European Commission Drops Fines Over Deputies Possible Conflict Of Interest

European Commission

Prague, Aug 31 (CTK) – The European Commission decided that the Czech Republic would not pay any fines because of possible conflict of interest of deputies sitting on supervisory board of the State Agricultural Intervention Fund (SZIF), the fund’s spokeswoman Vladimira Novakova told CTK today.


The MPs in question are Jaroslav Faltynek (ANO) and former deputies Ladislav Velebny (Social Democrats, CSSD) and Petr Kudela (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL).


The Commission wanted the country to return about Kc22m in European subsidies.


The EC was upset that, as a SZIF supervisory board member, Faltynek was in charge of distribution of subsidies and was simultaneously a member of the board of directors of Agrofert, a group engaged in agriculture and drawing subsidies.


The EC criticised SZIF two years ago that it failed to take measures to avoid conflict of interest of its supervisory board members. The Czech Republic did not agree with it, saying the fact that SZIF supervisory board members are sitting on statutory boards in companies using EU money does not constitute conflict of interest.


“SZIF considers the verdict a success,” said Novakova.


Since the very beginning the fund’s representatives had defended a position that the SZIF supervisory board has a specific status, being separated from all administrative processes and impossible to influence checking, approving and covering of any subsidy claims, Novakova said.