site.btaEC: Recovery and Resilience Plan May Be Revised Only in Exceptional Cases

EC: Recovery and Resilience Plan May Be Revised Only in Exceptional Cases
EC: Recovery and Resilience Plan May Be Revised Only in Exceptional Cases
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The European Commission is aware of the January 12 decision of the Bulgarian Parliament regarding a revision of the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience and of the position of the President, a Commission Spokesperson said on Monday, answering a question. The Commission has not received yet a formal request from the Bulgarian authorities to revise the national plan, the Spokesperson said.

In line with Article 21 of the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation, once the EU Council has approved a Plan, only in exceptional cases may a Member State revise the Plan and request an amendment. Then the Member State would have to demonstrate that it can no longer implement part of its Plan or the entire Plan due to objective circumstances, the Spokesperson said.

The Commission is willing to discuss the implementation of individual milestones or targets which are no longer achievable due to objective circumstances and would need to be revised. This would require a rigorous case-by-case assessment by the Commission together with the Member State.

A revised Plan would still need to comply with all the assessment criteria under the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation, and these include, for example, compliance with the 37% expenditure on climate, and the need for the Plan to address a significant set of country-specific recommendations. In the case of Bulgaria, this includes the recommendation of a progressive de-carbonization of the economy, the Spokesperson said.

Given that Bulgaria's Plan was approved in May 2022, the focus should be on its implementation. It contains large and significant investments and transformative sectorial reforms in the energy sector which are fully compatible with the REPowerEU goals, which are to phase out the EU's dependence on Russian fossil fuels, the Spokesperson said. So the Bulgarian Plan will provide a significant contribution to its delivery. For example, the Plan includes a reform to cut greenhouse gas emissions of the power sector by 40% by 2025. These reforms go hand in hand with important investments in renewables and energy storage. Under the Plan, financial support for greening the energy sector amounts to over EUR 2 billion.

Bulgaria is the most carbon-intensive economy of the EU and clear commitments to address country-specific recommendations on de-carbonization were a decisive element to approve the Bulgarian Plan.

The Recovery and Resilience Facility, together with other EU instruments, contributes more than EUR 5 billion in financial support for the de-carbonization of the Bulgarian energy system, leading to a just and fair transition and ensuring that no citizen is left behind, the Spokesperson said.

Once a Member State has requested or submitted a request to revise its Plan, this will not impact the pending payment requests or the overall amount to which a Member State is committed during the period of assessment. A whole process is foreseen for the approval of a revision of a Plan, which is basically a mirror process of the submission of a new Plan.

In other words, the Commission and the EU Council will have several months to pronounce on the requested revisions.

The government's response to Parliament's decision last week

On January 13, Prime Minister Galab Donev said Deputy Prime Minister for EU Funds Atanas Pekanov would start talks this week with the European Commission on what procedure will follow the Bulgarian Parliament's decision mandating the Council of Ministers to revise the provisions of the Recovery and Resilience Plan on the phasing out of coal energy.

On the same day, Pekanov said on Bulgarian National Television: "Due to the constantly changing energy situation, this year and most likely the next, it seems very difficult to fulfill the goals that have been set - a 10% reduction in emissions from coal plants for this year."

The current energy situation has led to extremely high positive financial results for Bulgarian coal plants, in contrast to the years before 2021. Also, Bulgaria exports electricity to neighbouring countries and in this sense helps the Balkan Peninsula's energy system, added Pekanov. He pointed out that during the talks with the EC, he will request to drop the requirement for a 40% reduction in harmful emissions for this and the next year, and alternatives will be proposed.




By 23:00 on 31.03.2023 Today`s news

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