On November 11, 2009 nine consultants approved by European funds founded the Bulgarian Association of Consultants in European programs (BAKEP). The organization’s aim to work to optimize the functioning of EU funds, such as to contribute as an effective partner to government and governing bodies in the management and implementation of programs. Important direction of efforts BAKEP is the imposition of transparent rules and combating corrupt practices in the functioning of European programs. The Association will provide expert assistance of highly public and private sectors for effective absorption of EU funds.
Chairman of the Board of the newly established association Krassimir Kiriakov said:
„More efficient functioning of the European programs mean more investment in businesses and municipalities, which will lead to overall improvement in the economy. We, consultants of applicants, we are aware of all the minor and major problems during the operation of programs and would like to contribute with expertise and experience to improve the capacity of reception in the administration and evaluation of projects. Only thoroughly familiar with the entire project cycle can appreciate how small technical points sometimes hamper the overall management of programs and repulsed by the use of business investment grant funding. Transparency is one of the most important factors that could defuse projects as poor and corrupt practices. “
The official founding meeting was attended by 30 of BAKEP advisory companies, had sent congratulations to the consultants Svetlin Tanchev, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs and control of EU funds; Yuliana Nikolova, Secretary of the Council for the Management of EU Funds; Hubenova Juliet, Advisor European programs, projects at the Ministry of Economy and Energy.
Suggestions for optimizing the management of EU funds
BAKEP experts have prepared a package of concrete proposals for more efficient operation of the OP Competitiveness and Development Program of rural areas have contributed, respectively, in the Ministry of Economy and Energy, and Agriculture Fund.
Some optimization proposals are related to the reduction of bureaucratic requirements, which in no way contribute to the evaluation of the project, but created unnecessary expense of time and resources for both administration and the beneficiaries. BAKEP offers greater transparency in terms and application procedures, the regular publication of lists of agreed projects and information about the approval process, publication of case studies based on the issues of beneficiaries to achieve full clarity regarding the criteria and evaluation of projects, and others.
BAKEP also believes it is necessary to broaden communication among beneficiaries with implementing agencies. Requirements for the implementation of projects under EU programs are sufficiently complex and compliance is almost impossible if the communication is limited to formal letters, which often occur with long delays. The consultants propose to establish points of guidance and clarification on the implementation of projects in reception hours, telephone and email, to avoid creating a vacuum in understanding the rules and to ensure successful implementation of contracts.
Practical example of unrealized possibility to optimize the intake of projects is how the administrative inspection completed projects can be made locally when submitting projects for 15 minutes, instead of being extended the full project cycle and to be loaded with the administration tasks that detract from the basic evaluation stage. Optimization of administrative controls that will prevent the frequent conflicts over whether it was granted or not a document of the applicant.
BAKEP will prepare and submit a package of proposals for optimization and other European programs operated by relying on cooperation and dialogue with the concerned governing bodies to ensure improvements in the organization of programs, yet to be announced before the next contests.