Minister of Labor and Social Policy Hasan Ademov reported on the current status and the progress in the implementation of the Operational Programme "Human Resources Development" 2007 - 2013, and on the priorities for the next programming period 2014 - 2020 in front of the MPs of the sector committee. According to the data presented at the end of March this year the total contracted amount is 99.8 percent of the total programme budget. Paid so far is BGN 1,588 billion or 66.9% of the allocated resource.
Ademov noted that according to the financial plan of the Operational Programme "Human Resources Development" by the end of 2014 the minimum of cumulative expenditures to be certified is EUR 735.3 million. According to data as of March 21, 2014 the amount of certified expenditure for the period January 1, 2007 - December 9, 2013 as European co-financing is EUR 554,1 million. The Minister of Labor and Social Policy said that in order to avoid the so-called automatic release of funds, the required effort on the Bulgarian side should be directed to the certification of another EUR 151.7 million.
In the framework of the programming period a total of over 1,870 million people participated in the activities under the programme. The physical progress achieved shows that more than 100,000 persons were employed and more than 400,000 people benefited from various forms of training to enhance their professional skills and help them acquire key competencies. 580,000 people have been supported in the field of education. More than 65,000 Bulgarian citizens have received support in the form of social services.
Minister of Labor and Social Policy Hasan Ademov specified that in order to improve efficiency, three main directions were included in the strategy of Operational Programme "Human Resources Development" 2014-2020 - higher and more qualitative employment, reduction of poverty, and promotion of social inclusion and modernization of public policies in the labor market, health, non-discrimination, equal opportunities etc.
The total funding for the programme in Bulgaria is almost EUR 895 million. Ademov added that this amount also includes earmarked funds from the EU budget within EUR 55 million for the Youth Employment Initiative. EUR 549 million is provided for the employment support policy and 270 million - for supporting social inclusion. 38 million is provided for modernization of the institutions in the labor market, social inclusion and healthcare. Identical is the allocation for technical assistance. 17 million are needed for transnational cooperation.
The Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Labor and Social Policy in the 42nd National Assembly Georgi Gyokov said that extensive work was done on the absorption of funds under Operational Programme "Human Resources Development" as a very large number of contracts were signed for small amounts. He called to consider employment and not to forget the people in pre-retirement age. I notice you talk more about the share of money absorbed or the risk of loosing funds rather than considering the effect upon the labor market and people with special needs, Gyokov said.
The MP from GERB Parliamentary Group Totyu Mladenov concluded that the Operational Programme "Human Resources Development" has been in implementation under the three governments and is undoubtedly successful. According to him, 2014 is very risky because it is an intermediate year. Mladenov expressed his hope that the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy will do its best to link the two programming periods even at the expense of national co-financing.