European UnionThe Phare Programme is a pre-accession financial instrument of the European Union (EU) for cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries to support their transition to market oriented economy and their accession to EU ( ).

The overall objective of the Phare Programme is to support candidate countries in their preparation for EU accession.

Financial assistance under Phare program is allocated as grant. Every year the funds are being agreed and approved in a Financing Agreement1, signed between EU and Bulgaria, regulating the institutional and administrative framework for the implementation of the projects. The implementation of the projects begins after the signature of the Financing Agreement for the relevant year.

After Bulgaria’s accession to EU on 01.01.2007 the country is a full-fledged Member of EU and will get assistance from the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund. The programming under Phare as a pre-accession financial instrument will cease as from 2007. The implementation and management of the not yet completed projects (for 2005 and 2006) will continue until their finalization.

The “successor” of the Phare Programme for Bulgaria as a full-fledged Member of EU is the Transition Facility. The main objective of the Transition Facility is to continue providing financial support to develop and strengthen the administrative and judicial capacity in areas where activities cannot be financed under the Structural Funds or the agricultural funds.

1 Until the 2004 Phare Programming (inclusive) Financial Memoranda were signed, which in line with the provisions of Regulation No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities were renamed to Financing Agreements (since Phare 2005)

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