The EU confirms suspicions of corruption in agriculture program, suspends funds

The Office of the EU Delegation in Tirana has confirmed suspicions of corruption with EU funds earmarked for Albanian agriculture. Earlier, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) did not give details to Amfora over this investigation, however, the findings forced the EU Commission to temporarily suspend grants until the submission of the investigation report.

The European Commission has decided to temporarily suspend the EU-funded Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance for Rural Development (IPARD), based on suspicion of corruption in the implementation of the program.

“The European Commission has informed the Albanian government that they have taken preliminary measures based on preliminary information given by European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), following an investigation on corruption accusations related to the implementation of the IPARD II program”, elaborated for Amfora Media the EU Office in Tirana.

Amfora earlier inquired European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), which officially clarified that usually no comments are provided on their cases.

“This is in order to protect the confidentiality of any possible investigations and of possible ensuing judicial proceedings, as well as to ensure respect for personal data and procedural rights”, officially responded the OLAF office.

The EU Office in Tirana confirmed on Wednesday afternoon news about the suspension of funds earmarked for Albanian agriculture, after the initial interest of “” online media.

EU clarified that this measure was taken to prevent abuses of the grants given.

“As a prevention measure for the protection of the European Union’s financial interests, the European Commission has temporarily suspended reimbursement toward Albanian authorities for the expanses done in the framework of the IPARD II program”, explained the EU Office in Tirana for Amfora Media.

The IPARD program aims at providing financial support to agriculture and rural development through EU funds, 75%, and funds from the Albanian government, 25%.

The first phase of the IPARD II program was implemented between 2014-2022 and allocated to Albania over 71 million euros, while the second phase of the IPARD III program was expected to increase the financial support to 146 million euro.

The EU Delegation did not comment on OLAF’s findings and mentioned that they are related to the implementation of the IPARD II program, in 2014-2020.

“OLAF’s investigation is ongoing. When OLAF submits the final report, the EU Commission will inform the Albanian authorities and based on the findings of the report, it will take further necessary measures to protect the EU’s financial interests”, concluded the EU Office in Tirana in their reply.

The IPARD program in Albania is implemented through the Agriculture and Rural Development Agency, an institution of the Albanian government accredited for the administration of funds from the EU and other donors.

Suspicions of corruption are now seriously jeopardizing Albania’s further benefit from European Union funds for agriculture after this extreme measure taken from the European Commission.

Notice: ob_end_flush(): failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (0) in /home3/nwmcvqij/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5109