EU: Will we learn from the newspapers about the corruption in Bulgaria?
Brussels criticizes US sees corruption and names, EU closes eyes. The European Commission and OLAF (EU’s anti-fraud office) have been sharply criticized tonight for failing to protect the EU’s interests against EU fraud. in Bulgaria. MEPs from the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control exchanged views with representatives of the two institutions on how to control “shared management of EU funds” in Bulgaria.
The “green” MP from Germany Daniel Freund, who was in Bulgaria last year especially on the occasion of the street protests, asked Brussels: “Should we read newspapers to understand how EU funds are stolen in Bulgaria? Why does the United States see corruption there, and the EU doesn’t see her? ” He listed some of the latest scandalous revelations about the misuse of public funds, such as the financing of fictitious dam repairs and the distribution of money by the Bulgarian Bank for Development to pro-government oligarchs instead of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Representatives of the EU and OLAF assured MEPs that they “closely monitor” the processes in Bulgaria and conduct audits to detect irregularities with European funds, but admitted that they rely mainly on the assistance of the Bulgarian authorities, although they are at the bottom of the problem of arbitrary distribution of European money. As for the lack of convicted persons, OLAF explained that the Bulgarian criminal law prosecutes only individuals and not legal entities, which are in fact the beneficiaries. The European Commission reported on the “guest houses”, which were under investigation and a refund was pending.
Two Bulgarian MEPs spoke. Tsvetelina Penkova from the BSP drew attention to how, through a chain of subcontractors, fund structures are drained in favor of those close to the government. In the absence of Bulgarian translators, Alexander Yordanov spoke in Polish for unknown reasons (although he should also speak French according to his biographical data), praising the prosecution for dismissing an oligarch hiding in Dubai even without sanctions under the Magnitsky Act (Vasil Bozhkov). ).
The Portuguese Aureliou Ceciliou from the General Directorate for Regional Policy and Public Works in the European Commission, who is responsible for Bulgaria, assured the MEPs that companies of the Magnitsky persons accused under the Law did not receive EU funds. His directorate immediately requested information from the Bulgarian authorities about the persons in the so-called a blacklist drawn up after the announcement of the US sanctions, and made sure that they did not get European money in their hands.