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10.05.2011 14:53
Successful PPP: Is It Possible in Bulgaria?
Evgeni Kanev presented his new book about provision of public services in partnership with the private sector
AUTHOR: Atanas Georgiev

  • Evgeni Kanev, Ralitsa Kovacheva, and Vladimir Shopov

Can we have successful public-private partnership (PPP) in Bulgaria? This was the main question during the open discussion “Policies and models for PPP in EU: how to make them work in Bulgaria?”, organized by the European Strategies and Policies Institute (ESPI) and euinside today in Sofia. A new book by Evgeni Kanev, PhD, was also presented during the event - “Public-Private Partnership. Principles, Models, and Policies for Private Provision of Public Services”.

Vladimir Shopov, co-founder and chairman of ESPI, said, that still the change in Bulgaria’s attitude toward the EU is slow and not visible enough. According to him, we could even see some Bulgarian form of Euro-skepticism - we value the benefits of the membership in the form of free travel and education but in the same time do not try to participate actively into the forming of EU’s common policies. Still there is no single structure for management of the relations between the EU and Bulgaria, and the clerks from the state administration consider EU resources as a “golden share” that can provide some instruments for influence.

Evgeni Kanev made a review of PPP and stressed on how they can be useful for the provision of public services in Bulgaria. Dr. Kanev cited European Commission’s data, showing that only EU’s transport infrastructure will need an investment of 13 trillion EUR until 2030 in order to provide competitiveness on global level against US, China, and other economic leaders. A large part of these funds should be provided by the private sector, at least because of the requirements for fiscal discipline - budget deficits on national level should be kept below 3% and national debts should be no more than 60% of GDP. We could add to this also the unwillingness of tax payers to suffer larger taxes for receiving higher level of public services, Kanev added.

If we have to make a synthesis of PPP, they offer the highest efficiency and an affordable social price, Kanev concluded, and identified the most suitable fields for PPP application - public services with private users. These services are excludable and include roads, utilities, administration, etc. Defence and police for instance are non-excludable and thus they are not suitable for private provision. Kanev added that currently with public procurement procedures in Bulgaria all risks remain within the state. With PPP a significant part of these risks could be transferred to the private provider.

Later on during the discussion some participants added that most of the risks in PPP in Bulgaria remain for the state and the private sector succeeds in getting a large degree of security. The failed concession for Trakia Highway was given as an example, because the risk for insufficient traffic was taken by the state. Some successful PPP were given as an example by Dr. Kanev himself - the Fraport concession for the Burgas and Varna airports, the Bansko winter resort, and Sofiyska Voda’s water concession in the capital city of Sofia. Some of the participants in the discussion - Petko Kovachev from Green Policy Institute and Velko Ivanov from European Movement Bulgaria opposed this and pointed out some problems in all three examples.

TAGS: PPP | Evgeni Kanev | partnership | euinside | ESPI | Ralitsa Kovacheva | Vladimir Shopov | Petko Kovachev | Sofiyska voda | Bansko | Fraport 

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