EUR14MN UNDER PHARE FOR SOCIAL PROJECTS
Bulgaria will absorb more than EUR14MN under the EU's PHARE programme this year. A significant part of the money will come as grants. About EUR3.2MN will be set aside for improving workers' professional qualification, EUR2.36MN - for improvement of labour conditions in companies, and EUR3.94MN - for alternative employment. A national database for the state of the domestic labour market will be created as well. The project is worth EUR1.91MN. EUR2.67MN will be spent for raising the quality of life of disabled people. Small and medium-sized enterprises from the chemical industry will be able to get grants between EUR10,000-50,000 for improving the working environment. The money will cover up to 60% of the projects' worth. The remaining money should be provided by the applicants themselves. EUR930,000 has been earmarked for financing the undertaking, of which EUR700,000 has been ensured by PHARE, and the balance - by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The ministry already accepts offers and the deadline for submitting them is July 8. Money will be released as well for new equipment or repairs of old machines and premises. Financial assistance for creation of safe labour conditions will be provided as well. At least 20-30 enterprises are expected to take advantage of the offered opportunities.The unemployed could get EUR20,000 in order to start a business of their own. A total of EUR3.6MN will be released for that purpose. They will be probably divided between 130 projects and more than 650 working positions will be opened. Only projects to be realized in Northeastern and Northwestern Bulgaria may participate in the competition. The applicants will be demanded to draft detailed business plans for the activity they have chosen. The only preset condition will be that the activity is not well-developed in the respective region. The unemployed will be obliged to ensure 25% of the project's worth. Proposals by people who already have their own firms will be accepted as well. However, it should had been set up more than six months ago. A mandatory condition is to reinvest the profit, realized during the first year.