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CEB approves € 200 million loan to Bulgaria to co-finance national operational programmes

20 June 2016

PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved a € 200 million EU Co-financing facility (ECF) for Bulgaria. The loan will be used for the partial financing of the investment priorities of the EU Partnership Agreement with Bulgaria, adopted in July 2014. 

The purpose of the loan is to help Bulgaria maximise the benefits of the European Structural and Investment Funds, which were granted for the period 2014-2020 in order to address the country’s social investment needs, advance economic development, and reduce regional imbalances. 

Three national operational programmes will benefit from CEB funds, in the areas of human resources development, science and education, and regional development. 

More specifically, the operational programme “Human Resources Development” aims to promote high-quality employment, reduce the risk of poverty, and strengthen social inclusion, equal opportunities and non-discrimination. 

The objective of the operational programme “Science and Education for Smart Growth” is to improve access to quality education, lifelong learning and vocational training, boost the country’s research potential, and promote inclusive education. 

The focus of the operational programme “Regions in Growth” is regional development, with a focus on eliminating regional inequalities and ensuring territorial cohesion across the country. 

This is the first loan that the CEB grants directly to the Bulgarian government in more than ten years. The beneficiaries of this ECF will be public and private entities benefiting from the European Structural and Investment Funds, such as ministries, municipalities, public organisations, public, private and public-private enterprises, and non-governmental organisations. 

CEB funds will help to ensure the smooth implementation of the national operational programmes. They are expected to make a significant contribution to promoting regional development, reducing disparities between regions, and strengthening Bulgaria’s economic and social cohesion.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.

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