Slovak Labour Minister Viera Tomanová said after a cabinet session on Wednesday, March 17, that she sees no reason for Brussels not to reimburse funds spent on Slovakia’s so-called social companies.
“Why shouldn’t we get the money? No programme has been halted, nor has the social companies programme,” the minister said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
She conceded, however, that the issue of disallowed state assistance, whose level has been criticised by the European Commission (EC), may affect one company, ARVIK. However, the ministry unilaterally terminated its contract with the company at the end of 2009, she said. “Another social company may be concerned as well, but such activity can always be disengaged and others can continue,” said Tomanová.
The European Commission sent the first results of its December audit of social companies to the Labour Ministry on Tuesday, March 16, although the findings have not been made public. The audit included a probe into how effectively European funds are being drawn in relation to a number of projects under the Employment and Social Inclusion Operational Programme, which includes the social companies programme. “This so-called draft ... is for professional discussion between the commission and Slovak institutions only. It deals with issues that might not be included within the final inspection report,” the Labour Ministry said in a written statement. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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18. Mar 2010 at 14:00