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Brussels to withhold €183 million from Slovakia

THE EUROPEAN Union will not give Slovakia €183 million from its structural funds, which the country already spent on 326 bigger projects, because of mistakes in projects on the Slovak side.

THE EUROPEAN Union will not give Slovakia €183 million from its structural funds, which the country already spent on 326 bigger projects, because of mistakes in projects on the Slovak side.

Slovakia will now have either to pay the money from its own budget or spend the money on other projects by 2015, the SITA newswire reported December 19.

At the beginning of negotiations, the European Commission identified the final sum of the unjustified costs at more than €700 million. Thanks to negations Slovakia managed to reduce the sum to €182.91 million, said Deputy Prime Minister for Investments Ľubomír Vážny.

“We will have to, of course, made corrections on invoices or summary requests for payments in projects which were identified as defective in the past,” Vážny said, as quoted by SITA.

The European Commission, which halted payments to all operational programmes which it found defective in October, has already paid €480 million to Slovakia, with another €80 million to be paid by the end of this year. The highest number of errors was in transport projects, where the amount of unjustified costs reached €158 million, 86.4 percent of the total amount, as reported by SITA.

Vážny says that Slovakia might use this money on other projects, like the purchase of new railway wagons, modernisation of railway infrastructure between Považská Bystrica and Žilina, or increasing the security parameters on first-class roads.

Fifty-six of 326 defective projects were prepared during first government of Robert Fico (2006-10), while another 176 came during Iveta Radičová government (2010-12), and remaining 94 projects during second Fico government.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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