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Czech News in English » Opinion » Gaps in Czech law enable misuse of EU subsidies by schemers

Gaps in Czech law enable misuse of EU subsidies by schemers

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Prague, Dec 3 (CTK) – The Czech Republic shows a permanent incapability of passing quality laws and directives, a problem that has thwarted an effective use of EU subsidies and facilitated their massive misuse by schemers for many years, Zuzana Kubatova writes in daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) Thursday.

She reacts to the latest package of problems Prague faces in Brussels over its insufficient legislation on drawing subsidies from the EU funds.

A few days ago, it turned out that after three years of “intensive negotiations,” Prague does not have the Czech system of paying many-billion-crown worth of subsidies to solar, win and biogas power plants approved by the European Commission, Kubatova writes.

As a result of the unfinished notification, the Czech Energy Regulation Authority has threatened to stop the subsidies for 95 percent of the domestic renewable sources as of next year. This would cause a calamity of unpredictable dimensions, Kubatova writes.

Another problem has arisen these days. It has turned out that the Czech Republic failed to adjust its EIA legislation in time to make it compatible with the EU´s, Kubatova writes.

The EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) is one of the key documents required within developers´ projects, she says.

The alternating Czech cabinets repeatedly delayed the passing of the relevant EIA amendment until now that dozens of already prepared road construction projects find themselves in a blind alley due to the legal vacuum, Kubatova writes.

In addition, there are some other infamous fiascos related to EU subsidies, she continues.

The previous Czech system of drawing EU money, valid until 2014, had been set up so clumsily that the country failed to draw the whole sum it was entitled to, while the subsidies´ contribution to the national economy remained disputable, Kubatova writes.

The inflow of hundreds of billions of crowns resulted neither in an evident improvement in the transport infrastructure nor a better education of people nor an impressive number of new jobs within the EU-subsidised projects. Let alone the fact that the Czech Republic is forced to return a part of the subsidies in a humiliating way because it provided the sum to investors at variance with valid rules, Kubatova writes.

The Czechs tend to complain about the Brussels bureaucracy. However, all of the above mentioned troubles originate at home, in the Czech Republic. They show Prague´s desperate incapability of passing quality laws and directives. The fiasco is mainly to blame on sluggishness, delaying of problems and sweeping of mistakes under the carpet, along with the poor functioning of the state administration and institutions, Kubatova writes.

If the troubles are but a negative effect of the fast alternating governments that have been incapable of action, and of politicians´ unfortunate habit to solve problems only in the framework of their term in office, it is the better of the possible explanations, Kubatova says.

The state´s poor legislative performance can be useful for some. It benefits the schemers who are smart enough to profit from the state´s mistakes, Kubatova writes.

As examples of such cases she gives a part of the solar investors from 2010, dealers with plots situated along future motorways and hotel owners who have deflected the EU subsidies to finance their private projects.

Maybe the problem does not rest in Czechs´ incapability of coping with the Brussels environment. Maybe the opposite is true – some Czechs are extraordinarily well versed in EU affairs. Only some, unfortunately. Definitely not those whom people pay from their taxes, Kubatova concludes.

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