Between them, the two countries have earmarked €3.1 billion to support nature conservation-related activities in the current financing period 2007-13. It is not an insignificant amount, and is much needed. The money could be available for a wide variety of uses, from supporting farmers to care for mountain meadows to funding construction of visitor facilities in national parks.
Unfortunately, Bulgaria and Romania have a poor record in protecting their natural riches.
The European Commission has kept up pressure on both countries to move forward with identification and designation of sites to be included in the EU’s Natura 2000 network of specially protected sites.
But some of these sites are being destroyed in the meantime. Fed by strong investment interest from home buyers and holiday makers from Western Europe, especially from the UK, plans are moving forward to expand ski facilities and resorts in the core zones of Pirin and Rila National Parks in Bulgaria.