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Results of European Funds Appropriation Audits Conducted by the National Audit Office Discussed at a Round Table in the National Assembly
May 15, 2009

The round table was organized under the patronage of the National Assembly chairman Georgi Pirinski by the parliamentary Subcommittee on EU Funds Absorption and the National Audit Office. The forum was held on May 15, 2009 and was attended by deputies, government officials and ambassadors of the EU member countries.

Mladen Cherveniakov, the Committee on European Affairs’ chair in parliament opened the discussion emphasizing that the appropriation of the European Union funds is among the most important issues at the present stage of the country’s development. He said the National Assembly aspires at playing an important role in the oversight of how the funds are allocated and used within its competencies and power. The National Audit Office has been seized to conduct the audits of the Cohesion and Structural funds, the European Fund on Fishery and Agriculture by the resolution of the National Assembly of June 20, 2008.

In his welcoming speech to the participants the Chairman of the National Assembly stressed that the Bulgarian society is extremely sensitive to the issue of how the European funds are allocated and to what extend the country uses this advantage of being an EU member and wants to know what are the real problems in this respect and how to tackle it.

The conclusions reached at the round table were that the existing practices for EU funds absorption were not presenting the optimal results and this is something that should be addressed. It was underlined that at the present financial crisis the European funds could well serve as buffer that should be used at their best.

Meglena Plugchieva, Deputy PM in charge of the EU funds management emphasized before the participants that the rigorous control on behalf of the National Assembly and the Audit Office has had a streamlining effect. She pointed that up to now the country has signed contracts for over BGN 2, 6 B and that in her words this was a serious step forward. She said one of the weaknesses of the system was that it was too decentralized and this was something to be corrected but not in the sense to become overly centralized.

In his concluding words Georgi Pirinski said that with the recent legislative amendments, the present National Assembly was to ensure continuity of the process into the next one.
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