Meglena Plugchieva: EU funds were not released due to the elections

SOFIA

A few days ago Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev explained that the Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Plugchieva was not included in the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s election ticket, since it would represent too great a loss for the Council of Ministers, if she were to become a Member of the European Parliament.

In an interview with The Trud Daily, Mrs. Plugchieva commented, that she was not as valuable to the government as the results achieved. She emphasized, that by the beginning of 2008 only EUR 93 million were contracted under EU operative programs, but by the end of April 2009, the sum had exceeded EUR 2, 88 billion.

Certain suspicions have emerged, that the release of the ISPA funds is no more than a pre-election trick, in view of Commissioner Danuta Hübner’s relations to the Polish Socialist Party. Mrs. Plugchieva expressed her standpoint, that those assumptions were “very offensive, very incorrect and far from true”.

Asked of the actual reforms that took place in the ISPA management, Mrs. Plugchieva gave the examples of the former Republican Road Infrastructure Fund, amendments to the Roads Act, the establishment of a new structure under the direct authority of the Council of Ministers and personnel changes in the whole management body. According to her, suspecting the EC or Mrs. Hübner of partiality was “extremely incorrect”.

Mrs. Plugchieva admitted, that what was done regarding infrastructure projects during the last few years was insufficient. In order to disprove suspicions of a pre-election speculation, Mrs. Plugchieva had requested that the National Road Infrastructure Agency’s plan for the implementation of projects under the Transport Operative Program be published next week and be presented to the public.

The Deputy Prime Minister in charge of EU funds declared, that Struma, Maritsa, part of the Hemus highway, as well as, most probably, the Trakia motorway would be built trough EU financing. The final decision on Trakia highway is yet to be taken by the Council of Ministers.

Asked if she would take the risk to try and convince the Prime Minister to give up on the disputed texts to the draft bill of the Waste Management Act, Mrs. Plugchieva explained, that it would serve for the common benefit of the government and the state, if Bulgaria did not create additional unnecessary complications and provoke the suspiciousness and uneasiness of the Commission.

She explained that the financing of the waste processing plant project is yet to be discussed, but part of the funding would come trough the Environment Operative Program, another, as it is all around Europe, had to be provided by the municipality and the remaining finances would be obtained trough the opportunities offered by the European Investment Bank.

Mrs. Plugchieva specified, that over 600 people have already signalized delayed payments under the SAPARD Operative Program for 3 days by calling the hot telephone line introduced recently.

The Deputy Prime Minister denied the statement that the BGN 100 000 million allocated to SAPARD projects were derived from the national crediting schemes, thus compensating some agricultural producers by injuring the interests of other. She explained that the resources were assigned by the Ministry of Finance from the state budget, because it was the state’s duty.

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