Foundation for Local Government Reform
EEA Grants: Suspension of payments in Bulgaria
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The Financial Mechanism Committee (FMC) decided on 3 September to suspend the payments within the EEA Grants in Bulgaria and to suspend the role of the Central Finance and Contracts Unit (CFCU) in the implementation of the EEA Grants in Bulgaria.


This follows the European Commission decision of 23 July 2008 to withdraw the accreditation of the CFCU and to suspend payments of EU Grants in Bulgaria. The decision of the Financial Mechanism Committee is made with reference to Article 11 of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Bulgaria and the EEA EFTA states, which obliges the beneficiary state to take proactive steps in order to ensure adherence to the principles of good governance.


The EEA EFTA States will continue the dialogue with Bulgaria in order to find a solution which ensures good governance, and hope this can be achieved in time for implementation of Bulgarian projects.


The decision to suspend payments does not apply to the NGO Fund, which is implemented directly by the Financial Mechanism Office.


Key facts on Bulgaria:

- Total allocation from the EEA Grants: €21.5 million;

- Priority Sectors under the EEA Grants: Environment, Cultural heritage, Human resources, Health and childcare;

- Call for individual projects: Total amount: €17.2 million; 40 applications received at the Financial Mechanism Office (plus 21 reserve projects);

-  Technical Assistance (€0.5 million): in implementation;

-  NGO Fund (€2.1 million): in implementation;

-  Scholarship Fund: under preparation.


The EEA Grants and the Norway Grants represent the contribution of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway towards European cohesion efforts. Over a five-year period until April 2009, the three EEA EFTA countries are making available €1.307 billion to reduce economic and social disparities in the enlarged EEA. The Norway Grants for Bulgaria and Romania are managed separately by Innovation Norway.


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