Bulgaria’s Frozen EU Funds

The unfreezing of blocked EU funding

€825 million EU funding frozen. Our client, the Republic of Bulgaria, being misunderstood. In 2008 the EU imposed onerous penalties on our client, the Republic of Bulgaria.
€825 million of pre-accession funds were frozen. It was a response to its alleged failure to combat corruption, organized crime and misuse of EU funds. Funds worth up to €7 billion over the next six years were also at risk. The Bulgarian government turned to Alber & Geiger for help.

The voice of government in Brussels

ag-wins-map-sofia-brussels An unprecedented challenge had suddenly come about from a new brand of mutual misunderstanding. The Bulgarian government did not ascertain optimally the expectations and way of thinking of the EU institutions. Similarly, the Commission failed to empathize for the processes of Bulgarian institutions. In the words of Professor Alber, the firm operated as a ‘communication belt’, channeling the correspondence of national with supranational institutions to prevent them talking past each other. Alber & Geiger’s multi-faceted approach was no public relations exercise. It involved sophisticated legal analysis calibrated through a dynamic, institution sensitive political communications strategy. It incorporated practical considerations like staff changes in the Bulgarian government as well as larger semantic and structural reasons for misunderstandings.

Trust recovered and EU funds released

High end solutions for high end problems
Gergana Grancharova- Minister of EU Affairs, Government of Bulgaria
The result was the unfreezing of the €500 million in EU funds and the de-jeopardizing of the rest of the €7 billion. Alber & Geiger was able to act as an enzyme in connecting the European Commission and the Bulgarian government in a way that helped restores trust and confidence in EU accession process. The firm also managed to be an indispensable instrument in the multi-layered legal reality in which our clients and we now live and communicate.