Contracts included in the call for EU-fund support for investment in the development of non-farming activities are to be reassessed, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matečná said on Monday, May 14, adding that she does not intend to resign despite the opposition’s attempts to pin scandals on her. She views the six press conferences held by opposition parties last week, in which they attacked her during her absence from Slovakia, as politicking.
“I’d like to strictly separate the two things – the politicking and the professional discussion,” said Matečná, as cited by the TASR newswire. “There’s definitely a need to find a consensus between them, as we are politicians, as well.
In order to calm the situation, she has asked the Agricultural Payment Agency (PPA) general director to examine the contracts from 2015 one more time.
“We’ll reveal the points tally to prevent any doubt,” said the minister. “Until this happens, I’ve asked the PPA director to postpone the signing of the given contracts.”
Last week, opposition deputies began to collect signatures for a no-confidence motion in Matečná after they made public suspicious contracts for the allocation of other subsidies.
The call from 2015 amounted to €100 million and Matečná claims that after she took the ministerial post, not one euro was released from it. After a check, €6 million were even returned to it, according to the minister.
One of the contracts that appeared suspicious would have been a subsidy to build a pond for entrepreneur Alexej Beljajev. Matečná said that no money has been allocated so far and that she does not know him.
The minister also responded to last week’s statements by General Prosecutor Jaromír Čižnár, according to whom the system used by the PPA is deficient and that the state should participate in the liquidation of small farms.
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“If Jaromír Čižnár has reasons for saying what he did, he should first talk about them with me personally,” said Matečná, adding that she would discuss the statements with Čižnár at a personal meeting scheduled for next week.