European Commission slams Education Ministry for use of EU funds
The European Commission has slammed the Czech Education Ministry for two of its projects financed with EU funds, OKNO and SPORT. Both projects were of dubious quality and their effects questionable, the commission writes in its letter to Education Minister Josef Dobeš. The EC has voiced harsh criticism over the fact that the projects, with a combined budget of 1.2 billion Czech crowns, did not have a sound financing plan. In addition, more than half of the funds spent under the SPORT initiative went to analyses and TV commercials, which was simply unacceptable. EU funds for education are meant to go to individuals, not PR agencies, the commission writes in its letter. It notes that the ministry’s use of EU funds casts doubt on whether the money is being used to make the systematic changes needed to modernize the country’s education system. Prime Minister Petr Nečas is set to discuss the matter with Mr. Dobeš.
This is not the first time Mr. Dobeš’s ministry has come under fire from the European Commission. Previously, Brussels auditors had uncovered irregularities in EU-funded projects and ordered that all further payments from the Education for Competitiveness Operational Program be frozen until the matter was investigated and fully explained.