Operational Programme "Science and education for smart growth" 2014-2020 is completely new for Bulgaria, as there wasn’t such in the previous programming period. The Programme aims to support scientific excellence, including measures for encouraging the new generations of highly qualified specialists not to leave the country. The Programme facilitates the cooperation between business and science and revises the career development system. Higher competitiveness of the economy will be achieved through actions within the Programme’s 4 priority axes:

Priority Axis 1: Scientific researches and technological development

Priority Axis 2: Education and life-long learning

Priority Axis 3: Educational environment for active social inclusion

Priority Axis 4: Technical Assistance

Sample eligible activities:

  • Supporting the establishment and development of centers of excellence and competence centers, incl. renovation of buildings, facilities and equipment purchase;
  • Supporting the modernization of research infrastructure and educational research laboratories in science institutes and universities for conducting research in fields that are relevant to regional and national economic and social challenges;
  • Establishment and modernization of regional research infrastructures, incl. unique collections and archives and regional partner facilities / distributed nodes of the Pan-European scientific centers, identified in the European Roadmap for Research Infrastructure


Public and private research organizations, institutes, laboratories, R&D businesses
(including BAS and SSA), universities and / or their main units, centers of excellence, competence centers, MES and secondary administrators, the Executive Agency "Electronic Communication Networks and Information Systems" (EA ECNIS).

Cross Border Cooperation Programmes applicable to Bulgaria are 5 – one programme for cooperation with any neighboring country, incl. the Danube partnership involving all countries along the Danube.

Bulgaria-Romania Cross Border Programme

Bulgaria-Greece Cross Border Programme

Bulgaria-Serbia IPA Cross Border Programme

Bulgaria-Macedonia IPA Cross Border Programme

Bulgaria-Turkey IPA Cross Border Programme

Black Sea Cross Border Cooperation Programme

Danube Transnational Programme

The Programme is aligned with the priorities of the European Fund for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, incl. aquacultures, employment and territorial cohesion, marketing, processing, promoting the implementation of the Common policy on fisheries and the Integrated Maritime Policy.

The total financial resources for the implementation of the Programme are 113,543,227 EUR.

Significant financial resources will be directed to the improvement of infrastructure in fishing ports, piers for unloading and boat shelters. Moreover, the Programme provides measures for adding value to products and increasing their quality.

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Programme 2014-2020 incudes 6 priorities and the accordingly eligible projects are divided into 23 measures.

Priority 1: Promoting environmentally sustainable, innovative, competitive and knowledge-based fisheries characterized by efficient use of resources.

Measure 1.1. Diversification and new forms of income
Measure 1.2. Health and safety
Measure 1.3. Permanent cessation of fishing activities
Measure 1.4. Restraint of the impact of fishing on the marine environment and adapting fishing activities to the protection of species.

Measure 1.5. Innovations relating to the conservation of marine biological resources.
Measure 1.6. Preservation and restoration of marine biodiversity and ecosystems and compensation regimes within the framework of sustainable fishing activities.

Measure 1.7. Added value, product quality and use of unwanted catch.
Measure 1.8. Fishing ports, piers, fish markets and boat shelters.
Measure 1.9. Internal waters and aquatic flora and fauna in internal waters.

Priority 2: Promoting environmentally sustainable, innovative, competitive and knowledge-based aquaculture characterized by efficient use of resources.

Measure 2.1. Innovations
Measure 2.2. Productive investments in aquaculture.
Measure 2.3. Encouraging new producers, developing sustainable aquaculture.
Measure 2.4. Switching to schemes for environmental management and auditing and to organic aquaculture.
Measure 2.5. Aquacultures providing environmental services

Priority 3: Promoting the implementation of Common policy in the field of Fisheries

Measure 3.1. Control and Implementation.
Measure 3.2. Data collection

Priority 4: Increasing employment and territorial cohesion

Measure 4.1. Support for strategies for community-led local development (CLLD)
Measure 4.2. Implementation of strategies for CLLD

Priority 5: Promotion of marketing and processing.

Measure 5.1. Production and marketing plans
Measure 5.2. Storage aid
Measure 5.3. Marketing
Measure 5.4. Processing of fishery products and aquaculture.

Priority 6: Promoting the implementation of the Integrated Maritime Policy

Eligible applicants:

Recognized scientific and technical bodies; Public legal authorities; Merchants or legal persons registered under the Bulgarian Commerce Act or the Cooperatives Act operating in the fisheries sector; Legal persons registered under the Law on non-profit entities; Fishing organizations or other collective beneficiaries; organizations of producers

Operational Programme "SME Initiative" aims to improve the access to debt financing for SMEs in Bulgaria. The strategy of the operational programme, as part of the implementation of the European structural and investment funds (ESIS) in Bulgaria in accordance with the Partnership Agreement for the period 2014-2020, is closely linked to the objectives for growth and employment and the Bulgaria’s contribution to achieving the objectives of the strategy "Europe 2020".

The new programme will use the experience gained through the implementation of the JEREMIE Initiative in Bulgaria during the 2007-2013 programming period. It will facilitate the access to finance for SMEs by providing guarantees with combination of resources from Horizon 2020, COSME and the ERDF, in cooperation with EIB / EIF, in order to generate additional lending to SMEs.

The Programme’s Managing Authority is the General Directorate "European Funds for Competitiveness" at the Ministry of Economy. The budget of the new operational programme is 102 million EUR, provided by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund and it does not require national co-financing. The financial resources will be obtained from Axis 2 of OP "Competitiveness and Innovations" 2014-2020, provided for the implementation of financial instruments. The loans portfolios will be guaranteed not only by the Programme, but also by resources from COSME / HORIZON 2020 and with the resources of the European Investment Fund and the European Investment Bank.

Within the SME Initiative Bulgaria will implement one warranty product. The product includes unlimited guarantees to financial intermediaries for new portfolios of debt financing to eligible SMEs, offered under more favorable conditions than these under the Operational Programme "Competitiveness and Innovations" 2014-2020. Negotiations for the Financing Agreement between the Managing Authority and the European Investment Fund, which will set out the specific conditions and requirements for participation in the SME Initiative, are currently in an advanced stage.

The SME Initiative is a joint programme of the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, which main objective is the rapid increase in lending to SMEs at EU level and achievement of a significant impact on SMEs, economic growth, employment and strengthening the contribution of the European structural and investment funds (ESIS) to the instruments at EU level.