August 19 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria will spend a combined 1.0 billion levs ($720 million/ 511.2 million euro) in EU aid and from its own funds to build 23 waste depots countrywide by 2013 to avert infringement procedures over delays in absorption of EU aid, state news agency BTA reported on Wednesday.
Under agreements with the European Union signed before Bulgaria joined the bloc in January 2007, the country was to build a network of 70 waste depots by the middle of 2009 and water treatment plants for locations with population of over 10,000 by the end of 2010. Brussels could launch an infringement procedure against Bulgaria over the delays in the implementation of these agreements by March 2011 at the latest, Environment Minister Nona Karadzhova said in an interview with local Trud daily on Wednesday.
A total of 730 million levs will be spent on the construction of the 23 waste depots, including a waste treatment plant in Sofia, BTA quoted Karadzhova as saying. A further 180 million levs will be spent on recultivation of landfills slated for closure, and the rest will go for the construction of waste separators.
Bulgaria is eligible to receiving 1.8 billion euro from the EU's Operating Programme Environment from 2007 until 2013. Karadzhova said that the previous, Socialist-led government had spent 700 million levs from the programme on non-priority projects, including projects for water treatment plants in locations with population of less than 2,000 people.
(1 euro = 1.95583 Bulgarian levs)