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Brussels approves Bulgaria’s reconstruction spending plan – POLITICO

The European Commission on Thursday officially approved Bulgaria’s recovery plan under the bloc’s €800 billion post-pandemic bailout fund.

The plan includes 47 reforms and 56 investments to be funded with €6.27 billion in grants over the next five years, which the Commission says should add 1.9 to 2.9 percent of additional GDP growth by 2026.

The country is one of the last to get the green light from Brussels, largely due to its political turmoil, which resulted in three general elections in 2021, prompting several rewrites of the plan.

The news comes as plans from Poland and Hungary remain pending while Brussels seeks further guarantees on judicial independence and corruption issues respectively. The Netherlands has not yet submitted theirs.

The plan allocates €3.7 billion – nearly 60 percent of the plan’s total resources – to decarbonizing the economy, including tripling renewable energy by 2026. It would also reduce emissions from the power sector by 40 percent by 2025 compared to 2019 levels .

The plan also puts 2038 as the phase-out date for coal power, but does not provide details on the decommissioning of lignite-fired power plants.

In addition, the plan includes anti-corruption measures, including reforms to “ensure the accountability and criminal liability of the attorney general”, strengthening anti-corruption watchdogs, improving competition in public tenders and the governance of state-owned companies, according to the EU executive called.

The Council now has one month to confirm the Commission’s positive assessment.

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