European Commission approves BGN 2.3 billion support for Stara Zagora, Kyustendil and Pernik

European Commission approves BGN 2.3 billion support for Stara Zagora, Kyustendil and Pernik

The European Commission has approved a grant under the Fair Transition Fund under the Development of Regions Programme 2021-2027 in the amount of about BGN 2.3 billion for Stara Zagora, Kyustendil and Pernik, as well as municipalities adjacent to Stara Zagora. The government’s priority now is to get these already approved funds to the regions as quickly, efficiently and transparently as possible, and it is expected to preserve and create more than 15 000 jobs.

The approved funds over the next six years will finance activities to improve mining sites for industrial use, support workers following skills mapping, fund energy efficiency with a focus on vulnerable households, develop industrial parks and zones, develop component manufacturing and renewable electricity, and support the diversification of the economy through new enterprises. In the region of Stara Zagora will also be supported investments by large enterprises, as so far more than 20 companies have expressed preliminary interest.

Transparency of procedures will be ensured by involving stakeholders in regional sub-committees to monitor the programme. Financial support for all projects will be subject to detailed expert evaluation as part of open competitive procedures.

The Government secured the support of around BGN 2.3 billion after drafting, submitting and, after further negotiations, finalising the territorial plans for a fair transition within the timeframe provided for under European legislation. It should be recalled that about BGN 190 million for the three regions have already been lost due to inaction on these plans in the second half of 2022, despite the projects prepared. The plans were developed at an accelerated pace, in dialogue with stakeholders, including social partners, mine and combustion plant operators and the general public in the affected regions. They reflect the current investment intentions of the operators while operating on a market basis without restrictions from the state and enable regions and people to cope with the social, labour, economic and environmental impacts of the transition.

The plans are in line with the European Union’s energy and climate goals for 2030, including achieving a climate-neutral Union economy by 2050 based on the Paris Agreement.