According to a leaked letter in Czech media, the European Commission has reiterated its position that the Prime Minister of Czech Republic, Andrej Babiš, is in conflict of interest between his role as PM and his business dealings. The Commission first confirmed that Mr Babiš is in conflict two years ago, following calls from the Greens/EFA group to investigate the links between Babiš and his Agrofert group of companies. The Commission is still yet to publish audits into the conflicts surround Babiš' companies. The Agrofert group has received millions of euros in EU funds.
Viola von Cramon MEP, Greens/EFA Coordinator in the Budgetary Control Committee, comments:"The European Commission is clear once again that the Prime Minister of Czech Republic is in conflict of interest. This process has dragged on long enough, it's time for the Commission to finally take a stand and decide how it will act. Mr Babiš is in breach of EU and national ethics rules, this cannot be allowed to continue. The fact that Mr Babiš was negotiating the MFF while having well known conflicts of interest shows that the Council urgently needs to set out serious steps on how it intends to protect against these ethics issues in future negotiations.
"The Commission must publish the full findings of its audits into Mr Babiš' business dealings and outline how it intends to act to address this ongoing conflict of interest. We already know that the Czech government wanted to provide money to Agrofert from the Just Transition Fund. This problem will not go away overnight and the Commission must set out how it will prevent this kind of situation in the future."
Mikuláš Peksa MEP, Greens/EFA Coordinator in the Budgetary Control Committee, comments:"This shows that the European Parliament was right to call for an investigation of this case in the first place. Mr Babiš will be negotiating the just Transition Fund and the distribution of the Covid Recovery fund, all of which could benefit him personally. This kind of brazen conflict of interest cannot be allowed to stand, or else it might happen again. Conflicts of interest at the top damage the EU's reputation and integrity.
"No oligarch, politician or businessperson should be able to use a position of power to gain EU funds for their own pockets. There should be no more EU subsidies to Agrofert and no more negotiations with Mr Babiš that he could personally benefit from until this conflict is resolved."