EBRD boosts Bulgarian-Romanian cooperation in the water sector

BusinessSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 4/2016

EBRD boosts Bulgarian-Romanian cooperation in the water sector

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) organized a conference dedicated to the challenges and reforms in the water and wastewater infrastructures of Bulgaria and Romania. The conference was held in the Bulgarian village Starosel and brought together representatives of the EBRD, sanitation utilities, Bulgarian and Romanian national water associations and relevant ministries. Since both countries are in similar situation of facing the challenges of pre- and post EU accession obligations, the conference served as a forum share and exchange good practices in the adaptation of the new EU requirements.

The main focus of the discussions in the conference were the regionalization and consolidation of water service operators and their relationship with regional development associations, the implementation of EU directives, the absorption of EU funds, tariffs and water sector strategies.

"The Bulgarian water sector has been undergoing a major transformation in the past few years and this event provides a great opportunity for Bulgarian water operators and other stakeholders to share their experiences and learn from their Romanian counterparts. We believe that knowledge-sharing plays an important role in overcoming many of the challenges faced by the water sectors in our countries," said Ivan Ivanov, President of the Bulgarian Water Association, during the event.

The President of the Romanian Water Association Felix Stroe confirmed that the sharing of know-how was essential in the development and finding of optimal solutions in the field of water and wastewater systems and increase the access to services for Romanian citizens.

The EBRD has financed five regional water operators in Bulgaria, including the only private concessionaire in the sector, Sofiyska Voda, part of Veolia Group, and has invested more than EUR 70 million in water and waste water services in the country. In Romania, the bank has financed 24 regional water operations under the Romania EU Cohesion Fund Water Co-Financing Framework (R2CF).