|Vol.7, No.38, 18.10.01, p4
A SLOVAK probe into allegations of large-scale defrauding of EU aid to the former communist state is expected to conclude that there was no deliberate misuse of Union finances.
The focus of the report is now likely to be how more stringent ethical rules could have prevented the scandal, in which 40 million from the 140-million-euro-per-year pre-accession funding programme was reportedly pilfered.
Mikulas Dzurinda's government will forward the report to the main EU institutions. "The Slovak side will give assurances that all measures are being taken to ensure that such a situation could not occur again," said a Slovak diplomat.
In April, the Commission temporarily suspended its major funding programmes for Slovakia. The controversy has sparked the dismissal of Deputy Prime Minister Pavol Hamzik and the resignation of senior government official Roland Toth. Criminal proceedings were launched against Toth, former director of Slovakia's foreign aid department, after his wife prepared a dossier detailing how he had abused his position.
Bratislava has since created more than 100 posts to monitor how its pre-accession aid is spent. Dzurinda has said that the affair must not hinder the progress Slovakia has made in enlargement talks.
Meanwhile, German politicians voiced fears that Slovakia's ex-premier Vladimir Meciar could be returned to power when President Rudolf Schuster visited Berlin last week.
Meciar's hard-line style meant Slovakia wasn't accepted as an EU candidate until 2000, three years after the Czech Republic. His party, Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, commands more than 25 per cent in polls, making it a possible coalition entrant after the election scheduled for September 2002.
A Slovak probe into allegations of large-scale defrauding of EU aid to the former communist state is expected to conclude that there was no deliberate misuse of Union finances.
|Countries / Regions