Адекум проекти за развитие

Businesses and EU funding – Common grounds

General framework

For the period 2014 – 2020 over 15,7 billion Euro of EU funding has been allocated to Bulgaria.
7.4 billion Euro from the Cohesion and Structural Funds  will finance seven Operational Programs:

  • ОP Transport and Transport Infrastructure – 1.612 billion Euro
  • ОP Environment – 1.494 billion Euro
  • ОP Regions in Growth – 1.351 billion Euro
  • ОP Innovations and Competitiveness – 1.202 billion Euro
  • ОP Human Resources Development – 895 million Euro
  • ОP Science and Education for Intelligent Growth – 583 million Euro
  • ОP Good Governance – 285 million Euro

7.6 billion Euro from the Common Agricultural Policy Funds and Common Fishery Policy Funds will be mainly distributed through agricultural subsidies, as well as invested through:

  • Program for the Development of Rural Areas – 2.339 billion Euro
  • Program for Fisheries – 88 million Euro

Those programs are governed by Bulgarian ministries and agencies and represent strategies defining the types of investments to absorb the EU funding and the types of beneficiaries of assistance.

The programs are implemented through:

  • tenders for the execution of large-scale projects planned by the State
  • grant schemes to provide assistance to projects initiated by private companies, NGOs and municipalities

Immediate opportunities for businesses

Businesses may benefit directly from EU funds allocated to Bulgaria in the following ways

  • bidding in tenders in order to provide goods and services towards the design, construction or modernization of infrastructure of national importance: highways, first-class roads, railways, supporting telecommunication infrastructure, waste treatment plants, complex infrastructure of the Danube River, Sofia Subway extension, upgrading of existing transport terminals, construction of linkages between them, information systems for public administrations
  • bidding in tenders for the preparation and implementation of large-scale municipal projects /provision of services and goods for the construction or rehabilitation of the entire  city infrastructure, water and sewerage systems, transport systems, telecommunication and information systems, waste management systems, public administration buildings and housing owned by municipalities/
  • joint implementation of projects /under public-private partnerships/ related to the construction of technological, industrial and logistical parks, intermodal transport nodes (freight villages)
  • receipt of grants /financial aid/ for investments in new equipment and technologies, introduction of energy-saving technologies and renewable energy sources, development of new products of high technological and scientific content, consulting services, introduction of international standards, international market and export promotion, creation of industrial clusters around leader enterprises
  • receipt of grants towards meeting costs of hiring new personnel
  • receipt of grants for continuous upgrade of the qualifications of current personnel in Bulgaria and abroad
  • receipt of grants for the introduction of occupational health and safety standards
  • receipt of significant agricultural subsidies for cultivated land
  • receipt of grants by companies producing and processing agricultural produce
  • receipt of grants supporting all activities related to fishing, production and processing of fish (inclusive of investments in fishing fleet)

Indirect benefits for businesses

Businesses, especially large corporate structures, may benefit indirectly from the following investments, financed with EU funds:

  • considerable improvement in the overall infrastructure of municipalities on the territory of which large corporate structures have located their activities
  • construction of municipal infrastructure supporting industrial, transport and tourist sites owned by large corporate structures (roads, waste treatment plants, water and sewerage systems)
  • investments in the current key transport nodes and surrounding infrastructure
  • construction and rehabilitation of transport linkages between large transport nodes

Opportunities – real if businesses know the route to them

EU funds are designed to be invested in the overall development of a state, a region, economic sector or type of enterprises and not into the fulfillment of a concrete private interest. Funds are planned as a financial injection in areas where the market either doesn’t have the interest or the sufficient resources to invest.

The opportunities presented above derive from a few hundred projects and types of investments earmarked for EU funding according to the vision of the central administration for the overall development of Bulgaria. Businesses may not apply for EU grants for any arbitrary need but only for needs which fall within investments eligible for EU funding. Consequently, businesses may benefit from EU funding only if they know:

  • in detail the requirements of these few hundred projects and types of investments eligible for EU funding
  • how to fit, structure and formulate their own interests into these projects and types of investments,  generally planned in public interest
  • the rules, mechanisms, processes, documentation necessary to achieve in reality a EU grant or project participation: the latter being diverse and specific for each project and type of eligible investment.

Steps which businesses should undertake in order to accede to EU funding

In order to accede to the opportunities offered by EU funds, significant but complex and specific for realization, companies, and especially large corporate structures, should:

  • compare their interests /goods and services which they provide, needs, problems and investments involving financial allocations/ with a few hundred investments and projects  which the State has earmarked for EU funding
  • define the points where their interests meet with projects and investments earmarked for EU funding: i.e. pinpoint which of their interests are eligible for EU funding and which EU-financed projects require the provision of goods and services which the companies may offer
  • understand which Ministries or state agencies administer the funds of their interest and what the different mechanisms of fund administration are
  • follow closely the timing of opening a grant scheme (program) under which the corporate structure may apply or the launch of a project the structure may wish to bid for
  • analyze the terms and conditions of programs and tenders of interest
  • plan and prepare project applications for grants and tender participation
  • implement projects granted EU financial assistance according to rules specific for the concrete grant scheme or tender procedure