The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper focuses on EU structural and cohesion funds assistance to Bulgaria during the 2007-13 program period. Initial weaknesses resulted in a low absorption rate, which was mitigated by increasing advance payments; applying electronic application and reporting procedures; simplifying and unifying tender processes; and strengthening the role of international financial institutions and banks in project preparation, evaluation and monitoring. The possible impact on growth and potential output is briefly discussed, while the risks of improper absorption are acknowledged. Valuable lessons have been learned, but it is recommended that additional steps be taken for the next program period 2014-20.