Czech PM brands MEPs ‘lazy parasites’ as huge row over EU ‘interference’ breaks out

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The billionaire politician took aim at MEPs after they pressed the European Commission to introduce new measures to prevent conflict of interest. Mr Babis said the meddling euro MPs “incited steps concerning specific criminal proceedings on Czech territory without specific knowledge or evidence”. “I think this can be perceived as proof of political and media pressure on the Czech judiciary and interference in internal affairs,” he fumed.

The row comes amid an ongoing investigation into the Czech prime minister’s Agrofert good, chemicals and media conglomerate receiving EU subsidies.

Mr Babis transferred Agrofert to trust funds in 2017 but data shows he still rakes in profit from the group.

He is also facing police charges over EU subsidy fraud linked to a farm near Prague which he had allegedly separated from Agrofert to make it eligible for a subsidy for smaller firms.

On Friday, the EU Parliament approved a resolution that questioned Mr Babis’ involvement in the discussions over the bloc’s next long-term budget while still in control of Agrofert.

The resolution “deplores” this situation and calls “into question the impartial and objective exercise of” Mr Babis.

The non-binding resolution has increased tension between Prague and Brussels.

The Czech prime minister said: “It is unnecessary to comment on lies of the useless European institution that costs more than 55 billion Kc (£1.866bn) and is filled with lazy parasites and green fanatics who endanger our industry.”

He added: “It seems that the MEPs were probably abused and got involved in an attack against one of the biggest employers in the Czech Republic.”

The EU Parliament has called for new controls for conflict of interest, ending funding for Agrofert and blocking oligarch politicians from participation in decisions that concern their interests.

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MEPs also want the Commission to publish its audit report on the accusations against Mr Babis without delay.

“It’s very harmful that a member who sits on the European Council can personally stand to benefit from EU money,” Lara Wolters, a member from the Budgetary Control Committee, said before the vote.

Mr Babis’s Agrofert is one of the Czech Republic’s largest businesses, comprised of more than 200 subsidiaries and employs about 34,000 people.

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According to the EU Parliament’s budget control committee, the firm received roughly £101.6 million in EU agriculture subsidies between 2016 and 2018.

Between 2014 and 2020, the committee estimated Agrofert to have received £14.5 million in so-called EU cohesion funds.

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