The Prime Minister was upset in the House. But what he says may not be true

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who had to temporarily deposit his Agrofert concern in trust funds due to a conflict of interest, became angry in the Chamber of Deputies. It is said that it is nonsense that his government would approve a proposal that six billion crowns from European Union money go to “his” chemical plant Lovochemie.

“I hear it for the first time today, it is nonsense,” the Prime Minister responded on Thursday afternoon to the interpellation of Pirates deputy Lukáš Černohorský, who asked about the information published this morning.

List The reports wrote that the government of Andrej Babiš proposed the replacement of boilers in Lovochemie among the projects for which the Czech Republic will apply for support from the Fair Transformation Fund.

“Minister Brabec has now told me that this is nonsense, I have never heard it in my life,” Andrej Babiš was angry at the Chamber of Deputies when a pirate member of parliament asked him how it is possible that European billions for regions affected by mining fossil fuels should go to a non-energy chemical company.

“Nothing was approved, I have never heard in my life that this chemical plant was there,” Babiš told the deputies confidently and thanks to a live broadcast on television and the public.

And now, what the records of the government’s proceedings say directly about the prime minister’s speech, interspersed with complaints against anti-Ababishov journalists.

List The reports have documents that quite accurately describe how the government decided on the distribution of European money in the Fair Transformation Fund.

The record of the government meeting, which was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Alena Schillerová, states that the Prime Minister was not involved in deciding on subsidies. He had to, “as in other matters dealing with matters relating to his business empire,” on the corridor. “

“The reason for the Prime Minister’s absence from discussing this point is the application of a precautionary approach, which could lead to a conflict of interests between the Prime Minister and the European Union,” the record said.

Record of government meetings.

Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that Andrej Babiš was informed about where the European money intended for the mining decimated region should go. That is, he knew it was.

The List of Reports also has a letter by which the Minister for Regional Development Klára Dostálová sent the entire file with documentation for the distribution of money directly to Babiš’s address.

Letter from Minister Dostálová to Babiš’s government address.

The documents contain both a cover letter to the Prime Minister and information for other ministers, as well as an Excel spreadsheet describing the distribution of money and stating why the money should be used.

In the case of Lovochemie, it is, among other things, “the transition of corporate energy from the existing combustion of brown coal to hybrid energy”.

The “case” of Lovochemistry is marked in yellow in the table, indicating that the project is in the “medium readiness” phase.

The six billion Lovochemie project in the government’s Excel spreadsheet.

So how do you explain that Andrej Babiš “never heard” in his life that money would be decided for Lovochemie? Didn’t they give him the documents from Minister Dostál? Didn’t they let him know?

Another unclear point in the negotiations on the Fair Transformation Fund is the role of the Minister of the Environment Richard Brabec.

It is his department that is responsible for the distribution of European money in the project. According to the interpellating MP Černohorský, this is also problematic, because – in his words – “the minister who until recently served as chairman of the board of directors in Lovochemie is responsible for the distribution of money.”

Richard Brabec, as was seen in a live broadcast from the Chamber of Deputies, ran to Babiš immediately after the interpellation and advised him on the answer.

The Press Department did not first answer the List of News questions, shortly before the text was published, its answer arrived.

The Office claims that the government did not approve the list of projects, but that this is ongoing information from the Ministry of Regional Development on the preparation of the Fair Transformation Fund.

“The Lovochemie project was one of more than a hundred projects collected by the Ústí nad Labem Regional Authority in order to map the absorption capacity of the region. He approached companies, municipalities, academic and research organizations and others to submit the widest possible list of projects that could fall under the Fair Transformation Fund, “writes Ministry spokeswoman Petra Roubíčková, adding that the selection of projects for approval will go through several stages and larger projects, the European Commission will comment on it at the very beginning.

“Nowhere is it said that energy companies will be preferred, the rules of the Fair Transformation Fund clearly state what activities can be supported by the Fund,” he added, adding that “of course, any conflict of interest of any applicant will be considered.”

MP Černohorský wanted to ask him about the supply of billions to his former company in the second part of the interpellations, where members of the government are answering. But the meeting in the House was concluded before it was his turn.

Černohorský also wanted to submit documentation for decision-making with the question: How is it possible that the government claims how it did not approve of anything, when government documents show the opposite.

The questions do not only concern Babiš and his empire, but also why the government wants to use Brussels funding in the Fair Transformation Fund for large state-owned energy companies or local billionaires when the project is intended for small and medium-sized companies.

We have updated the article with a statement from the Ministry of the Environment.

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