No money is blocked on SAPARD, claims the Ministry of Finance
Adelina Marini, June 26, 2009
The Bulgarian Ministry of Finance and the European Commission's representation in Bulgaria made two separate clarifications regarding the money that are to be delayed on the pre-accession agriculture programme SAPARD. These clarifications were made after the media in Bulgaria published quotes from a letter of General Directorate "Agriculture" in the Commission in which, according to the Ministry of Finance, it is written that the auditing agency of the Commission had given some specific recommendations to the SAPARD Agency in Bulgaria related to the declaration of the expenses of some projects. After the recommendations are completed, then the certification of the expenses for 2008 will be finished and the money will be paid. But the European Commission representation in Bulgaria says that "In its letter to the Bulgarian authorities the Commission informs that since the report of the independent certifying body is being delayed, the accounts on SAPARD will not be completed until 30 of September".
This delay will not have any influence on the status of the paying agency on SAPARD in Bulgaria or, in other words, no money is being blocked. According to the "Sega" daily it is about 130 mn euro which have already been paid by the national budget. The problem is, according to the newspaper, that the government has delayed to present its report for the payments of last year.
This is another threat over the SAPARD programme from which already several hundred million euros have been lost for projects for which a lot of farmers took credits from banks and now are forced to pay back. Quite often the reasons are not only violations in the projects but also abuses in the SAPARD Agency.