Author: Svilena Velcheva
Published On: 10/10/2019

During the new program period starting in 2021 Bulgaria will finance again an old operational program aiming to increase the capacity of the administration. The Administrative Capacity OP, which operated in 2007-2013, will now be called “eGovernment and Administrative Capacity”. The beneficiaries of the program were mainly ministries, state directorates and agencies managing bodies. ”This operational program is a source of corruption” Petko Kovachev of the Institute for Green Policy is adamant. According to him, the return to the OP “Administrative Capacity” is a proof that state structures have not increased their capacity, which was actually the goal of the 2007-2013 program. At the same time, there is no operational climate program. According to European requirements, 25% of the EU funds for the period 2021-2027 should go towards fighting climate change and implementing sustainable environmental practices.

The funds were discussed during an international conference “Citizens’ Spaces”, which took place on October 8 and 9 in Varna. During the forum, the opportunities for citizens’ participation in the management of EU funds during the next programming period have been explained.

Currently, the environmental organizations in the OP Monitoring Committee are represented by four people who have one vote. Their vote weight is 1 to 50. Provided that most decisions are made by majority, their voice remains a voice in the wilderness, commented Katerina Rakovska of WWF. The participation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is approved by the managing authority of the program. That is why two of the NGOs participants in the committee are represented by the same person, Katerina Rakovska revealed. The problem with the dignitaries in the monitoring committees exists because NGOs are selected by the ministries and not by the NGOs themselves, according to a procedure developed and approved by them, commented Danail Popov of CCE Bankwatch Network.

”In the Working Group on OP Transport 2014-2020 we were given priorities some of which contradicted the European ones, but we were not able to change them” Popov said. According to him, the transport in Bulgaria is still focused on having a better road and a better car. After all the millions poured into the sector, our transport system has not become more sustainable. That is why we already have a criminal procedure opened by the European Commission for polluted air.

The International Conference on Citizens’ Spaces was organized by the Eco-Community Foundation in collaboration with the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development (PECSD) with the financial support of the European Union’s Citizens Program. The Forum was held under the project “Reclaiming our civilian space – Central European cooperation towards an overall EU civil society policy”, funded by the European Union’s Citizens Program.

Translator: Valentina Vagge