The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed with the Government of Bulgaria a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technical assistance to support implementation of EU projects co-funded by the Bank in Bulgaria.

Mr Wilhelm Molterer, EIB Vice-President responsible for Bulgaria, who signed the MoU with Mr Tomislav Donchev, Bulgarian Minister of EU Funds Management, in the presence of Mr Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, commented: “The cooperation agreement signed today between the EIB and Bulgaria provides technical assistance for the implementation of EU projects, with EIB co-financing, and is aimed at speeding up the absorption of EU funds. This is complementary to the technical assistance from JASPERS that has been provided by the Bank in Bulgaria since 2006 to help design high-quality projects to be supported by EU Funds, and also reflects the EIB’s role in providing loans that frequently cover Bulgaria’s contribution towards implementing such priority projects. I am convinced that this effort, which has involved close coordination with the European Commission as a joint initiative with the Bulgarian Government, will play an important role in facilitating the utilisation of EU Funds in the best possible way for the benefit of Bulgaria”. 

This agreement follows a similar MoU providing implementation support for pre-accession projects and will focus on increasing both the speed and quality of absorption of the EU Structural Funds via assistance with project management and implementation. Bulgaria has requested this support from the EIB in view of its long tradition of project financing, particularly in the less developed regions that are the recipients of EU Structural Funds, in order to help strengthen Bulgaria’s capacity in terms of project implementation as well as related policy and strategy formulation, and sector and project planning.

In this framework the EIB will provide support for priority projects to be financed in the 2007-2013 programming period and help to develop the strategy for identifying and selecting projects to be financed in the upcoming 2014-2020 programming period in line with its mandate, the relevant EU regulations and in coordination with its partner, the EU Commission, and with JASPERS.

A similar Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Bulgaria and the World Bank. 

The EIB has been operating in Bulgaria since 1991 and works with a wide range of eligible counterparts. It has a portfolio of signed loan operations in excess of EUR 3.2bn covering public and private infrastructure investments in the transport, telecommunications, environment and energy sectors and provides support for local SMEs via loans granted to its financial intermediaries.