Dies ist eine HTML Version eines Anhanges der Informationsfreiheitsanfrage 'Task force for better implementation 2.1'.

Ref. Ares(2016)6098651 - 25/10/2016
ERDF and Cohesion Fund Operational Programmes 
Sofia, Council of Ministers, “Granitna” Hall, 4 February 2016 

Absorption/certification rate increased from 66% to 80%. €231 million were certified in 2015 (€15 
million below target). Commercial contracting is at 105%. There are three ongoing major project 
modifications. These include: reducing the scope of part of the of the construction works of the 
railway line "Plovdiv - Burgas" (taking out three traction substations and railway junction "Burgas"), 
reducing the scope of part of the building activities of the railway line in "Septemvri - Plovdiv" (taking 
out four overpasses), and phasing of the major project "Western section of Sofia Ring Road" (Lot 2). 
The amendment requests are currently being processes by the Commission. 
The program funded 25 investment projects (including 11 major) of which 19 are completed. Four 
road projects, one intermodal (metro) project and two maritime/Danube navigation projects were 
completed in 2015. 6 of the 25 projects are delayed. These include delays in three railway projects 
(Parvomai – Svilengrad, Plovdiv – Burgas and Septemvri – Plovdiv) and in three road projects 
including: the Montana bypass, West arc Sofia Ring for Kalotina (which will be phased) and Gabrovo 
Ring Road/Bypass. On roads, all Maritsa and Struma Lots are completed, which is good news. Five of 
the six delayed projects are likely to be completed by end 2016 (all at +50% physical 
implementation). However, it is most likely that the Gabrovo Bypass will not be completed by end 
2016 (physical implementation at only 21% as of end 2015). These delays imply budget shortages 
that need to be filled by the MA and/or beneficiaries. 
In terms of financial progress in 2015, absorption rate for the OP increased only slightly – from 63% 
to 72%. Over EUR 130 million were certified and loss of funds at closure is now most probable, 
although unable to estimate the precise figure at this stage. Commercial contracting of the 
programme reached 105% and 99% of all funds have been made to the beneficiaries by 31.12.2015. 
In terms of physical progress in 2015, there has been a steady progress in tourism (PA 3 – 16% 
increase in absorption) and TA investments (PA 5 – 17%).  The OP's output indicators still need to see 
if they shall be achieved for closure of the OP – a total of 155 projects need to be finalised (74 for 
PA1 + 56 for TA). 


Major Project North Speed was completed (almost in full) at an incredible speed of construction, 
hopefully not to the detriment of the quality of that road constructed. 
Key issues requiring special follow up until closure and prospects for 2016- some of REGIO's 
recommended measures for MA were: 
•  Distance to target remains enormous - 376 million EUR – a huge challenge – verification and 
certification to the EC remains priority number one for all bodies concerned. 
•  There is a gap of EUR 322 M between the signed commercial contracts (1.429 B) and the 
payments verified so far (1.107 M). This gives reasonably good perspectives for new 
payments to be generated in 2016. MA must make best use of the 10% flexibility at closure 
for all priority axes; 
•  Special attention to be paid to management verifications and future certifications (upgraded 
Management & Control System) –MA to use the upgraded checklist for all future payments 
to avoid problems at closure – possible need for staff capacity's strengthening / training to 
carry out closure verifications of the 6 Regional offices and of the MA's relevant 
•  Needs for setting up a more rapid verification and payment system which allows for a quick 
process of payments to beneficiaries are already identified now and should be looked into in 
order to avoid cash problems in the future, the MA should work on this. 
•  MA to draw lessons from the bottlenecks suffered by OPRD 2007-2013 and take action to 
avoid that they replicate in OPRD 2014-2020, such as: 
- Projects should start commercial contracting as early as possible – tight monitoring and 
follow up with beneficiaries is needed; 
- Propose improvements in the system to reduce as much as possible the duration of projects 
suspension due to appeals; try to avoid hundreds of irregularity signals by raising awareness 
of these with the beneficiaries; etc.  
Progress in implementation translated in verified and certified payments has been very good in the 
second part, and especially in the last years, of the programming period. 
A key open question to clarify before closure however remains the issue with the public procurement 
contracts where the Commission expects the Member  State  feedback.  The  MA  informed  that  it  in 
turn awaits the feedback of the Audit authority. 
There are important lessons to be learned from the 2007-2013 period that should be used to 
increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of OP Innovation and 
Competitiveness. This is particularly true for the area of innovation (e.g. clusters, technology transfer, 
start-up and introduction of innovations schemes) and energy efficiency. 


Furthermore, the two big projects of the programme, in particular Sofia Tech Park and the 
interconnector Bulgarian Serbia, were phased, but continue hiding potential implementation 
difficulties for the programming period 2014-2020. 
MA reported on the achieved indicators (all output indicators were reached except for the waste 
priority axis). Following the implementation of the action plan of the task force for better 
implementation, the estimated risk of loss of funds at closure is only 3% of the total allocation. MA 
estimates to report at closure only 2 non-functional projects (one TA under water PA and one waste 
project). MA highlighted the need for having good model for adequate databases in preparation for 
closure at the level of costs and not at priority axis level.  
EC invited MA to consider the following:  
•  For phasing of major and non-major projects: when signing the annexes to the grant 
agreement a clear audit trail is needed for the physical and financial split of projects; 
•  In case of retrospective projects, watch out for the risk factors linked to the non-compliance 
with: eligibility rules, selection criteria established by the Monitoring Committee, public 
procurement, state aid, environmental rules, information and publicity rules and availability 
of documents; 
•  Submit the request for modification of Gabrovo MP due to the increase of the CF co-
financing rate; 
•  Make best use of the 10% flexibility at closure for ERDF priority axis; 
•  Close monitoring of project's implementation and also the achievement of their results (not 
only of the outputs) is needed for a smooth closure process (f.i. population connected to 
•  In case of non-functional projects, although the deadline for submitting the final 
implementation report to the CA is set for 30.04.2016 by BG system, the Annex to the FIR for 
non-functional projects should reflect the real situation at the date of the submission of the 
closure documents to the EC; 
•  As lessons learned from 2007-2013 for the 2014-2020 period projects should start 
commercial contracting as early as possible and tight monitoring and follow up with 
beneficiaries is needed; 
Absorption/certification rate was at 83.42% as of end 2015. Contracting was at 106.08% and 
payments to beneficiaries at 91.82% of the OPTA budget (the reference base is the initial OPTA 
budget after deduction of the 2013 de-commitment). There is a proposal to amend OPTA's financial 
plan within the 10% flexibility rule (increasing the budget of PA1 whilst decreasing the budget of PA2 
and PA3. This proposal was submitted to the Commission on 30th September, 2015. The target 
certified expenditure for OPTA in its final year is €13.3m (ERDF) with no risk of decommitment 
according to the MA. 


Several important elements to be followed up, such as: 
•  securing of national co-financing for projects, in particular for those that would continue to 
be implemented after the eligibility deadline and are not phased.  
•  ensuring early start of commercial contracting; 
•  tight monitoring and follow up with beneficiaries is needed; 
•  continuing  the use of improved procedures at the level of MAs, etc