European Commission suspends subsidies to Agrofert, recognizing complaint of Czech chapter
TI Czech Republic welcomes Commissioner Günther Oettinger’s announcement at the European Parliament's Strasbourg plenary session yesterday that the European Commission will not pay any subsidies to Agrofert until Prime Minister Andrej Babiš's conflict of interests have been resolved.
Babiš founded Agrofert, and remains the ultimate beneficiary of two trusts that own it. With yesterday’s decision, the Commission fully acknowledges the complaint that Transparency International Czech Republic (TICZ) submitted in early September. This confirms that our arguments and the evidence presented were fully justified.
The Commissioner added that all Agrofert subsidies since Babiš's entry into politics will be audited, starting in January 2019. The audits will be carried out by all relevant Directorate Generals and the results will be submitted by mid-April 2019. This means that the investigation will be completed by the end of the mandate of this Commission.
"It's an important victory for justice, and ensuring that the rules apply to everyone,” said David Ondráčka, Executive Director of TICZ and member of global TI Board. “Transparency International Czech Republic has taken the matter to the European level, where decisions are not biased by domestic rhetoric and local patronage."
Transparency International will closely follow the issue further both at the Czech and European level, to ensure that the conflict of interest of the Prime Minister are resolved and the ineligible subsidies are compensated for.
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