Contracts for over BGN 3 billion have been concluded under European programs until the end of November 2023

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At the end of November 2023, contracts in the amount of BGN 3.323 billion were concluded under the programs financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Social Fund+ for the period 2021-2027. The disbursed funds were BGN 784 million. reported by the Ministry of Finance.

27 procedures with a total amount of funding of BGN 3.29 billion are open for applications. They include investment projects under the "Transport Connectivity" and "Environment" programs, as well as technical assistance for the others.

The main directions of the implemented projects are related to support for personal development in school education and modernization of vocational education and training, adaptation of the working environment, assistance with packages of food products and hygiene materials, provision of hot lunch, internationalization and implementation of innovations in small and medium-sized enterprises, development of rail, road and water transport, cooperation for knowledge and technology transfer and digitalization for smart transformation

37 procedures for recruiting project proposals with a total budget of BGN 4.126 billion have been completed.

As of November 30, 2023

As of 30.11.2023, contracts in the amount of BGN 3.323 billion were concluded under the programs financed by ERDF, CF and ESF+, and the funds actually paid amounted to BGN 784 million. In the period since the approval of the programs, a total of 37 procedures for recruiting project proposals with a total budget of BGN 4.126 billion have been completed. Currently, 27 procedures with a total amount of funding of BGN 3.29 billion are open for applications, including investment projects under the "Transport Connectivity" and "Environment" programs, as well as technical assistance under the individual programs.

The budget of the "Human Resources Development" program amounts to BGN 3.84 billion. So far, 18 procedures for recruiting project proposals have been completed according to the main priorities of the program, the procedure "Adapted working environment" with a budget of 100 million BGN is open for applications. Under the Program, 517 contracts have been concluded so far, with the value of the agreed funds amounting to over BGN 771 million, and the disbursed - BGN 115 million.

The "Education" program operates with a budget of BGN 1.88 billion. Under the program, two operations of strategic importance are implemented - for support for personal development in school education and modernization of professional education and training, with a total budget of BGN 221 million, as well as a technical assistance procedure with a total budget of BGN 91 million. There is an ongoing procedure for the direct provision of non-grant financial aid for personal development in preschool education in the amount of BGN 105.4 million. The total agreed funds under the Program so far amount to BGN 303 million, and the disbursed funds – BGN 44.2 million.

The program for food and basic material support has a budget of BGN 411.7 million. The main areas of support are: "Assistance with packages of food products and hygiene materials"; "Hot Lunch"; "Packages for newborn children" and "Children's kitchen", having launched procedures in all directions. The agreed funds are in the amount of BGN 290.6 million, the actual disbursed - BGN 82.5 million.

The "Competitiveness and Innovations in Enterprises" program is in the amount of BGN 2.93 billion. Three procedures are carried out: one procedure for budget lines for technical assistance, one procedure for the direct provision of grants for the implementation of measures for the internationalization of Bulgarian SMEs and one procedure for the provision of grants through competitive selection "Implementation of innovations in enterprises " and the latter is in the process of recruiting project proposals. A financial agreement in the amount of BGN 1.262 billion was concluded between the Management Board of PKIP and FMFIB EAD for the assignment of the implementation of the financial instruments under the Program. The total agreed funds under the Program so far amount to BGN 1.359 billion, and the disbursed - BGN 396 million. On 16.11.2023, the third official meeting of the Monitoring Committee of the Program was held, at which methodologies and criteria for selection of operations were approved, procedures "Establishment of Bulgaria as a competitive investment destination by supporting the activities of the Bulgarian Investment Agency" and " Improving the production capacity of family businesses, businesses in the creative industries and crafts'. The draft Indicative Annual Work Program for 2024 has been approved by the Monitoring Committee and published on the website of the Ministry of Innovation and Growth.

The "Transport Connectivity" program realized investments in road and railway infrastructure in the amount of BGN 3.7 billion. To date, eight application procedures related to railway, road and water transport development have been announced, with information systems in transport, with intermodality in urban conditions and technical assistance. These procedures cover over 95% of the program budget. Procedures for "Intermodal operators" with a budget of BGN 34.5 million and "Alternative fuels" with a budget of BGN 92 million are to be announced.

The "Environment" program covers a significant volume of financing in the amount of nearly BGN 3.56 billion. As of 30.11.2023, 6 procedures have been completed and 6 procedures are currently open, with the total amount of the provided financial assistance amounting to BGN 988 million. The procedures are based on the priorities "Waste", "Air", "Biodiversity", "Risk and climate change" and "Technical assistance". In November, 7 new project proposals under the procedure "Reclamation of regional landfills / cells of regional landfills for household waste" were evaluated, bringing the total number of projects under evaluation to 31. For the month, two project proposals were approved - with a specific beneficiary, the municipality of Nesebar under the procedure "For cleaner air!", as well as under the procedure "National strategic documents in the sector "Air". In November, the criteria and methodology for the evaluation of project proposals under the forthcoming procedure "Construction of water supply infrastructure for 7 water supply operators" under Priority 1 "Water" were approved.

The "Technical Assistance" program with a total budget of BGN 237.5 million will contribute to the effective and coordinated implementation of the Cohesion Policy in Bulgaria with an emphasis on strengthening the administrative capacity of national authorities, beneficiaries and partners under the Partnership Agreement programs. Two procedures have been opened for institutional beneficiaries of the program with a total value of BGN 54 million.

"Development of the Regions" program - budget in the amount of BGN 3.6 billion. Phase 1 of the implementation of the Integrated Territorial Investments (ITI) instrument has started. A total of 165 items were submitted. ITI concepts that are under evaluation by regional development councils. A proposal to amend the program to include 2 new priorities, co-financed by the Just Transition Fund with a total resource of 1.5 billion euros, has been officially submitted to the EC. The procedure "Support for the effective implementation of the integrated territorial approach and the policies of the RDP intervention sectors" in the amount of BGN 44.4 million is being implemented. A financial agreement was concluded with Fund Manager of Financial Instruments in Bulgaria EAD for the management of funds for financial instruments under the Program in the amount of BGN 462 million. The agreed funds under the PRR so far amount to 452 million BGN, and the disbursed funds - 108 million BGN.

Program "Scientific research, innovation and digitization for intelligent transformation" - funding under the program amounts to BGN 2.13 billion. A financial agreement was signed between the Management Board and "Fund Manager of Financial Instruments in Bulgaria" EAD for the management of a financial instrument "Technology Transfer Fund" with a budget of BGN 117.4 million. Three procedures have been announced - "Additional funding of European digital innovation hubs selected by the European Commission", "Platform for cooperation between universities, research organizations and businesses through the upgrade of the Register of scientific activity, Register of academic staff and the Bulgarian portal for open science" and "Provision of technical assistance for the successful implementation of the program "Research, innovation and digitization for intelligent transformation" for the period 2021-2027. The total funding under the three procedures is in the amount of BGN 65.3 million. The total agreed funds under the Program so far amount to BGN 117.4 million, and the disbursed funds – BGN 35.2 million. On 17.11.2023, the third official meeting of the Monitoring Committee was held, at which three criteria for the selection of operations were approved - "Participation of Bulgarian organizations in institutionalized European partnerships", "Cooperation programs for innovation and transfer of knowledge and technologies " and "Small Innovative Grants (Voucher Scheme for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME)) Project Selection Procedure". The draft Indicative Annual Work Program for 2024 has been approved by the Monitoring Committee and published on the website of the Ministry of Innovation and growth

Program Priorities

The "Human Resources Development" program supports our country's policies for sustainable employment, incl. by activating the labor market of unemployed and inactive persons and youth, as well as those for social inclusion and integration by implementing measures provided for in the Long-Term Care Strategy and the European Child Guarantee. The total number of persons who are expected to improve their qualifications is 212.6 thousand, of which the persons who are expected to acquire digital skills are 142.3 thousand.

The "Education" program implements long-term measures to reduce the share of early school leavers, development of key competencies and digital transformation of school education, including professional education and training. Emphasis is also placed on the adaptation of professional education and training to the dynamics of the labor market. Measures to introduce forms of dual education and the professional orientation of students through internships continue.

The Food and Basic Material Assistance Program contributes to the overall national policy for mitigating and reducing poverty and overcoming social exclusion. The measures under the program will reach at least 600,000 people who need support to meet their basic, basic life needs.

The "Competitiveness and Innovations in Enterprises" program is directly aimed at achieving intelligent and sustainable growth of the Bulgarian economy, as well as the implementation of industrial and digital transformation. The program is aimed at enterprises with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. The main areas of support are R&D and innovation in enterprises, digitalisation, entrepreneurship, growth and competitiveness, as well as energy efficiency and the transition to a circular economy.

The "Transport Connectivity" program implements investments in road and railway infrastructure under the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Development Fund. In road infrastructure, priority is given to projects in Northern Bulgaria, with the construction of the tunnel under Mount Shipka and the Ruse-Veliko Tarnovo highway. By the end of the program period, the completion of lot 3.2 of AM "Struma" is expected. Investments in railway transport include the modernization of sections on the Sofia-Plovdiv and Sofia-Dragoman-Serbian border lines, as well as the construction of a railway connection between Bulgaria and North Macedonia. Measures related to road safety are also financed.

Environment Program - investments cover policies and infrastructure for sustainable water management; promoting the transition to a circular and resource-efficient economy; improving the protection and conservation of nature; promoting climate change adaptation. Inferred as investments of a strategic nature are the phasing out of the use of solid fuel heating appliances and pilot investments in heating systems using hydrogen technologies – as an alternative option for domestic heating with solid fuel.

The "Technical Assistance" program will provide support for increasing the added value of the system for managing funds from the European Funds under shared management by optimizing the environment for the implementation of the Partnership Agreement, strengthening the capacity of the units for coordination, management and control of the programs, beneficiaries and partners, engaging social partners and civil society organizations for good management of EU funds and increasing visibility and transparency regarding the contribution of these funds.

The "Development of the Regions" program supports the integrated urban development and the integrated territorial development of the regions. The program is implemented through instruments for territorial development, incl. Integrated territorial investments (ITI). The program will also implement the Just Transition Fund.

The "Research, Innovation and Digitization for Smart Transformation" program emphasizes the sustainable development of the Bulgarian research and innovation ecosystem, the development of technology transfer, the improvement of science-business cooperation and the digital transformation of the public sector.

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