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MEPs release report backing penalties for corrupt oligarchs

| 2022-02-15 < 1 min read

MEPs release report backing penalties for corrupt oligarchs

Reading Time: < 1 minutes

From next week a new tool may empower the EU to suspend funds to member states over rule of law breaches. That decision, to be made by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), could allow the European Commission (EC) to block EU funds to Budapest and Warsaw, EU Reporter writes.

Member of the European Parliament (EP) are pushing for the mechanism, and yesterday released a report that argues that the EC should step up the fight against ‘oligarch structures’ inside the EU. According to the report, the proliferation of oligarch circles with little regard for democracy has “reached an unprecedented magnitude in the past several years”.

The report, unusually, also names names, including that of the former Czech prime minister Andrej Babis, who has been dogged by accusations of conflicts of interests regarding the disbursement of EU funds to his agricultural holding company Agrofert. Babis, who has always professed his innocence, was also named in the Pandora Papers mass leak in connection with the purchase of a French chateau and estate. 

As well as Czechia, MEPs also singled out Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania as “highly problematic” regarding the fair disbursement of EU agricultural funds.

MEPs will vote on the resolution regarding oligarchs at the end of next month. The EP has also threatened to take the EC to court for failing to act against Poland and Hungary over concerns regarding the rule-of-law and corruption.

Meanwhile a transatlantic parliamentary anti-kleptocracy alliance, including both MEPs and US Congress members, has called for the punishing of fraudsters in Hungary, EU Reporter adds.

Source: EU Reporter