Bulgaria hails EU decision to unblock farming aid

BULGARIA

Bulgarian officials on Friday hailed an EU decision to release millions of euros in farming aid to Sofia that had been frozen since last year over fraud concerns, AFP commented.
On Thursday, the European Commission authorised payments of 109.6 million euros (160 million dollars), blocked since last July, under the SAPARD agricultural aid programme for Bulgaria, the farming ministry confirmed Friday.

The move coincided with a visit to Brussels by Bulgaria’s new premier, Boyko Borisov.

“The big news — the unblocking of the SAPARD money — is a result of the political will of the government to curb corruption,” Farming Minister Miroslav Naydenov told private bTV television Friday.

“The money is here and contracts (with farming aid beneficiaries) must be signed immediately,” Borisov also told parliament.

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