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SDKÚ claims Environment Ministry sold emission quotas cheaply

The Environment Ministry has sold quotas for 10 to 15 million tonnes of environmental emissions for a significantly lower price than the Czech Republic and Ukraine, said opposition SDKÚ-DS MP Ivan Mikloš at a press conference on Monday, April 20, the TASR newswire reported.

The Environment Ministry has sold quotas for 10 to 15 million tonnes of environmental emissions for a significantly lower price than the Czech Republic and Ukraine, said opposition SDKÚ-DS MP Ivan Mikloš at a press conference on Monday, April 20, the TASR newswire reported.

Mikloš said that SDKÚ-DS has been trying for several months to find out how the tender for the sale of the quotas was organised, but hasn't managed to do so.

“This tender was not posted even on a (ministry) bulletin board,” said Mikloš, referring to the tender at the Construction Ministry that led to the resignation of former minister Marian Janušek on April 14.

According to Mikloš, Ukraine sold its surplus quotas to the Japanese government for €10 per tonne, while the Czech Republic sold them to the same customer for €9 per tonne. Slovakia sold its units to a private company that was set up shortly before the transaction took place, TASR wrote.

SDKÚ leader Mikuláš Dzurinda sent a letter to Prime Minister Robert Fico asking him if it is true that Slovakia sold the quotas for €6 per tonne. Fico answered that the question should be addressed to the Environment Ministry. Mikloš said, however, that the government was informed of the sale on October 8, 2008 and Fico therefore took political responsibility for it.

Mikloš said that, according to the government, quotas for 10 million tonnes were sold, but an inquiry by MPs to the Environment Ministry found that 15 million tonnes were involved. SDKÚ wants to present the issue to the Parliamentary Committee for Agriculture, Environment and the Protection of Nature and request an investigation to look into the transaction.

“Our attention has been drawn by such a large sale being shrouded in secrecy,” said SDKÚ MP Pavol Frešo. Frešo also said that the Czech Republic used the funds from its sale to finance housing insulation, Slovakia offers developers only loans rather than grants. Environment Minister Jan Chrbet has stated that he will respond to SDKÚ's claims on Tuesday, April 21.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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