SaS: Matecna Greatest Mistake of This Gov’t; KDH: She Should Go

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Agriculture Minister Gabriela Matecna (Stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, July 17 (TASR) – The findings of the Prosecutor-General’s Office concerning fraud in drawing European agricultural subsidies, as presented on Monday (July 16) by Prosecutor-General Jaromir Ciznar, are nothing new under the sun, according to the Opposition Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party.

“Not new either is the fact that the police and even prosecutors themselves are passive when it comes to uncovering this type of criminal activity and that various regional Mafia in Slovakia are flourishing,” stated the liberals, adding that while Prosecutor-General Ciznar has assumed the role of pursuer of justice, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Gabriela Matecna (Slovak National Party/SNS) continues to evade responsibility.

“She’s not willing to take action even against bureaucrats who participate in stealing European funds at the Agricultural Payment Agency (PPA) – whether by design or the failure to carry out their duties,” claimed Parliamentary Vice-chair Lucia Duris Nicholsonova (SaS).

Duris Nicholsonova pointed out that she sent a letter to the Prosecutor-General two months ago. “Therefore, I rather welcome the fact that he’s taking action – unlike Gabriela Matecna, who is one of the greatest mistakes of this Government.”

According to the liberals, Matecna is part of a corrupt system, both as minister and as former Slovak Land Fund head, which works to the benefit of the political elites.

Non-parliamentary Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) chair Alojz Hlina joined in the criticism of Matecna, maintaining that the fact that the Agricultural Ministry is controlled by SNS doesn’t automatically mean that the minister should be someone unable to “handle the post”.

“It’s one thing to take pictures alongside [ex-premier] Robert Fico on bales of hay, but it’s another to head a ministry that provides food for the population. If Premier Peter Pellegrini is truly the premier, now is his chance to prove it – by making a change at the helm of the Agricultural Ministry and PPA,” added Hlina.