JASPERS, or Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions, was established in 2006 by the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to help the EU Member States in central and Eastern Europe develop quality projects that will receive support from the EU Structural and Cohesion Funds.
Seven of the activities JASPERS will focus on in Bulgaria, are in the area of environment, six are in transport, one in municipal transport (the extension of the Sofia underground) and two are horizontal projects that cover more than one activity.
Among the JASPERS-supported projects are the construction of the Strouma Motorway from Sofia to the border with Greece; modernization of the Sofia-Plovdiv, Sofia-Dragoman and Sofia-Pernik-Radomir rail links; improving navigation on the Danube and building an intermodal terminal near Rousse; management of solid waste in Sofia; construction of a national facility for treatment of hazardous waste; decommissioning and reclamation of the Rousse landfill.
JASPERS assistance will include analyses, advice, assessment and any preparatory work on projects that will seek funding from the EU operational programs for Bulgaria, said Norbert Hahn, the JASPERS regional manager for Southern Europe.
The JASPERS assistance will be free of charge and the initiative starts work on the government's request.
In Bulgaria, the JASPERS coordinator will be the Finance Ministry.