Conditional approval of Bulgarian projects
The Financial Mechanism Committee has resumed approval of Bulgarian applications, on the condition that the Central Finance and Contracts Unit (CFCU) will be replaced by another implementing agency for the EEA Grants.
On 3 September 2008, payments to Bulgaria and the role of the CFCU in the implementation of the EEA Grants were suspended, following a European Commission decision to withdraw the accreditation of the CFCU and to suspend payments of some EU funds in Bulgaria. The EEA Grants to Bulgaria amount to €21.5 million, of which approximately €19.5 million are blocked.
As Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have reached an understanding with Bulgaria to replace the CFCU with another implementing agency, the FMC has resumed approving project applications in order to meet the commitment deadline of 30 April 2009. The necessary agreements on the replacement of the CFCU by a new implementing agency will have to be made before grant agreements are completed.
The Financial Mechanism Committee is the deciding body for the EEA Grants, with representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The Norway Grants for Bulgaria are managed separately by Innovation Norway and have not been subject to suspension.