Bulgarian systems for controlling the spending of European funds will be tested for their ability to conflict of interest. This was announced by the Director General of the Secretariat of the European Commission Mark Lemmer to the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament on Friday.
“It is not published in the plans after next year by four countries – Poland, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta,” Lemaître said, answering the question of how the Commission controls the spending of European funds.
The Director announces that the four countries have been selected on the basis of a risk assessment. He pointed out that Poland is included, as the largest receives funding for cohesion funds in the EU. Cyprus and Malta will be followed up to analyze the largest beneficiaries of European funds, which show a high concentration of funds to several large private recipients. The Commission wants to check whether this is not a breach of the rules. No specific reason is given for inclusion in Bulgaria in a group of inspected countries. The audits will be done on site in 2022.
Mark Lemaître told lawmakers that the Czech Republic was likely to take the case of Prime Minister Andrei Babis to the European Court of Justice, in which European commissions found a conflict of interest.
After heading the Czech government in 2017, Babis transferred to two trust funds managing his holding company Agrofet – only one of the largest recipients of European funds in the country. The evaluation of the European Commission and the investigation of OLAF established, although it continues to exercise control over the management of the funds and thus was in a conflict of interest. Babish denies the allegations. The European Commission, although announcing in August, will not present facts about the European projects of the Czech beneficiaries with the holding structure, which as control mechanisms in the country are not able to release the availability of a conflict of interest.
With regard to Lemaître, Brussels and Prague differed differently from the Czech conflict of interest law, which was passed precisely because of Babis.
“Apparently, the Czech Republic wants to postpone the case to the Council of the EU. Let’s see if they will. In the meantime, measures are being taken to avoid funding and confirmation is awaited in order to systematize the control that will use our interpretation of Czech law, “Mark Lemaître told MEPs.