The European Union pursues a policy of economic and social cohesion aimed at reducing the disparities between the economic and social development of individual regions and encouraging their development and structural change. The bases for implementing this policy are outlined in the Community Strategic Guidelines adopted in July 2005. They integrate EU priorities into national and regional development programs based on the priorities of the Lisbon Strategy.

Following its accession to the EU in 2007, the Republic of Bulgaria will receive substantial financial resources for the period 2007-2013, mainly from three funds – the European Regional Development Fund ( ERDF ), the European Social Fund ( ESF ) and the Cohesion Fund.

The overall priorities for the development of the country and the overall vision for the absorption of the funds are contained in the National Strategic Reference Framework ( NSRF ) developed by the Agency for Economic Analysis and Forecasting and the Central Coordination Unit – Directorate ” EU Funds Management “, Ministry of Finance . The NSRF contains a description of the strategy of the Member State and the guidelines for its operational implementation.

The NSRF includes operational programs that describe in detail the problems in a given sphere, the priorities and the objectives to be achieved through the assistance from the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund. Responsible for the development, negotiation with the European Commission and the implementation of the Operational Programs are the Managing Authorities of the respective programs.