Bratislava, December 19 (TASR) – Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (Slovak National Party/SNS) has displayed her incompetence and should step down, as she’s failing to address issues bedevilling the Slovak countryside, said Christian Democrat (KDH) party MEP Ivan Stefanec in a statement on Thursday.
Stefanec is part of the current European Parliament Mission in Slovakia. “During talks with farmers in eastern Slovakia, it has come to light that minister Matecna has ignored for years extensive fraud with agricultural subsidies and the dislodging of farmers from their own land. This causes damage not only to the aggrieved individuals, but also to the entire Slovak agriculture and food industry,” he stressed.
The fraud with EU money that the European Parliament Mission came to investigate are of such large scope that officials must be aware of them. “Gabriela Matecna is failing to handle her Government portfolio, and instead of addressing issues and protecting small farmers, she’s making heavy-handed attempts to deflect attention. This is unbecoming of her office, and she would do best to resign and stop blocking the investigation into all the serious allegations that murdered journalist Jan Kuciak wrote about,” claimed Stefanec.
MEPs from the Committee for Budgetary Control are visiting Slovakia between December 17-19 to look into the misuse of EU agricultural subsidies. The delegation is slated to meet Matecna, representatives of the Agricultural Payment Agency, NGOs, investigative journalists and the Special Prosecutor.