Operational Programme 'Environment'

Under the Convergence objective co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund (CF)


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On the 7 November 2007, the European Commission approved a sectoral operational programme in Bulgaria for the period 2007-2013. The Operational Programme "Environment" involves Community support for the whole national territory within the framework of the "Convergence" objective. The total budget of the programme is around € 1.8 billion and the Community assistance through the ERDF amounts to € 439 million and through the Cohesion Fund, it amounts to € 1.027 billion (approximately 22 % of the total EU money invested in Bulgaria under the Cohesion policy 2007-2013).

1. The purpose and aim of the EU investment

The Operational Programme “Environment” (OP Environment) is the main programme document of the implementation of the national environmental policy. The purpose of the support within this framework is to protect and preserve the natural resources of Bulgaria and to improve the state of environment throughout the country.

Investments in environmental infrastructure are strongly connected to sustainable economic growth and job creation. They also contribute to promoting convergence and increasing the competitiveness of regions. The programme will also contribute to the preservation and restoration of Bulgarian rich biodiversity and will help to improve the implementation capacity of the local stakeholders.

2. Expected impact of the investments

By 2013, the programme plans to have realised 65 new or rehabilitated waste water treatment plants serving an additional 1.845.000 people, and 22 integrated waste management systems serving an additional 3.5 million people.

3. Priorities

The overall objective of the OP is "to improve the quality of life of the population in the country through ensuring healthy and favourable environment and to preserve the rich natural heritage on the basis of sustainable development of the country". It concentrates on the completion of the requirements of the environmental acquis (EU law), which is considered a pre-requisite for improved living standards and the attractiveness for growth-inducing investments in the country. The overall objectives will be achieved through four prioritιes (including Technical Assistance):

Priority 1. Improvement and development of water and wastewater infrastructure

The objective of this priority is the preservation and improvement of the environmental conditions of the water in the country by improving water supply and wastewater infrastructure to the standards required by European directives. This priority will aim at the construction/modernization of water sources intended for drinking water abstraction, the extension and rehabilitation of water and sewerage networks, the construction and rehabilitation of water and wastewater treatment plants and will also cover the technical assistance for project preparation. Projects supported by this priority will follow integrated water management cycle.

Priority 2. Improvement and development of waste treatment infrastructure

The objective is to improve the environment by enabling the respect of European Directives on solid waste and development of sustainable waste management systems, respecting the integrated waste management flow (prevention, utilization/sorting/recycling) and final treatment. The programme will improve waste management facilities and will reduce the number of historically contaminated sites.

The priority will support regionalised waste management plans.

Priority 3. Preservation and restoration of biodiversity

The objectives are the conservation of biological diversity, natural habitats, wild species of fauna and flora as well as the efficient management of protected areas.

Priority 4. Technical assistance

The objective of this priority axis is to successfully and efficiently implement the programme (support to management, communication activities, evaluation etc.).

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Environment'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Improvement and development of water and wastewater infrastructure in settlements with over 2000 PE and in settlements bellow 2000 PE within urban agglomeration areas (CF) 1 027 366 273 256 841 568 1 284 207 841
Improvement and development of waste treatment infrastructure (ERDF) 311 732 038 55 011 536 366 743 574
Preservation and restoration of biodiversity (ERDF) 87 811 841 15 496 207 103 308 048
Technical assistance (ERDF) 39 515 329 6 973 293 46 488 622
Total 1 466 425 481 334 322 604 1 800 748 085