Prague - Secretly, Czech government ministers are deciding how to use CZK 500 billion (EUR 20 billion) in EU funding for the 2014-2020 financial framework.
Czech Regional Development Minister Kamil Jankovsky has prepared the draft of a new distribution system. Most importantly, the document significantly reduced the number of so-called operational programs.
For the 2007-2013 period, the Czech Republic has 17 operational programs. This has produced an extremely chaotic situation, because different programs are controlled by different ministries or regional offices, and they all use different approaches to manage them.
That's why the European Commission (EC) temporarily suspended EU subsidies for the Czech Republic in March 2012 in an attempt to push the Czech government to centralize the control processes.
For the 2014-2020 period, EU aid to the Czech Republic will shrink to CZK 500 billion. The Regional Development Ministry believes six operational programs will be sufficient to manage the funding.
These programs would be handled by four ministries (development, industry, transport, and labor) and the Prague city council. Regional offices and the ministries of environment and education would lose their right to directly manage the funding.
The document prepared by the Regional Development ministry was sent to the Office of the Government in March for informal discussion.
The office suggested even stronger centralization of the supervision process - they want four operational programs, with a special agency established by the same Office of the Government controlling and dividing most of the funds. Another solution is that of two operational programs and the Office of the Government directly managing and supervising all EU funding from 2014 on.
In 2008, the EC suspended EU aid to Bulgaria because of corruption.