Skopje, 24 July 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Naser Pajaziti
Debates are taking place over the European Union funds in FYR Macedonia. Macedonian opposition accuses the current government of abusing with these funds, especially with the IPARD funds for agriculture.
SDSM (Macedonian Social Democratic Union) accused minister of Agriculture, Mihail Cvetkov for abusing with IPARD funds.
SDSM lawmaker, Lidija Dimova, asked the minister, but also the EU ambassador, Aivo Orav, as to why they are allowing IPARD funds, which must be allocated for farmers, to end up to communes.
“We have information that two thirds of the money allocated for farmers have ended up in the accounts of communes. Meanwhile, with the law for regional development, the state has not provided the necessary funds for farmers and their projects. You are allocating these funds for the communes, in order not to lose them, because there are no concrete projects for the development of agriculture and support of farmers”, Dimova declared.
Minister of Agriculture, Mihail Cvetkov declared that the funds are not being misused, but are being used to improve infrastructure for farmers.
“The money, above all is destined for farmers, but they must have the necessary capacities to use them. For your information, we still have 29 million Euros worth of IPARD funds still unexploited. We must understand that if we do not improve rural infrastructure, we will not have agriculture and development”, minister Cvetkov declared.
Opposition’s accusations come ahead of the April 2016 elections. During this period, the government has allocated IPARD funds to go to communes. A part of the communes, which are governed by the party in power, have started to implement infrastructural projects.
EU ambassador to Skopje, Aivo Orav said that IPARD funds cannot be used for a hidden election campaign.
“The country has now entered an election campaign and EU money cannot be used for elections. This must be clear for everyone. There have been cases when we have not been summoned in projects funded by the EU. This is unacceptable and we are carefully following all these developments”, EU ambassador Orav declared.
Ardian Mehmeti from OBRIE NGO, says that those few funds that FYROM has received from the EU are being misused by the government for political purposes.
“We have information for massive abuses with these funds, which are destined for projects and particular domains, while the government has abused with these funds by using them for these projects. These are being made in a camouflaged way, therefore we praise the EU’s ambassador declaration”, Mehmeti declared.
This debate was held in the framework of the finalization of the educating project for the management with the EU funds. Since 2007, FYROM has started to implement IPARD funds program. Two years ago, the country was given the right to manage these funds. /ibna/