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Bulgaria getting extra 55 mln euro under REACT-EU mechanism

Bulgaria getting extra 55 mln euro under REACT-EU mechanism European commission.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), September 19 (SeeNews) - The European Commission said on Monday it granted approval for Bulgaria to receive additional financing of 55 million euro ($54.9 million) through the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU), the European Union's mechanism for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The funds, part of an aggregate of 111.5 million euro being disbursed to Germany, Slovakia and Bulgaria under the European Social Fund (ESF), are geared towards supporting post-pandemic socio-economic recovery in the three countries including employment, education and healthcare, the Commission said in a press release.

As part of the package, Bulgaria will receive 36.4 million euro to fund post-pandemic measures to enhance job retention and improve care services for persons with disabilities. Of that amount, as much as 23.8 million euro will be deployed for the so-called ‘Solidarity project' to assist the integration of 9,000 people fleeing the Russia's invasion of Ukraine into the Bulgarian labour market, the Commission said.

An additional sum of 18.6 million euro will de disbursed to help fund social aid such as vouchers for food, clothing or school supplies for both vulnerable groups of the population and to Ukrainian refugees.

In August, the Commission proposed the payment of 460 million euro in financial support to Bulgaria under the SURE instrument to help address the knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic on jobs and workers.

The country has also received 148.4 million euro in cohesion funding to assist it with tackling the cost of providing emergency support to people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Over half a million refugees from Ukraine have so far entered Bulgaria, with more than 85,000 remaining and 123,170 having registered for temporary protection, according to the government's official Bulgaria for Ukraine information portal.

As much as 3.5 billion euro has been paid out to EU member states since the Commission proposed in March to increase by that amount the pre-financing under REACT-EU. Another 3.5 billion euro in cohesion funding will be paid to EU countries in 2023 as part of the EU's most recent Flexible Assistance to Territories (FAST-CARE) package.

($ = 1.00129 euro)