Czech PM's conflict of interest must end
Today, the European Parliament has voted by an overwhelming majority to support action to end the conflict of interest around Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. The European Commission's own legal service has found that Andrej Babiš has a conflict of interest between his role as Prime Minister and his connections to the Agrofert group. As PM he is in charge of negotiating and implementing EU funds that go to the Czech Republic.
The Agrofert group, which he founded and is still a beneficiary of, received over €82 million in EU funds in 2017. Ever since allegations around Babiš' conflict with his business dealings emerged, the Greens/EFA group have been demanding the Commission act. Now that the conflict of interest has been proven the European Commission must heed the words of the European Parliament and resolve this conflict without delay.
Ska Keller, Co-President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament comments:
"Today's vote could not be any clearer: the European Commission must ensure that the conflict of interest around Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is resolved. There's no doubt that Mr Babiš is seriously violating EU financial regulation.
"No more EU funds can be allowed to go to Andrej Babiš' Agrofert group, so long as he is involved in negotiating and implementing EU funds. It does deep damage to the image and standing of the EU if oligarchs are able to wring our Union dry for cash. The time for letter writing, pontificating and playing for time is over, the European Commission must end this conflict of interest."
Philippe Lamberts, Co-President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament comments:
"The Czech authorities cannot be expected to effectively rule against their own Prime Minister. It must be the job of the European Commission as an independent body to ensure that this is resolved before Andrej Babiš' conflict of interest does any more damage to the reputation of the Czech Republic and the European Union. We cannot let anyone, even Prime Ministers, denigrate the integrity of the European Union by abusing their position to line their own pockets with taxpayers' money."
"European values must be defended no matter the brand of strongman leader who is abusing them. EU money is taxpayers' money and we cannot let it be funnelled off by the rich and powerful."