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Switzerland has made available CHF 1 billion for the countries that joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. Since 2009 Switzerland has also supported Bulgaria and Romania, which became EU members on 1 January 2007, with a total of 257 Millionen CHF. Croatia became the 28th member of the EU on 1 July 2013. Switzerland is also supporting this new EU member with the amount of CHF 45 million, as decided by Parliament in December 2014. The projects selected in the framework of this contribution will be implemented by 2024.

With this sum, Switzerland expresses its solidarity with the new EU members, which are making major efforts to reduce social and economic inequalities. The contribution is also a continuation of the technical and financial aid that Switzerland has provided since the beginning of the 1990s. The people of Switzerland approved the EU enlargement contribution on 26 November 2006 with 53% of the vote in favour.

The contribution to Bulgaria amounts to CHF 76 million. It is based on the Swiss-Bulgarian framework agreement of 7 September 2010, which sets priorities concerning areas of activity and governs procedures. Switzerland’s most important partner in Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Ministry of EU Funds Management, which functions as the National Coordination Unit. As a rule, all project applications are submitted via this point. Separate rules apply to the funds to be used for priority aspects of individual thematic areas.

The implementation of the programme in Bulgaria will be accompanied by the Swiss embassy in Sofia. The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) are responsible for approving projects.