Slovak agriculture minister resigns amid corruption scandal over nominee

Mičovský will hand in his resignation to president Zuzana Čaputová next Monday. [Shutterstock/Tom Pavlasek]

Agriculture Minister Ján Mičovský (OĽaNO) announced on Tuesday during a press conference that he would resign after his nominee in the Slovak Land Fund, Gabriela Bartošová, has been charged in an alleged bribery case.

Mičovský will hand in his resignation to president Zuzana Čaputová next Monday.

Since taking office, Mičovský has positioned himself as an anti-corruption fighter, who would restore the ministry’s reputation after several scandals concerning fraud and mismanagement of EU agricultural subsidies.

“If I had chosen a different approach, I would have betrayed the anti-corruption principles that have put me in this position. I decided that something like this would not be compatible with my conscience,” Mičovský said at the press conference.

In recent months, Mičovský threatened to resign if the government would not include agriculture in the national recovery and resilience plan. Although this did not end up happenning, Mičovský remained in office claiming he will try to negotiate the best possible conditions for the sector in the CAP Strategic Plan.

Since in office, Mičovský has faced criticism from farmers for insufficient communication of important decisions and for slow and non-transparent preparations of the CAP Strategic Plan.

The country’s largest agricultural association, the Slovak Agriculture and Food Chamber (SPKK) described his resignation as “a logical outcome of all the serious problems and tensions in the agri-food sector.” “The situation in the agri-food sector is dramatically critical. We are therefore ready to negotiate constructively with the new minister at any time,” said SPPK chairman Emil Macho.

The candidates’ names for the position as new agriculture minister have yet to be released.

(Marián Koreň | EURACTIV.sk)

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