Budaj: Environment Agency Won't Provide Subsidy to Former PM's Adviser

Budaj: Environment Agency Won't Provide Subsidy to Former PM's Adviser

Bratislava, January 27 (TASR) – The Slovak Environment Agency (SAZP) will not provide a subsidy to former prime minister’s adviser Pavel Kalinsky and his civil association called For a Better Society, Environment Minister Jan Budaj (OLaNO) told a press conference on Wednesday.

SAZP decided to withdraw from the contract because Kalinsky failed to fulfil his obligation to inform the agency about a potential conflict of interests.

The minister is pleased that the SAZP director has assessed the issue of the payment of the subsidy. According to Budaj, the obligation of the subsidy applicant was to inform the agency that his status had changed in the meantime, as he applied for the subsidy in 2019. Even if someone in the ministry knew that Kalinsky was an adviser to the prime minister, he couldn’t have known that he applied for a subsidy. “There are dozens, if not hundreds of applications. It is his duty to notify the SAZP that what he stated in the application in 2019 has changed,” noted Budaj, declaring that he had heard Kalinsky’s name for the first time and saw him only when he learnt of the grant from the media.

An audit at the Environment Ministry in connection with the subsidy continues as well. The allocation of the subsidy for the civil association is also being handled by the Special Prosecutor’s Office. It will check whether the offence of harming the financial interests of the European Union or any of the offences of corruption has been committed.

Hospodarske noviny daily on January 21 reported on the approval of two subsidies from EU funds amounting to almost €390,000 for the NGO For a Better Society. Statutory representative of the association Kalinsky has denied that the success of the projects has anything to do with his job as the prime minister’s advisor. He stressed that the projects were submitted during the term of the ministry’s previous management, adding that he’s neither a civil servant, nor a public official and that his post is apolitical.