Thursday, 4 September 2008

European Commission punishes Bulgaria

The European Commission has decided that the problems in the Bulgarian judicial system (especially corruption) remain so strong that it has blocked some 500 million euros in aid until the irregularities are sorted out. Ever since Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU, the Commission has been complaining about how corrupt they are. (Some may think this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.) Now, after repeated warnings, they have decided to turn the heat up onto Bulgaria by withdrawing these funds. The Commission has concluded in its report that although Romania continues to have problems with corruption, the situation there is “mixed” while it is completely inadequate in Bulgaria. 250 million euros from the PHARE programme (structural funds), 115 million from the IPSA programme (for infrastructure) and 121 million from the SPARD programme (for agriculture) have now been blocked, on the basis that Bulgaria’s administrative structures are too weak and that there are serious accusations of corrupt and conflict of interest in the distribution of tasks. In plain English, the money is being stolen. It is not clear how much this decision will affect Bulgaria, however, since it already gets 6.9 billion euros from the structural funds anyway – these cuts are less than 10 per cent of that sum. [Nikolas Busse, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 24 July 2008]

-- From The European Journal. Sign up for FREE to John Laughland's 'Intelligence Digest' to find out what’s really happening in Europe --

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