Air Vehicles for Response to Medical Emergencies" is underway. A contract has been signed with a contractor and it is expected that the handover of the helicopter to the client - the Ministry of Health, will take place in December 2023.
Under priority axis 5 "Regional social infrastructure", 116 facilities in the deinstitutionalization process for children were renovated and the conditions of 53 social facilities in the deinstitutionalization process for adults were improved.
Contracts under the "Regional Tourist Infrastructure" priority are being implemented.
Over 500 km of the national road network were improved with funds from Priority Axis 7 "Regional Road Infrastructure".
During the Monitoring Committee, it was reported that, in connection with the inflationary processes, measures were taken to index the costs of contracts concluded under the terms of the Law on Public Procurement. In accordance with the methodology approved by the Council of Ministers, an indexation of contracts for construction and installation works was carried out for all 82 beneficiaries who submitted a request to the Managing Authority. The total amount of the inflation supplement is BGN 50.2 million. Another 9 requests are being processed with an indicative total value of the grant of BGN 4.4 million.
Regarding the new programming period year, a peer discussion was held on the progress of the amendment of the Regional Development Program 2021-2027 to include the new two priorities for a just transition and the range of proposed possible investments. In accordance with the presented schedule, it was decided to continue the dialogue so that Bulgaria can fulfill its commitment by September 2023, at the latest, to officially submit to the EC a draft amendment to the 2021-2027 RDP with the aim of additional resources under the priorities for fair transition, along with a third and improved version of the Territorial Just Transition Plans (JTPPs).
"This is a key tool that will help us on our way to achieving the goals of the Green Deal," said Agnes Monfre. "We are glad that the Governing Body is more active, the progress is significant, but everyone interested in the process must be very seriously engaged," she added, finally warning that the deadlines for the remaining work are critically short.
Deputy Minister Angelina Boneva assured that there is political will to raise this issue and, with the partnership of all interested parties, to reach a national, consolidated solution for Bulgaria by September at the latest, so that our country can benefit from the funds under the Just Transition Fund, which are in the amount of 1.1 billion euros.