SOFIA, January 19, 2012―World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Philippe Le Houérou,* will visit Bulgaria on January 20-23. He will be joined by Ruud Treffers**, Executive Director for Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Israel, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Romania, and Ukraine, at the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.
During the visit, the World Bank Vice President, along with the Bulgarian Minister of Management of European Union (EU) Funds, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Bulgaria and the World Bank on partnership and support in the implementation of the EU Structural Instruments. The document follows the strategic framework of the MoU for stepping up cooperation in development of Bulgaria’s infrastructure, signed by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick on August 10, 2010. The new MoU further defines the role of the World Bank as a provider of knowledge and advisory services to Bulgaria as a European Union Member state.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, Vice President Wilhelm Molterer of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Vice President Jan Fischer of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are expected to join the signing ceremony. The EIB will sign a parallel MoU with the government, with EBRD expected to also sign an MoU in the coming weeks.
“As a committed and long-standing partner to Bulgaria, the World Bank is honored to be selected by the Bulgarian Government as one of its partners of choice for knowledge and advisory services,” said Philippe Le Houérou, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, in advance of his trip. "Bulgaria has achieved a great deal in the last decade, but daunting challenges remain in these turbulent times for Europe. In the World Bank, we believe in Bulgaria’s evolving European role and would be glad, together with other partners, to help improve expertise and knowledge on how to most effectively implement EU structural funds, as these present a great opportunity for public investments to enhance growth."
While in Bulgaria, Le Houérou and Treffers, together with the vice presidents of the EIB and EBRD, will attend the Bulgarian Presidential Inauguration Ceremony on January 22. Le Houérou will also meet other members of the Bulgarian government, as well as EU diplomatic representatives to further discuss Bulgaria’s prospects and challenges. In addition, the World Bank Regional Vice President, together with Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, will open a two-day conference called “Managing for Results: Effective Monitoring and Evaluation of the National Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria for Roma Integration (2012-2020)”.
The new World Bank Partnership Strategy for Bulgaria (CPS) was launched in May 2011, aiming at support for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth. The program for the period 2011-2013 focuses on effective use of EU funds and tailored knowledge support.