A recent report alleged government officials in Hungary and the Czech Republic misused €59 billion in farming subsidies. But the EU Commission pushed back, saying it has "zero tolerance" to fraud. A European agency hit back on Monday against claims that money meant for farming was used to prop up "oligarchs and political patrons" in central and eastern Europe.
The European Commission has "zero tolerance to fraud" and "very clear rules for how funds should be managed" insisted spokesman Daniel Rosario against allegations published in the New York Times.
Mina Andreeva, spokeswoman for OLAF — the EU anti-fraud office also denied that it was the EU's job to ensure farming subsidies were spent correctly. "We are not here to replace national governments," she said. "We cannot and will not do the work for them."
Claims that EU money was being misspent
The New York Times found that some of the EU's €59 billion ($65 billion) farm subsidies from its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was being misused by corrupt government officials, notably in Hungary and the Czech Republic. It said the farming subsidies were "warped by corruption and self-dealing." The article also argued that the CAP had become too intertwined with how the EU worked, meaning that little could be done to reform the subsidies system.