EC warns Czech Republic to address conflict of interest issue or lose money

The European Commission has warned the Czech Republic that it may suspend the payment of subsidies to the country unless the government introduces an effective control mechanism to detect and prevent conflict of interest. The Commission has emphasized that the control mechanism should pay special attention to cases involving ownership of firms which have been placed in trust funds. The Czech Republic has been asked to compile a list of all officials in high posts who own companies or have placed them in trust funds as well as any EU subsidies these firms received since September 2017 and make it available to the European Commission.

The European Commission concluded earlier this year that Prime Minister Andrej Babis continues to influence the multi-billion crown corporation Agrofert he established, even after he placed it into trust funds. This has been a matter of contention between Prague and the EC for some time.