July 2023 | EU suspends agricultural funds over corruption suspicions
The European Commission has suspended Albania’s funds for the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance for rural development (IPARD) as a preventive measure following corruption suspicions. The Commission declared that the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is investigating the case, and the Albanian authorities will be informed of the conclusions and the necessary measures accordingly. In a statement, Albania’s Ministry of Agriculture asked for the case not to be politicized, asserting that the programme is not interrupted, and that the measure is part of a completely administrative process for cases when verification of expenses is not in line with EU-established rules. IPARD aims to support EU candidate countries to improve agriculture through concrete financial and technical help. Out of a total of almost EUR 1 billion for the five EU candidate countries, the current IPARD III programme has allocated approximately EUR 112 million for Albania.