The Common Agricultural Policy has often courted controversy, and now the European Commission had to defend itself and its CAP policies from criticism after the New York Times gave details about how oligarchs in Central Europe use EU funds for their circles.
The Commission reitereated it's zero tolerance policies, but insisted the key lies with the member states.
"According to the shared management principle member states are primarily responsible for the sound and legal management of EU funds. The Commission takes any allegation or suspicion concerning the misuse or mismanagement of EU funds seriously. And all complains regarding alleged fraudulent spending should be addressed to OLAF. Several investigations are ongoing," explained Daniel Rosario, Spokesperson European Commission.
The article highlighting two central European leaders, who are directly or indirectly benefiting from EU agricultural sources: Hungary's PM Viktor Orbán and the Czech PM Andrej Babiš.
Euronews asked Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó for comment on the use of EU funds, but he avoided answer, only mocked the HUngarian journalsit contributing to the article.
"About the New York Times article: we did not deal with the issue. I don't think it's imaginative trick if a journalist of a Hungarian site pretends to be a journalist of the New York Times - just to be quoted by his portal here, at home," Szijjártó replied.
The Commission thinks future step to saveguard EU funds include - establishement of the EU prosecutors office + linking the EU payouts to rule of law standards.
**And also... **
Women still earn 16% less than men in Europe. It is as if from November 4 until end of the year female workers would stop getting paid while their male counterparts continue.
Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen tweeted:
"That's why I will table measures to introduce binding pay transparency measures."
Ursula von der Leyen began to publish her agenda on November 1, when she was originally meant to enter office.
There are still three vacancies in her Commission after EU Parliament rejected candidates from France, Hungary and Romania, citing conflict of interests.
Paris and Budapest proposed Thierry Breton and Oliver Varhelyi as replacements.
Bucharest has not yet selected any other candidate to Brussels, after Romanian government collapsed last month.