A videotape published by investigative website Bivol shows Bulgarian Agriculture Minister Dessislava Taneva telling fruit and vegetable producers to keep silent about an EU-funded programme which is reportedly plagued with irregularities.
“I propose to be on the same board that there is no fraud and everything is OK, or otherwise they [Brussels] will stop this [financing]”, said Taneva.
Taneva made the statement on 27 March, answering a question by Georgi Vassilev, president of the association “Bulgarian paprika”, who said that 22 of its members have signalled that they had received more money from an EU-funded programme than they should have.
While Vassilev believes there is widespread irregularity and is asking the minister to disclose the formula under which this funding was decided, Taneva says Bulgaria cannot afford to report about irregularities because EU support could stop as a result.
After the publication of the video, Taneva said her words were taken “out of context” and deplored a “political attack”. More by Krassen Nikolov and EURACTIV Bulgaria.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)