The ambitious infrastructure strategy of the Government
About EUR13 million will be invested by 2015 in the modernisation of the national infrastructure. This was highlighted during the presentation delivered by the Government on the National Strategy for the Integrated Development of Infrastructure in the period 2006-2015. After the presentation, there was a discussion with the ministers of Finance, Plamen Oresharski, of Transport, Petar Mutafchiev, of Regional Development, Asen Gagauzov, of Economy and Energy, Rumen Ovcharov, and of Environment, Dzhevdet Chakarov and representatives of the business spheres, Parliamentary deputies, some of the social partners and NGOs.
According to Prime Minister, Sergei Stanishev, by the end of the mandate of this Government it is realistic to implement projects worth about EUR5.5 billion. One of the main funding options is European funds. About EUR6 billion are expected to be allocated from Structural and Cohesion funds, stated Minister Ovcharov who made a financial analysis of the presented strategy. Another viable option would be loans from international bank institutions, such as the European Investment Bank.
Significant investment in transport is envisaged as well, whereby the money for road and rail infrastructures are split relatively equally, but still the final balance is more in favour of the railways. Investment in the development of the transport infrastructure amounts to EUR4.7 billion, of which EUR1.8 billion are for the railways. Among the preferred options for renovation of stations, ports, highways and airports is the public-private partnership. Forecasts show that in 2007, the proceedings from the public sector would amount to about EUR2.5 billion.
According to Minister Mutafchiev, the aim of the strategy is the maximum use of European funding. Over EUR1.6 billion will be allocated by the Cohesion funds for the implementation of Operational Programme “Transport”. If the document is adopted, it would be possible to launch in the course of this year the preparation of those infrastructure projects, which are of topmost importance for the development of the economy and the country in general, thus ensuring the use of a larger percentage of European funding. In countries which have acceded the EU before us, this percentage varies between 35 and 80. Our ambition is to make such good use of European funding as to achieve the upper margin of utilisation percentage, as accomplished in other countries.