The Slovenia Times

New Government Fiasco: EU Funds for Slovenia Suspended Again!


The suspended funds are part of the EU's 2007-2013 budgetary framework. The Commission based its decision on an audit report that the government received on 20 January.

The Budget Oversight Office and the Government Office for Development and Cohesion Policy have already complained due to lack of recourse, even though the formal deadline for response has not expired.

The Economy Ministry said today that the suspension, over four requests for refund, put Slovenia in a position of not being able to put in a preliminary response.

Slovenia thus urged the Commission to wait until all proceedings are final. It also said that the suspension of refunds risked jeopardising the state's contractual obligations to recipients of cohesion policy funds.

A spokeswoman for the regional policy commissioner, Shirin Wheeler, said the payments were halted because the Commission has "reason to think that management and control systems...are not of the right standard."

"We've already received a response from the Slovenian authorities and we intend to meet them next week...We're pretty confident that we can get this sorted out in a matter of weeks as long as our concerns are met."

She was quick to point out that "we're not talking about fraud here, we're talking about deficiencies in the management and control system, we're talking about the system not being strong enough."

Last year EUR 242m was temporarily blocked after the Commission established fraud in projects worth EUR 4.5m for 2011. The cases referred to a company which bought old equipment and declared it as new, and an EU-funded golf course that was never built.


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