The frequency of errors in projects claiming money from European Union structural funds is higher than the European average, said members of the European Parliament at a meeting with Slovak MPs held on July 16.
“In the case of Slovakia, we observe that the frequency of shortcomings in carrying out regional programmes is above average,” said head of the MEPs’ delegation, Jens Geier, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that it is not very good. “We are debating the situation with representatives of the government in order to remove the failings.”
Geier added that Slovakia often produces discrepancies in public procurement, especially those concerning transport. The number of bidders who are able to present their public bids is limited by strict conditions, which might be described as discrimination on the market, he said, as reported by TASR.
“We want to open a discussion on this issue to change the conditions for such public projects by Slovakia, thereby also reducing costs and the error rate,” said Geier, as quoted by TASR, adding that if the shortcomings are not removed, the EU will demand that the country return the money.
Chair of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) Ján Figeľ said that the most problematic projects concern railways and the environment, where the errors reach 7 percent.
“Several tenders in the sphere of transport are being investigated on suspicion of corruption and clientelism,” Figeľ told TASR. “They have even found their way into the hands of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).”
However, the government does not have much scope for eliminating such defects, said Deputy Prime Minister for Investments Ľubomír Vážny.
“As we currently find ourselves in the very last year of this programming period, systematic changes to controlling and processing documents [drafted by former governments] cannot be made,” Vážny said, as quoted by TASR. “What we can do, however, is to draw the attention of the individual controlling bodies to potential failings, demanding that these are not to be repeated.”
He added that the government has already prepared a set of new procedures and mechanisms for the next programming period, designed to eliminate potential mistakes to a minimum, but he refused to detail specific measures, TASR wrote.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
17. Jul 2013 at 10:00