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Funding for Romania and Bulgaria agreed

Parliament has approved funding of SFr257 million ($252 million) for Romania and Bulgaria as a contribution towards cohesion in the expanding European Union.

The Senate on Monday followed the House of Representatives in granting financial support despite opposition by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party.

Romania will gain the bulk of the money – SFr181 million – and the remainder will go to Bulgaria.

The money will be used for the promotion of private companies, infrastructure and environment projects.

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said Switzerland had “every interest in seeing these two countries integrated, because it strengthens stability, security and prosperity on the European continent, from which the Swiss also benefit”.

Radical party Senator Dick Marty said the programmes would be managed jointly with local partners to ensure that the money is spent according to the rules.

He added that corruption and bad governance existed in the two countries.

Voters three years ago approved a funding package for new EU countries in central and eastern Europe.

Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but it has concluded more than 20 major bilateral accords with its main trading partner. and agencies


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