Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science (MES) is trying to mislead the public that Brussels has not imposed sanctions for the outrages in the scientific sector

Bulgarian Education Ministry: There Is No EU Funds “Adjustment”, But It Amounts to BGN 50 Million

Екип на Биволъ

The frozen European money for Bulgarian science amounts to slightly over BGN 50 million out of a total of BGN 268 million. The Minister of Education and Science admitted two days ago that there are frozen funds without specifying the amount.

The amount becomes clear from the MES response to questions sent by Bivol. However, the MES argues that these were not “adjustments”, but rather “budget optimizations”.

 

mon-corrections

Nevertheless, said optimizations have become necessary because of serious criticism from the European Commission (EC), which Bivol reported as early February. It articulated in a Commission letter that Bivol published.

The findings in the letter are devastating. They are the result of the Commission’s audit No REGC214BG0033 (EPSA) carried out from October 24 to October 28, 2016. It found that half of the checked operations had serious deficiencies.

To not become evident that they are freezing HIS money …

The letter, which was due to be sent on January 21, had a turbulent fate. There had been serious political pressure to delay sending it in order to avoid the impression that the EC is freezing funds for the then-center-right government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (currently serving third term in office) in its last days and prevent comments that “they are stopping his funds”.

Bivol’s sources claim that that Borisov has even called “his friend” Juncker (EC President Jean-Claude Juncker – editor’s note) to halt the unpleasant communication and the process of signing the letter by the coordinating EC directorates had been stopped at the eleventh hour, while the forthcoming report under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) had been the formal occasion.

EC Spokeswoman Mina Andreeva, however, strongly denied these allegations and said Borisov and Juncker had no talks on the subject.

Bivol requested access to the EC’s audit No REGC214BG0033 (EPSA) in accordance with the Access to Public Information Act (APIA) (regulation 1049/2001), but such was not provided.

 

audit-ek-refusal.png

Nevertheless, the “denial of access” letter reveals that such an audit has taken place and it was carried out from October 24 to October 28, 2016. The classifying of the results of the inspection shows primarily a guilty conscience and it is part of the maneuvers to protect the image of the incompetent management of the European program by then-Education Minister, Meglena Kuneva, or at least to postpone the revelations about the failure and the frozen money.

It will not go without sanctions

However, the MES response also reveals that there will still be some adjustments and they are being negotiated with the EC. Apparently the word “adjustment” is very unpleasant as it is indicated in italics that the frozen BGN 50 million was not an adjustment as the funds remained in the operational program budget and would be used for future projects.

“The budget cuts in the so-called MES systemic projects do not affect payments for core activities, but only the financing of the so-called additional project activities. Mainly funding for costs for remuneration of project management teams and outsourced services, savings from public procurement, and eliminated activities has been reduced.”

The “outsourced services” and “public procurement” that has been eliminated from funding are particularly interesting. Bivol will send a separate question on them under APIA, as we suspect that they are the true reason for the outrages established by the European audit.

 

 

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