Next year, banks in Bulgaria will take over the management of EU funds for the business, Bulgaria's Minister on EU Funds, Tomislav Donchev, has announced.
Donchev said Thursday that at first, the model would be experimental and if it proves to be successful, then the banks will take over the management of EU funds for business officially for the next program period 2014-2020.
The minister has explained that the goal of the experiment is to accelerate the absorption of EU funds under the Operational Programs "Competitiveness" and "Development of Rural Areas."
In his words, currently the processing of the business projects under both programs is delayed. Banks also participate in the process by lending loans to many businesses and farmers for the realization of their projects. The money is then reimbursed from the EU funds.
Donchev has explained that the model has been implemented in three of the EU member states - Italy, Greece and Hungary.
Presently, a team of experts from the state administration and the Association of Banks in Bulgaria is developing the mechanism for the inclusion of credit institutions in the process. The idea is for them to receive the projects, assess them and monitor their performance with checks on the spot.
Signing of contracts with the beneficiaries and the payments will remain an obligation to the state administration.