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EC blocks millions in aid from Bulgaria over graft claims

 EC blocks millions in aid from Bulgaria over graft claims
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Bulgaria has attacked the European Commission over a leaked report which alleges high-levels of corruption and mismanagement of EU funds.

According to a draft due out next week, Brussels has barred four Bulgarian agencies from receiving nearly a billion euros in pre-accession aid and future payments.

Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister, who was appointed this year to clean up the handling of EU funds, criticised the EC for allowing the information to be released first to the media.

“I think that this is not the way that the problems should be solved. If the media could have solved it, it would be given to you. But this information is meant for the corresponding institutions and it’s not correct to be given in this way.”

The report, described by EU officials as the most scathing ever written about a member state, is due to be adopted by the EU executive next Wednesday, and changes are still possible.

But in addition to the frozen funds, Sofia stands to lose nearly half a billion euros by the end of the year unless it can fix flaws in the payments agencies.