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Dec 16, 2022 14:36 EEST
December 16 (SeeNews) - The European Commission said on Friday that it has disbursed grants of 1.37 billion euro ($1.45 billion) to Bulgaria, which is the first instalment due under the national Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP).
The grants, which exclude pre-financing, were paid after Bulgaria fulfilled the pre-agreed 22 milestones and targets linked to the first instalment, the Commission said in a press release.
The funding will support crucial first steps in Bulgaria's plans to decarbonise the energy sector, promote large-scale digital infrastructure, reform the judicial system and implement anti-money-laundering regulations, digitise the public sector and improve the minimum income provisions, the EU executive noted.
The total volume of grants which the EU will provide to Bulgaria under the RRP amounts to 5.69 billion euro. The plan was approved by the Commission in April, but in July the Commission reduced the amount of the financing as a result of Bulgaria's stronger-than-expected economic performance in 2021.
Part of the financing will be deployed towards projects that are already underway, such as programmes funding digital, technology and equipment upgrades at Bulgarian small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), caretaker deputy prime minister in charge of EU funds, Atanas Pekanov, said during a news briefing at the government headquarters. Other projects that will be funded from the first instalment include the ongoing construction of the third line of Sofia's metro network and the recently begun project to develop and upgrade the ministry of the interior's critical communications systems.
Grants will also be disbursed for projects such as improving the energy efficiency of building stocks as well as rooftop solar installations. Applications for these programmes will start being accepted in the coming weeks, Pekanov also said.
($ = 0.9404 euro)
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