SAPARD BACKS 39 MUNICIPALITIES
The Agriculture State Fund (fulfilling the functions of a settlement of payment agency for the EU's SAPARD Programme) has approved projects worth BGN72,445,000, to be implemented in 39 municipalities, chosen between 130 proposed.Most of the winner projects - 26 - are connected with the so-called seventh measure. They are worth a total of BGN39.5MN. The EU funds will be spent on road pavement, repair of water and sewage facilities, and reconstruction of cultural monuments. Among these are the municipalities of Ardino, Varshets, Borino, Strelcha, Strumyani, etc. Another eight projects are connected with the so-called eighth measure, i.e. for construction of infrastructure between settlements. They are worth an aggregate BGN32.9MN. The funds will go mainly for improvement of fourth-class roads and for thе construction of new water supply networks. The municipalities of Belogradchik, Kotel, Pavel Banya, Yakoruda and Strazhitsa are among those that will rely on these subsidies. Projects under both measures are planned in advance in the annual budgets of the respective municipalities, as expenses are initially undertaken by them. After their successful completion the invested money is fully refunded by the budget of the SAPARD Programme. Proposals are approved according to criteria, included in the National Plan for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Regions. In addition to experts of the Agriculture Fund, the commission that chooses the projects involves also representatives of the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Economy, of branch organisations, and of municipal associations.