EC to Consider Bulgaria's Progress by End of September

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EC to Consider Bulgaria's Progress by End of September

The European Commission (EC) will consider the progress Bulgaria has made in implementing its commitments under the EU directives by the end of September 2009, European Commissioner Meglena Kouneva said.

The EC will meet at the end of September to see which countries have failed to honour their commitments and will discuss Bulgaria's progress in carrying out the operative and pre-accession programmes. That is why in the past two weeks Kouneva met with most of the cabinet ministers, and on Sunday morning conferred with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov on the phone.

"I talked with the ministers about Bulgaria's red-flag areas - justice and home affairs; besides, I had meetings with the ministers coordinating the absorption of funds, and with the ministers in charge of areas where there is the implementation of directives is greatly delayed. I gave a very strong signal of alarm," Kouneva said.

In her words, there are three things Bulgaria must do so as not to be sanctioned by the EC: to work for the compliance of the operative programmes with the EC requirements; to work for the construction of a household waste treatment plant at Sofia; and to improve the efficiency of the two PHARE executive agencies operating under the Regional Development and Public Works Ministry and the Finance Ministry.

"If the operative programmes are noncompliant, this will be a bad sign about our administrative capacity and will influence the assessment of our country's ability to utilize funds," Kouneva said.

Concerning the household waste treatment plant, if Bulgaria fails to honour its commitments under the European directives, the EC may take legal action against it through the European Court of Justice, Kouneva said.

At its meeting the EC may also decide to withdraw the accreditation of the agencies with the ministries specified above.

"Without these agencies we cannot absorb funds," Kouneva said.

A large delegation is going to Brussels to ask for postponement of suspended procedures, Prime Minister Borissov told the media in Nessebur on Sunday.

The delegation will probably leave for Brussels on September 9 or 10 and will include European Commissioner Kouneva, he said.

"The new government should show what it is doing and what legacy it has been left," Borissov said.

He emphasized that big infrastructure projects are "the only measure" bringing money to the country.

Source: BTA

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