The European Commission is set to reduce by about 580 million euro to 5.69 billion euro ($5.85 billion) the amount of financing it will provide to Bulgaria under the country's national Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), local newspaper Dnevnik reported.
The downsizing of the grant comes as a result of Bulgaria's better than expected rate of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Dnevnik said last week citing economic growth data from the bloc's statistics office.
Under the requirements of the NextGenerationEU recovery mechanism, calculations of financing support to all EU member states were to be updated by the end of June to reflect the real economic impact of the pandemic, the newspaper explained.
Bulgaria's gross domestic product (GDP) rose 4.2% in 2021, according to provisional data published by Eurostat last week. In its Winter 2020 economic forecast, the EC had projected Bulgaria's economic expansion in 2021 to reach 3.1%.
So as not to drop projects which are already included in the RRP plan, Bulgaria has the option of increasing the amount of national co-financing under the plan or applying for a 4.5 billion euro additional loan to which it is entitled under the plan, a Commission spokesperson said as cited by Dnevnik.
Bulgaria submitted its national recovery plan to the EC in October 2021 and received endorsement in April. The plan comprises 59 investment projects and 46 reforms, which focus on decarbonizing the economy, raising financial support for businesses and making investments in the social sector.