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IPARD finds 33.5 million euros of irregularities in Albania, as much as 71% of abuses in the entire Balkans

2023-11-23 08:45:45, Ekonomi CNA

IPARD finds 33.5 million euros of irregularities in Albania, as much as 71% of

The irregularities found with the European Union (EU) funds for agriculture in Albania, given by the IPARD programs, amount to 33.5 million euros, which is 2.5 times higher than the amount of 13 million euros that is not regularly used by 6 other countries in the Balkans such as Turkey, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Romania.

The data were reported in a working document of the European Commission (EC), which provides a statistical assessment of reported irregularities for the year 2022, which do not constitute fraudulent activity.

The total amount of irregularities found in 7 Balkan countries is about 47 million euros, of which 71% belong to Albania and 13 million euros or 29% in 6 other countries.

The EC document shows that from 2021 to 2022, the number of non-fraudulent irregularities experienced a remarkable increase and the main role belongs to Albania (see the table below).

Turkey and North Macedonia had the highest number of cases of irregularities, but the highest monetary value of abuses belongs to Albania, EC experts emphasize.

IPARD finds 33.5 million euros of irregularities in Albania, as much as 71% of

For example, in Turkey, 208 irregular cases where IPARD funds were used were found. But the value of the funds in these cases was small, less than 10 thousand euros, making the amount considered irregular in the case of Turkey to be no more than 7.9 million euros. Turkey is a country in the accession process with a population 31 times larger than Albania.

In North Macedonia, the IPARD funds found in irregularities are around 3.2 million euros, corresponding to 155 cases.

The exception is Albania, which has not used amounts for large projects according to the rules. For example, 54 irregular cases were found in our country, amounting to 33.5 million euros, 98 percent of which was only in 2022.

Due to irregularities and fraudulent schemes, the EU has blocked IPARD funds for Albania, giving a heavy blow to the sector, which, among other things, suffers from a lack of internal funding.

IPARD finds 33.5 million euros of irregularities in Albania, as much as 71% of

Across the region, IPARD funds saw increased disbursements following the pandemic. Albania would benefit from 2023 to 2027 about 94 million euros.

Albania and Serbia were the biggest beneficiaries of the IPARD programme, but an investigation by the Office of the Investigation for the Regularity of the Process (OLAF) has blocked the funds for Albania indefinitely.

The available package funds are not enabling investments in the protection of agriculture from climate change, nor can they promote innovation in this field to increase the yield, which in many crops is much lower than in the EU./ Monitor

08:45 ECONOMY

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