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The adopted opinion "ESC Proposals regarding the preparation of a Recovery and Resilience Plan of the Republic of Bulgaria" contains a number of recommendations for improving the draft of this plan. The opinion expresses the positions of organised civil society in the context of the large-scale recovery plan of the European Union in response to the crisis caused by COVID-19 - NEXT Generation EU, as well as in the context of the Mechanism for Recovery and Resilience, which can finance long-term reforms and investment in common EU priorities.

ESC considers the first version of the Plan for Recovery and Resilience of the Republic of Bulgaria (NRRP) as an initial framework in which specific reforms and investment projects with relevant indicators for implementation are to be added. ESC notes that the dimensions of the set final goals and objectives need to be more specific, including impact assessment and statistical information.

ESC is disappointed that in its active participation in the consultations on the NDP "Bulgaria 2030" it has appealed for such specific parameters of the targets and indicators, but its positions are not taken into account in the adopted vision. In the current draft NRRP, the objectives are similar to those of the NDP, but again lack sufficient specific indicators and assessments. ESC points out that as of the date of adoption of this opinion, the NDP "Bulgaria 2030" has not yet been adopted. The ten-year programme represents the macroeconomic framework of specific goals and direction of economic development for the next ten years and is an important guideline, when defining specific economic policies within the NRRP. ESC believes that the Plan should be closely linked to all other national strategy documents and priorities should be identical.

The opinion emphasises the leading role of convergence in the implementation of the European project NEXT Generation EU. In this context, ESC proposes to include in the NRRP a summative indicator that reflects the convergence of the country in real terms relative to the average European levels of income and GDP.

The opinion also pays serious attention to the specific recommendations for Bulgaria within the European Semester for 2019-2020 and insists that the NRRP should comply with and respond to these recommendations.

ESC insists on full transparency of the process for preparation, updating and implementation of the NRRP. According to ESC, it is necessary to publish clear information on all project proposals included in the plan and to clearly distinguish between public investment projects and public-private partnerships. ESC requires specific information on the opportunities for participation (priorities and projects) of economic sectors and enterprises in the plan, including disclosure of clear rules regarding procedures and application documents, definition of clear and measurable parameters for monitoring the used funds and the achieved results.

ESC's opinion comprehensively analyses the NRRP and makes constructive proposals on all challenges to be addressed. ESC believes that the positions of organised civil society will be taken into account in the process of preparation of the NRRP in order to achieve the best development and sustainability of our society. Last but not least, ESC notes that the time for preparation of the NRRP is short and must be responded to very quickly, including through a broad dialogue with all stakeholders.