Protecting the EU budget: MEPs begin a fact-finding mission to Czechia 

Press Releases 
 
 
  • EP Budgetary Control delegation visits Prague to follow-up reports on irregularities  
  • Meetings planned with officials responsible for distribution of EU funds, civil society, farmers and journalists 

A delegation of six MEPs, led by Budgetary Control Committee chair Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE) arrive in Prague today to gain insights into the distribution of EU funds.

In follow-up to reports on possible irregularities in the compliance with the EU law in how the EU cohesion and agricultural funds are managed in the Czech Republic, MEPs from the EP Budgetary Control Committee want to gain on-the-spot knowledge about the management and distribution of these EU funds and directly speak with stakeholders in the country.

They are planning to meet with Czech government and the Czech Parliament, the paying agency and the Supreme Audit Authority as well as farmers and NGOs. They will also hold a roundtable with journalists and visit a successful project supported by cohesion funds.

Quote:

“The role of the Budgetary Control Committee is to prevent the misuse of tax payers’ money and to make sure that EU funds benefit the majority of EU citizens, not only a privileged few. That is why we want to discuss with Czech representatives and stakeholders about who benefits from EU subsidies and how the national payment system works to prevent breaches of EU and Czech legislation, especially in the light of the respective ruling of the Czech Constitutional Court and relevant rulings of the European Court of Justice.” said the delegation chair Monika Hohlmeier ahead of departure.

Members of the delegation

  1. Monika HOHLMEIER, CONT Chair, (EPP, DE) (speaks on behalf of the EP delegation)
  2. Tomáš ZDECHOVSKÝ (EPP, CZ)
  3. Sándor RÓNAI (S&D, HU)
  4. Lara WOLTERS (S&D, NL)
  5. Daniel FREUND(Greens, DE)

The delegation is accompanied by MEP Mikuláš PEKSA (Greens, CZ) and Tony Murphy, Member of European Court of Auditors.

Draft Programme of the visit

Thursday, 27 February 2020

- Roundtable with journalists

- Roundtable with NGO representatives

- Meeting with Deputy Minister of Finance L. Dupáková

- Meeting with Temporary Committee on Draft Audit reports - Senate of the Czech Republic

- Meeting with Association of Private Farming in the Czech Republic

- Visit to the EU-financed Laser ELI Beamlines project

Friday, 28 February 2020

- Meeting with Deputy minister of Agriculture and State agriculture intervention fund director-general M. Šebestyán

- Meeting with Deputy Minister of Regional Development D. Grabmüllerová

- Meeting with State Secretary for EU Affairs M. Hrdinková

- Meeting with President of the Supreme Audit Office M. Kala

- Press conference at Prague EPLO around 15.00

Information for journalists

Conclusions of the fact finding mission will be communicated in a press conference on Friday 15.15 in European Parliament’s office in Prague.

To attend the press conference you need to obtain accreditation. Please register by sending an email to irena.kubaskova@europarl.europa.eu.

Free photo, video and audio materials will be uploaded regularly here

Background

The Committee on Budgetary control (CONT) is the leading committee to exercise the European Parliament’s duty of monitoring the implementation of the EU budget. The fight against fraud, irregularities and conflict of interest in the distribution of EU funds has been a long-standing priority for CONT members. They have previously conducted missions to oversee the mechanisms of EU funds distribution or follow up on reported irregularities in Slovakia, Albania, Greece and others.

The previous CONT mission to the Czech Republic took place on 26 ad 27 March 2014 and resulted in a significant number of recommendations, including prevention of the conflict of interest - read the report here.