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EC asks Bulgaria to submit water supply action plan

EC asks Bulgaria to submit water supply action planThe European Commission (EC) has asked Bulgaria to present a new action plan to reform its water supply infrastructure as soon as possible, news portal Mediapool said.

In yet another letter sent to the country's Regional Development Minister Rosen Plevneliev and Environment Minister Nona Karadjova several days ago, EC Director on Regional Policy Dirk Ahner warned that Bulgaria was lagging behind the segment's restructuring, which is a condition for the disbursement of EUR 1.5 billion EU funds for water supply projects by 2013.

In order to unplug the funds, Bulgaria endorsed a law in the summer of 2009, stipulating the establishment of regional water associations, which will take control of water supply and sewerage infrastructure and allow local water supply entities to use it. The move was meant to solve the issue related to the infrastructure's ownership, scattered between the state, the municipalities and private firms, as operators are currently not allowed to apply for EU financing given their corporate status.

Speaking to Mediapool, Bulgaria's minister in charge of EU fund absorption Tomislav Donchev said that the EC was insisting on the creation of a concrete plan determining the terms and the measures to be implemented.

The government will inform the Commission that it has already drafted a plan for the development of the water supply sector, which has been coordinated with the relevant ministries, regional governors, municipalities and operators, and that the ministry is in the process of elaborating a strategy, which was assigned to the Water Strategy 2010 consortium in the summer.

One of the scheme's goals is to produce an option for a unified water management, which is currently scattered among five ministries.

Sofia will also notify Brussels it would establish the water associations by January 1, 2011, a deadline considered by Donchev as achievable, as the country has already created 22 of them.

16 December 2010 - Dnevnik

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